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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