Quote Friday and a Blog Hop

Today’s quote comes from Thomas A. Edison…

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. 

Now, for those of you coming over from Talynn’s blog for the “Celebrate the Small Things” blog hop…Welcome!

And now I shall give up some secrets about Talynn, because I’m all silly and gossipy (and most of all super proud of her still to this day) 🙂

Did you know that she WON my contest, “What’s Going on Here?!”

Yeah, that’s great, but what will really blow your socks off is this. In my “Best First” contest she was chosen as an Honorable Mention, AND second runner-up, AND she also won the GRAND PRIZE.

Yep, this girl knows how to rock a contest!

Alright, I digress. Now according to this Blog Hop she’s hosting, I’m supposed to mention what small things I’m celebrating.

Well, of course I’d like to first state how I always celebrate the health and happiness of my wonderful husband and seven-year-old twins. Family is everything to me!

Second, I’d like to celebrate that my lovely family supports me and my attempts at publication in the best ways possible, and far too many ways to list here. Let’s just say they are my biggest cheerleaders!

How about you? What are some of the small things you’re celebrating today?

 

Repost: Words and Roast, Let them Rest!

I’ve got tons of family coming (and some staying for a few days) for Thanksgiving. While I fret over my lack of planning which has now led to a frantic dash to create a clean house, a decent menu plan, and eek out time to grocery shop for everything please enjoy this old post.

Hey, at least I went to the effort of finding a food-related one 🙂

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Making dinner last night I had an epiphany

*Ok, well to be honest, and to further understand the meaning of this post, I have to confess I was merely heating up dinner*

Anyway.

Yesterday, I made a fantastic roast dinner. Big hunk of chuck, russet potatoes, carrots, added water and a variety of seasonings and then topped it all off with three cloves of garlic.

My kids are picky and one is a very slooooow eater, and they even scarfed it up.

So yes, it was delicious.

Now, today was leftover day. Heat up whats left on low and let it simmer for at least half an hour to activate all the goodness, throw some fresh Ciabiattia bread slathered with butter in the oven to get all hot and crispy and you’ve got another great meal.

Anyway.

As I ate tonight, I noticed everything in the roast tasted better. The flavors of the seasoning, meat, veggies, and garlic were no longer totally distinct from the other. It all had mingled together until each bite was savory perfection.

Now is where I circle this back around to writing 🙂

Is it possible that writing could be looked at this in a similar manner?

Figure out your meal plan=getting the “big idea” to your novel

Gather all the ingredients=doing your research, figuring out characters

Prepping the food (cutting veggies, searing meat, etc)=Writing the outline

Actually cooking the meal=First draft

Checking on progress, reseasoning to taste=Revising and rewriting

Leftovers in the fridge=letting your work rest and moving on to other projects, learning more about the craft of writing itself, attending conferences, networking

Being pleasantly surprised by leftovers=You left your draft alone and now all your work is about to pay off on the next round of edits.  You’ve gained the skills needed to fix plot holes, character issues, punctuation and grammar problems, etc…

Ok, I just REALLY took the long way around the barn to make a simple point.

What are your thoughts about letting your work rest while focusing on other writing related activities? Is that part of your writing process?

Writing Contest News!

I’m beyond thrilled to announce that I’ve finaled in the Windy City RWA Four Seasons 2012 contest.

I’d like to say that I opened the notification email, calmly read it while a serene smile crossed my lips, and then went on with my day.

But alas, I’m a moron so it went more like this…

It’s dark-thirty am on Saturday morning and the new puppy who had been up for hours finally decided to go to sleep, so I stumbled over to the computer to check my email.

We’d just got back from romping through the pumpkin patch when this was taken. He was so tired that we had to wake him up to take the picture.

I see the email subject line “Windy City Four Seasons Contest Results” and I smile with glee because I know that email contains critiques of my manuscript. (If you’ve never entered a contest before I highly recommend it because published authors are the judges, and they give the best suggestions for improvements to your writing).

I open the email and see the word “Congratulations”, but think little of it because the next thing I see is those magical words “Your judged entries are attached”.

I skim past the rest of the email straight to the bottom in search of the critiques, hoping that my recent revisions (which is why I’d entered the contest to begin with…to get impartial feedback to some major changes) didn’t destroy all my efforts at having a publishable manuscript.

Then, my foggy, sleep-deprived brain finally registers the words, “…moved to the finals…”

My brain says “Whaaaaa?” and my eyebrows slam together in confusion as I quickly scroll back up to the top of the email and read the following…

Congratulations! Your entry, Along the Way Home, has moved to the finals in the Historical Category.

I re-read this about seven times, then call in the hubby because I’m certain that I’m reading it wrong, that my sleep-deprived state is causing my brain to play tricks on me (Recall that I had premature TWINS and spent the first few months of their lives permanently residing in this state of mind, so I totally know what I’m talking about).

Yep, we got to use BOTH signs that came with the stork!

Hubby wanders in, reads it, and smiles. I freak out, then immediately stop freaking out to make him read it again, and then again. By now the twins have wandered in to see what all the fuss is about because their Mommy is screeching up a storm and Daddy is hugging her and saying “Good Job! SO proud of you!” and then the whole family is in an uproar of hugging and cheering.

A great day indeed!

The absolute first thing I do next is to send out a huge blubbering “Thank You!” email to both of my critique partners (Artemis Grey and Margo Kelly ) for helping me get to this point, and then I send out another “Thank You!” email to an author friend of mine, Kaki Warner, who encouraged me to enter contests.

Then the Corbett family went off to the pumpkin patch, where the hubs and I were in such a blissful state of contentment we didn’t even mind that our twins picked two of the biggest pumpkins in the patch, and we ended up spending nearly TWENTY dollars (gasp!) on said pumpkins.

I’ll find out the final results of the contest the first week of December, but I can honestly say I’m just really excited to be nominated. It’s such an honor!

Here’s the list of all the finalist titles. Mine is in the Historical category, titled “Along the Way Home”.

How about you? Have you entered writing contests? How did you handle the results?

Conversations with Captain Obvious

I dug through the archives and pulled out a long-time favorite. Hope you enjoy!

I just spent the entire weekend having long, contentious arguments with Captain Obvious.

Who is Captain Obvious?

Well, it’s simple really.

Captain Obvious stops by for a visit every time I read a sentence, paragraph, or, regrettably, sometimes even a page, where I’ve told my reader repeat, or unnecessary information that doesn’t move the storyline along.

 Here’s a snippet of a recent conversation…

“Hey!” yelled Captain Obvious. “You’ve told them that already!”

“But, no, you don’t understand,” my stammering protests fill the air. “These words—they’re so beautiful, so brilliant; I simply can’t bear to send them away.”  

“Loser!” Captain Obvious charged forward with the harsh truth, completely oblivious to my tender fragility. “There’s only so many times you have to tell the reader that people on the Oregon Trail who don’t have water ARE THIRSTY, AND LOOK FOR IT A LOT!”

Regrettably, Captain Obvious is usually right.

Highlight. Delete. Move on.

How about you? How do you deal with the big meanie who tells you when your writing isn’t working?

The Ethics of Reviewing a Book You Haven’t Read

Another busy day in Corbettville, so here’s a older post. Hope you enjoy!

There’s a growing trend on Amazon—people reviewing books they haven’t read.

I’ve seen comments by reviewers who openly state they didn’t read the book, and others who state they merely flipped through the pages, and others who state they only read a few pages and then quit.

What do you think about this practice? Is it fair to the author? Is it fair to the potential buyer of a book who is checking reviews to see if they want to purchase?

 

Quote Friday

Today’s quote comes from Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”