My Critique Partner Got A Book Deal @ Harper Teen!


(via Publishers Weekly Children’s bookshelf)

I am SO excited today!

Publishers Weekly just announced that Rosemary Brosnan of Harper Teen acquired the debut novel GIRLS EVOLVED written by one of MY critique partners, Alexis Bass!

GIRLS EVOLVED, is about a seventeen-year-old girl and her best friends who have made it to second semester senior year heartbreak free by abiding by the wisdom of Marilyn Monroe: “A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe, and leaves before she is left”, until Nathan Diggs moves to town and changes everything.

Alexis worked so hard on this book – I know because I was there through all the blood, sweat and tears. GIRLS EVOLVED is a fantastic YA Comtemporary that will take your emotions on a rollercoaster ride. I couldn’t be happier or more excited for Alexis today! Well, except for how excited I’ll be when her book release day comes in the Fall of 2014!


You can find Alexis on Twitter and on her blog as follows:

Twitter: @alexisbasswrites


Alexis is repped by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media


How to Make 2013 The Best!

Happy New Year!!!

I promised to blog about ways to make 2013 even better than 2012, so here we go!

I’m using two amazing programs that may seem somewhat old fashioned, but are pure gold when it comes to quality of life.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

As writers, we get way into our heads. Sometimes that’s not a good thing if our minds focus on negative things – and writers can be pretty good at beating themselves up. I’ve been listening to Dale Carnegie’s book on CD ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ for the past couple months and it has greatly improved my life by changing how I think, and therefore how I write.

Give Dale a try and see if his ideas work for you. As for me, one of my goals this year is to listen to snippets of ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ at least once a week to make sure I keep my mind in the right place, and therefore stay happy and productive.

Best Year Yet

My writing mentor introduced me to ‘Best Year Yet’ in January 2012. We both used this book to write goals for 2012 and made bi-weekly progress reports to each other. The beauty of ‘Best Year Yet’ is it touches on each role you play in life.

As writers, sometimes it’s hard to quantify goals. We can have word-count goals, number-of-page goals, or even number-of-manuscript goals. ‘Best Year Yet’ teaches you how to create concrete goals and provides guidance on how to accomplish them. I highly recommend this program because of what it did for me in 2012, and I’ve already used it to write my 2013 goals!

Whether you use either of these programs, or other ideas that work for you, I wish you a Happy New Year and a lovely, happy, inspiring 2013.

Happy Writing!

PLEASE Back Up Your Manuscripts – Every Day

Well, it happened. My laptop died. With all my manuscripts on it.

This could be a catastrophe.

But it’s not.

Because of my obsessive habit of backing up my work.

A couple years ago I read simple tip – probably in Writer’s Digest magazine – that saved my sanity today. That tip was to send a copy of your manuscript to your email each day after writing and/or revising. That way, you have one current copy on your computer, and one out in email land.

I do this absolutely every day after my  writing time is up – or even once in the middle of the day if I’ve written/revised a lot. This takes seconds. Rewriting a 75,000 word manuscript? Much longer.

When the current manuscript hits my inbox, I simply delete the last copy I sent. (I’m also a bit obsessive about keeping my inbox clean.)

Now, I’m sure I’ll be able to retrieve some documents from my sick laptop at some point. But how many days will that be?? I’m making agent-suggested revisions to my manuscript right now. (Yippee!) I can’t miss several days of work! Not that I’d even want to. I mean, what would I do with myself all day if I couldn’t write? Watch bad TV? No thanks.

I also back up my manuscripts to a thumb drive, but I only do this about once a month. Emailing a copy is much quicker, but it is nice to know I have a fairly recent draft in three different places.

So, please take my experience to heart, because for most of us, it’s only a matter of when. I’m writing this post from my daughter’s netbook, from which I can also edit my manuscript, because my latest copy is out in email land just waiting for me to dive in!

Happy Writing!

Hurricane Sandy Relief and the Writing Community

I’m so proud to be part of such a wonderful, giving group as the writing community! Hurricane Sandy not only ravaged the east coast, but also greatly impacted one of my awesome critique partners, Jeannie Anaya. While she and her family are okay, her house was flooded and she says it’s like apocalypse central where she lives.

I’ve been sitting here on the west coast trying to figure out how I can help. And then I see on Twitter TWO writers who are having auctions for the relief of the Sandy victims:

Kate Messner


Jen Malone

Check them out! They have many, many awesome auction items, including query critiques, manuscript critiques, ARCs, etc.

Bid and be generous! And if you try to out-bid me, well, I guess Sandy Relief will benefit!

May the victims of Sandy know that our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with you, and that we’re looking for ways to help and support you.

Happy Writing!

Best Thing I Ever Did – Turn Off the Ding

I’ve written before about my email checking addiction. I thought I had it under control. But I was wrong. My constant phone/computer checking was making me crazy, jittery, unfocused.

Because, really, EVERY time the phone dinged, I HAD to check it. There was no option. I felt like Pavlov’s dog – no joke.

Well, in reality, it could’ve been an agent getting back to me. Or one of my critique partners. But what did I think was going to happen? That the email would somehow disappear or jump out of my inbox?

Then one day I woke up and decided to see how the day would go if I silenced the email notification on my phone.

You know – that ding that sounds every time you get a new email.

After the first hour of no dings, I was HOOKED. I’d had a breakthrough! The silence was WONDERFUL! And I was still receiving emails. And none of them disappeared.

It’s been about a month now and I’m much more focused. My rewriting and editing is no longer interrupted every few seconds – amazing what you can accomplish when you can focus on a task. I can hold a conversation without getting distracted. I can watch a football game without jumping up and missing a play. My kids have my full attention (usually) when they’re talking to me. And my husband no longer thinks I’m crazy (well, too crazy, anyway).

So if you’re feeling a bit frazzled but you can’t figure out why, I’d suggest turning off your ding for a while and seeing how it works for you.

Happy Writing!

Durango, Colorado Vacation – With Pictures!

Welcome to Durango!

I’m in the middle of a ten day vacation in Durango, Colorado – one of my favorite places in the world – AND the setting for my novel,


On my first visit to Durango, I knew a story had to happen here. In the past three years, Visions has come into being and every time I’m here I feel my characters running around the streets, playing in the lake, in the river and sipping chai at Magpies.

Beautiful Downtown Durango

It’s been a wonderful vacation so far with lots of hikes, kayaking, some thunder

storms and much needed rain. I wish I could post the forest scent for you because it’s amazing. The only thing I can do is breathe it in and smell it for you! I can share some pictures though.  

Another good thing is two of my awesome critique partners finished their beta read of Streetlight! Apparently the second half rocks! I’m not sure what that means for the first half but my girls will let me

Lake my characters play in, and I actually kayaked in this week!

know when their full critiques come in. Have I mentioned how much I love my critique partners? I don’t know what I’d do without them.

 I hope you enjoy these pictures of beautiful Durango, and I hope your summer is going well.

   Happy Writing!

Mapgies patio – where my characters hang out

Magpies magazine wing – huge!

Me about to sip chai on the Magpies patio where so much happens . . .

The Animas River where my characters raft, play, almost die, redeem themselves . . .

Forest leading up to the red rock mesas – where my characters ride horseback

The Palace Restaurant where a romantic dinner takes place . . .

The Durango Police begin the July 4th parade – in the vehicle main character, Bailey, rides in for ride-alongs

Some of our vets – THANK YOU!

Vintage Challenger – very cool and sounded great! I’m a Mustang girl, but this car was beautiful.

Shameless Mustang plug – my 1965 coupe, Reba. Love her!

Do You List Your Monthly Writing Accomplishments?

So summer has hit and my blogging productivity has suffered.

The good news is my writing hasn’t! I’m currently querying Visions, having finished yet another revision in June.

AND I just sent Streetlight to my awesome Critique Partners for a beta read after a major revision, also finished in June. I thought these two tasks alone would take me entire summer. So June has been a productive month writing wise!

Which brings me to my question – Do you list your monthly writing accomplishments?

I’m extremely lucky to have a writing mentor, Tanis Galik, who’s not only an excellent playwright; she’s also a published crochet book author/designer. If you’re into crochet, check out her free designs and what else she’s up to at

For the past three years, Tanis and I have met twice a month to go over our writing goals. We find that being accountable to each other makes us way more productive because we want to report back to each other that we achieved that word count or blogged for however many times we said we would or queried that many agents. But even though we were working our tails off, we always felt behind.

Tanis came up with the idea of focusing more on our monthly accomplishments. So starting last January, we began to seriously list our monthly accomplishments along with our goals.

Wow! What a difference. Instead of feeling behind all the time we can actually see, on paper, what we’ve done with our time. And it’s always a lot!

The magic of listing your monthly accomplishments is the feeling of success and confidence instead of feeling like you’re toiling and toiling but never getting anywhere. Because there’s always more to do, right? But celebrating what you’ve done gives you a whole new mindset.

I find that listing my goals on paper – usually in my planner – works best for me. I like to be able to see my list often, several times a week. I check off each completed goal and transfer these to my Accomplishments page. You can do this in a notebook, in your planner, on the computer – whatever works for you.

I challenge you to try this for a month or two and see if you feel a difference in your productivity and confidence. See if it works for you!

Happy Writing!