Snow Days!

Hope everyone that celebrated had a wonderful Christmas! If you're celebrating Kwanza, Happy Kwanza!

NYC got hit with a major blizzard over the weekend and Husband had an extra day home from work. We spent it throwing snowballs at each other and the kids (Big A totally betrayed me and teamed up with Dad, but Little M was loyal and threw a great many powdery puffs at the both of them! Huzzah!), and chucking each other into snow banks. Much fun.

Until we had to be grown-ups and actually shovel the driveway and dig out the car.

I am back to the writing grind today and cleaning up my house in between line edits, so I will probably disappear on you again for a few days. At Sisters in Scribe we are still taking entries for our December Giveaway (international, ends Dec 31st) and over at Tangled Fiction we have our first public round table discussion, so hop over there to see wtf we were thinking when we started our tangles and to chime in with what you thought might have happened!

Happy New Year!

Holiday Giveaway and a New Short!

Over at Sisters in Scribe, my scribe sisters and I are giving away 3 autographed YA books to 3 winners, ends Dec. 31st! Hop over there for the details and if you know of any other contests around the web, feel free to post it in our Mr. Linky meme.

In other news! Part 1 of BETHLEHEM, by me, is up on the TF blog! Here's a sneak peek! Hope you enjoy!

The last winter that time recorded started just like today, with a sky so bleak that you couldn’t tell where the earth ended and it began. It was the last winter I spent with my family in this same apartment, staring out this same window watching fat snowflakes fall. The last winter that would ever matter.

But it doesn’t matter today. Today I need food and things to burn. It’s light enough to start looking, but without the sun I can’t even guess the time. The sky is so thick and so gray, the city street so empty and muffled by snow, that it feels like I’m stuck in someplace in between. 

Books on Writing

I'm knee deep in revisions, so I thought I'd pick up a couple of books on writing this week, and both of them (so far) are excellent. Here they are.

Stephen King's On Writing
Part memoir, part cheerleader. Not so much a how-to book on writing, but more of an empowering and entertaining read from one of America's most beloved writers.

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
This is the first book in this series that I've read. So far I'm really enjoying it. Some of the steps in this book might seem like a no-brainer to you, but some of us need it spelled out. If you're part of the former, it never hurts to have a good reminder.

There are a lot of great examples in here on scene structure, building suspense in dialog, creating a bond with your reader via your main character, character arc, plotting, revising, etc. There are different activities you can try out on your own to see what works and why.

I've been told this is a great series to go with and so far, I'd have to agree.

I'd like to hear your recommendations. Read any great books on writing recently? Have you read either of these two books?


Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown!

The following comes from

The Story

The story of Chanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known as Chasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.

According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.


Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating! A freilichin Chanukah! Chag Urim Sameach! And enjoy those latkes!

Book Recommendation--Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved, #1)Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of those books I had a hard time putting down. I love history, so I LOVED Nastasya's flashbacks to her previous life. It almost felt like two books in one. And Reyn, the Viking god--yeah, who wouldn't love him? Great read!

If you've read it, what did you think?

View all my reviews

Full Shorts Week

This week at Tangled Fiction, the girls and I have decided to each write 1 full short story to share with you all! I kick us off today with a short starring Jack and Charlie, the two main characters in my wip, GREYSKIN.

Here is a small teaser, but to read the full, you'll have to hop over to TF and check it out!

Jack stands beside me, mouth open, eyes wide, as we stare down into an empty trunk. The heat of the exhaust burns my leg through my jeans, but I can’t move away from it. The trunk is empty.

“Where the hell’d it go?” Jack asks.

I shake my head. “How’d it get out?”

Jacky slams the trunk closed and turns around to lean against it. I do the same. The cicadas buzz so loud out here at night it’s impossible to hear anything else, so there’s no point being on guard. Besides, not even Jack can outrun a pissed off vampire. After being knocked over the head with a tire iron, wrapped in silver chains, and thrown in a trunk, I’m sure I’d be pretty pissed too. Vampires aren’t known for their happy-go-lucky attitudes. 

Thanks for reading! And I hope you check out the full story.
Happy Monday!

Sunday Squirrel

Stretchy Squirrel

Happy Thanksgiving!

First, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I hope everyone is enjoying family/friends/loved ones and good food right now, instead of reading this. But in case everyone you love is in a food coma and you're all by your lonesome, here are the top 5 writing related things I am thankful for.

1. My friends and family. My parents and siblings, my husband and my children. Even my in-laws, who are super awesome. I've been blessed with the people in my life. I could gush on about how amazing my husband is and how smart, cute, funny, well-behaved my kids are, but you don't want to hear all that. The people in my life support my writing and I think it's very important to any writer to have that support. And my mom gave me the awesome desk that I write on. :)

2. The ability to write! Like Kristi said, I am very thankful that I can write! It's what I love (read: need) to do, and I am thankful that I am able.

3. Critique partners! Without my Sisters, and writing friends, my writing would be nowhere near the level it is right now. I'm very grateful for all their time, patience, and hard work.

4. The Internet. Not only is it a fantastic marketing tool (you know, for whenever I'll actually have a book to market), but it's basically my only social outlet. Writing is a very solitary endeavor, and although my family and friends are supportive, they don't always get my obsession with pretty book covers, or the relationship I have with the people in my head. You guys do. Right?

5. The YA writing community. Writers both published and non, agented and still treading through the query trenches. You are all so helpful and supportive. Everyone believes in paying it forward. In helping each other. This kind of community is just invaluable. Many of you organize charities and events, like the season of love and hope auction that Valerie mentioned yesterday. There is the YA lit chat community. the Verla Kay blue boards. The countless blogs chock full of information for aspiring writers on everything from what books to read, to how publishing works, to who, how and when to query. You are all fantastic! Thank you all!

What are YOU thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bikers With Dolls

I may or may not have mentioned that my husband and I ride. We also belong to a local riding club, formerly a HOG chapter that was forced to disband when our local dealership closed. The club has always done a toy run every year where each rider brings a donation of one new, unwrapped toy, and we ride together (with biker Santa and Mrs. Biker Clause--also club members) to a daycare center in an under privileged neighborhood where Santa meets the kids and gives everyone a toy. Afterward, we go party and listen to live music, but that's not the important part. OR the fun part.

Lots of bikers made lots of children happy, and not just on this day with our club and those who came out to support the event. I didn't take any of these pictures, so I am totally stealing them from the guys who did, but I just have to share. It was such an awesome day. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Biker Santa (also known as Bob)

I am somewhere to Santa's right (left side of the pic) in this one. See how many bikers showed up? :D And the NYPD escorted us all safely to the daycare. Thanks, NYPD!

That's only about half of the donated toys.

The girls and I taking names and toys. I am in the back, middle, and that cute lil reindeer up front is mine.

Our amazing escorts! If I get ticketed for going through all those red lights, I'm coming to them...

Some of the kids and families that came to see Santa!

And there is a few hundred more, but I'll stop here. HUGE thanks to all the riders who came out, to Santa Bob and his wife for being so awesome, and for the NYPD for keeping the NYC traffic at bay for hundreds of motorcycles. And thanks to you for looking!

Intense Debate

One thing I love about lj is the threaded comments. Blogger, I adore your user friendliness, but you lack this feature, and that sucks. So I've added intense debate to my comments! If you don't have an intense debate account (but you should because it's pretty cool) and you don't want to make one, have no fear! You can sign in using open ID.


Website Launch!

Do you remember my website with the cool flash animation, and the creepy desk, and flickering candle of awesome? Well, that's gone now.


But! I have put up another website, a much more informative one, in it's place. I loved my old one, but flash doesn't work well for everyone, and I wanted it to be user friendly. Anywho, once I figure out how to recreate the website background in photoshop and then edit blogger, this will match a little better. I hope. But I am really terrible with photoshop so by the time I figure that out, I'll probably end up changing it all again.



In case you were wondering, I am attempting to make my blog match my website @

It won't look so crazy around here once I figure this out!

Tangled Fiction: This post brought to you by the letter 'T'

Tangled Fiction: This post brought to you by the letter 'T': "We have an announcement to make. *ahem* We have heard from a few readers that they prefer waiting until Friday to read the full story all ..."

Sunday Squirrel

This is one of my favorites. They store food inside this tree.

Tangled Fiction Fulls

We now have an archive page on the TF blog where we will post links to the full stories as well as each individual part. lhttp:// Sneak peek of IN THE CARDS, started by me, continued by Natalie C Parker, and concluded by Valerie Kemp!

The caravan sat up against an old wooden fence, covered in rust and moss like it had been puked out by the earth. Vintage, her older brother Lem had called it, but Nim knew better. Vintage meant trash.

She pulled her shawl around her shoulders, but the wind still bit her skin. She couldn’t go inside yet. Lem hadn’t given the signal. Tonight’s girl was blonde, her skin bronzed by the sun. Nim looked down at her own milky white hands. She’d never have tan skin. She’d never have anything the girl in the caravan had—money, friends. It wasn’t in the cards for her.

Follow the above link to read more of this one, and our second 3 part short, WHAT WISHES ARE MADE OF! Thanks for looking!

Author Interview with Carrie Harris!

No, not here. But over at my critique group blog, Sisters in Scribe, Kristi has set up a fabulous interview with one of my favorite people, YA author, Carrie Harris! Carrie's debut novel BAD TASTE IN BOYS will be released July 12th 2011 and is available for pre-order now. With a cover like this, it's a must have.

About the book, from Carrie's (awesome) website:

Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Super-smartie Kate Grable gets to play doctor, helping out her high school football team. Not only will the experience look good on her college apps, she gets to bethis close to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except . . . the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating . . . zombies.

Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend . . . not even Kate . . .

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

Please hop on over and check out Carrie's interview. If you aren't familiar with her, you want to be, and if you are, you know you love her.

Teen Fiction Contest!

Teen fiction contest deadline is Nov. 11

Teens in grades seven through 12 can write a short story or a few chapters of a book, up to 10 typed pages, for a Teen Fiction Writing contest. The entry deadline is Nov. 11. Any genre, from contemporary, historical, fantasy, realistic, steampunk, horror or paranormal, is acceptable. The contest will coincide with a teen author event being held at Barnes & Noble on Route 59 in Nanuet at 3 p.m. Dec. 11.

The authors are Shannon Delany, author of “13 to Life”; Margie Gelbwasser, author of “Inconvenient”; Shari Maurer, author of “Change of Heart”; Jen Nadol, author of “The Mark”; and Jame Richards, author of “Three Rivers Rising.” They will read from their novels, talk about writing and publishing a book, and sign copies of their books.

The winner will get a 15-minute one-on-one critique with one of the authors before the Dec. 11 program and a signed copy of the author’s book. Entries may be e-mailed to or brought to the Nanuet Barnes & Noble store. Visit

Sunday Squirrel

As you may know, I'm a bit of a squirrel watcher. Only because I live in NYC and my wildlife interaction is limited to pigeons and squirrels, and the occasional rat. I've seen a raccoon, a few hawks, and a opossum before, but not often. Anyway, squirrels. They're cute and I like them, so I take pictures whenever they come to my yard. I post the pictures on my facebook every now and then, but I decided I want to start sharing them here. So I give to you Sunday Squirrel! :D Yay! Every Sunday (I will try to remember every single Sunday) I will post one picture of a squirrel that I've taken. Starting now.


Happy Halloween!

Whether you're trick-or-treating, partying, or staying home and watching scary movies with a bowl full of popcorn with extra butter, be safe and enjoy!

I'm getting a 55 gallon fish tank (YAY!) today, but after I set that up, I will be taking my tiniest human, a ballerina, to a few of our neighbor's houses to beg for candy. Then we'll be watching scary movies (after she's in bed) and passing out candy! But not too much candy because I need leftovers. I deserve them. Yes.

What are you up to tonight?


And don't forget, Monday, new story at Tangled Fiction, started by me. This one will be told on Mon, Wed, and Fri in three parts only.

Official Announcement!

I've mentioned here recently that there were going to be some changes at Tangled Fiction. As October comes to a close (with one of the coolest holidays ever), we've made the official announcement on the Tangled Fiction blog! Hop on over there to check it out!

Change is a good thing.

Tangled Fiction

My contribution and the finale to UNCHARTED, our second collaborative short is up on the Tangled Fiction Blog!

There will be some changes made on TF! Starting November 1st, we will be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, giving you one full story a week instead of a month!!

We'll kick things off with a piece started by me! Don't miss it. Um...Please.

Inspiration from Libba Bray

The following comes from a recent blog post by YA author Libba Bray. It was written in response to a teen girl with a life-choice dilemma: Do what she wants with her life, or do what will make the adults in her life happy. I applaud Libba (and it's not the first time) for writing this and for sharing it with the world. I WISH someone had told me this when I was a teen.

Teens, what *you* should be doing.

"Listening to music. Eating pizza before your metabolism goes to hell. Dancing. Spending a Friday night with your friends at the local playground having conversations about life, liberty, love, and Lady Gaga while sitting on a merry-go-round. Reading great books. Reading trashy books. Inventing personas. Trying on identities. Learning to drive. Going to concerts and games. Playing sports. Disdaining all of the above. Creating random Facebook pages filled with quotes you love one day and find hopelessly déclassé the next. Making art. Examining your hair for split ends. You should have the luxury of occasional boredom so you know what it feels like and so you know how to respond to its inspiration. You should not be so overscheduled and exhausted. Teenagers are not supposed to be mini-adults or over-achieving automatons. There is supposed to be a long on-ramp to adulthood."

Rebel Books Halloween Sale!

Right now, if you buy a copy of REBEL MOON (includes a werewolf short by me) you'll get MISERABLE MIDDLES for 5.99 British Pounds (converts to about $9 USD). This offer is available only through
twitter and facebook, not on the website, so for more details, you need to send an email to RebelBooks at hotmail dot com with the subject "Happy Halloween"! If you happen to get a copy of Rebel Moon, I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you!

(An Anthology of supernatural tales)
by Various

Have you ever wondered what Death would look like if he approached you at a bus stop? Or what would happen if a vampire’s chosen victim turned out to be more than they had bargained for?

Rebel Moon is a collection of stories that will whisk you into worlds of vampires, werewolves and witchcraft so prepare yourself for a bumpy ride as sometimes the dead have more of a life than the living and if this book teaches you anything it is to always expect the unexpected!

From the teen witches you wouldn’t want to cross in One Witch Down to the dark comedy of Evil 101, this is a book you won’t want to put down.

by Phoebe Penhalligan and Boo Irwin.
Illustrations by Karen Hurd.
A collection of tales from the Underworld Kingdom including "A Miserable Middle", "The Bloody Ballad", "The Petrified Prince" and others inspired by the recent debate over unhappy endings in children's fiction. The beautiful cover illustration has been designed by Karen Hurd. This collection of tales may sometimes have a miserable middle but they all end happily, well kind of!

(Excerpt from "A Bloody Ballad")

"Saxo Douglas walked into the room keeping his eyes on the floor. He was tall and thin with long black hair and a snub nose. He was not a musician by trade and this was his first audition. As he took his place before the King and Queen he raised his eyes and so visible was his suffering that the Queen removed her earplugs for the first time that day. He had not yet uttered a word and yet she could feel his pain as if it were her own. The King however was only interested in blood and gore, he liked a bloody ballad or a song of suffering, but as far as he was concerned love was not for songs it was for poetry, and poetry was definitely not one of his favourite things.

"What will you be singing about today?" ventured the King warily.

"Love." Saxo replied simply. "I will sing about a love so powerful that it was more important than all the riches in the world!"

What's Happening?

Quite a few things going on at the moment!

Over at Sisters in Scribe (a blog I share with my two fantastic crit partners) we are hosting Andrew Jacobson, co-author of The Familiars, on his Haunted Blog Tour! A copy of the book is up for grabs to one lucky commenter. There is also a clue for the scavenger hunt! Contest ends October 30th and is international. That gives you time to get the book, read it, and play!

There is always something over at Sisters in Scribe. Writing advice, book chats, giveaways. So please, give us a read. You know. If you want. :)

We have a new story up on Tangled Fiction! New stories start the first Tuesday of every month. Each week after a new portion of that same story will be continued by a different author! Part 1 of our current story is written by Valerie Kemp (one of my Sisters in Scribe). Part 2 by the lovely Anne Marie. Part 3, airing next Tuesday will be written by the amazingly talented Natalie C Parker. And the conclusion, Part 4, will be written by myself. Don't miss it! Lots of creepy goodness over there. We're all very twisted. And tangled. Har-har!

Tonight, 9PM EST, Jessica (Confessions of a Bookaholic) and Lisa (A Life Bound By Books), are hosting a Haunted Halloween twitter party! There will be book and swag giveaways, author's stopping by to chat, trivia, etc! Lots of fun so don't miss that! Follow the link for the deets.

Happy Thursday!

Greyskin Fantasy Cast!

**I am working on fixing this post. I have no clue why it's all messed up.**

I'm stuck in revisions and so, naturally, I'm procrastinating! Today I've decided to fantasy cast the epic movie of my wip, GREYSKIN. You probably haven't read it, so you won't know who the heck these people are, but I'm going to share with you anyway.

And I'm sure someone else could help me cast it much better because I'm not really up to date on all the young actors, and I bet there are some undiscovered teens out there who would be even better picks, but I don't know them. So! Onward!

Sixteen year old Charlene (Charlie) Waite played by Lucy Hale. She'd be easy to turn into a butt-kicking, monster-hunting heroine.

Twenty one year old love interest, Jack O'Donnell to be played by Mark Salling. Grow out his hair, put him in some cowboy boots and set him behind the wheel of a '66 Chevelle and we have our boy. Just pretend you don't know him.

Sixteen year old Aaron Stoker, invisible to Charlie though he is hopelessly infatuated with her, played by Travis Caldwell.

Ms Anna, Charlie's mom and one of my favorite characters. Played by a younger Cher, back before she went plastic.

Vic, Charlie's MIA father, Eddie Spears. I know it's a strange picture choice, but it actually fits, lol!

Mac Tucker, bounty hunter, can only be Michael Clarke Duncan.

That just leaves the villain and two minor characters. But I'm all out of ideas for today. Back to writing!

Beasties and Besties.

Ya writer, Lisa Green, has a fabulous and fun blog where she hosts her Monday Madness posts-- She choses a guest (writer, blogger, celeb) and judging by what she digs up on the web, Lisa figures out what supernatural creature her guest is. Today she did me. Hope over there to check it out and see what supernatural beastie I am!

In unrelated news, my best friend got ENGAGED!!! YAY! She and her sweetheart (another friend from high school) have been together for eight years. He and I have been discussing how and where he should propose. We agreed the best thing for her, being as family oriented as she is, was to pop the question in front of her family, no matter how difficult that one was for him. And he did it! On their eighth year anniversary. 10-10-10. An easy date to remember. So CONGRATULATIONS TO SHEENA AND JASON! I love you guys.


My Sister in Scribe, Valerie, will be doing a guest post at author/lit agent Nathan Bransford's blog! Be sure to check her out!

Tangled Fiction Tuesdays!

Brand new story started by Valerie at the TF blog!


A little preview of UNCHARTED (Part I)

There was no way to untangle what was left of Mason from the tree, but the rest of us crawled out the back of the van to where we stood now, trapped between a dense forest and a sheer rock wall, hundreds of feet below the road. So far down that I couldn’t even make out the edge of the cliff in the dark. A grim thought sent a chill down my spine. Mason was the first to die, but he might not be the last.

Insert Witty Title Here

I won't be posting much, slogging through revisions and I've got a new novel begging to be written, sooo don't forget to check out Tangled Fiction tomorrow for a BRAND NEW story! Part I will be written by Valerie (one of my Sisters at Sisters in Scribe).

TF is also mirrored on blogger.

Creepy children, dead things, and tart-eating monsters.

Tangled Fiction, the short story blog shared by four young adult writers, myself included, finished our first ever collaborative short story--The Importance of a Strawberry Tart-- yesterday.

Please stop by and check it out! Posts are sorted newest first, so make sure you scroll to Part I before reading anything in Part IV!

Next week (Tuesday October 5th) we will start our second story. Part I will be written by Valerie, Part II by Anne, Part III by Natalie and Part IV by me. Don't miss it!

Sample of TIOAST PartIV:

Georgia stood still, her whooshing skirts and leather boots silent for the first time all day, not daring to enter the kitchen alone. Darkness had finally engulfed the house, as the sun had set an hour past, and none of the gas lamps or candles had been lit on the first floor.

Speaking about rape and a SPEAK Giveaway

Swing over to my crit group blog for a special post and a chance to win SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson and a censorship button. Contest ends Oct 4th.

FOREVER, the last book in Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER trilogy! Pre-Order signed copies!

Maggie's favorite indie bookstore, as usual, will have signed copies of FOREVER!
How freaking awesome is that cover?

Also, Maggie is having a mega contest of awesome where you can win lots of fantastic signed prizes!

Heads Up

I know it's only Thursday, but I wanted to give you a heads-up about Tuesday, September 27th.

On my critique group blog, Sisters in Scribe, Kristi will be putting up a very special #SPEAKloudly post. Kristi is a clinical psychologist and has personally worked with both rape victims and rapists. For info on #Speakloudly, visit author Laurie Halse Anderson's blog.

Also, the fourth and final installment of The Importance of a Strawberry Tart will be posted on Tangled Fiction.

Don't miss it!

Zombies vs Unicorns Smackdown!

Thursday, September 23rd, 6 PM--The great Zombies vs. Unicorns debate WILL go down at Symphony Space in NYC. Libba Bray, Justine Larbalestier, Holly Black, Naomi Novik, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Scott Westerfeld and Maureen Johnson have a scholarly debate about Unicorns versus Zombies! Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to go (no babysitter) but it sounds fantastic! If you're in NYC and you do go, pretty please take pictures!

The editors of the new collection Zombie vs. Unicorns Holly Black(The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Justine Larbalestier (Liar) (pro-unicorn and zombie, respectively), gathered strong arguments for both sides in the form of short stories by an eclectic group of YA novelists. At this event the editors are joined by contributorsMaureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes), Libba Bray(Going Bovine), Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan), Naomi Novik(Temeraire series), and Alaya Dawn Johnson (Racing the Dark), who will argue for their side. What side are you on? Team Zombie or Team Unicorn? Ages 10 and up.

In Zombies vs. Unicorns, half of the contributors portray the strengths for good and evil of unicorns, and half show the good and evil side of zombies, with the two editors adding their own hilarious commentary throughout the anthology. The original zombie/unicorn debate between Black and Larbalestier started on their blogs in 2007 as a feud about which creature made for better fiction: The original feud, as well as downloadable assets and a voting area, can be found at

"I am extremely pleased to be working with Simon & Schuster to ensure the clear and final victory of the majestic unicorn over the zombie. For too long, the zombie has dominated the public consciousness, but the reign of the unicorn is at hand!"

-Team Unicorn editor Holly Black

"I think that posterity will look upon this as the moment when the mythology of rainbow-farting unicorns was finally laid to rest, and zombies took their rightful place at the top of the food chain,"

-Team Zombie editor Justine Larbalestier

Unicorns are sort of awesome, and I love Holly Black's WHITE CAT, but I am

Tangled Fiction Tuesdays!

Part III, by me, of The Importance of a Strawberry Tart is up on the TF blog! Go check it out! And come back next week for the deliciously creepy conclusion by Anne Marie!

The Importance of a Strawberry Tart, Part III

Smoke filled the room. It was almost enough to nullify the ghastly odor of the raccoon. Almost. Georgia rubbed her eyes, trying to lessen the sting. “Eudora?”

“Georgia! Oh, thank heavens!”

Georgia lifted her skirts, stepping carefully through the cloud of hickory smoke, lest she step on George and squash the other side of his face. Her stomach twisted at the thought of that milky white eye exploding beneath the weight of her buckled shoe

to read more:



Tomorrow I post my installment of The Importance of a Strawberry Tart on Tangled Fiction! Stop by and check us out!

Also on blogger

Speak Loudly

It's September and the book banners are at it again. Being challenged this time is SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson - the story of a girl trying to move on after she'd been raped by a classmate. Book banner calls it "soft porn" when there's no sex in the book! Spread the word and fight book banning. #speakloudly

Reminder: Tangled Fiction!

Just a quick reminder that this Tuesday will be my turn to write a portion of the first ever Tangled Fiction short, The Importance of a Strawberry Tart! So please come by and give us a read. If you haven't read part I by Natalie C Parker and part II by Valerie Kemp, you totally should!

You guys can leave comments on lj by signing in with twitter or FB

This blog is going to be a long term thing, so keep an eye out! We're sure to do contests, games, and lots of fun things in the future.

Epic Contest of Awesome

The totally fabulous Angela Ackerman of The Bookshelf Muse would like to thank her 1,000 loyal minions, and to do so, she is having a contest of epic proportions!!!!! Go enter!


General Drawing:

5-First Page critiques
2-First Chapter critiques

Special Drawing Challenge

It's simple: SPREAD THE WORD about this contest! If you do, I will include you in a special drawing for a three month mentorship with me.

What the mentorship will entail:

--A three month partnership where I will help you in any manner I can toward stronger writing, publication, increasing your online platform and helping you with agenting questions/search

--I will help you build or improve your query (if needed)

--A full read of your manuscript, offering advice on improvements and helping to brainstorm solutions if desired.

--An in depth look at your web presence and suggestions to hone your blog, increase followings and make suggestions with other social media to strengthen your online exposure

--Emails to answer any questions you have about writing, blogging, getting an agent, leaving an agent or how the agent relationship works

--General support!

So, do you need a mentor, someone to bounce ideas around with, brainstorm solutions, ask questions about writing or platforms? I may not be 'book published' yet, but I've been around and picked up a few things. :) I also have the good fortune of being agented by Jill Corcoran of The Herman Agency, and have written over 1200 critiques for other writers, helping them strengthen their writing. Maybe I can help you, too.


If you'd like to enter for the General Drawing, you MUST be a Follower (new or old) and leave a comment. That's it, no big hoops to jump through. Just stop in and say hey, and of course I always appreciate tweets, blog links and general word spreading, but that's up to you. :)

If you wish to also enter for the mentorship draw, you MUST be a follower (new or old) AND fill out this simple form I've attached.Normally I don't do the form thing, but for something like this, it will help me stay organized.You don't need to be at the query stage or anything, just a serious writer intent on improving. :) If you think I might be able to help you on your journey, please enter!

Contest closes Wednesday, September 29th, so get those entries in, and once again thank you for spending time here at The Bookshelf Muse!

Things I Try To Remember

When writing fiction:

  • Every scene needs to move the plot forward, needs to accomplish something
  • Every scene page needs tension
  • Don't be passive! Make things happen to your main character, not through a third party
  • Ask yourself if this could be dramatized
  • Be lenient with adverbs (she admonished, gravely)
  • "Substitute the word 'damn' every time you are inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and your writing will be as it should." - Mark Twain
  • When writing an action scene, don't slow it down with descriptions
These are just a few things I keep in mind when writing. I'm sure there's more, but these are probably my most important.
Do you have any little rules you try to write by?

Tangled Fiction Tuesdays!

It's Tuesday! And you guys know what that means. A new installment to a collaborative short story over at or for you lj users,!

Part II of The Importance of a Strawberry Tart is written by my loverly friend and crit partner, Valerie Kemp. Next week, I will be writing part III.

Tangled Fiction Tuesdays!

Tomorrow is Tuesday which means it's time for the second installment of THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRAWBERRY TART!

Visit Tangled Fiction on livejournal or blogger to read part I of this collaborative short story. There are strawberry tarts, creepy children and dead things. Not to be missed!


I'm messing with my blog design again. Should have it looking spiffy in a few.

Brainstorming; How Do You Do it?

I'm sitting here trying to revise (which is nearly impossible since my three-year-old um...became three years-old) and so naturally that means I am procrastinating on the internet. I came across a post by paranormal author Kait Nolan today about writing things down with a pen, instead of on the computer.

I'm sure most of you have already figured out that your brain works differently when you write freehand as opposed to staring at your computer screen. I'm a panster, meaning 90% of my writing is done organically without outlining or planning. After I've got a decent draft, or most of one, I work things out in a notebook. I'll write down what I have, what I want, and possible routes to get there.

One of my writing colleagues at Tangled Fiction asked me what I do to brainstorm (some people like to lay on the floor and listen to music) and I really couldn't think of anything. Aside from working things out in a notebook, I don't think I really have any brainstorming tactics. Sure, ideas pop in my head when they're least expected and I'm forced to scribble on my arm, or leave myself voicemail. But I don't have a routine for it. Riding on the back of my husband's motorcycle helps to open my mind (it's ridiculously relaxing) but because I'm a mom that's not an easy option. Stuffing your kids in a saddlebag is frowned upon.

So what do you all do to get the creative juices flowing?

Tangled Fiction Is Here!!!!!

If you saw my earlier post, you already know what Tangled Fiction is. But did you know that TF is live! We made our first post today, kicking off the free fiction with a creepy collaborative short called The Importance of a Strawberry Tart. Come check it out!


Tangled Fiction Is Coming!!!!!

I wanted to let you all know that three YA writers and myself have started a new free fiction blog called Tangled Fiction!

The blog is also mirrored on Blogger, for those of you who don't like Live Journal (I hate it).

A little bit about TF:

We came together with a four-fold mission:

  • to become better writers
  • to have a good time while we practice our craft
  • to give away free fiction
  • to make that fiction fun for others
Starting in September, one TF writer will begin a new story on the first Tuesday of each month. Her story will be on whatever topic she pleases, such is the prerogative of being first! It will be up to the rest of us to continue telling that same story. We'll post on the remaining Tuesdays for the duration of the month until the story has reached its exciting and breathtaking conclusion!

That’s the structure, but there are a few more things we’d like you to know up front.

Our Recipe for Getting Tangled:

  • No planning! We aren’t collaborating before the writing begins. We see the story as you do.
  • Take Turns! We’ll all rotate through the four pieces of story: firsts, seconds, thirds, fourths.
  • The Sky’s the Limit! The gloves are off and this is meant to be a challenge. Anything and everything goes!
We'd love if you'd join us as a "Watcher." Tell us you loved it. Tell us you were terrified. While this isn't a Watcher-driven community, we certainly do want to hear from you. We hope you enjoy the journey as much as we will!

Valerie, Natalie, Lacey, & Anne


I have returned! Most of you probably didn't even know I left. *sigh* It's not your fault. I am a terrible blogger.

My vacation went well! I went to the Grange County Fair and it was awesome, all be it way over-crowded. Visited with family, rode the hog for 8 hours in the mountains with Husband and some locals, went to an old country zoo where a tiger gnawed on my finger, and my mom was reunited with her wolf after 13 years or so. And I saw the Eutaw House and now I want it. Edgar Allan Poe stayed there on his way to Poe Valley. That is enough to make me want to invest millions into a place that will probably only lose money.

I'll share a few pics, but I won't totally bore you with the gazillion shots of mountains and trees.

Cutest kid ever.
Amish buggy
Mom and Dakota (ignore the tears, it was an emotional reunion.)
Donkey noses. Do I really need to explain that one?
Tiger chewing on my finger. No, the zoo doesn't normally let people back there. I'm special.

Husband at the Iron Horse Ranch.

My bestie and I (left) outside Homan's old country store. Across from the Eutaw House.

Also, and I will probably tell you about this a million times in case you miss it, Tangled Fiction blog is up and running! Our first segment of our first story will go live tomorrow! You seriously don't want to miss the awesome. And I'm not just saying that because I am one of the authors. Natalie C. Parker, Valerie Kemp, and Anne Marie are seriously talented writers and the four of us collaborating on ONE story? It will be epic. EPIC, I tell you!

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