Sunday, November 25, 2012

How do you make a tissue dance? Put a lil boogie in it…

The other day I picked my two-year-old nephew up from his Grandpa’s house. My Dad thought it was a great idea to give my nephew a magnet shaped like a car since my nephew liked it. It was big enough that I wasn’t worried about him swallowing it and I figured he would drop it when we got in the car, like he usually does with his toys.

So I am driving and I glance over my shoulder. My nephew is staring at something between his fingers very intently. Right away I think that he has somehow broken a piece of the magnet off. Well, crap. I can’t pull over, so I reach behind my seat and hold out my hang.

“Give it to Sarah.” I say as I glance in the mirror again.

I can see the debate etched across his face. He likes whatever he is holding and doesn’t want to give it up. Finally, he reaches forward and puts something in my hand. I pull my hand back and look to see what he placed there.

Good God, it is quite possibly the biggest booger I have ever seen in my life! And it’s in the palm of my hand. I grab a tissue and wipe my hand, still grossing out.

My nephew laughs gleefully from the backseat and I look over my shoulder again to see his grinning face.

Well… I did ask for it, I suppose.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Day with Thomas the Train, a 13 year old, and a 2 year old ready for his nap…

Thomas the Train made of Mega Blocks

Yesterday my family and I had the wonderful idea of taking my nephew to see Thomas the Train, live and in person. The Oklahoma Railway Museum was hosting a special event where kids can meet the life-size blue train.

On a side note, my nephew loves watching Thomas on TV. Before he could even speak, he would make the ‘choo-choo’ sound when the show started. Now that he can speak, he yells out “Thomas”, or the equivalent to it.

In theory taking him to see Thomas was going to be great. And even though he wouldn’t remember it, it was something that we would enjoy as a family.

So, we get to the Oklahoma Railway Museum and have to park in a muddy field. That’s okay. We were lucky and got a spot near the road, so we didn’t have to drive through too much mud.

Grandpa carried him through the gates and right away we saw Thomas the train. My nephew was VERY excited and began making his ‘choo-choo’ sound, which got some chuckles from everyone.

We bought our tickets, which included a twenty-five minute on Thomas (technically it was on one of the passenger carts, which were old school). The train ride was fun, but those old carts were rickety, rocking back and forth.

After the train ride was over, we went through the museum and it’s themed events. As each event passed, my nephew began to get more and more cranky… until we reached the point that we were THAT family -  you know… the one with the screaming kid that you stare at, but try not to get caught staring at.

Oh, and I forgot to add one little detail here. My niece was also there (of course). You all remember my niece, who comes up with the off-the-wall stories? Anyway, yesterday was her birthday. Now, she is a great kid. But spending her 13th birthday with Thomas the Train didn’t go over too well, even though we have a ‘real’ party scheduled for later in the week.

So, by the end of the day this is what we had:
1) A Cranky 2 year old boy who needed a nap
2) A Cranky 13 year old girl who wanted to leave
3) Two Grandparents who wanted to leave
4) One Mom who was trying to keep it all together
5) And one Aunt, who was just laughing (that’s me, by the way)

I can say that we all survived our day out with Thomas the Train, though. And it definitely made memories.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Story Idea

I've been plugging away on a new story that just wouldn't leave my head. I started out by jotting down an idea. Five thousand words later i knew i couldn't stop. So, dear followers, i am up to 50,000 words and going strong in new story. I'm so excited about it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

When the words won’t come

I am a writer, or I like to think I am. It’s my passion. It’s what I do to express myself. It’s what I love. But, what happens when the words simply won’t come? What happens when I sit down at the computer and stare at the flashing cursor until I want to scream?

If you are reading this and are thinking “Wow, this happens to me sometimes!”, then welcome to the club. It happens to us all at times and sometimes it happens more than we would like to admit.

So, here are a few things that I do to cure the writing blues.

1) Sit down and write- Now, I know this sounds simple and you are probably thinking, “Sarah, this is so obvious.”, but it’s true. Sit down and write. If you know where your story needs to go, then skip ahead. Once you start writing, then you will be surprised how easily the words come back.

2) Listen to a song that inspires me

3) Step back and walk away

4) If I am REALLY having a hard time, I give myself the night off. I only do this if I have worked so long and I feel like I am going to toss my laptop across the room

The main thing is DON’T GIVE UP!!!

PS- I need to blog more often lol!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

DFWcon 2012 Review

I am back from a fun-filled weekend at DFWcon (a writer’s conference in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area). Last year was my first year to attend, so I was thrilled to return this year.

The night before the conference started, I was lucky enough to meet up with several people at the Tweet-n-Greet event. Obviously, everyone there uses the social media site, Twitter. It was so awesome meeting the people I had been chatting with! Janet did an amazing job setting this up!

The keynote speaker was James Rollins. I was lucky enough to sit in on one of his panels, which was ‘The Bestsellers Panel’. Jodi Thomas and Lori Wilde were also on this panel. They were candid and spoke honestly. I couldn’t have asked for more!

I also sat in on Brenna Smith’s ‘How to Network Effectively at a Conference’. This class taught the fine art of networking. Such as, if someone is alone, then approach them. If there are three or more… approach them. BUT… if two people are talking, then don’t approach them. They could be pitching their book or having a private convo.

Leann Harris taught the art of ‘Understanding Your Style of Writing’. Is your book driven by Plot, Character, or Theme? Great information and a fun quiz!

I’m going to get real here… Jodi Thomas’ workshop on ‘Sparking Creativity’ blew my mind. She was such a pleasure to listen to. Her stories had me laughing aloud. She also had us do a little exercise, which was a lot of fun.

Roni Loren taught a class on ‘Writing Love Scenes’. WOW! I loved this class and took about three pages worth of notes!

The Gong Show was great, as always. George (the voice) has a true talent for reading aloud! And it was interesting to see what the agents were or weren’t looking for in a query letter.

I ended the night at the Reception in the ballroom. This is a chance for everyone to mingle, network, and have a few drinks. There was also a silent auction this year, which I think was a nice touch. I won a stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel - I LOVE this hotel!

Day two started with a bang. I took Jenny Martin’s ‘Finding and Strengthening Your Voice’ class. Again, this was a class where I took several pages worth of notes. She was a pleasure to listen to!

I then had a meeting with agent Laurie McLean. I won a contest through DFWcon where Laurie took my (dreaded) Query letter and reviewed it for me. She gave me SO much advice and help. Then she asked for a partial and full synopsis of my manuscript! I had to try so hard not to squeal out loud!!!

After getting my head off cloud nine, I went to another panel, which was ‘The Agent/Author Relationship’. This was the teams of: Rosemary Clement-Moore & Lucienne Diver, A. Lee Martinez and Sally Harding, and Jenny Martin and Sara Crowe. I loved watching the authors and their agents interact.

My next class was ‘The YA Hero’s Journey’ taught by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Or, as she said it should be called ‘The crazy way she plots her books’. I LOVED the graphs she used to show the phases a ‘hero’ travels on during their journey. Using her method, I was able to spot the ‘Herald’ of my own story! Interesting to see it apply to my own work!! J

The last class of the conference that I took was ‘Erotic Romance 101’ taught by Roni Loren. Again, I took so many notes in this one. Roni is very knowledgeable in this genre and had a ton of advice. I also picked up some reading suggestions (yay!)

The Gong Show this time around involved the reading of the First Page of a manuscript. Again, it was interesting to see what the agents liked or disliked.

I ended up leaving before the conference was over so that I could make the long trip home. (Which ended up taking four hours due to road construction!)

I just want to thank the entire DFWcon team for making this such a wonderful experience! And I am already counting down the days until next year’s conference!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

5 Things I Learned at DFWcon

I am gearing up for DFWcon, which is a writer’s conference in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. This will be the second time I have attended and I am very excited. Last year I was a little scared and intimidated to be around so many great writers, but at the end I was pleasantly shocked to find I had made many friends and I hadn’t made a fool of myself.

This year I am going into the conference with a smile on my face. Through Twitter (#DFWcon) I have met several people that are going and we are all meeting up. I am also participating in the Gong Show as well as a Pitch Session. (These are both things that I didn’t do last year due to fear)

I started thinking about the Writers out there who are going to the conference for the first time. Wow. They might be feeling like I did last year. So I came up with this:

The Top 5 Things I Learned Last Year

5. Bring cash- A lot of the vendors only accepted cash, plus it was great to have at the hotel bar ;)

4. Bring Plenty of Business Cards -Yeah, I was totally the girl last year who didn’t bring enough and had to resort to handing out little cards I made using the hotel’s computer and printer. Not exactly how I wanted to be remembered lol.

3. Bring a Notebook and Pen - You wouldn’t believe how many people I saw that didn’t have these two very important items. Pen and Paper go a long way ;)

2. A conference is not the appropriate time to test a new skin product. Sadly, I can say I found this out the hard way. I used a new face wash and had an allergic reaction to it. My face was red and splotchy… and it itched like crazy. Luckily, I was able to take the hotel shuttle and get some medicine. But… Lesson learned lol.

1. Don’t be afraid to Network - Everyone there is in the same boat as you. They are a little nervous or shy or even scared. But the most important thing is they are all Writers. And once you start talking to them, it is like opening a floodgate and you find there are people who truly “GET” writing.


I hope this list helps and I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at DFWcon 2012!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Team "Wrong Guy" All The Way!

I need to confess something and it is kind of embarrassing. Here I go. I ALWAYS like the ‘wrong guy’ in a book. No, no… please don’t laugh. It’s true… and it’s becoming a problem.

Oh, so you want an example? Here are a few that I think you might recognize.

Edward or Jacob? JACOB

Gale or Peeta? GALE

Nash or Tod? TOD

Stefan or Damon? DAMON

The list goes on and on. Whenever the main character has a choice of two guys, I LOVE the guy she doesn’t pick.

Why is this a problem you ask? Oh, I’m so glad you asked.

In my current work in progress, the main character finds herself in a love triangle. I know whom she is supposed to end up with and it makes sense for her to end up with said guy… Nevertheless… I HATE IT!!!

I don’t want her to end up with him! I want her to be a rebel, go for the ‘wrong guy’, and make it work! I want her to tell everyone one that the heart wants what the heart wants! I want…

Okay, okay, we all need to take a deep, calming breath. It will work out; even if she ends up with the guy, I don’t want her to… How do I know? Cause I’m the writer and I see the bigger picture.

But here is another thought. Do I love the ‘wrong guy’ so much because the main character doesn’t choose him? If she did pick him, would I still like him best or would I find myself liking the other guy?

*sighs* These are the things that keep me up at night. I would love to hear your thoughts on it!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Please Evacuate the Building...

Since I haven’t done a “Wrestling Wednesday” in a while, I decided to do one today!

One of my all time favorite memories happened on September 25, 2006. My BFF, Terrica, came into town for this one, which is always fun. Terrica, Yousef, and I went to the arena for RAW. A good friend of mine hooked us up with a special package and we were able to go ‘backstage’ for a meet-n-greet with some of the wrestlers as well as a small dinner. It also came with front row seats. We got to hang out with Randy Orton and the Spirit Squad.

The thing that stands out the most about this show, though, was when the opening pyros went off. For any of you reading this blog that has never watched wrestling, the first part of the show is kicked off with a massive pyro show, with exploding things and fireworks.

Unfortunately, the arena didn’t have a good ventilation system… and it set the fire alarms off. The lights dimmed and there was a VERY creepy automated voice saying, “Please evacuate the building. over and over.

This is all happening live, on TV by the way.

You never know what is going to happen at a live event, so we wondered if it was a part of the show… or maybe a new wrestler debuting. When we saw the camera operators and security guards starting to panic… well, we panicked as well.

Luckily, the arena was able to turn on the fans and get all of the smoke from the pyros to clear out. It was definitely scary for a while, lol. But that is how memories are made!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day… also known as the Eve of My Birthday

Yes, dear readers, as the title suggests my birthday is tomorrow. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I LOVE my birthday. I start counting down months before. I get excited. I hypothetically wore a tiara one time… Hehe, I digress.

The one gripe I have with my birthday is that it is the day after Valentine’s Day. As a child, I would always get left over Valentine’s items as ‘birthday gifts’. People forgetting… even though I remind them (Haha). Not being able to have a party outside because it's cold. That sort of thing.

It’s not always bad, though. My family always made sure that I was able to have a great birthday party, which often ended up being at Celebration Station or Chuck-E Cheese. I also had a ton of wonderful parties at home. And to this day, we still do something as a family even if its just going out to eat.

I would say that my all-time favorite birthday memory would be when I turned six. My Dad woke me up early, like around 5am. He was a truck driver and would often be go before I even got up. I walked into the living room with blurry eyes.

Sitting on the side table was a bouquet of 6 pink roses. I was thrilled. I had always wanted to get flowers for my birthday. This was mostly because my older sister always got them for hers. Her birthday is in June and her middle name is Rose - so Roses for her birthday was an obvious choice. Anyway, I was so happy that I finally got roses for my birthday!

As the years went on, I realized just how special those roses were. When I was six, I didn’t understand that roses are in high demand around my birthday. I didn’t understand that the prices sky rocket this time of year, either.

When I look back on my birthdays, they are filled with so many good memories. But the roses definitely stand out.




Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting Raw (and for once I don’t mean wrestling!)

As a writer, I am expected to express things in such a way that you, the reader, can visualize exactly what is going on without having to stop and figure it out on your own.

For example, if I said something like: The hotel room I stayed in was nice; you might wonder what my definition of ‘nice’ might be. Was it a big room or small? Was there a window? See? So many questions.

But if I were to say: The hotel room screamed luxury. From the French doors that led out to the balcony, to the king size bed, and all the way down to the hand-stitched pillows on the bed, I knew that I had finally made it to the big time.

See, that was a little better. You know that the character is in awe of the room. You also know there is a balcony with a view. A nice, big bed. And hand sewn pillows. And that they are famous or whatnot.

Anyway, my point is that it is my job to make you see without knowing you are being made to look… if that makes sense.

But I discovered that when it comes to writing emotional things down… I am…not so good.

I decided to sit down a write a ‘letter’ to a friend that I don’t get to see very much. I am able to use this person as an outlet, even though said person will never see the letters.

Want to know what I discovered? I CAN write things that are emotional or have feeling behind them! I also discovered just how raw those emotions could be.

I let my friend, Yousef, read the very first letter. He called it ‘very Kelly Clarkson’, which meant he was able to notice the emotional aspects as well.

Since writing the first ‘letter’, I have wrote a few more. I find that sometimes I just need to sit down and hash everything out. And then I can go on with my normal writing with an open heart.

~ Sometimes, you just have to get raw and be honest with yourself ~


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Interview With Kristine Goodfellow

  In 2011, I was lucky enough to attend a writing convention in Dallas called DFWcon. It was Amazing! I attended classes about my craft. I mingled with agents and editors. But, more importantly, I met fellow writers and authors. I have kept in touch with several of these authors and it has been a blessing to watch them grow and see their successes.

  Recently, a friend from DFWcon had her book published! Her book has received several amazing reviews. On top of that, she is also a Best Seller on Amazon's Gothic Romance list!
  Because of her success, I asked her if she would let me interview her, so that everyone could get to know her and check out her amazing book. Luckily, for me, she said yes!
  So, without further ado, I would like to welcome Kristine Goodfellow, author of Phantom: Edge of the Flame to my blog.

A little about Kristine...
  Kristine is a 1990 graduate of Cal State and currently lives in Texas wither husband, her contemptuous cat and a formally-stray, sickly Chihuahua that someone dumped at her husband’s office building. She’s the mother of two grown sons who attend school in South Dakota and Pennsylvania. 
  Kristine has written nine novels and is working on her tenth.Only Phantom: Edge of the Flameis currently available.Another gothic romance will be released in early 2012.

Kristine thanks for doing this interview and welcome to my blog.
Thanks for interviewing me, Sarah.  I’m flattered to be on featured on your blog.  I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I enjoy keeping up to date on you, your writing and of course, your wrestling obsession.  I’m glad we met at the conference last year. 

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing novels for the last ten years, but I’ve been writing stories since the third grade. We had an assignment that was an essay entitled: “I wish I was…”. I wrote three different versions and couldn’t decide which one I should turn in for a grade. At that time I understood just how much I enjoyed writing. Since I never liked having homework before (math was a form of torture for me), I realized that writing released a creative side in me that I had not quite discovered—not in written form anyway. My childhood games were quite resourceful; I had a vivid imagination for make-believe. In fact, I had a whole kingdom in my backyard made from overturned lawn furniture and picnic blankets. My poor dog survived having scarves tied around her head, a few strands of fake pearls hanging from her neck and doll dresses foisted on her. (She was a princess.—what can I say?) And that essay that started it all? I only got an “S” (Satisfactory) grade because in such excitement over verbal creation, some things might have suffered—like spelling and grammar. You know the things that nuns take rather seriously. The only piece of encouragement I received for that paper was the word “Imaginative” written in red across the top—right next to the words “Watch your margins!”

What is the inspiration behind Phantom: Edge of the Flame?
I loved the main character.  In the original novel, Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, “Erik” (the phantom) is a dark, tortured, genius with a disturbing past.  I get chills just thinking of all the depth this character has.  However, I could never get over the love (or in my mind obsession) that he had for a young, beautiful soprano.  I never understood how the hideously ugly genius who’d been hiding in the bowels of the opera house (who surely had seen plenty of beautiful women!) suddenly became insanely fixated on this young teenager.  I just didn’t see the appeal of his love interest, Christine.  I wanted something more than the obvious connection of their mutual love of singing and the even more obvious connection of her being beautiful and him being lovesick.  That wasn’t convincing enough for me.  I went in search of answers.  After reading Susan Kay’s fantastic novel Phantom, (which is the prequel to Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera) I still needed more answers.  Not finding any real answers there either, I decided to pen my own “short story” giving the Phantom a new love interest more in line with his age, intelligence and personality--someone who would not only challenge him, but perhaps give him a taste of actual mature love.  That “short story” became an 81,000-word novel.

Is the Phantom dark and sexy like the Andrew Lloyd Webber movie starring Gerard Butler? Or is he more like what is described in the book?
He is definitely NOT handsome. Nothing like the 2004 movie where he’s really hunky except for that little bit of his face that has some sort of skin-disorder. In the Schumaker movie, the phantom was still damn-handsome even with that bit of flaw. I liked the movie in and of itself as a form of entertainment and I also loved the Broadway production, on which it was based, but in Phantom: Edge of the Flame, I stuck with the original version of the phantom—a guy who was described as living death. Gaston Leroux depicts him as being extremely ugly, emaciated and well, smelling kinda weird. What I wanted to do was keep the original crazy, ugly character and make him sympathetic, and also give him a love interest. I absolutely love the idea of a crazy, love-starved genius!

If someone has not read “The Phantom of the Opera” will they still be able to follow your book?
Absolutely! I wrote it so the reader did not have to be familiar with the 2004 movie or the original novel. In fact, I’ve noticed several of the positive reviews I’ve received have specifically said they were not familiar with the book or weren’t “Phantom Phans” at all. I wrote it to be enjoyed as a stand-alone piece. All anyone needs to know is the rudimentary idea of a disfigured magician/ventriloquist/musical genius “haunting” the opera house because he has withdrawn from society and has disdain for mankind.

What advice would you give an unpublished writer?
The thing that helped me the most is joining online critique groups. My writing seemed to improve ten-fold by having it critiqued by different writers with varying levels of talent and experience. All kinds of people with different ideas for strengthening our craft read my work and offered their opinions. That’s incredibly useful. Granted, you have to take what you find helpful and dump the rest, but I learned a lot. If I could give one piece of advice, I would say get out of your comfort zone and let other people look at your work--that is people other than your family and friends. It might be hard at first, but after the initial shock, you will grow and learn by having your mistakes called out time and time again. One of the first critiques I ever received told me that I used ‘filtering’ and that I ‘distanced myself from the reader’. First, I was crushed. Then I became angry. I reread my work and thought it was awesome. After that, I concluded the guy was a jerkwad for saying such a negative thing about my precious baby. BUT…after the fourth and fifth person said the same thing, I realized I was being the jerkwad. I have since learned not to use any ‘filtering’ such as “I heard, I saw, I thought…etc.”

What is the best advice you received as a writer?
Grow a thick skin. I’m still working on that one. It’s hard to have someone dislike your work. It’s like someone not liking your kids…but, it happens. I’ve learned that not every story is for every person. As my best friend likes to say, “Honey, not every shoe fits every foot.” That sounds really cute when she says it with a southern drawl, too. So, when I feel down because someone didn’t like something I wrote, I hear that expression in my head and it cheers me up.

Do you have any books coming out?
Yes. I’ve got another gothic romance set to be released at the end of March and a horror with romantic elements due out in early fall of 2012. As soon as I get the okay, I will write more about those upcoming novels. Right now they’re being edited within an inch of their spines.  
Thanks for interviewing me, Sarah. I appreciate the time you took to do this. I can’t wait until DFWcon this year!

Again, I would like to thank Kristine for allowing me to interview her. I hope you all check out her book!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012!!!!

I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year!!!!!!!

May it be filled with blessings and joy! And I hope the Mayans were wrong with their 'end of the world' prediction lol.

I don't believe in resolutions, but I do believe in making goals for the new year.

My goals for 2012:

* Get an Agent/ Get book published

* Take a fabulous vacation with my family

* Spend more time with my friends

* Be more honest with my loved ones

* Spend my money wiser (lol, this means less shopping)

* Go to more Author signings in my area (I already go to a lot, but my goal is to find more to attend. I found a local bookstore that hosts signings that I never knew about, so I am sure I will be there!)

What goals or resolutions did you make for 2012