Office Space!

No, I’m not referring to the movie, I’m referring to my actual ‘office space’ in our new home! We’ve been here for a few months now, and yes, I’ve had a desk in here, but until tonight the place has been a disaster. Boxes and papers everywhere! Now it is only slightly off-balance. 🙂 But that is the way an author’s office should be, I think! Okay, so there are a few more papers to organize, but for the most part, everything has its place.

I started with my book shelves. I was able to divide everything into genres as well as read vs. unread. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had read most everything I wanted on my shelves, and you know what that means? Time to visit B&N! That’s a given in the next week. 🙂 My bulletin board is up, my next book is halfway plotted on it (there’s a gap of about five chapters in the middle), but overall I am pleased. I’ve fleshed out the main characters and now it’s time to do things the Shelley Bates way and liven them up in a manila folder! 🙂 Not sure what I mean? Message me and I will send you details. My characters never truly come alive without this step.

My office is amateur, but I love it anyway. And I hope it will lead me to sophistication soon. What do you have in your office that you can’t live without? What organizational tips do you have that help you keep every project, chapter, character, etc. straight? I’m open to all suggestions!

Happy plotting. 🙂

Freshman or freshmen?

So I want to talk about this today because it is driving me crazy. I work on a college campus, and I can’t count the number of times these words are misused! I see them in emails, PowerPoints, announcements, fliers, etc. You name it, I’ve seen a problem. So let’s review. ‘Freshman’ is singular, meaning one (1) person. ‘Freshmen’ is plural, meaning multiple people. It’s pretty simple!

Examples– Freshman (singular): Are you going to be a freshman next year? Freshmen (plural): Where are the freshmen lockers located?

I just do not understand why this is so difficult! (Breathe…) Okay, I feel better now that I got this off my chest. So let’s talk about writing! I’m so excited because I finally got myself in gear this weekend. I spent five hours at Barnes and Noble on Saturday night finalizing a few entries for a writing contest. As I was deciding what to enter, I was able to read through a lot of my previous work. When I see all the things I’ve written, I feel good about my work. I’m proud of myself. At the same time, I’m motivated to create something new. It’s time for a new story. A new idea to cultivate. So I’m pulling out my idea book, and I’m hoping to begin a framework soon. The hard part–which idea should I work on first? I’m thinking I need to continue working on the sequel to Crystal Clear, but at the same time I want a new picture book.

I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, I need some advice. How do you work full time, continue producing new stuff, and try to sell what you already have?? Can anyone help me out with this one?

Until next time…

Writing Contests

I think I’m going to enter some of my work in the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Has anyone ever entered this contest? Do you have any tips or suggestions? I’m hoping it will jumpstart my writing motivation because quite honestly, I’ve been slacking a lot lately. I need to crank out some new material soon! Is there something you’ve been looking for that you haven’t found quite the right book yet? Tell me, and I will do my best to write it for you! If nothing comes up, I have a few of my own ideas that I will begin cultivating. But I love ideas from readers, so don’t hesitate to make suggestions!

In the meantime, I will start getting my work together for submission to this contest. Wish me luck!

The Next Big Thing!

Thank you so much to Aileen O’Conor Latcham for tagging me in the Next Big Thing! This blog hop asks authors a series of questions about their current manuscript. Be sure to check out Aileen at www.aileenerin.blogspot.com.

I’ve been working on a few new stories, but I chose the sequel to my YA novel Crystal Clear to share with you here. Please enjoy!

What is the working title of your next book?

Far From Home

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This idea stemmed from the first novel I ever wrote, Crystal Clear. I didn’t write the first book with the intention of a sequel, but it happened that way because of how the story ended. One of the main characters left with no explanation, so I decided I would write a sequel to share her story and answer the questions I left hanging at the end of Crystal Clear.

What genre does your book fall under?

Far From Home is Christian Young Adult, but it has some edginess to it for this category. Lauren (the heroine) has spent her life about as far away from religion as one can get, but finds herself stepping closer and closer as she searches for answers.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Yikes. This is tough because Lauren changes so much! I would want her portrayed perfectly, and the first actress that comes to mind is Kate Hudson. But I’m afraid she’s too sweet for that role. Maybe Lindsey Lohan? She fits Lauren in the beginning but I’m not sure she does in the end. Maybe it could be a transformation for both of them! 🙂 I have no clue on the other characters, so I believe I would leave that decision to the experts.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Well, considering I’m not done with the first draft, I’m not even close to a one liner! I’ll have to share this one with you later. 🙂

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope it will be represented by an agency, but if that doesn’t happen in an acceptable amount of time, I will consider self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I am not done with the first draft. In fact, I’m not very far at all! Still have a long way to go for this one. 🙂

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not sure I know of a story that fits this one closely. I feel like it is someone unique because of the edginess, but the closest I can come up with is Robin Jones Gunn or Jenny B. Jones because of their characters’ personalities.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Well as I said earlier, the idea came from my first novel. However, the inspiration from that novel came from a situation a very dear friend of my lived through. She lost both of her parents in a car accident a few years ago. Even though the situation was nothing short of tragic, she never lost faith in the Lord. I could only hope of having the same kind of strength in a similar situation. I wanted to write a story to show just what strong faith can do to heal the broken-hearted. Once I got through the first book, I was inspired to continue with Lauren’s character to find out just what I could do with her.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Lauren finds herself pregnant here, which is usually not an element in Christian Young Adult. Through heartache and confusion, she ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and has to decide between herself and her baby. Hopefully that makes you want to read it in order to find out what happens! 🙂

Here are the amazing writers I’ve tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing. Visit them on January 2nd to see what’s upcoming for them. And until then, I hope everyone relaxes and enjoys the holidays!

 

Shelly Adina: http://magnificentdevices.wordpress.com/

Beth Keyes: www.eakeyes.blogspot.com

 

Update!

Hey fellow bloggers! I hope the writing is going well. I have been extremely diligent this week, and as a result, I’ve made progress! I’ve actually started three different books, which I know isn’t the best strategy, but the ideas were coming and I just couldn’t dismiss them. Now it’s time to pull back and focus on one project at a time; I just have to prioritize what I want to work on when.

Which brings me to my question this week. What is your writing schedule? Do you have multiple projects or do you work on one book at a time? Does it vary depending on the day of the week? I find that all writers are different, but they find their own unique ways of being productive. For the most part, I work on one project at a time. (Obviously not this week!) If it is a lengthy project, sometimes I will set it aside just to have a break and work on something new. When I return, I usually have a fresher perspective and I can focus better.

I started the sequel to Crystal Clear this week. I’ve done some planning, but after writing a few pages I realized that I need to go back and plan more. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a novel, so this is a new challenge for me! I’m ready for it though. And even better, I am preparing for the upcoming Christian writing conference in Indy. If you haven’t heard about it, check out the details on my ‘upcoming events’ page. It’s going to be a great opportunity to get to know my fellow Hoosier writers!

Looking forward to reading about your writing habits. Now it’s back to work! 🙂

Update!

Wow! Mid-September. My little boy turned two today. I can’t believe how fast he is growing! I’m so blessed to have him in my life. School is back in session full swing, and my office sees a steady flow of students streaming through the door on a daily basis. I love my crazy busy life!

A quick update on my writing–the Purdue book is almost finished! I’m going to market to the Purdue Press first, with high hopes that they will be interested. We’ll see! I have a few final facts to add in, a thorough read-through, and it will be off to query! Completing a project always holds a sense of accomplishment for me, and at the same time, excitement is brewing as I beginning thinking about what’s next. The possibilities are endless!

Which brings me to you; I need your help! What is it that you are dying to read that you just can’t find out there? What is missing from your child’s bookshelf? What topic does your child need to learn about that you can’t seem to find the right book for? Give me a challenge, and we will see if I am up for it!

Happy brainstorming!

Back on Track!

End of July? I can’t believe it! Sometimes I hate how quickly time gets away from me. I know it’s Friday night, but I had to make myself sit down and work this evening. I was able to get three stories finalized and into envelopes. They are off to three different publishers tomorrow! I finally feel like I’m being productive which is refreshing.

It’s been a busy summer; I’ve learned that it isn’t easy to work full time, keep a toddler entertained, and continually produce new stories. Life it tough! There is certainly something to be said for setting a schedule and sticking to it. I write a little every day, albeit sometimes that writing isn’t fiction! Query letters, synopses…it’s all part of it, and I’m in that phase of learning how to juggle it all. I’m proud of myself for finalize the three stories I prepared for submission tonight; that is a step in the right direction.

I’m also slowly but surely working on a new project. I find this one very exciting! In my position at Purdue, I have been inspired to work on a picture book about the university. Through my previous educational experience, I was surprised to discover how many children right here in town didn’t know about the wonderful opportunities Purdue has to offer. This fabulous institution is literally on their doorsteps and they have no idea! I want to change that. I can’t give too much away yet, but this is a story you won’t want to miss, especially if you are a Boilermaker at heart. Who knows, maybe this could turn into something I could do for a variety of institutions! But for now, all I can say is…Boiler Up!

And enjoy your Friday evening. Whatever you do, make it count!

Trails to Sweet Success!

We are a week and a half away from my first SCBWI conference! I’m so excited. Although I haven’t signed up yet…I’ve been too busy preparing everything else! Please stop by my ‘work in progress’ page to see my latest pitch sheets. They are so cute! And I hope they will help me sell these books because I think they have a lot of potential. I promise, I will get signed up before the end of the week. Anyone else going? How are you preparing for the weekend?

If your are there, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself! I love to make new writing friends. 🙂