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


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, 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:


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!