Posts Tagged ‘The Opposite of Gravity’

Sep

12

2013

The Art Stimulates Art Series–Aaron Turner is MY Favorite SYTYCD Season 10 Dancer

Filed under: Check-it-out, Dancing, The Opposite of Gravity, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Sat down last night to watch the SYTYCD Season 10 Finale only to find a political scheduling snafu. WHAT????

Fortunately, there is an encore performance on Friday. *breathes into a paper bag* And although I will get to watch the second half of the show, I do already know who won. But that’s okay, I consider all four dancers winners. I loved them all. But win or lose, there was one dancer I really connected with and was rooting for this year, and I’m tickled that he was the under dog who almost didn’t make it on the show. *fist pump*

Aaron Turner IS my favorite dancer from Season 10!!!!!

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I could watch him tap all day. I adore his personality and his ability to morph into any character, no matter what direction the choreographer has taken things. He’s like a live wire out there, but it was this quiet moment that became my favorite of the season…

 

 

The cool part was, I was just as moved by the emotion of Aaron and Kathryn AFTER the performance, as I was by what they did on stage. They often say that writing is like opening up a vein and letting it all pour out onto the page. Dance is like that too. And the lines of this piece were so blurred and raw it was surreal. And I can’t be remiss and not mention the brilliant choreography of Stacey Tookey. Fabulous.

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Part of the attraction to this piece involves my writing. I’ve created a scene in THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY that should feel just like this. In my head this is what I imagined occurring between two of my characters. Ultimately, I can only hope my words are able to create the same power and emotion that Aaron and Kathryn did. And on a side note, after seeing their chemistry, I want them to fall in love, get married and make dancing babies. <3

But gahhhh!!! Now I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year for Season 11. To make the time go faster, lets keep talking about Season 10. What was your favorite dancer this season? Favorite performance? My second favorite was the Top Ten Boys–SAND. LOVED that one, but I have a gazillion more of course. And what about a favorite guest judge? I’m a huge fan of Jesse Tyler, Jenna Elfman and Anna Kendrick. Want to see more of them next season. Minnie Driver was pretty good, too. And of course Paula and Debbie are icons. Favorite choreographers?? That’s hard. I can’t pick. Can you??????

 

 

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Mar

15

2013

Back in the Revision Fort

Filed under: Contests, Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Touching the Surface, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Back in the revision fort!

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Yesterday I spent most of my time working on my newly returned notes on THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY from my critique partners. Woo hoo!  And here are some random thoughts that have popped into my head now that I’m delving back into the story…

* I love critique partners who not only tell me that I spelled something wrong or that I abused a semi-colon, but also give me a running commentary of what they’re thinking. It is so much fun and so helpful to see how their thought process unfolds as they interact with my words. This is true when you hear an OMG! I didn’t see that coming but it was awesome!  It’s also just as valuable when I get an Ummmm I have no idea what’s going on here???? Both of these are helpful and needed.

*After a couple weeks with my MS on the back burner, I love it again. Phew! Honestly, by the time I’d passed it off to my friends, I was pretty sick of it and convinced, that while it was vastly better than it was before, it was still poo.

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No, I don’t mean that kind of Pooh.

Writers, when you look at something for too long–it begins to look like poo. And then you have to learn to walk away from the poo, because when you’re knee deep in the poo, you can not get perspective. Don’t be afraid to pass the poo to a friend. That’s what friends are for (In the writing world or if you’re a mom with a new infant) And usually, what you get back (book or baby) is never quite as bad as what you thought you gave away. Your brain needed a break and now it’s working again.

*Speaking of the brain, it’s incredible how it will not see your mistakes no matter how many times you look at your own words. Your brain can do weird and wonderful things. To prove my point…

Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.

It blows me away and sort of scares me how easy it was for me to read that.

*I still growl or moan when I’m made aware of a plot hole or an inconstancy, even if I know it’s absolutely true. I tackle it, but it comes with sound effects. *head thunk*

*I really dig writing metaphors. I need to make this a component in the conference proposal I’m working on. One of my favorite parts of the writing process.

*I can get so engrossed in the revisions that I forget to write my blog post until almost midnight. *yawn* But because I want to get back to working on it (with a fresh mind) I’d better stop having random thoughts and get my butt to bed.

Any words or wisdom or bits of insight from your revision fort?

And don’t forget, there is still a chance to win a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for your local or school library. Enter HERE!

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Mar

8

2013

What to Do While You’re Waiting?

Filed under: Reading, Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Wolfson Literary, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Right now I’m waiting for my lovely critique partners to turn around THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY so I can send it to my agent!!! *bites nails* If you haven’t already heard, publishing is all about hurry up and wait. LOL! Yup, get used to it. One day you’re rushing, the next day you’re waiting with the crickets chirping in the background. What am I doing while I’m in a holding pattern?

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I think I mentioned how I’ve been doing some critiques. I love getting to help newbie writers when I have the time and I adore getting to read what my close friends have been working on. Of course, I’ve been doing laundry, especially since my dryer was broken for two weeks. I should probably be doing more, but seriously, it’s NOT FUN! And joy, bliss, rapture–I’m reading books for fun and books that inform my next project!!!! Woo hoo!!!! New projects are always soooo exciting. Preparing for a new project is just as fun as drafting, maybe even more fun. I plan on jumping into the writing part (which a dabbled with during NaNoWriMo) as soon as GRAVITY is officially out of my hands. And I FINALLY, I did some updating on my FAQ’s Page! I’ll be adding more, so if you have any burning questions feel free to ask them.

What do you do while you’re waiting in the writer’s twilight zone?

 

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Mar

1

2013

Revision and Cleansing: Chips off the Same Block (Did somebody say chips?)

Filed under: Check-it-out, Critique, Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’m going to make this as streamlined as I possibly can because it’s 10:00pm on my last cleanse day and even the cat food is starting to look really good. LOL! The sooner I go to bed the sooner I wake up to the world of normal eating. And although I’m talking about the cleanse, it’s not the cleanse itself that has made me behind tonight. I just hit the SEND button. The revised manuscript for THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY is in the hands of my critters!!!! This means it’s not long now until my agent has it in her hands. I’m thrilled and scared–a typical author reaction to just about everything in the publishing process.

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So, obviously I’ve been cleansing AND revising, which has made me realize that both of these things are really quite similar. Both are actions that do a deep cleaning in order to arrive at a better version of the current product. I could wax poetic about all the weird connections but honestly I’d rather go drink some organic veggie broth. But since a lot of you have asked about the cleanse I thought I’d give a a few quick tips and take aways from the experience.

First of all, I used a 9 Day Isagenix Cleanse. I’ve used it before to good results. My last cleanse was probably close to two years ago. I decided to do one now because I had gotten to a place where I NEEDED to do this to feel better. I always know when I need to do it because this isn’t the kind of thing I enjoy doing, even though I enjoy the end result. If you’d like to find out more about it, I have a friend who is involved with the program. You can contact Stephanie HERE.

If you plan on doing this or any other cleanse, here’s a few tips I’ve come up with that are helpful…

*Wean yourself off of caffeine slowly before the cleanse. I don’t do a lot of caffeine and I had almost a 2 day headache and I think it was possibly from sugar withdrawal. Help yourself out by cutting back on at least some stuff incrementally.

*Go into the cleanse with the odds stacked in your favor. I timed the cleanse so I wasn’t doing it on a holiday or ski trip. I also put myself out publicly, which works for me. Making public declarations helps me to have that group mentality and it works. I also gave myself a sort of mantra to think about. I didn’t have a specific phrase, but I concentrated on mind over matter. I wanted to feel that I was driving my own ship. I also wanted to feel healthy again. I also thought about skinny people I really don’t like and used them as motivation. *grin*

*Specifically for Isagenix–after the first day and a half–I couldn’t stomach the chocolate wafers used on cleanse days. I couldn’t do another one. I opted for a teaspoon of sliced almonds and a half an apple or some organic veggie broth. Seriously, I will never eat another wafer again. Ever. Be a little flexible. I also added fresh and frozen organic fruits and veggies to my shake on the five shake days. I had no dessert all the way up until right before the last two cleanse days. I was dying for a piece of chocolate, so I had a few squares of organic 85% Green and Blacks chocolate. It helped me to not be overwhelmed by that craving during the last two days. Flexibility is cool as long as it’s not sabotage.

*On cleanse days I found that varying the temperature and flavors of my liquids helped a lot. In the mornings I put hot water with lemon in a thermal cup to sip. In the evening I used the organic veggie broth because dinner was the hardest for me to skip. I was both physically hungry and emotionally hungry at that point in the day.

*On cleanse days I rested if I needed to and if I felt good, I walked for 60 minutes (15 min mile) This was hard for me because I’m a runner and I hate toning things down, but I also knew that I’d burn through my energy too quick and probably make myself so hungry I’d cheat. The walking worked out really well and on the shake days I did my usual.

Time for the take aways:

I lost 6.66 lbs over the nine days and my BMI dropped by 1.7 Woo hoo!!! I lost weight and inches and my clothes are fitting very differently–I no longer feel like a sausage in a casing. Overall, I feel great and I also feel VERY un-stuck. Now I’m  very vested in not wasting all this effort by binging now that I’m done. I’ve shown myself what I’m capable of doing–normal, healthy  eating, by comparison, should be a breeze. Seeing and feeling results is very motivating so even though I won’t be doing another cleanse any time soon–I am really glad I did it.

Are you revising and/or cleansing? Any questions about either? I’m too tired and hungry to think of more questions–add your own.

 

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Feb

27

2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday–The Beginning of a Cover

Filed under: Check-it-out, Cover Art, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

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I’ve been busy working on the tail end of my OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY revisions all day, so I thought I’d do a little Wordless Wednesday–but with some words–because that’s how I roll. LOL! Thought you might be interested in seeing the original picture where the TOUCHING THE SURFACE cover started. I found this on iStock Photo, looking for a photo to use as a cover holder for Goodreads and in an unusual turn of events, it also inspired the creatives at Simon Pulse. Any thoughts?

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Feb

25

2013

Up Over the Hump of This Monster

Filed under: Critique, Revision, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I am so excited. *fist pump* I’m almost done with my revision of THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY and I’m confident I’ll be turning it over to my crit partners this week!!!! I’ll be tweaking and tinkering some more while my critters do their magic, then I’ll have to turn around their suggestions. But even with that left on my plate, I’m up over the hump of this monster. I feel really, really good right now and I try to never ignore those little moments of success. *Woo Hoo!* Those highs are what gives me momentum to get back up the other side when I hit the next hump in the publication process.

And though putting myself out there–the waiting and risk of failure is hard–you know that I’m a girl who gets excited about possibility. The idea of getting this book back into the hands of my agent gives me tingles.

POSSIBILITY.

POTENTIAL.

These are some of my favorite P words besides pizza and plethora. My little book is growing up and getting ready to go out into the world. *grin* This makes me very happy. A little nervous, but very, very happy.

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Where are you in your writing process or in any big life project you’re working on? Do you like roller coasters? Are you able to celebrate each individual hump that you rise above? And do you scream on the way down????

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Feb

13

2013

Revision is Awesome–Even When it Isn’t

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I wanted to talk to you a little bit about revision today. I’ve got some RANDOM thoughts that have been marinating and I thought I’d share them with you…

 

*Right now, revision is a blast because I’m in the slay-the-monster-zone. The only thing stopping me from having a kick-ass, completed, manuscript to send out to my agent, is the fact that I’m a rather slow monster slayer. LOL! Even so, it’s a fabulous feeling and I’m really enjoying it. I’m pulling out my laptop every chance I get. (Have revision fort, will travel.) Even though things are going great, I’m prone to self examination, so I’ve been wondering…Why is this section of the writing process one of my favorites?

I think it’s because it consists of 50% structure and 50% intuition. I’m not in a place where I’m just doing the brain-numbing task of fighting with my horrible spelling and grammar. I gleefully have more than the bones of the story down on paper. My rough drafts, riddled with their own issues, are a full story. This means I don’t have to work in the place where I have ALL the ideas in the world. That can be overwhelming. Right now I’m walking the line between being creative AND doing the nuts and bolts work. It’s a really good balance for me. Of course, it always helps that there’s a light at the end of my tunnel to guide me home.

 

*Lately I’ve heard a lot of words bandied around–procrastination, fear and writer’s block. These are words I’ve used from time to time. In fact I pull them out at at regularly scheduled intervals in my writing process LOL! We all do. But as I’ve been pondering the joy of revision, I’ve realized that there is something to be said for revising my process as well as my manuscripts. Sure, I can write volumes about how and why my second book has gotten away from me during the process of being a debut author. I can talk to you about my emotional writing style and why I approach writing the way I do. I’ve got a zillion fabulous posts in me about these topics. You’ll likely even get a few of them from time to time, but I’m a growing girl. (No, I’m not gonna get taller than 5 foot 4 inches–no matter what I write.) What I mean is, if I open myself up to it, I’ll learn to revise myself, the same way I do my words.

K.L. Going once said to me...you can’t put a book on the shelf if you don’t put it on paper. It’s not a book if it is in your head–it’s an idea. That was a big turning point for me. But I’m also coming to realize that I need to expand upon that nugget of truth. What will I be doing the minute I put THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY in the hands of my agent? I’ll be working on CHASING ADAPTATION! It’s not just enough to get the book on paper, it’s important to understand what role procrastination, fear and writer’s block play in that process. They can be speed bumps or they can be excuses. They can be challenges to overcome or they can be blog posts that keep a writer from doing the real work. You know what I choose. I am discovering where and when to push myself to be the writer I want to be.

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*This next thought is going to sound counter productive to my last one, but if you were paying attention you know that balance is important. I just suggested that it’s necessary for me to push myself harder through the parts of the writing and revising  that are naturally hard for me. It’s true. It resonates. I believe it. But I’m also suggesting that an important part of revision is what I think of as The Feel. It reminds me of my son at his music lessons. As he’s learning the guitar, his instructor doesn’t want him to look at his fingers while he’s playing. He needs to know where his fingers are supposed to go. Playing has a feel. I had a very similar experience when I learned how to type. I spent lots of time looking at my fingers in the beginning, not believing that I’d ever be able to stop doing that. Then one day I realized I could hit those keys without thinking about where they were. Writing and revision are like that. They have a feel. You DO have to push yourself to show up when the work is hard. You DO have to understand you won’t always be comfortable in the different phases of this process. But you also shouldn’t be trying to push a square peg into a round hole. No one benefits from that. Not the peg. Not the hole. Writing is art–there are parts that have to be felt to be done “right.”

 

*Agents and editors have special-super-hero-vision and can see a manuscript in ways that I can’t even begin to comprehend. They have a whole different skill set than I do, which means I want them to pull my manuscript apart. Their work is a pivotal step in the process of changing a manuscript (a solitary endeavor) into a book (a collaborative event.) BUT, even though I want my agent and my editor to pull my words apart, in order to get to an even better version of my story, I still need to bring my very best work to the table. Maybe it’s just me, but I liken the revision process to shopping for a very awesome birthday present for a friend. Sending out a completed manuscript is like giving a gift that is well thought out, nicely wrapped, usable, exciting and timeless. Sure, it’s about me too–a good book is going to benefit me as much as the agent and the editor, but when I’m working on the revision, I find myself having a sense of intimacy with my first new readers and that makes the process really wonderful for me.

 

*Or there are times when you’re revising and it feels like a you’re wrestling a giant octopus. Just ask my friend Amy. But hey, the cool part about that is you can wear those tentacle burns like a badge of honor when your done. *fist pump* So, what I guess I’m saying is that revision is awesome…even when it isn’t.

 

Any thoughts on revision? What do you love? What do you hate? Have you ever eaten octopus? I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m off to the revision fort!

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Jan

18

2013

Revising in the BOOM ZONE

Filed under: Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I made my self-imposed deadline of getting the first half of THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY off to my Beta’s last night. (Chapters 1-22)Woo hop!!!! I was doing great on time, when Scrivener decided it didn’t want to compile and convert to Word. So needless to say, the last email was sent at 11:58. *head thunk* I could have been to bed a lot earlier if it hadn’t been for technical difficulties. But I did it, which felt very important, but in order to meet that deadline, I went to bed without writing this post. Which means it isn’t brilliant and full of puppies farting rainbows and unicorns, but hopefully the manuscript is–which in the grand scheme of things is much more important.

Of course, since I’m DEEP in revision mode, all I want to do all day is revise. And today is not the easiest day for doing that. I have the rescheduled hair appointment from Wednesday’s snow day and since I look like a Yeti–we can’t miss that. I’m also going away skiing this weekend and while I love these trips, I seriously hate packing. Maybe it’s the three boy thing, but I always feel a my excitement doesn’t truly get started until I’m in the car LOL! These are all good things, but how do I keep and sustain the BOOM on for this revision when I have other things to do.

*Stolen moments–they add up. I know this because when I started writing TOUCHING THE SURFACE my boys were ages 2, 4, and 6. I had nothing but stolen moments.

*Mullet time–this is my term for writing and working in my head. I find brain farting on the computer labor intensive. Some people put their butt in their chair and work out their issues with their fingers. I’ve never really done that. My fingers are sooooo slow compared to my ability to flip things around in my head. I’ve learned that mullet time means nothing if I don’t take the stolen moments to get what’s now in my head on paper, but I’ve also learned that when I sit down to write after thinking things through, my time is a lot more productive.

*I use music. I know without a doubt that I’m in the BOOM ZONE when I can’t listen to an audiobook. And I LOVE listening to audiobooks. But when I’m in the BOOM ZONE I can only listen to one thing–my playlist for that manuscript. I might add or take away songs as the MS develops, but in essence it is the soundtrack for my mullet time which really helps me make the most of my stolen moments.

And while this has been fun, I really have a million things to do LOL! So I’ll leave you with a random song off THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY playlist…

How do you make the writing happen when you’re in the BOOM ZONE? And what is the Tropic of Sir Galahad? Anyone?

 

 

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Jan

4

2013

Writing Book 2? You Resemble a Pregnant Race Horse

Filed under: Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing Style

Yesterday I was keeping my promise to myself and focusing on revisions. I even hauled my laptop and marked-up manuscript to the lobby of the dance studio. I was kinda pumped because I was able to focus and move through my notes while sitting in the middle of three classrooms that were blaring different sets of music and instructions. I was in the zone. How could that be? There have been days when I’ve had the perfect work conditions and get less done. *head thunk* I sound like I’m asking for an answer from you, but I’m not. I know the truth. For me its a combination of being ready and being determined.

READINESS: The truth is there are times when I just don’t know what to write. And for some of those times, it’s good for me to take a moment or two or however long it is, to mull over what I’m doing. I know I need to let the thoughts that sit in my finger tips, tumble around in my deeper places. I believe there is more to me than I’m capable of understanding and sometimes I just have to trust myself. I’m learning and changing and growing constantly and all of that takes time. But in all fairness, there are moments when I’m just scared that I suck and I think I’m not ready. Book 2 is kinda hard folks. It’s not unlovable, but it’s kind of like the second time you get pregnant and you realize it’s not going to be anything like the first time where you got to sleep when you were tired and people pampered you and stuff. Book 2 is like…Hey–I know you’re tired but you have a two year old with a fever and you need to get up every 45 minutes because they are crying and uncomfortable. And I know you have a sensitive stomach right now, but the baby just vomited across six rooms. And to top that all off, don’t expect a baby shower either or time for a spa day… Yeah, Book 2 is kind of like that, but different. Word vomit is a little milder on the stomach. LOL!

DETERMINATION: I’m absolutely a person who loves to work from home with my own schedule–I like my creative freedom. I like to be able to juggle my family life. I like to run. I like to have less stress. I like to avoid laundry by doing social media. BUT–I benefit from having some manageable deadlines. The people pleaser in me responds to that. Give me too much, too quickly and I will get it done (I’m one determined and competitive person on the inside) but I’ll be reduced to sludge. I’ll burn out like a shooting star. I’m not a race horse who responds well to spurs in my side, but lead me to the starting line and tell me that I’m not as good as the other horses and I’ll run my ass off to prove it isn’t true. There is a kernel of strength within me that gets me over that finish line. I need a little push, but not a beating. That’s when determination works best for me.

Thoroughbred horse racing

So what happens when readiness and determination collide in a perfect storm? Well, I get stuff done. I mean–I’m still scared. I’m pissing in my shoes every time I stop to think about it all too closely. BOOK 2!!!!!! Failure is such a bigger target than success. But I’m at that point where I know one thing for sure. There is something that scares me more than writing a bad book–it’s writing no book at all. It’s that simple and THAT just makes me laugh and revise. Ready and determined.

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
Bill Cosby

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

Buddha

 

Now I’m totally inspired for another day of revisions!!! What calms your fear of failure? What gets in your head and keeps you from moving forward? What’s your best overcoming failure story? Got another good failure/success quote to share? Have you been pregnant a second time????

 

 

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Jan

2

2013

My “It’s Time To” List

Filed under: Check-it-out, Pondering, The Opposite of Gravity, Touching the Surface, Vacation Madness, Writing

January 2nd of any year fills me with as much excitement as the kick off of the holiday season. As much as I love all the hoopla, I also love the the un-hoopla. In fact, by New Year’s Day, my hoopla meter has begun to spin into a red-hot, critical alert zone and it’s only with the careful removal of decorations, making writing a priority, the return to exercise and healthy eating that I can survive. Today, two out of three of my boys are back in school and it it will be that way until Tuesday, so I’m thinking of these last half-hoopla days as kind of a blitz to get ready to get down to the business of revision.  Decorations will get stowed, healthy food shopped for and the laundry needs to get done! (Ha! you knew that was coming.) All in preparation for me digging in and finishing my revisions ASAP! It is time. The story I’m writing is pushing me to go out into the world.

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So, here is my list of “resolutions” or what I’m thinking of as my IT’S TIME TO list for 2013.

 

It’s time to…

*Return to healthy eating and exercise-PRONTO! I feel toxic and I can’t stand it.

*Try very hard to get to bed at an earlier hour and get more sleep. I do everything better with more sleep.

*Finish revising THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY with a hard focus.

*Sell THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY!

*Continue to market the heck out of TOUCHING THE SURFACE and sell more copies.

*Sell the foreign rights of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. (Come on–how cool would that be?)

*Do more school visits because I love them.

*Be a speaker at more writing and book events. (Putting my blabber mouth to use.)

*Continue to read in and outside my box, because every book I ingest informs my future writing endeavors. Be a sponge.

*Continue to know who I am as a writer. This is my journey and only I can own it.

 

 

What about you? What’s on the agenda for 2013? How do you feel about the hoopla? Are you ready for a clean slate or are you curled up under a crunchy tree, eating the last of the cookies and singing carols? What’s the plan Stan?

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