Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Invited to A Twitter Halloween Party

Knock, Knock...

"Who's there?"


"Who's me? What's your Twitter ID and password?"

"My what?"

"Oh, it's you. The Twitterless one I've heard of. Come in, come in. Here, put this on."

" What's this?"

"It's your badge so no one will mistake you for Spam and throw you out."

"Oh, what's Spam?"

"Never mind, just don't talk about white teeth or your perfect credit score."

"Ok. Wow there are a lot of people here. Who's that angry looking old guy?"

"Oh, that's @Shitmydadsays. He's funny."

"Ha ha, that guy is freakin' funny...Did you read what @arjunbasu said today? HA HA!" Yells a guy dressed like a skeleton with flames for eyes.

"No, but did you read what @PowerofNo said about...?" The man is already gone; moved on to jump into another conversation.

"That was rude. He didn't even answer."

"He will later. Maybe next week. You never know."

"Oh my! Who's that lady? Is she chewing on what I think she is?"

"That's no lady. Ok people...who let @Brit n ey in? I blocked her three times already from this party!" Just then 3 little blue birds surround her with a large screen that says, There is nothing to see here. They wrap her up and toss her out the door.

"Why are those people in lines over there?"

"Oh, those are my lists."

"Your what?"

"Lists. That one is all the writers doing Nanowrimo with me. There's @CrystalPosey @BookobsessedGrl @coffeewithkate @skylarkade @cbrett60 @dkrobbins @cswriter59 @SavvyVerseWit @KarenCollum @HVLong @Shannan79."

"Why are some jumping from list to list?"

"That's because they are on more than one."

" why do you say at in front of every one's name?"

"I don't know. You get used to it though."

"Oh, look at all those new people coming in."

"Yeah, that's a lot. This isn't going to be good."

"Why? Oh, there's that lady again. She brought a bunch of friends too."

"Oh no, were being @Brit n ey spam slammed and there's way too many people."

"What's wrong? Why is everyone moving so slowly?"

"Oh God, the whale is gonna come!"

"The Whale? What the..."

A bunch of little blue birds tweeting in perfect harmony fly in carrying a huge whale by strings. They hover over head as everyone scrambles in slow motion to get out. The whale drops... the Twitter party is over.

Thanks for coming to the party.

~ Kristin : )

Halloween is Here! That Means It's Time For NaNoWriMo!

Happy Halloween!
It's hard to believe that it's the end of October already. For me the end of this month not only means Halloween-a night surely made up by candy craving children with no care for teeth health- but it also means the beginning of a very busy month for me.

November 1st is the start of NaNoWriMo. Haven't heard of it? Neither had I before last month. It is National Novel Writing Month. It is a competition to write 50,000 words or more of a novel in 1 month. Sounds crazy? I think so, but it also sounds like a challenge worth attempting.
There are many reasons for writers to join NaNoWriMo. Here are a few of mine.
  • I have been sitting on an idea for a new story for a while and this challenge gives me the motivation to get it down on paper.
  • Writing 50,000 words in 1 month means I need to do 1,667 per day to complete. I hope that doing this will help me form a strict writing schedule that will stick after the competition.

Any of you interested in braving NaNoWriMo with me? If so, let me know and I will add you as a buddy. There is a lot of support among writers and I think it will be as much fun as it is a challenge. The rules are not strict, just guidelines for the most part. So don't be intimidated.

If 50,000 words for 1 novel sounds like too much, many people are splitting their writing into 2 smaller novellas.

Are you a writer of YA (Young Adult) chapter books? There is an additional contest being held during NanoWriMo for you! YA literary agent Regina Brooks, along with editors at Sourcebooks will be accepting submissions of your first 250 words of a YA novel.

Regina Brooks and editors will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Dan Ehrenhaft, head Acquisitions Editor at Sourcebooks Fire; Alisha Niehaus, Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin); David Linker, Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books; Michele Burke, Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House); and Evette Porter, Editor at Harlequin. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to four winners and a grand prize winner—all five will be provided commentary on their submissions.

Follow this link for more information about this YA Novel Contest and good luck if you enter.

As always, thanks for taking time to stop by. I will do my best to respond to all comments.

~ Kristin :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Casey and Bella Go Green by Jane Lovascio & Autumn Varca

I have talked about these cute pups a lot. They are two of my daughter's favorite characters. She loves the books and was able to meet the real Casey and Bella, along with Jane Lovascio at this year's BEA09 in New York City. That's not the only reason I love sharing these books with everyone. This series and yearly writing contests that author Jane Lovascio offers to children also makes them conversation worthy. If you missed my previous reviews and contest news you can find them through the following links.

Casey and Bella reviews

Casey and Bella Writing Contest

Casey and Bella are at it again! This time their adventures are even more special because this is the first book to come out of the Casey and Bella Writing Contest. That's right, this book was co-authored by 10 year old, Autumn Varca. Jane not only welcomed Autumn's help in this book, but she also included her original contest entry in the back of the book. I can imagine how exciting this is for her. Congratulations Autumn and Jane!

Now to the book.

The playful pups find a new adventure and new friends in Casey and Bella Go Green. They meet an environment friendly mouse named Melvin. While helping him take out the trash they run into a group of animals who all belong to a group called KONC, which stands for Keep Our Neighborhoods Clean. Co-author Autumn introduces readers to her own pets. Spaz, her tabby cat, and her boxer Rocky are members of KONC. The group takes Casey and Bella to a recycling center to show how glass, plastic and paper is recycled and how it benefits the earth and all of us.

Casey and Bella Go Green is a great story to introduce recycling to children and it lists different ways to conserve energy and water. It sends the message that even the small things each person does can help to make the future brighter and cleaner for everyone.

As always, Jane takes her role in the communtiy seriously and dedicates this book to Autism Speaks. For more information about the books, Jane Lovascio or the Casey and Bella Writing Contest go to .

The Casey and Bella Writing contest is open to all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and ends April 15, 2010. I have encouraged the librarian at my children's school to bring this creative contest to the whole school. It's a fun way to get kids actively involved in reading and writing.

I would love to know if you decide to have your children or school enter.

Thanks for stopping by,

~ Kristin : )

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Memoir Monday...with Stephen King's On Writing

Thanks for stopping by for Memoir Monday. Today's memoir is Stephen King's On Writing. So let's get right to it.

I have to admit that I put off reading this memoir for a while. Not that I have anything against Stephen King, I'm just not a big fan of horror. I assumed that because he wrote mostly scary stories that his memoir would be similar. I was wrong.

What I did find in this memoir was a lot of great advice and real life experiences from his own writing journey. The best for me was reading about his rejections. This is a normal part of writing, but so many of us take each one like a brick being thrown through the front window of our writing career. So, it's great to read that even an accomplished and prolific writer has rejection scars.

As in all reading, we take from it what pertains to our lives at that specific time. A good book will have a different effect each time it is reread. Different ideas and details will be noticed depending on where we are in our lives. These are the things that stood out for me in this memoir. You might have similar points or might have been drawn to something completely opposite. Maybe you didn't find anything at all you could relate to in this book. I don't think that's the case, but I also am a firm believer that every book has something -even the smallest bit of something- that teaches us a valuable lesson. Yup, even really bad ones can teach you what not to do in your writing. That's what we're here to discuss. What did this book do for you?

First of all, this book made me laugh. King started off with quick glimpses into his childhood and although they had a certain sadness to them they are told in a way that you find yourself chuckling. I mean, a babysitter who sat on his head and farted? That's gross and comical. His description of being buried in marsh-gas fireworks, and the fact that he credits her with preparing him for future literary criticism, is just plain funny. Other parts made me laugh too, but this one was right in the beginning. Make me laugh right away and I'm hooked.

Next thing that stood out for me was the reoccurring advice to "write with the door closed and rewrite with the door open". What he says is to write the story by yourself, get it all down on paper and then let someone else read and comment. He warns that letting people in before will make you write to please them and that will change your story. I related with this message because I have a hard time letting anyone see my writing until I feel it is done. Not completely edited, but done to the point that it's not floating around my head anymore; it is securely anchored to the page. I thought it was just an insecurity of my own, which probably is part of it. When I was working on my first book I could only write when everyone was out of the house. I have since forced myself to get over that. With 4 kids and a husband finding time alone is as rare as finding $20.00 in the dirty laundry pile. It happens, but not enough.

Another section that caught my attention was about King's struggles with writing The Stand. I can relate to many of the things he said and the frustrations he felt trying to get the story to come out right. I am going through this with my current WIP. After writing the 300+ page first draft I found myself unhappy with some parts. After a lot of rewriting I still didn't love it. I have gone back and forth with killing the idea all together, but I always come back to try again. I know there is a better story still hiding somewhere inside of this one that hasn't come fully to light yet. After reading chapter 10 of On Writing I had a new outlook on it. King was having problems with his novel The Stand and turned his focus to theme to get it back on track. It got me thinking what was the theme, the main idea, or lesson of my story?

I wrote down some things that repeated themselves through out my WIP; really starting digging for the deeper story underneath. I kept thinking about it until finally it hit me the other night while making dinner. I knew what was missing and I actually got goose bumps. Also almost burnt dinner when I ran for my notebook to write it down, but that is a different story :)

There are many other things I learned and liked about this book, but these were the main ones that jumped up and grabbed me by the collar. Here's my question to you.

After reading Stephen King's On Writing what parts jumped out for you? Or if you couldn't relate, what disappointed you most?

I would love to hear your thoughts and will respond to all comments left today. Please be aware that my comment page can be touchy. It often gives me hard time publishing my own comments. If it rejects your comment, please click publish 1 or 2 more times. It usually works then. It it stubborn sometimes ;) If you still have a hard time you can drop me a note on Twitter, @KCBOOKS or email me at .


~Kristin : )

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Memoir Mondays: Stephen King

I have been reading a lot of authors' memoirs lately. I love hearing how and why different people write and their experiences in the publishing world, good and bad. Each one has taught me something about my own writing. Some offer a wealth of information and others only bits here and there that I can relate to. That is the basis of all reading; finding something we can relate to. What that is exactly may differ from reader to reader. So, with that in mind I want to start a weekly discussion about author memoirs. I will announce the author and his/her memoir and post my thoughts every Monday.

Monday October 19th discussion will be on Stephen King's On Writing

I hope that you will stop by to discuss your thoughts on this book. Was is very helpful to you or did you only find bits and pieces that related to your own writing? I have not found a book that I could not learn something from; some by good examples of what works and others by displaying what doesn't.

Hope to hear from you on Monday.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Now for Something Positive. Why I Write...

I started the 8 Deadly Demons of a Writer as a self journey through the challenges that get in the way of creative energy. T first the exercise was helpful for me. I worked through some of my creative blocks, but as I continued it stopped being as helpful. I felt like I was spending too much time with these demons. Although most writers do get side tracked by one or more of these, it's not constant and there are so many positive things about writing that out weigh the negative by leaps and bounds. So I'm stopping the series for now, maybe I will feel the need to go back at another time, maybe not. I want to get back to why I write in the first place and stop giving so much time and energy to what gets in the way. Why I write is a happier subject all together and much more fun to explore.

I write because when I don't the stories in my head keep me up at night.

I write to get an idea out on paper and feel that I have brought a story and people to life.

I write to feel that flow, that glow when the words come out just as I saw the story playing in my head.

I write as an expression of what I know, what I want to know, and what I want to share with the world.

I write first for me. If I am happy with the words, story, and characters then I write to share these with readers.

Finally, I write for the smile on my face, the truth in my heart, and for feeling at the end of a long day that, yes it is so worth it to write.

I should have just written this post instead of a series of negative ones. Because these are the reasons I love writing and they make the demons not so bad after all. That's the beauty of life, you can't learn without trying and sometimes making mistakes along the way. That's also another thing I love about writing; it is an ongoing learning process. Everyday I learn something new and it all helps my writing get a little stronger and a little better...word by word.

So, my live and learn this time is: Stop focusing on what stops me from reaching my goals and amplify what brings me closer to reaching them.

What do you like about writing?

Thanks for stopping by.

~Kristin : )

Monday, October 5, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer #6...OVERWHELMING

Can you relate to this picture? You may not have a pile this huge towering over you, but sometimes it can certainly feel like it. If you can then you've already met today's demon...

Overwhelming - to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything *(as defined by

We are all busy with our daily routines: work, family, house chores, friends, etc. but then we keep adding more things to our already packed schedules. Trying to get it all done can be tough and feeling like it's not going to get done is when the demon really thrives.

Being overwhelmed from time to time is normal. Everyone has that tipping point when their To Do list becomes Too Much To Do, or at least it feels that way.

What can be done to keep this demon from crushing our creativity and halting our productivity?

We could grow more arms. Hmm, while that may be in our evolutionary future we have a long wait. We could say no to all new projects and commitments. Did you just laugh? I know I did. That's not an option. So, what is? Here's a few things I do when I feel the Overwhelming demon getting too big.
  • Write a To Do list in order of importance. (If you haven't noticed by now I love my lists. The more overwhelmed I feel the more lists I write.)
  • Say NO more often. (We can't and don't want to say no to everything new, but once in a while we need to be honest with ourselves about how much more we can take on.)
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. (Whatever chore, project, favor you can pass on to someone else, do it. Don't feel bad about asking for help when you find yourself getting too overwhelmed.)

The most important thing to remember when you feel overwhelmed is...

This too shall pass!

I would love to know what you do when you feel overwhelmed.

Thanks for stopping by,

~Kristin : )

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer #5...PROCRASTINATION

Today's battle is huge. I said in an earlier post that FEAR was one of the biggest demons a writer has to face. Well, this one is the biggest. Everyone has been side tracked, derailed, and nearly buried alive by this demon at one time or another. What is it?

It's PROCRASTINATION! Just look at the word. It's big and crasti. Don't let the prefix trick you; there's nothing professional about this beast. Although it takes an expert to know how to defeat it. So if there are any experts out there please help the rest of us :)

What makes this demon the biggest? Procrastination teams up with the other demons and bogs you down with excuses, distractions, and hesitations that interfere with reaching your goals. It tricks you into thinking it's ok to wander around aimlessly and not finish what you started. If you let it fester it will keep piling up around you until it becomes another creativity sucking demon... OVERWHELMING. We will battle that demon soon, but for now let's back up. We have to deal with Procrastination before it gets too big.

First thing we need to do is identify the enemy.

Procrastination - to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost. *(as defined by - to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. *(as defined by

Now we have to recognize when this demon is attacking us. Basically, whenever we loose our focus on projects we need to do we are procrastinating. We all know that we're doing it, but aren't sure how to stop it. Even as I write this I find myself clicking over to Twitter and checking my emails; things I don't need to do right now. So, how do we kick procrastination in the pants? Half the battle is won just by admitting that you are avoiding or putting off important things. The other half is knowing why we do it.

The reasons we procrastinate vary so widely. For some, it is just a fun break from a stressful project or job we're working on. For others, it's more complicated and confusing. This is because (like I said above) Procrastination can team up with other demons and make you loose sight of your goals temporarily or permanently.

I could go on and on about this, but I would rather use my time to figure out how to stop puttering around and get back to writing. I did find this great article on procrastination and the underlying reasons we do it (fear, self doubt, overwhelmed). It also offers many suggestions on how to stop procrastinating.

Getting back on track could be a long battle with many demons involved, or it can be easy as writing a list and learning to be flexible with yourself.

Write a list of your priorities and keep it near your work space. Here's mine:

  • Family responsibilities/spending time

  • Finish WIP (Work In Progress)

  • Post regularly on blog

  • Clean house/laundry

  • Volunteer commitments

  • Prepare for November writing challenge (NaNoWriMo)

  • Finish preps for Wine Mystery (Nov)

  • Prep for Boston Book Festival

  • Work on marketing/promotion of The Truth Lies in the Dark

These are not in any specific order. The first 2 are the most important and are a daily goal. The rest vary in importance depending on the day. I would love to get everything done, but as you know that's just not possible. Tomorrow there will be 5 other things added to this list and some are ongoing commitments with no finish point. So I have to learn to be flexible with myself and my list. Some days the dishes, laundry, and even the family will have to wait for me to finish a chapter in my writing (As a mom, this was a hard thing to give myself permission to do). Other days, I have to unplug the computer, disconnect the Internet and just be Mom and wife.

I think the most important thing to do is be aware when you start to drift and ask yourself why you are loosing focus and looking for distractions. Is it simple because you're hungry or tired, or is because you're scared or overwhelmed? If you find it is one of your other demons getting in the way, revisit and conquer it again. If you missed any previous posts here are the links.

Intro to 8 Deadly Demons

Fear Post

Guilt Post

Self Doubt Post

This has been the hardest post to write in my Deadly Demons series so far. Maybe because it's Monday and I am dragging from a long weekend or maybe it's because Procrastination comes in so many forms and we do it for so many reasons it's hard to fight. It doesn't help that the Internet is an ocean of great distractions; Twitter, blogs, online writing groups, and many other forms of endless information and entertainment. Making it all too easy to procrastinate...even when I am writing about procrastination. That's pretty bad. On days like today, I may have to settle for baby steps toward my goals. A small step in the right direction is better than standing still.

Today's mini goal for writing is to edit 1 chapter in my WIP and start researching agents and publishers.

How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite things to do when you are procrastinating?

~ Kristin : )

Friday, October 2, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer...#4 SELF DOUBT

Today's post is a short one, because the battle with the self doubt demon is a personal battle; one we all have to fight alone. Why? Because we created it and only we have control over how strong or weak it's hold is on us.

Self Doubt -lack of confidence in the reliability of one's own motives, personality, thought, etc.*(as defined by

Self doubt is a battle that we wage on ourselves. It's that little voice that says, "you can't do that" or "that'll never happen". The only way to fight it is by following those thoughts with encouraging ones. Telling yourself you might be able to, or even better, you CAN do something is very powerful. Instead of saying, "that'll never happen" say "it really could". What's the worst that can come out of it? You don't succeed? Well, you had NO chance of succeeding with a negative attitude, so what's really the harm in failing with a positive attitude. No harm at all :)

Go on, give it a try. I am setting my mini goal for today at 3 chapters of editing on my WIP. What will you do kick your self doubt in the butt? You can do it! I can too!

I hope some of you reading these posts are finding them helpful. Doing them has been such a positive experience for me. With each demon I deal with I feel lighter, more creative. It really has been great.

Thanks and remember, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO! So make sure you set your mind to something positive.

~Kristin : )

Thursday, October 1, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer...#3 GUILT

Today's battle is with guilt. This is not a big demon for me, but a slippery little critter that sneaks up and throws rocks once in a while. Still, the size doesn't matter, right? Ok, stop giggling. This is about writing, not snarky jokes. Oh, who am I kidding? There's always room for snark ;)

Alright, where were we? Oh yeah, we are entering the ring against our opponent of the day...

Guilt - a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.* (As defined by

Like I said this demon is not as big as the others, but it can toss a few bumps on your path to reaching a goal. Guilt can come from many places; family, friends, work, or even yourself. When you have a lot of different commitments, like we all do, we often feel guilt when we can't be everywhere and do everything for everyone.

My guilt is self inflicted. I am thankful to have supportive family and friends in my life. They encourage my writing and all the new places it has taken me. As I mentioned in my fear post yesterday, I have always been there for my family. My work choices included places that my young children could go with me or that had same schedules as their school hours. The decision to write and pursue a possible career was the first major time commitment that didn't involve or completely revolve around them. As a mom, just making that decision took a wrestling match with guilt. How could I take time away from my kids, my husband, and other home responsibilities to write?

This becomes a harder decision when you add the fact that there is no clear cut path to this career. Even well known best selling authors and established publishing houses are reporting that it's a changing industry. It's getting tougher for everyone, except maybe Dan Brown, to get noticed. The Internet has made publishing an even playing field for all new writers, if you know how to use it, but it has also made it an infinitely larger field. That's where this career becomes even more time consuming. Not only does the writing itself take time, but now authors have to market and promote what they have written. I have been told this is true even for agented authors. The avenues, advice, and opportunities are endless on line. Each person has to decide which things to try and how much time and money they are willing to devote.

I have been lucky and blessed by the opportunities I have been given. Having a film producer consider my book for a movie is an honor, even if the network executives do not accept it. Meeting new people in the book world has been fun and enlightening. Getting to work on exciting projects, like the Nov. 13th Wine Mystery with authors Denise Robbins (It Happens In Threes) and CJ West (Sin & Vengeance) and going to signings have been great. But with these opportunities come more time commitments, which means more time away from my family. In creeps the guilt.

Hopefully, if guilt is one of your demons, it is a small one. If that's the case, you and I don't have to do much. When ever it tries to sneak up we just need to remember not to be so hard on ourselves when we can't do everything. And *poof* that little guilt critter is gone. It will be back, but we'll be ready to shoo it away again.

If you guilt is deeper and can not be shooed away with an encouraging thought you should read this article. . I found it while looking for a picture to use for this blog. It lists the different kinds of guilt and how to deal with them.

Ok, now to finish off the battle with guilt. Set another mini goal for today that brings you a little closer to achieving your main goal. I am going to edit 2 more chapters of my WIP. I will do this, guilt free, no matter how long it takes me to finish.

If you missed any of the previous 8 Deadly Demon posts I have included the links to them below. Thanks for stopping by.

~Kristin : )

Intro to 8 Deadly Demons:

Fear Post: