Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Traditions: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Hi all! This will be my last post before the Christmas holiday, so whether you celebrate or not, I wish all the merriest to you and yours!

Now - let's talk holiday traditions. You know, the things you do year in and year out that are so ingrained in your holiday ritual that you could practically set your clock by them and go through the motions in your sleep.

My family is Italian, and one of the Italian traditions is to cook seven fishes on Christmas Eve, in honor of the Seven Sacraments.


That's my Grandma, fryin' up the fish
For as long as I can remember, we've gathered at my Aunt Linda's house on Christmas Eve to eat pasta with clam and shrimp sauce, and all sorts of fish of the fried variety. Because let's face it, everything is better fried.

We eat, we laugh, we sing, we dance (no joke, we all sing in my family. A party with us is like a live episode of Glee. Without the angst.) And for as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve has been my favorite day of the year.

The bad part? We all leave REEKING of fish - clothes, hair, everything. Nasty.

Since I got married, my husband and I have adopted 2 Christmas traditions:
1) Cutting down our own Christmas tree at Maple Row Tree farm each year


And 2) Hosting Christmas Day dinner at our house. And a couple traditions within that tradition?

2a) My grandmother and I make the pasta sauce together the day before Christmas Eve, because no one can rock a pasta sauce like my grandma and I'm not about to try it alone.

2b) My husband creates a schedule on a spreadsheet of everything that needs to be done/cooked for the day. Everyone makes fun of us, but when your house is tiny and you're working with one stove and one refrigerator, you can't knock the thing that makes it all run smoothly.

If I do say so myself, we do a hell of a job. Appetizer, anyone?

Those crescents are stuffed with feta. And the spinach artichoke
dip is to die for.

Oh and let's just take a minute to appreciate my husband's table setting skills, because I sure do:



Lastly, I've been seeing a new trend pop up that I think is hilarious, and that probably gave me the jump start I needed when my Christmas spirit was lagging behind.

I'm talking, of course, about Ugly Sweater Parties. We've all seen them. We've all secretly balked at someone for wearing them. But now, people are celebrating the ugly. Embracing it. Having contests to see who can take tacky to the extreme. I give you, peeps, my interpretation of the Ugly Sweater:


That's me on the right. And yes, you can call it ugly outright.
So tell me - what are your favorite holiday traditions?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Take the Anti-Douchebag Challenge!

I recently tweeted these words:

I strive for literary worlds without douchebaggery or cheesiness.

Deep, right? It's true, though, and the reason is that both of those things are two of my biggest Literary Pet Peeves.

Personally, I find it insulting when female characters throw themselves at boys who are jerks, and vice versa.Yet, so many stories seem to love this plot device. In the last story I read, the first time the female mc lays eyes on the male mc...

He flips her off.

Flips her off! And instead of responding with a hearty EF YOU!, she proceeds to follow him around like a wounded puppy dog because she's - yawn - inexplicably drawn to him and his hotness.

Just like the female lead in another novel I read, where the first conversation she has with the (hot, of course) male mc involves him being overtly inappropriate and aggressive, and progresses to him just "happening" to show up wherever she goes. And, go figure, she totally falls for him.

Did I miss something? When did the stalker and/or asswipe type become sexy?

This is why I must encourage you all to STOP THE MADNESS when it comes to literary douchebaggery!

Giving characters no real reason to fall all over themselves makes me so sad. I really don't care how hot he is if he's flipping you off or implying he might sexually assault you in your sleep. Have a little common sense and some self esteem and run in the other direction.

Is that crazy? Am I asking too much?

Then we have the other extreme: Cheesiness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an absolute romance junkie, and usually the two go hand in hand. But in my opinion, they don't have to.

You know the moment I'm talking about. When two characters are professing their love and all you can think is, On no planet, in no lifetime would any person ever utter words so nauseatingly cheesetastic.

I mean, come on, Edward. Flying to Italy for a death wish because you "don't want to live in a world where Bella doesn't exist?" A wee bit over the top, no?

Again, STOP THE MADNESS!

Why can't characters just love each other? Why not let them have moments where they're disappointed in each other (without either one being a douchebag. Or at least recognizing and apologizing for if they are)? Why not let them have disagreements?

And then if they want each other in spite of it all, that's a REAL testament to how much they love one another - not some flowery speech about how their love burns hotter than the fires of Hell ('cause sorry, you'd incinerate), or the sun won't rise if you spend one night apart (it will) or how you'd still be able to hear them even in a world with no words and no way to speak (because, hello, you wouldn't. There's no words and no way to speak. Duh.).

So tell me - where do you stand on these issues? Is douchey the new hot? Would you like to see cheese obliterated, or am I just dead inside?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest!


Today is the Deja Vu Blogfest! Which means I get to explore a bunch of great new blogs, and I don't have to come up with an original thought for today!

Why?

Because the object of this blogfest is to re-post a favorite old blog post and that, my friends, is definitely something I can handle.

Or so I thought.

I couldn't pick just one, and as a result, I'm giving you options! Yay!

If you're seeking a helpful/writing related/commiserative post, please check out:

One Year Ago... What Not to Do with your First Draft

Or:

What Manuscripts and Hideous Pink Bathrooms Have in Common



And if you'd like to make fun of form rejections (because let's face it, if we don't, we'll cry) please see:

Share Your Favorite Rejection






Looking forward to checking out yours!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

... IS TO FINISH THIS DAMN BOOK!

Guys, I haven't worked on my WiP in about a week, and it's stressing me out. Yesterday I was seriously pondering the question asked in my CP Leigh Ann's blog post: What's the Rush?

And I was all, Hmm what IS the rush?

Now bear in mind that the question came on Day 4 of a four-day weekend, when I'd been away from the stress of my job long enough to have a false sense of free time (if shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and running errands can be considered "free time").

Then Tuesday came.

Just one hour of being back in my office reminded me of exactly what my rush is: I want to do what I love.


I want to do what I love, not have to sneak it in in my spare moments, on borrowed time, and then feel guilty about it.
I want to create something that other people love as much as I do.
I want to feel insanely proud of myself.
I want to know what it feels like when people say that if you're doing a job you love, you never work a day in your life.

I don't get any of that from my day job.

So that, peeps, is my rush. Writing is so much more than a hobby to me, so being on Day 6 of Writing Drought where I've had zero time to get words down on paper, I feel like I'm dying a little inside. Funny though... I never feel that way about a six-day separation from job.

How about you? Do you ever feel like your very happiness hinges on the stories in your head? (And yes, I'm being intentionally dramatic.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

The First Thing at Christmas That's Such a Pain to Me...

.... is finding a Christmas Tree

I hope you've all heard this song, otherwise my title makes no sense and I just sound like a huge Grinch.

I'll be honest. Last year I did not have any Christmas spirit. I had a miscarriage on December 17th, in the middle of Christmas shopping no less, and it ruined the holiday for me. This year I'm trying very hard to recapture the all-out fanatical zeal I once had for the holiday, but so far, between overpriced gifts, crowded stores, and shopping with The Gift Nazi my husband, all I've managed are a few brief flickers of enthusiasm.

It doesn't help that my query stats grow more and more abysmal by the day:
Queries Sent: 47
Requests for Material: 2 partials, 1 full - all rejected
Unanswered: 17
The rest? All big, fat R's

So, in actuality, I couldn't wait to go pick out a Christmas tree. Every year we go to beautiful Maple Row Tree Farm in Easton, CT, and to me it's like getting lost in a fairy tale. There are acres and acres of hills and ponds and trees of every variety, and the fresh air clears my head of all Grinchly thoughts. At least for a while.

I mean, look at it!




So what if we walked around for over an hour and I'm so badly out of shape that it left me sore?

So what if my socks were falling down inside my boots the entire time?

So what if no one wants the book I poured my heart and soul into? I'm writing another one!

For the hour we were there, that was honestly how I felt. And then we get the sucker home, and reality hits.


The stupid needles everywhere! My pain in the ass, Type A husband repositioning the tree thirty thousand times until it's perfectly straight and centered (and insisting I'm a terrible judge of both)! Those stupid, STUPID needles!

And exactly why did I kill a tree and drag into our living room when I could've been writing my neglected WiP instead?

Oh wait. This is why:


I suppose it's all worth it in the end. But yeah, my Christmas spirit still needs a few minor adjustments.

How about you? Are you full of Holiday Cheer, or could you use a jump start? (Or a trip to the tree farm?)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You Tell Me- Does This Suck?

So today I'm doing something I'm normally too chicken to do - posting an excerpt from my WiP.

This sort of goes along with the Let the Suck Flow theme from Monday. I often have moments where I wonder if I'm the only one who'd ever enjoy what I've written. Sometimes I crack myself up and I think, Geez, was that really funny or am I just insane?



It goes the other way, too. Sometimes I think something sucks, but it's really not so bad. So if this sucks, then this is me letting the suck flow. All I'm looking for is your honest opinion. Would you be interested in this book based on this one excerpt? Is it worth it to write the rest?

Let's set up the scene: my female mc Kelsey had a small mishap with a kitchen knife that landed her in the hospital, only to find out she may have a serious health problem. She's talking to her best friend David, who she's recently been having some more-than-friendly feelings for.  Here goes:

“Then what were you thinking?” David asked



I felt a lump form in my throat again, and I wished I’d had more sleep so I could switch off this annoying, weepy Kelsey and locate my backbone. “That I was scared. That I didn’t want my life controlled by some illness, and I didn’t want to be The Sick Girl. That I didn’t want to burden anyone. That—” I was dangerously close to crying now, so I tried to divert the onslaught by taking a breath and making a joke. “That I didn’t want to die a virgin.”


David laughed, a nervous laugh/cough combination that told me I’d succeeded in lightening the moment, and also making him slightly uncomfortable. “Wow. That’s, uh, that’s deep, Kelse.”


I shoveled more soup into my mouth for the sheer purpose of having something to do. Something told me he wanted to stay far away from this topic, so naturally, I had to pursue it.


“Wouldn’t you think about it? If you thought you might be—” My breath caught in my throat, and I had to fight to push the rest of my sentence out. “—Seriously ill? If you thought you might… never get to?”


He ran his hand back and forth over his hair and cleared his throat. “I guess.”


That’s when everything clicked into place like the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. His fidgeting, his sudden change in demeanor, the guilty look on his face. David didn’t have to wonder what it would be like to die a virgin.


He wasn’t one.


I blinked. “Oh,” I said softly. It must have been the only word in my vocabulary at the moment, because I said it again. David’s ears turned bright red and he looked at the floor, the ceiling, anywhere but at me. I concentrated on breaking up a piece of chicken with my spoon, wondering if it had been Amy Heffernan who’d done the honors, or Isabel Rose, or some other girl I didn’t even know about. I wasn’t going to ask him. It was none of my business, and knowing wouldn’t have made me feel any less betrayed. I knew it was a stupid thing to feel, but it spread through my body like the flu nonetheless.

So what's the verdict?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Let Your Suck Flow


Wow, that title is supposed to be a play on "just let your love flow," but it sounds way dirtier than I mean it to.

Oh well. Anyhow, what I'm getting at is this: writer's block.

Whether you're a panster or a plotter, it happens to the best of us. Sometimes it comes in the form of staring blankly at the computer screen as your characters give you the silent treatment. 

Other times, you've written quite a bit - you just think everything you've written couldn't possibly suck any harder.

In the first instance, I find it helps to seek out inspiration. Listen to songs that remind me of my characters and the situations I've thrown them into, look at pictures from the locales of my novel. Or even just going out and getting some fresh air - i.e. getting away from my computer, because I'm at my most creative when I'm in no position to act on it.

In the other instance, I've found that it's not a bad idea to - you guessed it - let the suck flow. Nine times out of ten, when I've written something I think is god-awful, I'll go back to it later and have one of two reactions:
a) Wow, this really IS crap. But I think I can salvage at least some of it and make it better
b) Hey, this isn't so bad. Just a few tweaks and I should be golden.


In my case, writing something, anything, is usually more productive than writing nothing at all, even if I'm not 100% satisfied with what I've written. Chances are, I can either use it as a base for what I REALLY want to say when my brain is not mush, or it's actually nowhere near as horrendous as I thought it was.

How about you, peeps? How do you deal with writer's block? Do you benefit from letting your suck flow?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Live Blog with Me, Won't You?

I'm off from work today, weeee!! I have quite a to-do list though, so I thought today would be a perfect day for a live blog to keep me on track. Here's what I need to accomplish:

- Wax my eyebrows (yes, I do it myself because I'm not letting anyone else near them with a substance that can leave them seriously misshapen)
- Wash towels and empty the dish washer
- Get bloodwork
- Go to the post office and mail a package
- Make a dropoff at Goodwill (finally got my husband to clean out his closet- yay!)
- Go to a 1:15 doctor's appointment
- Get birthday gifts for my sister-in-law and cousin
- Christmas shop
- Start creating a photo calendar for my sister-in-law of all the pics I've taken of her son. You know, because I'm obsessed with his cute little face.

And most important:

- WRITE! Write anything, any number of words... because once I finish this chapter, the next one is already written and that's basically a 2000-word freebie. YES!

Wish me luck!

8:06- Dishwasher is emptied. Eyebrows are waxed. Might have been a little overzealous with the right one. And, um, guys? Is it bad if the wax drips off the spatula and down your nose? Please tell me I won't have to wax my nose from now on, too.

8:10- Eating my lame, gluten-soy-and-dairy-free breakfast of a banana and sausage links. Will be hungry again in an hour. But at least the towels have already gone from the washer to the dryer.

10:22: I was right. I'm starving. Therefore gagging down snacking on a plum. I'm also showered and dressed, and helped (or attempted to help, they may have hated my advice) my CP's polish their one-line pitches for tomorrow's Operation Awesome Pitch Contest. Off to get blood drawn now- better add that to the list!

4:39: I am pooped. I spent half an hour in the waiting room at the doctor's office, despite being the only patient in said waiting room. From there I went to the mall and picked up birthday gifts for my sister-in-law and cousin. Following that, I drove to the nail salon my godmother likes so I could get her a gift certificate for Christmas. After that I hit the post office, and then finally made my Goodwill drop.

Now I still have to squeeze in some writing time, cook dinner, and get started on that calendar. I think I'm fading here, guys. Let's see how I fare...

8:00: *Sigh* I made dinner. I cleaned up the mess. I peeled and cut carrots for my husband and I to bring as snacks for work tomorrow.

And I wrote. It was only about 200 words, but my goal today was to write anything at all amidst all this madness, and I'm calling that a success.

I'm officially exhausted. Signing off for tonight, see you Monday, peeps!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Broken Clock is a Comfort...

.... Actually, a frozen clock might be more of a comfort to me right now. I swear, peeps, I feel like I have no time lately.

Do any of you ever feel like everything you do is at the expense of something else? I.E:

- If I'm writing, I'm probably slacking off at work, and will have to work twice as hard the next day
- If I'm writing, I'm not critiquing
- If I'm critiquing, I'm not writing
- If I'm cleaning my house, I'm not writing, and then I'm a miserable wretch
- If I'm not cleaning and I'm writing instead, my house starts growing tumbleweeds of dust on the hardwood floors
- If I'm doing any of the above, my Christmas shopping isn't getting done
- If I'm Christmas shopping, none of the above gets done

It's a vicious, neverending cycle. Not to mention that with the holidays upon us, I flail and convulse every time I remember that my computer room will soon be looking like this again:



So, I hope you all won't miss me too much (and my lame quoting of Lifehouse lyrics) if my blogging gets a little spotty, because I've decided that my WiP and the projects I'm critiquing have to take precedence while I'm time-crunched. I'll still be popping in to leave love on your posts whenever possible.

But maybe you can tell me - how do you manage when you're juggling a million balls in the air? Does your writing suffer? (Read: HELP!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Being Thankful for the Little Things: An Anti-Bad Attitude Post

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to give props to the things I'm thankful for. As aspiring writers, it can seem like the whole world is against us and that we'll never stand a chance to make it in the publishing biz.

Some days, I think that would be the worst thing ever.

Other days, I don't have my head up my butt.

So here goes. I am thankful for:

1) Loving reading and writing.
I will never understand people who don't enjoy reading. To me there is nothing better than getting lost in another world, another life, another person's journey. Or weaving an entire story from thin air and then looking back at it and having an I have made fire! moment.

2) The people I've met through blogging.
My crit partners are the bomb diggity, and they're not just crit partners, but friends. No one else in the world would compare getting a phone call from me to getting a phone call from a celebrity (love you, Leigh Ann), because no one else thinks I'm anywhere near that level of awesome :)

3) Agents who remember authors are only human
Twitter can be a gift or a curse. It's very discouraging to see agents put their queriers on blast for making mistakes, or writing something they think is cliche, or for not reading their minds about personal preferences that aren't mentioned in their submission guidelines. Other agents? They get it. And for those agents, I am truly grateful.

And now, some non-writing related gratitude.

I am thankful for:

~ My husband, who didn't laugh at me when I told him I was writing a book. And who has no problem with Public Displays of Affection.



~ Taking the best vacation ever this June. I feel mellower just thinking about it. Though, not gonna lie, I'd rather relive it for real than in my head!



~ My nephews and niece, whose adorable faces never fail to put a smile on mine


And last - my family. I could go on forever about all the things that make them the awesomest, but you'll just have to take my word for it :)


So tell me, peeps. What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's Your Favorite Fairy Tale?


Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a romance junkie. So it's probably no surprise that one of my favorite movies ever - EVER is Sleeping Beauty. (Thank you, Twitter pal JadePhoenix28 for inspiring this post!)



Sleeping Beauty has all the elements of a great fairy tale: A castle. A beautiful princess. A handsome prince. Magic and spells. Good vs. evil. Singing.

Okay, so maybe singing is only a prerequisite in the Disney version of fairy tales, but it's one of my favorite parts. (Luckily my husband likes my singing voice, or his only other option would be to pray for hearing loss.)

But I think one of the main reasons I love this movie so much is the characters.

Think about it - is there a badder mofo than the original evil bitch, Maleficent? This chick seriously creeps me out. From her weird horns to her skeezy bird to her creeptastic walking stick - and oh yeah, the fact that she TURNS INTO A DRAGON - she oozes evil. I love to hate her. Or, I'm scared crapless of her. Take your pick. (Probably a little of both)



Then, of course, on the other end of the spectrum is one of my absolute favorite good characters: the blue fairy godmother, Merryweather.

How freaking cute is she?! She's chubby and spunky and she loves her some blue. She makes me smile.

But Aurora and Prince Philip? Now they make me swoon.



Ooooohhhhhh the meeting in the forest! When she's singing Once Upon a Dream, and he falls in love the minute he lays eyes on her.

If I know you
I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once
The way you did once
Upon a dream

Siiiiigh!!!!

Make fun of me if you want to, knock romance if you must. But deep down, I think every girl would love to believe there's a man out there who'd be willing to slay a dragon and run through flames just to kiss her, despite her having 100 years worth of morning breath.

And that is why I'll forever be in love with Sleeping Beauty.

Your turn, peeps. Tell me what you love about your favorite fairy tale - and swoon along with me to Once Upon a Dream!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's a Nice Day for an Anti-Procrastination Live Blog!



Good Morning, peeps! I never post on a Saturday, but due to popular demand my critique partner Leigh Ann encouraging me to do one of these live blog things, and given that hers are so much fun, I've decided to give it a whirl.

(Though once everyone sees how boring my life is, I may wind up with people begging me NOT to do these!)

So here goes:

6:53: My eyes crack open at the sound of my husband puttering around the house. He's getting ready to take his car for service, and I immediatly curse his name because I've only had 23 minutes more sleep than I would on a weekday.

6:56: Give up on trying to go back to sleep and take my temperature, the first thing I've done every morning for over a year now in my quest to be a mommy. Temp is 97.9. So far so good.

6:57: Get up and brush my teeth so I can kiss my husband goodbye sans morning breath. He leaves and I tell myself I'm going back to sleep.

7:30: Nope. Sleep didn't happen. Get up and strip the bed, throw sheets/towels in the wash, and put clean sheets on.

Next up: Eat breakfast and get as much done as I can before my mother comes to pick me up so I can get my car, which spent all day at the mechanic yesterday. And... I'm off!

8:15: Go downstairs intending to eat cereal for breakfast. Remember my doctor has asked me to wean myself off of gluten, dairy, and soy products. Total suckage. Opt for scrambled eggs instead.

8:20: Run back upstairs for an emergency internet search: Is ketchup gluten free? (Answer: All Heinz Ketchups, with the exception of Heinz Organic Ketchup, are free of gluten-containing ingredients. Huzzah! I can have ketchup on my eggs!




8:35: Transfer towels from washer to dryer and bring some dry clothes from the laundry rack (best invention ever) upstairs.

9:31: Face is washed, hair is combed, eyebrows are plucked, eyelashes are curled, and monster zit on my jawline is concealed (sort of). I'm ready to be seen in public!

11:27: Guys. This gluten-free thing is going to kill me. I am starving and have no idea what to eat for lunch. A sandwich is out because, well, it involves bread. Ugh. And? My car just set me back $1000. Yeah, that hurt.

1:45: Managed to scrounge up organic chick peas, green olives, a tomato, and tuna fish for a salad. Pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Upstairs bathroom is sparkling clean. Now I need to clean the downstairs bathroom and swiffer my hardwood floors and then - AND THEN - I get to write! Weeee!!

3:15: I've achieved "Monet" level of clean with my house. Meaning both bathrooms are disinfected, and at first glance, the rest of the house looks relatively neat and clean. Look closer, however, and you'll see all the bedrooms' furniture is a little dustier than it should be. The hamper is not quite as empty as it could be. The fridge is begging me to go grocery shopping and relieve its sad, empty state.

But you know what? My husband isn't home, and I'm going to write now. ANTI-PROCRASTINATION ACHIEVED!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Summing Up My Query Experience

Every time I think about querying, I remember a song I heard on Glee. The first line is

Maybe this time, I'll be lucky...

And isn't that what we're all thinking when we set out to query? Especially those of us who aren't new on the block and have a few rejections under our belt.

After all...

All the odds are, they're in my favor, something's bound to begin... It's gonna happen, happen sometime.  MAYBE THIS TIME I'LL WIN!

Sound like a song that belongs on your Ipod, too? Here's the video for you to enjoy.



I'm taking a break from the query game for a while, but I'm happily working on a new project and helping my CP's sharpen up their queries.

Here's hoping "next time" comes quickly for all of us! Have a great day, peeps : )

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giveaway Winners and Freak Snow Storms, Oh My!

I'm back! First, a huge thank you to my awesome (and freaking beautiful) critique partner, Leigh Ann for her fantastic guest vlog on Friday while I was still in the throes of internet-less hell. If you missed it, go check it out!

So on October 29th, Connecticut got walloped with a freak snow storm that left the majority of us without power - in my town, 100% of us. Since that meant no heat and no running water, my husband I were staying with my parents and I had to delay choosing winners from the 200 Follower/Blogoversary Giveaway.

The wait is over, my friends.

Without further ado, Random.org has helped choose the following:

The winner of The Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting is:

Kayeleen Hamblin!

The winner of the Nightshade Series by Andrea Cremer is:

Maggie Hall!

The winner of Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe is:

April X!

And last but not least, the winner of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is:

Ru!

Congrats ladies! Please e-mail your info to me at gina(dot)ciocca(at)yahoo(dot)com and I will get your prizes on their way!

And now some photos that will make you very glad you weren't living in Connecticut these past two weeks!



What autumn is supposed to look like...


... And what my backyard looked like after the storm

Giant branch hanging in the power lines outside my house

Giant branch in the street in front of my house

Tree hanging over the road in my neighborhood

Tree in the road in parents' neighborhood

That's someone's mailbox in there. Look closely.

Fallen tree in my neighborhood

Powerlines tangled in fallen branches - safe and fun for all!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Literary Crushes: A History (Guest Vlog by Leigh Ann Kopans)

Hello loyal vlog peeps! The Freak October Snowstorm from hell is still wreaking havoc on my life - namely, giving our town just enough power for me to go back to work, but not enough for me to have internet access at my house.

In surrender, I'm turning my blog over to my critique partner Leigh Ann Kopans from The Naptime Novelist. She wants to tell you all about her history of literary crushes, and I'm just as excited as you are to observe this trainwreck masterpiece of a debut right here on my blog.

Take it away, Leigh Ann!

Monday, October 31, 2011

As Another Storm Has Bitch-Slapped My Town...

I was unable to draw winners from my 200 Followers/Blogoversary Giveaway. Which means there's still time to enter as I dig myself out of this:



Good luck, peeps!

Monday, October 24, 2011

200 Follower/1st Blogoversary Giveaway Extravaganza!


So October is a month with lots of things worth celebrating!

First, I hit 200 Followers! YAY! So hello to all my peeps, new and old. I'm grateful for each and every one of your lovely faces sitting in my sidebar, and for the words of wisdom you share with all of us!

Second, this week marks my One Year Blogoversary! My first post was October 27th, 2010. And boy has everything and nothing changed since then.

Third- my 5th wedding anniversary was October 14th.

I know that one has nothing to do with writing, but what the heck. I'm still proud of it.

So what's in it for you?

Books, of course!

Since I'm celebrating 200 Followers, it only made sense to do part of the giveaway IN TWO'S! First items up for grabs:

The Body Finder Series Part 1 and 2!

The Body Finder (Body Finder Series #1)Desires of the Dead (Body Finder Series #2)



The Nightshade Series Part 1 and 2!


Nightshade (Nightshade Series #1)Wolfsbane (Nightshade Series #2)


To celebrate my 1st Blogoversary, I'm also giving away some single titles:

Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe

Rosebush. Michele Jaffe

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

And for my 5th Wedding Anniversary.... well, sorry, but you're out of luck on that one. I'll post some pictures though.

The Rules: Yes, you must be a follower, since I'm celebrating followers. Other than that, since I despise filling out forms or tallying points, all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me which of these series/titles you'd most like to win. Winners will be chosen at random one week from today. It's that easy! (And yes, I'll ship to anywhere. No discriminating here at Writer's Blog)

AND- anyone who tweets or blogs about my contest gets an extra entry. Just be sure to mention me (@gmc511) or leave me a link in the comments.

Good luck! Now for those wedding photos:


My first ten minutes as a wife

Me and my sister - and Maid of Honor
Figuring out how to negotiate my dress
Me and my handsome hubby :)
Rocking out to Bon Jovi with my bridesmaids. We are one fun family.