Showing posts from October, 2010

Lessons From A Cake

This past weekend my husband and I threw a trick-or-treat carnival birthday party for my youngest daughter. The kids wore costumes and went from game to game earning prizes which they placed in their goodie bags. It was tons of fun! But the Pièce de résistance was the 6 layer, 3 tiered cake I made for the occasion.

It's cool, right? Not bad for my first attempt at a fondant covered tiered cake.

Take a second look.

Yep. It's leaning.

Soooooo, I kinda learned a lot from this cake.


* Make sure you have a strong foundation or it will get crushed by the weight of the cakes on top. Lucky for me, my foundation didn't get smooshed. So, maybe I did do something right?

* Don't put too much filling between the layers. I know, I like filling, too. Especially the creamy, fudgy filling I used on the vanilla cake top layer. Oh but that oreo creme filling was super yummy sandwiched between dark chocolate cake. As good as the filling is, trust me. You don't need it. It&#…

Long Overdue

I've received a few awards recently and I'm long overdue in recognizing them. And many, many thanks to the beautiful ladies who sent them! If you haven't visited their blogs, be sure to stop by today!

My first award is The Cherry on Top Award. It's from both Laura Diamond AND Juanita.

The rule? Answer one question: If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, would I, and what would it be?

Honestly, I've thought about this a lot over the years.

Sometimes I wish I hadn't given up that Broadway contract to get married. What would it have hurt to wait a year? But, thank heavens for hindsight. I'm glad I made the choices I did, when I did. I really wouldn't have my life any other way.

Other times I wish I'd gone to prom and my high school graduation. I skipped out on both. Most of my friends were college peers (I did early placement) so I didn't feel connected to anyone in my Senior Class. At the time it seemed like a good…

Free Crit Friday and Randomness

Well, it's free crit Friday and unfortunately I don't have any query letters to share today. I'm a bit behind schedule. Hopefully I'll have something next week.

In the meantime, enjoy this video. (Hint: Do NOT try these tips on an unsuspecting agent) :)

As always, if you have a query letter or a first page you'd like me to crit, please post in the comments!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Rose Cooper's Etsy Shop

My good friend, Rose Cooper, is like an amazing genius artist and she just opened an etsy shop! So if you've ever wanted to buy amazing art, now's your chance! Plus, she still has a few slots left for commissioned pieces - and they'll arrive just in time for the holidays! 10% of your purchase will go to Joy to the World Foundation via Candyland.

AND....Rose has agreed to giveaway a piece of artwork to one lucky winner!!

Here's the rules:

Existing Peeps +5
New Peeps +3
Facebook it +2
Twitter it +2
Blog about it +3
Send me some peeps +4 (per peep!)
Add up your points +5 (yeah, i hate math...would much prefer you do it for me :D )

Don't forget to leave a link if you Blog, FB or Twitter!

Just for laughs (From Jokes About Writing):
A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, t…

How Close Are You?

This past week I received the mother of all rejections. The Queen Mary.

It was the first rejection, in a long time, that really bummed me out.


Well, to be honest it wasn't because I happen to think this agent is so fabulous that I couldn't live without him/her. I mean, agents are just people. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us.

No. The reason I was so bummed is because the rejection told me just how close I am. With words like "loved the voice" and "enjoyed the humor" and "you clearly have promise" how could I not get excited?

Then.....there was the final word: NO.

My heart sank. What? Why? What happened?

For two days I dwelt on the negative. I felt sorry for myself. I vowed that I was done with the process of getting published.

But thanks to my awesome crit group and my amazing online writing community I was reminded of the positive remarks in the email. Love. Enjoy. Potential. Those are some pr…

Free Critique Friday - Laura Diamond

This week Laura Diamond was brave enough to let me post her first page. Laura and I met through the online writing community and I've had the priviledge of critting her entire manuscript! (well, honestly, I'm not done yet, but I'm still working on it - promise Laura!) Anyway, Laura and I happen to have written manuscripts with very similar premises, so there was an instant connection. It's been interesting to see how our stories have varied despite the similarities. She's a talented writer and it's been awesome to work with her.

Although she's had other crits on this manuscript, I think her revised first page is a good reflection of her amazing talent mixed with a little bit of my input.


A siren signaled a warning. I drew Sammie to me and stared at the dim outlines of bunk beds and chairs, scanning the darkened room for movement. The other Anemies—outcasts based solely on their low red blood cell count—huddled in pairs on their mattresses, crou…


This is me.

This is my brain while editing.

(Actually, it's really my daughter, but that's what my brain looks like right now. Minus the smile. Imagine a gnarled lip instead.)

Enough said. Have a nice day. :)

Trust Your Instinct

I've been thinking a lot lately about editing, crit groups, feedback, etc. One thing I learned is to apply the feedback that improves our manuscript and steers it in the direction we want it to go.

But what if you suck at that? What if you're such a people pleaser that you want to apply everything? Even if your core is screaming, "NO!" What if that feedback is delaying you from finishing because you're afraid your manuscript will never be good enough? That it will never be ready?

I'm here to tell you one thing:


You know what your story is. You know what you wanted to convey. If you wanted your protag to be weak and weepy (without being an annoying Bella Swan type) then go ahead! If you want your story to have purple trees - who's to stop you? If you want a dog with 6 legs - why do you have to give him 4? Because your beta said so? I don't think so!

Now, if you want a weak and weepy protag but your beta says she's fun and jovial - the…

Free Critique Friday - Michelle Jefferies

First things first - the winner of Anne Bradshaw's TRUE MIRACLES WITH GENEOLOGY is....

Kimberely Griffiths Little!

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy this wonderful book! Please send me an email at amiegr8tstuff (at) aol (dot) com so I can make sure this is sent to you asap!

Now on to the query critique. This weeks query is by Michelle Jefferies. Thanks for your bravery, Michelle!


Corporate soldier Antony Danic has never killed an innocent man — or doubted the integrity of the people he works for—until now. First, a not-so-subtle death threat from a fellow employee is directed at both him and his wife. That, combined with the fact that his last few assignments resemble personal revenge instead of corporate espionage, make him ask questions, and he’s not sure he wants the answers.

With the announcement of his wife's pregnancy after ten years of infertility, he realizes he must protect the most innocent life of all—his unborn child. When he botches a hit, his carefully…

The Iron Bodkin

Over the summer I won a contest. It was the coolest thing. I never - EVER - win anything. So when the book arrived, I was so excited I tore into it right away.

Well you know that feeling, when you're expecting a book to be so great and then you read it and you're all, well that sucked.

Let me just tell that was NOT the case with THE IRON BODKIN. This book was total and complete awesomesauce.
I've invited the author, Amy Allgeyer Cook, to share her experience and road to publication with us.

Me: Hey Amy. *waves* Can I just say you have a cool name. I'm not biased. At all. Thanks for joining us!

Amy: Thanks so much for letting me visit today. I love your blog and am so happy to be here.

Me: Awesome! Thanks. I LOVED your book! So what made you decide to write stories for Middle-Graders?

Amy: Actually, I started out writing picture books. I wrote four or five and finally realized ... I totally rot at picture books. I use too many words and my jokes are way t…

"True Miracles With Geneology"

One of my favorite things (when I have time for it) is family history. I love learning all sorts of cool stuff about my ancestors and the legacy they've left for us. My parents have been so diligent in keeping pictures, journals and family trees that I have more information then most.

A tradition that my husband and I started is that each of our girls inherited their middle name from an ancestor. My eldest daughter - from my grandmother. My middle daughter - from a woman in my husband's family tree who was born in the 1700's. My youngest daughter - from my great, great grandmother who lived in Prussia and was a playmate to a Polish Princess. Pretty cool, huh?

I've also learned that my great grandfather was an architect in NYC who designed many of the buildings there. When he had a stroke, his caregiver deceitfully had him sign his estate over to her. Since the court systems aren't what they are today - she received everything while the posterity went broke.


Blogs You Must See

During the week I found some pretty cool blogs and read some great posts. Although I thought about hording them all to myself (mine, mine, mine) I decided the nice thing would be to share them with you!

Juanita did a great post about the differences between YA and MG. So many writers struggle with this and Juanita clearly defined it. You must read it!

Rose Cooper started a new blog featuring the main character from her book Gossip From The Girls Room (to be released January 2011 from Random House). It's way cute! She even held a contest to feature one lucky reader in her next book! But that contest is over now. You missed it. Sorry. (It was all part of my evil plan so that I can win. Mwuhahahaha)

My group blog, From The Mixed-Up Files, welcomed 4 new members. Plus we have amazing posts all the time. If you're not reading it on a regular basis I will have no choice but to beat you with a wet noodle.


It is Free Critique Friday!

So if you have a query…