My First Giveaway!

Yes, you read that right.

Today's blog post is a... GIVEAWAY!

Blogger Sarah Belliston has organized a 12-Days of Christmas blog hop. On her website is a list of twelve blogs that are all giving something away for the month of December. The contest starts now and ends on Dec 13th when we start picking one winner a day. How awesome is free stuff?

I'm lucky enough to be the "Four Calling Birds" day of Christmas. Hence the cool pic ------------------------>

So what's my giveaway?

*clears throat and waits for drumroll*

A signed copy of TIMELESS by Alexandra Monir complete with the Timeless soundtrack, written and performed by the lovely author herself!

How do you win?

All I ask is that you be a follower of my blog and comment on this post. That's it! And on Dec 16, I will use and select a winner. The contest is open to anyone! (unless you're a sparkly vampire)

So check out the grab button on my sidebar and take a look at all of the awesome giveaways going on in December! Yay for the holidays!

Red. Head. Out. :D

The 5x5 Thanksgiving Post!

When we're asked what we're GRATEFUL for, the big obvious answers are usually the ones that come to mind: health, happiness, home, family, etc, etc...

Now, I definitely don't want to downplay any of these items, (because of course I'm GRATEFUL, only a psychopath wouldn't be) But I wanted to break it down and find the obscure things in my life that I really am GRATEFUL to have.

Five Foods:

Brown Sugar Pop-tarts (not toasted)
Dolmathes (a Lebanese family favorite)
Zuppa's Turkey, Spinach, Artichoke sandwich
Ruth's Chris Filet Mignon with blue cheese and asparagus (drool...)
Marie Calendar's fresh peach pie with whipping cream to the sky!

Five moments in the last year:

Birth of new baby
Son reaching THREE years of complete remission from cancer!
Oldest daughter discovering the tooth fairy wasn't real
My SCBWI retreat with Leigh Fallon
McDonald family trip to the Grand Canyon

Five tools that help me write:

Thesaurus (love)
Any scrap of paper I find around the house to jot notes down on
Beta readers (You know who you are!)
Nice Agents

Modern Conveniences:

Lip Gloss
Kitchen Aid Mixer (Love to bake!)
Warm showers
Big Comfy Blankets
Hair straightener

Five Miscellaneous:

Best husband on the planet
Hazelnut hot chocolate (with whipping cream, not marshmallows!)
Being thirty years old and STILL cavity free!!! (er... it's probably time I go to the dentist... been awhile)
My first partial being upgraded to a full!
Foot rubs

Calling all Gratefuls! What has you smiling the most this holiday season? Is it family related? Twilight related? Or is it as simple as the pair of toe socks you've been dying to pull out from your winter storage? Do any of my top fives coincide with yours? I'd love to hear!

Red. Head. Out. :D

The Truth Behind My Querying Mask...

I'm feeling a bit open and vulnerable right now, so I've decided to be bold and peel off a layer so you can see the dark truth.

I've a bit of Jekyll and Hyde in me.

To the world, I put on the happy query face. Because really, I've had an AMAZING run with my first novel. I've gotten request after request, and had multiple partials turn into fulls, I've even had an agent say, "Your first ten pages are some of the best I've ever received."

But nothing has clicked yet.

I respect every agent I've had contact with and especially the ones who have given me FEEDBACK. I swear, getting advice from an agent is so rare. I've been one of the lucky ones. So of course, I've seized any ounce of counsel I've been given and applied it to my MS so fast I'm sure my MC's head has spun.

But here's the problem: It doesn't feel wholly right anymore. I feel like I've messed up the pacing. Maybe there's too much action and not enough character development. Does it read too much like a fable? Is it too plot driven? It's when I started getting contradictory advice that I knew I'd made a mistake.

I wasn't trusting my gut.

I've always considered one of my strengths being my ability to adapt, to take advice and not be sold on the current state of my MS. I'm not one of those stubborn writers where it's either "my way or the highway" ... I'm in this to learn, to soak up every piece of knowledge in this art that I can. Because I know I have the talent to do this.


and it's a huge BUT...

I've also learned I need to trust that little something inside of me... that little spark that told me I was the one person to write this story.

Each manuscript starts out as a little seed: (and cue cheesy plant metaphor) an idea, a passing thought, a dream (heh, Steph Meyer wasn't the only one) ... but after your story has grown to adulthood, reflect on whether or not that "feeling" that burned inside your heart when that first idea took hold is still there. Am I making sense? Or is my mom the only one reading still? (Hi mom!)

I still hope there'll be an agent that will see the magic and potential with my story, but if not, heh, I know I won't make the same mistakes with my future novels. I'm going to trust my gut. Because I think each of us writers have that inner compass built within us.

What about you? Do you jump on advice too quickly? Do you take into full account everything that your beta readers or agents tell you? Or are you too stubborn? Unable to bend when you need to bend?

Red. Head. Out.


Drumroll please...

Yes, ladies and twitter folks, we have the results for my new sign off phrase!

The competition was steep, and even a little frightening at times, but a strong leader did come through in the end! *clears throat* Can we have the lights dimmed, please?

Okay, and the results for the honorable, honorable mentions are: (1 vote)

Pack light
I'm stronger than I book
Write on
Stay Strong
Keep it relevant, keep it real
Book mom, no hands! (yes, someone actually voted for that)
Morgypoos has vacated the building
Spot you later
Oo-de-lally (now we're just being ridiculous)

Alright, moving on to honorable mentions: (3 votes)

Take luck
Shamy out for now (SOFN)

Third place: (4 votes)

Bahahaha!!!! (Really? REALLY, people?)

...............................................dramatic break..........................................

Second place: (with a whopping 7 votes)

Shamy out!

Now, before we go onto the first place winner, I'd like to give a special award to Tymothy Longoria's original sign off phrase that still has me laughing with originality:

"Up, up... and Shamaaaaaay!"

*waits for applauds*

Annnnd cue confetti:

(Oh, and all of you people at home can turn on some Celebration by Kool & the gang, that'll help with the ambiance)


Red. Head. Out.

(With an astronomical number of 10 votes!)

I'd like to thank all the twitter peeps, facebook friends and small people out there that have made this contest possible. Without you I wouldn't have a slammin' sign off phrase and would probably be ending my post with something cliche like: "And that's the way it is."

So, on that note, I'll bid you adieu!

Red. Head. Out.