Monday, May 2, 2011

Work It, Girl

I know, I know, I did it again. I left you all for a week with no warning. HOWEVER, I had good reason, I swear!

MOMMY GOT A J-O-B! That's right, I am going back to work...FULL TIME. Last week was spent scrambling around trying to find interview clothes (thanks, Jodi), remembering how to put makeup on so it didn't look like my four-year-old did it (thanks, YouTube), re-learning how to walk in heels so I didn't break my freshly makeup-ed face (thanks, Carrie Bradshaw), and reviewing my dictionary for words other than "stop", "don't", "put that down", and "here, let me wipe that" (thanks, Merriam-Webster).

It was a success, and as of May 9th I am employed. I definitely have mixed emotions going into it - like how am I going to adjust from being home full time to being in an office full time (and away from my kiddos)? And also, how am I going to fit in any kind of writing with working full time and being mommy? I don't know the answers, but I know it's all going to be okay.

So. What does this mean for the good ol' blog, and for you, my wonderful friends? It means I need to go away for a bit. I wish I could say that I could pull this transition off and maintain the blog at the same time, but the truth is, I am not insane THAT organized! I wish I had a stockpile of posts just waiting for me to hit "publish", but I don't. I'm a pantser, a day-to-day kind of girl. So that's exactly what I'm going to do: take this day by day. I might pop in to post from time to time, but for now, I'm going to focus my energies and brainpower on settling into the new job.

You know I'll miss you. And in case you don't know...I'LL MISS YOU.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

10 Breakout Prompts from Agent/Author Donald Maass

Plenty of people talk about Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites and how important it is for you to get yourself out there. Build your platform! Build a following! But what is forgotten is how these social media sites are also HUGE TOOLS for a writer's toolbox. 

Here's just one more reason why if you're not on Twitter, you SHOULD be: Donald Maass. He is a literary agent and author whose books, Writing the Breakout Novel (and companion Workbook) and The Fire in Fiction, have made a huge impact on my own writing (and no, he hasn't paid me to say this). And I know plenty of other writers who would say the exact same thing (and I'm pretty sure he hasn't paid them either. But if you have, Don, you can mail my check to...).

If you are on Twitter*, you can follow him at @DonMaass. If you are not, I have pulled ten of his breakout writing prompts from Twitter and placed them here. Twitter is FREE, dear writers. And it isn't scary, I promise! It is full of hugely helpful FREE information that you might be missing out on! So without further ado...Mr. Donald Maass.

Which prompt did you find most helpful? And special thanks to Donald Maass, for just being his awesome self.

*You can also follow ME on Twitter @bethmann15

Monday, April 18, 2011

But I Love You

My youngest gets out of his bed AT LEAST 4-5 times at bedtime. And it doesn't matter how much I do to prevent it before he actually goes to bed. I'll put a snack and drink by his bed. I open the window to let him know that the noises he hears are just cars going up the street. I make him use the potty...twice. It doesn't matter. This is how it goes.

"Mommy, I'm hungry."
"Mommy, I'm thirsty."
"Mommy, I need to go potty."
"Mommy, I heard a noise."

After the first four, he has me so amped up that I'm ready to throw something (and it's usually aimed at my poor husband's head, because I can't take it out on the kid or the dog, now can I?). I march him back into his bed and tell him FOR THE LAST TIME that if he gets out again there will be serious consequences for his father.

Then, as I settle back onto the couch and put my freshly poured Coke to my lips, he's at it again. I huff and I puff like I'm going to blow the house down, but before I stand up my little guy says...

"Mommy, I just wanted to say I love you."

I love you too, you little emotional manipulator.

Does your kid drive you toward the brink of insanity only to melt your heart a moment later? Feel free to share :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Some More of Something Borrowed

Okay, so I know I've already said this, but I am SO STINKING EXCITED for Something Borrowed the movie to come out (in theaters May 6 by the way). It is by far one of my favorite books (written by the lovely Emily Giffin).

Here's just another little sneak peak of the movie with cast interviews (and your daily John Krasinski fix - in case you didn't get enough of him on The Office last night. Lord knows I didn't!).

I apologize for the spillover of the screen into my sidebar, but I am not a technological genius like my husband (who is not around at the moment TO HELP ME).

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Order and Birth Order

To me, the order in which you write your books is a lot like the birth order of your children. When I had my first son, I obsessed over every tiny detail, from the moment I got pregnant until...well, I still kind of obsess about the details. Because he's my first. My trial run. The one where I learn what NOT to do, so I can make fewer mistakes with the second (and truth be told, you STILL make mistakes with the second, am I right?).

The same goes with writing your first book. When I first got pregnant, I read a ton of books on being pregnant and parenting, like What to Expect When You're Expecting, My Pregnancy Week by Week, and Babywise. (Parent note: DO NOT SKIP AHEAD IN THESE BOOKS, because you will completely freak yourself out and you will think that everything that could possibly go wrong in your pregnancy IS going wrong at that very moment. Trust me, I've done the research!)

Likewise, when I first got the idea to write a novel I started reading up on the craft of writing. I started with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel, because at the time, that's exactly what I felt like: a complete IDIOT. I also read On Writing, Plot & Structure, and Writing the Breakout Novel. Much like reading ahead in the parenting books, I completely freaked myself out writing my first draft, because I was so terrified that I was doing it wrong that it completely killed my confidence. (I recommend reading one book on craft, THEN writing the first draft the way you want to write it, THEN reading the rest of the books to perfect it in the editing stage.)

Did I get everything right with my first child? Only time will tell (and I'm sure his therapist will one day give me a definitive "no" on that one!). Did I get everything right with my first book? I can say with certainty NO. But I've learned...hoo boy, have I learned. And the second go 'round has been much more painless than the first.

What do you think? Does the first child/first book - second child/second book theory hold true for you? If you're not a parent, do you feel like your second book has come easier than the first?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Old Bird Is At It Again

I'm posting Mommy Monday on a Tuesday again. Sorry to my readers who like predictability! There is, however, good reason for my waiting until today. It's my youngest son's fourth birthday. Yep, my baby is four. I know you're thinking, didn't they already celebrate a birthday? And yes, you're right, my oldest just turned six on Saturday. And here it is, Tuesday, and we're celebrating another (what can I say, July is a fun month in our house)!

This day is always bittersweet for me, because my little guy came into the world with some difficulty and spent a week in the NICU before we were allowed to bring him home. In the grand scheme of things, a week wasn't really all that bad compared to most of the kids who had been in the NICU for weeks, some months. But that week? It was the LONGEST, most terrifying week of my life. It also happens to be the one time in my life that I have actually felt the presence of God holding me together. I will never forget that feeling as long as I live.

And now, that tiny, five pound baby is thirty-five pounds, and so awesome that sometimes he takes my breath away.

Happy Birthday, wonderful Tyler. We love you so much!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Further Proof That I Am An Old, OLD Woman

Last Saturday, I went to a baseball game to support my husband (who is a coach) and to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we were having here in Georgia. Our team won (yea!), and then I threw my back out (boooo!). That's right. BACK. OUT.

The annoying thing here, is that I wasn't doing cartwheels or russians or anything even remotely cheerleader-y to celebrate our team's win. I hadn't so much as high-fived anyone. All I did was bend over to PICK UP MY KEYS from the bleachers where I had been sitting, and I suddenly felt like I had been stabbed in my lower back. I couldn't walk, couldn't crawl, couldn't BREATHE the pain was so bad.

So here I am, almost a week later, and I am still hobbling around like an old woman, wondering when the pain will get better. And if what I've been through the past week - trying to figure out who to see and what medication to take and just exactly what I did - is any indication of what being and old lady will be like THEN JUST KILL ME NOW.

Also, my oldest son is turning SIX this weekend. Which is a third of the way to eighteen. Which means if I blink again he will be driving and going away to college and getting married and LEAVING ME FOREVER. So yeah, time to start thinking about having another baby, honey! Think they'll give me the epidural, like, NOW?

Happy 6th Birthday, sweet Cody. Your very old Mommy loves you so much!

Happy Weekend, everyone! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I have never taken a picture that so accurately represents my life as a mom/writer. You will notice:

1) There is a laptop charger,

2) the laptop charger is covered in a mysterious brown substance that could be either a) poop from my three-year-old, since he still doesn't know how to wipe his own behind and likes to touch things that look like they might be a toy, b) dog poop, since she gets mad at me for ignoring her in favor of playing with my imaginary characters, one of whom has a cat, and my dog hates cats, or c) a chocolate bar - melted because I stuffed said chocolate bar into my computer bag so I would not have to share it with aformentioned three-year-old (selfish? yes. necessary to my sanity? absolutely.) and then accidentally put my hot laptop charger in the bag on top of said chocolate bar.

What do you think? Poop or chocolate? What would your picture look like?

* For the record, it's chocolate, and I will neither confirm nor deny eating it right off the charger.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Annoy Me/Charm Me

I am borrowing this idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Heather Armstrong over at She used to do these posts called "How to Annoy Me" and "How to Charm Me" and I thought I'd do something along those lines. It's a variation on my Love It/Hate It posts. My "How to Annoy Me" moments remind me a little of Mr. Heckles' Book of Grievances from the show Friends. (Which, I should mention, I miss so very, very much. However, shows like Modern Family and The Office take the edge off a bit, no?) On that note:

How to Annoy Me:
- Allow Steve Carrell to leave The Office.

How to Charm Me:
- Replace Steve Carrell with Will Ferrell!

How to Annoy Me:
- Let me pre-pay $20.00 for gas and then stop the pump at $19.37 and make me wait for five minutes while it slowly creeps its way to $20.00.

How to Charm Me:
- Serve that yummy, crunchy, awesome hospital ice at your gas station - and offer Coke, not Pepsi.

How to Annoy Me:
- Pull out in front of me in traffic with, like, 9 LADDERS dangling from the roof of your truck (or a bed full of used furniture tied down with a SINGLE ROPE).

How to Charm Me:
- Wave and smile (and not give me the finger) when I pass by you with an "Are you SERIOUS?" look on my face.

How to Annoy Me:
- Ask me if I'm tired, don't wait for me to answer, and then tell me I LOOK tired.

How to Charm Me:
- Say, "Has anyone ever told you that you look a little bit like..." and then name an insanely gorgeous celebrity. Even if you only said I look "a little" like that person, I'll take that compliment to the bank.

How to Annoy Me:
- Gift me with an entire loaf of fresh-baked bread. (Don't you know I have a carbohydrate addiction?)

How to Charm Me:
- Gift me with an entire loaf of fresh-baked bread. (See how quickly I forgive?)

How to Annoy Me (as previously seen on Facebook):
- Allow me to pre-sort my groceries into their rightful categories (i.e. frozen foods, dairy, fruits & veggies, meats, boxed & canned items) and then not pay any freaking attention to my efforts when you bag them. I realize that you make very little, grocery bagger, but if I pull one more frozen pizza from a bag full of cereal boxes, I WILL come for you*.

How to Charm Me (also seen on Facebook):
- Be my husband and bring me Butterfinger bites and Discs 1 & 2 from Mad Men Season 4 (Yep, he's a keeper).

That's it for now. Now you tell me: What annoys/charms you?

* I will also come for you if you forget to put my $9 mascara in the bag, because it will cost me that much in gas to come back to your store!

** Also annoying? Throwing your back out - which is what I did on Saturday (the very same day I wrote this post, and no, the irony is not lost on me).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When A Day Turns Into A Year

Sooo...yeah. I've been gone for more than a week. I didn't mean to ignore you all. Some stuff has come up over the last week and a half that has completely thrown me for a loop, and I have had no capacity for creative thought AT ALL.

Not to get all Terminator on you, but I'll be back. I'm hoping by next Monday, but I'm not even sure about that at the moment. Mommy's taking her Blogger hat off for a bit, to enjoy my family, to help my friends, and to recoup a little bit.

In the meantime, y'all stay out of trouble. And by all means, IF ANYONE GETS PREGNANT/MARRIED/GETS A BOOK DEAL YOU BETTER TWEET ABOUT IT!



Friday, March 11, 2011

If A Tree Falls In The Forest

This morning started off in an ordinary way -- making breakfast, watching cartoons, getting kids dressed for school...the regular mom routine. It wasn't until I dropped my oldest off at school at 9:30 that I turned on the radio and heard about the devastation in Japan caused by an earthquake, and subsequent tsunami. I was completely shocked. I'm still in shock.

We go about our lives sometimes, completely unaware that there is a world full of other people out there, and that a great number of them are suffering. I remember feeling a similar way when 9/11 happened. I was in London, England, and had just spent a beautiful morning walking through the Museum of London, completely unaware of the tragedy that was unfolding back home. 

Except this time it's not my homeland, it's someone else's.

My prayers are with the Japanese people, and anyone else affected by these natural disasters. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This Is Why I Write

I read author Kiersten White's post yesterday about the publishing industry and how there are no shortcuts to getting to the top (and by top, I mean published). Now, I likened this post to a high school senior taking a new freshman under his/her wing and offering them a how-not-to-get-your-a**-kicked talk (even though I'd probably have to be on my knees in order for Kiersten herself to put me under her wing, because I am nearly six feet tall, and she is, well...not).

As you will see by her post today, not everyone understood her intentions, so she goes in a little deeper and explains her meaning (and, recognizing that her subject matter is rather heavy, offers a bit of lightness via Flight of the Conchords at the end, which is hilarious). This is my favorite excerpt from today's post:

"If you are trying to get published because you love writing, never lose sight of the why.  Don't get so focused on having a book that you lose the reasons you write those manuscripts in the first place.  Writing is amazing.  The best writers I know write because without writing they would be lost.  They write because of the sheer giddy joy of creation.  They write because they genuinely, unabashedly love telling stories.  They stick it out through the frustrations of drafting and the agonies of edits because they are deeply committed to what they are doing.  They move forward from rejection and failure because to quit writing is unfathomable, even if some days it feels like they would be far saner if they just gave up.  They perfect their craft because it's important to them that what they are writing and expressing is written and expressed in the best possible way." ~ Kiersten White (NY Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally, out this August)

This is why I write. Thanks, Kiersten, for taking us all under your little wing. ;)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Taking The Mommy Hat Off

Being a mother is an incredible blessing, but it certainly doesn't come without challenges (many of which you can read on this very blog!). However, I have seen one too many news stories lately of mothers doing horrifying things to their children: abuse, abandonment, sometimes even death. It absolutely breaks my heart. Whether these acts are being carried out by frustration, desperation, mental illness, or a combination of the three, I can't help but think that they could've been avoided.

After I had my second son, I went through a bout with postpartum depression. At first, I didn't want to admit what I was feeling because I thought I would be judged. Christians don't suffer from depression, they've just lost their joy in Jesus! Someone put it to me this way: If you have a cold, you go to the doctor and get medicine to feel better. Well, your brain has a cold. So what are you going to do? That took some of the stigma out of it for me. I finally went to my doctor and he prescribed a low-dose anti-depressant that helped within days. I'm not saying drugs are for everyone, but I do want to take some of the shame out of admitting that we moms might need a little more help sometimes. I've since been able to wean myself off and feel better than ever.

There are seasons in our lives that are very busy, and more often than not, our needs will take the backseat to our children's/spouse's. But please, moms, take the time to care for yourself, too. It's okay to take the mommy hat off sometimes (but for goodness sake, remember to put it back on!). Schedule that doctor's appointment that you've been putting off; scrounge up some spare change and go have a manicure. Ask your spouse to give you some time away, and if he can't do it, find a babysitter who can. Can't afford a babysitter? Join or start a co-op with some friends, where you take turns watching each other's children. If all else fails, then by all means, put on a cartoon, lock yourself in the pantry, and eat that last cupcake that you were saving for your kid - trust me, you need it more than he does. 

All that to say, we moms have a tough job. There is no shame in admitting it, out loud. Tell a friend, tell your doctor, tell God. Just don't hold it all inside.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Favorite Things

It's Fun Friday, kids! So today I wanted to share one of my favorite things with you (like Oprah, except I'm too poor to actually give anything away, but if I could...YOU'D GET A CAR and YOU'D GET A CAR and YOU'D GET A CAR! Hee hee.). I mean, besides pancakes. And fountain drinks. And pretzel M&M's. Oh, and my children's laughter. Yes. That too. (Mom of the Year!)

This book, right here:
Something Borrowed, by the lovely Emily Giffin spurred me on to finishing my novel when I really didn't want to go any further. I had started it, and then fell into a rut. Then I read this book (and then ALL of her books), and it inspired me so much that I got back to writing again. And now... it's been made into a movie! Squee! I know I'm going to LOVE this movie (hello, John Krasinski from The Office! LOVE!). The only thing that stinks is that I have to wait until May to see it :( Here's the trailer:

 Happy Weekend! What's one of your favorite things?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

It is only appropriate on this Writer Wednesday to pay homage to the one and only...Dr. Seuss. 

Many of my favorite books as a kid were Dr. Seuss ones, and I find that even as an adult, his books still have meaning. For instance, Oh, The Places You'll Go! speaks to my life as a writer in an almost prophetic way, particularly the "waiting room" portion. That is exactly what I feel like in my writing journey -- waiting for the phone to ring, for a yes or a no -- how does he know so much about me?! 

Take a moment and listen to this reading of Oh, The Places You'll Go! (read by the talented John Lithgow) and tell me which part you identify with most as a writer. Are you one of the high flyers? Or are you in a slump? Or, like me, are you in the waiting place?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Spinning Is For Spinsters

Okay, that's not true. I'm just bitter because I fell of the wagon. Actually, I ate the wagon. Because it was filled with pancakes.

As I mentioned last week, my mom came for a week-long visit, wherein I ate pancakes LIKE IT WAS MY JOB. (OMG, can you imagine if your job really was eating pancakes for a living? Or Krispy Kremes? I know, I have issues. Moving on.) It is always bittersweet having her visit, because I LOVE having her here with me, but I HATE IT when she has to leave again. Especially when she is returning to South Florida and sunshine, leaving me here in Georgia with cloudy skies and rain...grrr.

Last week also officially began baseball season for my husband, who coaches Varsity baseball at the school where he teaches. Baseball Season = Single Mommy for a while. It's not my favorite time of year, but at least the sun is usually out and we can go to the games. Plus, I have a wonderful friend (HI JODI!!!) who is also a baseball widow (her husband is the head coach) and we have sleepovers with our kids to make it through those long weekends when the husbands are not around. KUDOS TO YOU SINGLE PARENTS OUT THERE WHO DO IT ALL YEAR LONG!!!

Remind me again why I decided to try and cut out carbs and do more exercise during baseball season? Because all I really want to do after a long day of being with children and cleaning up after children is sit on my fat butt and eat comfort foods like carbohydrates whilst drinking high fructose corn syrup flavored, caffeinated, carbonated beverages. IS THAT SO WRONG?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm In A Food Coma

Internet, the next time I decide to start eating right and exercising, remind me NOT TO INVITE MY MOTHER TO VISIT. I apologize for the unannounced break I've been taking, but I will return on Monday with plenty of things to entice you, I promise. Have I mentioned it's baseball season? Well, it is. Uneventful to the general public, but for this wife? Of a Varsity coach? THE INSANITY, I TELL YOU.

If you need me in the meantime, I'll be stuffing my face with pancakes. And bacon. And maybe even a biscuit. I KNOW - THAT'S DOUBLE CARBS! Did I mention it's baseball season? And I'm a single mother now? And my mommy is here to baby me for a week? STOP JUDGING ME, INTERNET.

See you Monday!

Friday, February 18, 2011

For The Music Lover

I was reminded yesterday that tickets for Bonnaroo go on sale tomorrow. If you're not familiar with Bonaroo, it is a 4-day music and arts festival held in Manchester, TN. I have always wanted to go to a huge music festival like this, where you basically camp out for four days and listen to some amazing music, but have yet to do so. It is on my bucket list, to be sure. That, and not showering for 4 days straight.

This year's lineup is especially wonderful, in my opinion, because Ray LaMontagne will be there. I had the chance to hear him live a few months ago when he opened for David Gray here in Atlanta, and it was spectacular. In addition to Ray, here are a few other artists that I LOVE LOVE LOVE that will be there, too. Click on the links to hear them for yourself.

The Decemberists - this band is like a mixture of some of my favorite 90's artists rolled into one: REM, Gin Blossoms, and Natalie Merchant.

Mumford and Sons - Love these guys. They're British, and we all know how I feel about British things, don't we? Plus, they use a banjo.

Iron and Wine - The vocals on some of these songs are absolutely heartbreaking, and I adore them (and yes, they are on the Twilight soundtrack, no judgement!).

That is only a small sampling of this HUGE event, but I just wanted to share some of my favorite music! Happy Weekend!

What's on your iPod/Pandora/radio?
*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Love Letter To My Readers

Dear Reader,

I'm feeling a bit of residual Valentine's Day mushiness, so where better to dump it than on you?


I really do. 

Here are a few reasons why:

1) You've prayed for me, encouraged me, sent me warm and well wishes on days where I haven't felt quite up to speed.

2) You make me laugh (and several of you make me laugh on a daily basis).

3) You keep coming back here, even though sometimes I have NO IDEA why.

4) You make me feel a part of something BIG. 

5) You make me better -- your comments challenge me, they make me think, they give me energy.

I love being a writer, and I KNOW I AM A WRITER BECAUSE OF YOU.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Love Language

My love language? 

It's not so much this...

As it is THIS...

(and in case you're wondering, yes, I look exactly this flawless when I sleep.)

Which is why my Valentine's Day card to my husband said:

I don't need a dozen roses to show me that you love me...

I just need an extra hour of sleep!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Hope you get what you need from the love(s) in your life.

Tell me, what's YOUR love language?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Holy Biblical Reference Malfunction

I can't even tell you how many times I have watched this video, y'all. I spent the better part of an evening laughing about this with my husband (because, in reality, we are still middle schoolers at heart). The poor guy's face right after he says what he didn't mean to  say is PRICELESS.

Watch. Laugh. Enjoy.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pass It On

Last night, my husband and I were watching a Frontline documentary on the Digital Age we are living in, and it made me really sad. I want my children to understand technology and the gift that it is (my hubby is a technology TEACHER for heaven's sake), but like any good thing, too much of it can end up being a bad thing. I want to encourage my children to sit down and create something. Why not a book?

I apologize for the poor quality of this photo, but I just had to share this with you all. This is a book that was given to my son by his school's librarian (complete with his own artwork. He *loves* books. Lord, there is nothing more satisfying as a mom/writer than to know that my son LOVES books!) She knows how much he loves to read and draw, so she gave him this Little Golden Book that is blank (I believe they also sell them in a kit at Wal-Mart), so that he could create his own story. I didn't know about these until he brought it home, but what a WONDERFUL idea.

If you love reading/writing, how are you encouraging your children/the next generation to love it?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mommy's Time Out

I have a confession, Internet: this morning was kinda rough. Let's just say that lack of sleep + that lovely thing that God blesses women with every month = PSYCHO WIFE/MOMMY. My poor husband and children -- it's a wonder they haven't voted me off the island yet (although I have a theory that without me they would have NO CLEAN UNDERWEAR to wear. Ever.). 

I should be punished. No, really, I should. So, I'm putting myself in TIME OUT.

Only problem is...I might never come out!

Happy Monday! And in case you're wondering, yes, that is a REAL bottle of Pinot Grigio called Mommy's Time Out. They sell it at Publix!

*Photo courtesy of Google Images. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Free Starbucks Contest Winner!

Who's ready to mainline some STARBUCKS???

First of all, thank you so much to all who participated in the contest! I love meeting new people and getting a peek at what people are writing! Unfortunately, no agents responded. It's like they have WORK to do or something :P

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for! 

The WINNER of the $20 Starbucks gift card is...

DIANE J.!!!!

Congratulations, Diane. (Drop me an email and tell me where you'd like it sent, and I will put it in the mail right away!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and thanks again for playing!

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Attention Agents and Writers: FREE COFFEE!

Well that got your attention, didn't it?

Since so many of you are up to your eyeballs in snow on this Writer Wednesday, I wanted to do something to help you all think warmer thoughts. So without further ado...


What you have to do to win:

Writers - Tell me in what genre you are writing. 

Agents - Tell me what sort of projects you are currently looking for. (If you are not currently taking submissions, simply say that.)

Here's the point system:
Leave a comment: +1 entry
Tweet it/Retweet it: +1 entry
Talk about it on your blog: +2 entries (make sure you send me the link!)

You have until midnight (eastern) on Thursday, February 3rd to enter and spread the word. I will put everyone's name into a hat (a virtual one, thanks to and will announce the winner this Friday! The winner will receive a $20 gift card to Starbucks Coffee!

Everyone stay safe and warm out there! 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Live Like You're Dying

If you have been following this blog these last couple of weeks, you will know that I recently started working out, more specifically, SPINNING. 

Yeah, about that.

The whole idea behind exercise is to prolong our lives by making them healthier, right? We eat well, we exercise, we live longer...and so the story goes. Well, I've decided that it's all a big trick, see. 

The only reason that eating well (a.k.a. eating food that has no taste because all of the fun has been taken out of it/off of it) works is because the food looks so pitiful on your plate that you DON'T WANT TO EAT IT. Wow, I've lost five pounds already.

And exercising (a.k.a. doing something excruciating and foreign to your body for an hour's time)? Yeah, the reason exercising feels so good is because you are pushed so hard that YOU THINK YOU MIGHT DIE, and then when you don't? HEY LIFE IS SO BEAUTIFUL! WEEEE! I THINK I'LL DO A CARTWHEE -- OH NO! I PULLED MY HAMSTRING!

Dear Healthy People,

Tell me it gets easier.



*Image courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writer Resources

Hey, Gang.

Just popping in here between picking up groceries, dog poo, and kids from school (I know, you're jealous) to bring you some great links for writers. If you're not on Twitter, you really should be, if for no other reason than to follow Jane Friedman (@JaneFridman) and Elizabeth S. Craig (@elizabethscraig), two great writers who are also amazing at compiling writer resources. On that note, these are two links that I came across this morning that I wanted to share via these wonderful ladies.

There Are No Rules - Master Recap of 2011 Writer's Digest Conference by Jane Friedman (I don't know about you, but I would've sold my children, if it were legal my right arm to be at the Writer's Digest Conference this year. With this helpful compilation, it kind of feels like I was. You know, without all the awkward bumping into agents in the bathroom and whatnot.

The Writer's Knowledge Base created by Elizabeth S. Craig (and her software engineer friend, Mike Fleming), a search engine that is geared specifically to writer inquiries. Take that, Google!

Hope these are helpful to you. Just another reason social media is becoming more and more valuable to writers (especially unpublished writers!).

Have you come across any helpful Tweets today? Feel free to share them in the comments.

*Image courtesy of Google Images

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mad Men...Crazy Women

The hubby and I have been watching Mad Men on DVD over the last couple of weeks (it all started with Atlanta's spectacular snow debacle, which kept us inside for a week straight), and we are completely hooked. The writing for this show is spectacular, and I absolutely love seeing what life was like in the '60's.

Everything seemed so glamourous back then: the smoking and cocktails and wearing of gloves and pearls. I actually laughed out loud last night as the daughter of Don Draper (the main character played by the delicious perfectly adequate Jon Hamm), who couldn't be more than 8 years old, played bartender for her parents. I can't imagine asking my son to pour me a glass of wine (I wouldn't), but I do like the idea of my children CATERING TO ME for a change! And of course, women are treated like property instead of actual people (putting up with cheating husbands and practically raising their children alone), but I do like that it was more acceptable for a woman to have some meat on her bones. Hooray for curves!!!

What do you envy about days gone by? Is there a particular era you would've liked to have lived in?

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Friday, January 21, 2011

There's Another Mean Girl, And Her Name Is Twitter

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you already know that I received a rather alarming suggestion a few days ago. If you don't, then I'll give you a recap. Apparently, Twitter thinks I need to lose weight:

See that first suggestion? When I saw it I almost dropped my doughnut apple. Twitter thinks I need to follow Weight Watchers?! When did you get so judgy, Twitter? Why can't you just "like" me and ask me if I want to be friends with people like Facebook does?

I don't do diets - never have, never will. Don't tell me NOT to eat a certain something, because I inevitably will...a lot of it. I'm a rule breaker, remember? But exercise? Exercise I can do. So I decided to take a spin class because I'm a masochist it seemed like the cool thing to do.

"What'd you do today, Beth?"
"Oh, me? I went to spin class. I spin now. Yep, I'm a spinner."

In all honesty, I did the spin class because I enjoy being yelled at directed when I'm working out, and since I can't justify spending the money on a personal trainer, I found the first class available and went in.

The first thing I noticed was that the class was being led by a woman who, I kid you not, looks like Halle Berry on steroids: she is gorgeous and TOTALLY ripped. Gorgeous + totally ripped = I'll have what she's having. Second, WHO IN THE WORLD designs these bike seats? Could they not just add a little more padding so that we're sitting on an actual seat rather than something that looks like the Batmobile? Think I'm kidding?

My hilarious friend, Angie, suggested that I buy some of those spandex pants with the padded butt that they make specifically for cyclists, and I agree that in theory that that would make my spin experience far less painful. However, it would also make my butt look even bigger! I mean, what would Twitter say?

Despite hobbling out of that first class with Gumby legs, I really enjoyed it and am planning to do it more. Maybe then Twitter will suggest I follow @herehaveatwinkie or @youshouldreallyeatsomething. (I made those up, they are not actual Twitter accounts!)

Happy Weekend, everyone.

*Bike Seat and Batmobile Photos Courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Plotting and Scheming

It all sounds so devious, doesn't it?

So I'm working on Book #2 and since Book #1 was such a train wreck when I finished the first draft exercising the Pantser Method, I've decided this time around to try the Plotter Method (to find a great explanation for the pro's and con's of each, click here - thanks, Roni!) even though I feel like it goes against my creative grain. In order to grow as a writer we have to be willing to try things we might not normally be inclined to try, right?

Naturally, I remembered bits and pieces of information about plotting from my high school English classes (Hi, Mrs. Groves!), but I wanted to go a little bit deeper so I picked up a few of the plotting books that I had on my bookshelf. James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure is the one I keep returning to for mechanics and ideas, but the most awesome advice with regard to plotting that I've gotten (and how horrible is it that I can't remember where I read it or heard it!) has been to write the synopsis first. Some people might freak out at that idea, but to me it just made sense. It also saves you some of the headache at the end from having to summarize your entire book into a few paragraphs - you've already done it!

Another thing that I really enjoy doing is creating my characters first. Fortunately, the main character for Book #2 is a character that was introduced in Book #1. This time, obviously, I'm fleshing out that character more, and Jody Hedlund has a great Character Worksheet (it's FREE!) that I have begun using to do just that.

What are some of your favorite plotting tips? Feel free to add any resources that you've found helpful in plotting your story too!

Happy Writing!

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I've Been Known To Do This

Remember how last week we had a snow day that turned into a snow week? Yeah, that was fun, wasn't it? Turns out a week of children being off from school turns a mother's brain into complete puppy chow (and speaking of puppies, my dog survived last week, too. Just in case you were thinking of calling Animal Control on me...justifiably). So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and realized that it is Tuesday, not Monday. The MLK holiday combined with the snow week completely threw me off.

So. Away we go.

One of my absolute favorite (and hugely popular) Mommybloggers is Heather B. Armstrong over at You can always count on Heather to be incredibly transparent about her life as a wife and working mother. I respect and admire her most for her posts dealing with her struggle with postpartum depression. However, I ADORE her, because she makes me laugh...almost every day. I will warn you, her language is often colorful and her (liberal) politics are not exactly my own, so if you're sensitive to those elements, proceed with caution. But her post today, "I'd totally be a groupie," is one of my new favorites. It's a must-read for you parents out there.

That's right, Mommy Monday on Tuesday. I'm thinking of making it permanent. Any blogs you've found that you are loving right now? Feel free to share in the comments. I'm always looking for new reading material, you know, since I have SO MUCH time on my hands. ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Little Bit of Perspective

I was fully prepared to post a rant today about how crazy this last week has been having the kids home from school due to snow (and it has been, trust me). But with all that's been going on in other parts of our country and other parts of the world, I can't help but be grateful. My children are safe, unlike 9 year old Christina Green, who died due to senseless violence in Arizona. My house might be covered in snow, but it is not under water like many of the homes in flooded Australia. We have not once lost power, we have been able to go to the grocery store, and we've had some really good family bonding time. Yes, it's been crazy, but I am grateful. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Kind Word Spoken

A Kind Word Spoken
by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

A little word in kindness spoke,
A motion, or a tear,
Has often healed the heart that's broken
And made a friend sincere.

A word, a look, has crushed to earth
Full many a budding flower,
Which, had a smile but owned its birth,
Would bless life's darkest hour.

Then deem it not an idle thing
A pleasant word to speak;
The face you wear, the thought you bring,
A heart may heal or break.

It's tough sometimes to be a writer. Anyone who has gone through the long and arduous process of querying a manuscript will tell you - it's TOUGH sometimes. Anyone who has gone through a second and third (and even a forth) round of edits on their manuscript will tell you - it's TOUGH. Anyone who has tried their hand at freelancing only to face rejection will tell you - it's TOUGH. Even just keeping up with something like this, a blog, can be tough sometimes.

So when you receive the slightest bit of encouragement, it feels AMAZING. When you get just the tiniest bit of approval, someone to say, "Hey, I like your writing," or "Congratulations on..." whatever it is, IT FEELS GREAT.

I got that today, from a very sweet friend of mine from college (thanks, Shanna). Sometimes it only takes a few kind words to heal a soul that has been a little bit bruised by life's ups and downs. 

So first, I want to say thank you, readers. Thank you for showing up at this crazy place week after week and reading, commenting, and encouraging me. Thank you for making me feel less alone on this journey of writing (and parenting!). I do hope that you are encouraged here, through laughter or otherwise.

Second, I hope you will take the time to thank the people who support you, and then go and find someone else to share the encouragement with. You never know whose life you might touch at just the moment they need it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I apologize for the late post today, friends. We are having some crazy snow here in Georgia and I have spent the majority of my day playing in it and mopping up after it. So the tally for today is:

Times I've fallen on my butt: 2
Times I've wiped runny noses: 347 and still counting
Loads of wet laundry done: 5 (Funny story, that. Last night my husband SOMEONE flushed the upstairs toilet, which decided it did NOT like that at all and overflowed onto our bathroom floor for some time. Well, it leaked down the wall and out onto the floor in my pantry downstairs. ON THE COLDEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR. Super. This morning all seems to be alright, no buckling wood floors, but then again, once the ice melts outside we might be in for it.)
Yummy meals cooked in the CrockPot: 1
Dogs I've nearly murdered: 1

Rinse and repeat, we have another snow day tomorrow!

What's the weather like where you are? (If you live somewhere sunny and warm then LIE TO ME!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Women Want

My friend Meg sent me this to me in an email and I thought it was too funny not to share here.

Happy Weekend, everyone. And by all means, have some wine. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reading and Writing...No Arithmetic Please!


I've got a few books I'm reading at the moment that I can't seem to put down, and I love that feeling. However, it has created a problem with my writing, because I'd much rather be reading. In an effort to get more writing done, I'm attempting to make reading my reward for finishing my writing for the day.

Do you writers ever get caught reading more than you're writing? Do you think this is helping or hurting your craft?

*Photos courtesy of Google Images

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Not To Look Punched in the Face

Welcome back, Internet. I missed you. Happy New Year, btw. You look really good, did you know that? Have you done something different with your hair?

So...I don't do resolutions. This denial of resolve has worked for me, because I don't need the added pressure to lose weight, or be more motivated, or whatnot. I'm kind of an anxious person to begin with, and resolutions feel like a prison of my own making. Anyone else feel that way? Like you're setting yourself up for failure? I mean, I'm a writer. Isn't that enough???

My "I refuse to be resolute" plan only becomes a problem after Christmas, when everyone starts TALKING about their resolutions. Hey, Beth. Got a New Year's resolution? And then I have to have that awkward conversation while the Type A idiot who loves to make themselves look superior to everyone person who asked me gets to look all sympathetic and "Oh, poor you" because I don't resolve to DO anything. I am superior in my mediocrity, thank you very much.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I like to set goals. I think that's a healthy thing. But for some reason, calling it a resolution makes me feel like if I don't live up to it THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE. Oopsie, I forgot to count those calories at lunchtime, everyone duck and run for cover!

So to satisfy the resoluters (is that a real word? If it is, great, if not, I'm going to use it to check off number four on my list!) out there, here's a short list of my projections. My hey-that-would-be-cool-if-it-happened items. My maybe-if-the-kid-sleeps-all-night-I'd-have-the-energy-for-this list:

1. See my book agented/published
2. Lose some weight/find some muscle tone (a.k.a the kid is almost four - time to get rid of that flabby middle and stop blaming the baby)
3. Figure out how to do a smoky eye without making myself look like a raccoon and my husband look like a wife beater.
4. Make up a new word.
5. Be kinder, gentler, more patient, and loving.


Are you a resoluter? What are you resolving to do this year? It's okay if you're not - this is a safe space ;)