Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I've Changed My Blog Name

Hey My Trust Worthy and Loyal  Subjects Stalkers Followers :-) (And to anyone new who may be interested in joining),

Just wanted to let you know that I changed my blog title. I used to be All About Art (most mostly writing!), but that was just a working title until something better came along. I realized that it was important for me to have something about young adult in my title and I played around with a few and came up with what I now have. I will still talk about all sorts of things, but this blog was created because of my love and passion for writing YA fiction, so it seemed appropriate to have a name that reflects that.

Just wanted to let you know so you can note it where you need to. I will now show up towards the bottom of your alphabetized blog list as opposed to the top area. So, don't think I disappeared :-) I'm still very much here and goin' nowhere anytime soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dexter-one of the best developed and written characters ever!!!!

Some blogger friends of mine *waves excitedly with a cheesy grin to the Killer Chicks * turned me on to this little show called Dexter. Here is a small blurb about the show:

Dexter is an American television drama series that centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a forensic bloodstain pattern analystfor the Miami Metro Police Department, who moonlights as a serial killer...Dexter structures his killing around "The Code of Harry", a body of ethics and procedures devised by his adoptive father Harry (who was a Miami cop) to make sure Dexter never gets caught and ensure that Dexter kills only other killers. Harry also trained Dexter in how to interact convincingly with other people despite being a psychopath...

Umm...hellloooo?? Can you say, Holy F'n Awesomeness? 

Dexter. Wow. Just...wow. Never, in all my years of television and movie watching (and I have watched A LOT) have I ever been so completely addicted and drawn to a character the way I am to Dexter. I've also gotten my husband completely HOOKED on this show and he doesn't hook onto a whole lot of shows. Besides the fact that this show is brilliantly entertaining, twisting, on the edge of your seat fantastic, the character of Dexter (or what dh and I have come to call The Dexterminator), based on a series of books by Jeff Lindsay, is one of the best I've ever seen. The layers to his character are so unique and intricate that I find myself rooting for this psychopath serial killer. Actually rooting for a SERIAL KILLER. The acting in this show is EXCELLENT and the various plots and subplots tie in wonderfully to a perfect, neat 52 minute weekly package. Kuddos to Jeff Lindsay for creating one of the best, most unique, interesting, funny, honest and most loved characters ever and to all those who have brought this character and his stories to life on the television screen. If you have not yet seen this show, check it out. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, though. It's pretty graphic, boderline gory at times with some nudity, cursing and the works, but for me that's what makes it all the more fantastic. Thank goodness for cable networks! (Or in my case, thank goodness for Netflix!! I'm about half way through season 1 and I'm so excited they are on the fifth season now. That means a whole lot of Dexter is in my future!)

If you prefer to read over watching television, then by all means, run out and get the books because I hear they are SUPER DUPER INSANELY FANTASTIC. Seriously, I can only imagine how amazing an experience it must be to be in the head of Dexter through a book. I'm sure Jeff Lindsay's books will suck you in because he's created one of the truly most brilliantly created characters ever!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Writing: 10 Things I'm Thankful for

I probably won't be posting until after the Thanksgiving holiday, so here is my I am Thankful post (in no particular order). To those of you who celebrate this holiday HAVE A VERY HAPPY TURKEY DAY. And to those of you who don't...HAVE A VERY HAPPY REST OF THE WEEK! :-)

I Am Thankful For:

10. Beta Readers- Mine have been awesome. Brutally honest, but always with great respect and encouragement. I'd truly be lost without them and have learned soooooo much from them!

9. Absolute Write- Seriously, this site has changed my life in more ways than I can begin to name.

8. Blogging- Never even heard of it until this year. It's addicting and fun and I can easily spend hours a day reading them. 

7. Renni Browne and Dave King's book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers- This book was immensely helpful and improved my writing in so many ways.

6. SM- Yes that does stand for THEE Stephenie Meyer. I was inspired to write because of her. Not because I wanted to write about vampires and werewolves (I don't), but because I discovered that I want to write. Who knew?

5. My Father- My dad has always supported EVERYTHING I do and this fairly new venture into writing is no different. He is the wind beneath my wings and he never stops encouraging me to find whatever it is in life that makes me happy.

4. My Husband- My dear, sweet, patient husband who continues to be supportive and love me and encourage me even though I've been having an affair. (With my laptop people, not another man!!! Geesh.)

3. Other Writers- I can't tell you how many people I have come to know though writing. From people I've met on AW to those on blogs to those I've met through others, there is NOTHING in the world as amazing and supportive as those in the writing community.

3. My Late Grandma, Birdy- She was the one who helped me learn to accept constructive criticism. An essential to make it in this business.

2. My Laptop- I could not have done all the writing I have done without it. THANKS DADDY!

1. Angie and Naomi- God. Where do I even start? Amazing. Talented. Beautiful. Caring. Supportive. And most importantly, my friends. Their guidance and help (both inside and outside the world of writing)  has meant more to me than I can ever begin to express in words (which seems silly considering I'm a "writer" but when it comes to them, I'm verklempt). I heart them so much!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo to you both :-)

What about you all? What are you thankful for this year in the world of writing?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble! It's almost that time of year!!!l

We are only a week away from Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, the other one being Christmas. Kinda sucks that they are so close together as I have to wait a looooooong time for my favorite holiday season to arrive.

Thanksgiving for me is all about the delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal (and about giving thanks, of course :)).

Here is what my Thanksgiving feast includes:

Turkey (I only eat the white meat)
Stuffing (my absolute favorite!)
Cranberry sauce (every bite of turkey must be combined with stuffing and cranberry sauce on the fork)
Mashed Potatoes
Butternut squash
Gravy (for everyone else. I don't do gravy)
Apple Pie

Okay, I have a little confession to make. I don't actually cook or prepare one item on this list. Yes, ladies and gents, I buy the entire meal, pre-cooked from my local Stop&Shop supermarket. And here it is...

Complete Turkey Dinner

Our turkey dinner features a juicy, fully-cooked Butterball turkey complete with all the traditional side dishes and desserts. Simply heat and serve. Serves 6-8.

Butterball Fully Cooked Turkey (aprx 10-12 lbs),
2-24 oz Stop & Shop Homestyle Mashed Potatoes,
1-24 oz Stop & Shop Homestyle Stuffing,
2-24 oz Stop & Shop Butternut Squash,
1-24 oz Stop & Shop Turkey Gravy,
1-14 oz Stop & Shop Fresh Cranberry Relish,
12 Dinner Rolls,
8" Apple or Pumpkin Pie.

Allow 2 hours for reheating turkey.
Serves 6-8.
No substitutions please.

While supplies last, last day to order is 11/22.

For nutrition facts and ingredients, please click here

This item is only available for pickup from 11/13/2010 thru 11/24/2010Please allow 2 days notice for this item
Complete Turkey Dinner

Price:  $59.99

Isn't that sweet ass sweet??? A no stress, full out Thanksgiving meal for only 60 bucks. Tell me that isn't a deal??? There is one thing I do actually make because my husband would break down and have a sobbing fit if I didn't. It's a Puerto Rican dish I learned to make from my mother-in-law called piƱon. It's like lasagna, but instead of noodles you make it with layers of fried sweet plantains. It's insanely delicious.

So, tell me about your meal. What is usually on the table at your Thanksgiving feast? What is your favorite, must have item on the menu?

Monday, November 15, 2010

What do Query Letters and Tootsie Pops Have in Common?

(Lovin' the new version!)

As you all know, I'm in the process of writing my query letter. It has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop talking about it. I go up to random friends and start venting my frustrations about it while they look at me with that look. You know the one. The what-the-hell-is-a-query-letter look? But I don't care. I keep rambling on as though they understand me and ignore their confused expressions because it's not really about them now is it? It's about me and my need to vent, so shut up, be a friend and just let me get it off my chest :-)

I can't stop bitching about how hard it is, but at the same time, I friggin' love the challenge because I know in the end, I will have a kick ass letter that will make every agent in the industry say, "OH MY GOD. I'M HOOKED! THIS STORY IS BRILLIANT.!!! MUST. HAVE. FULL."

Okay, so I know not EVERY agent I query will be interested no matter how fantastic and perfect my query letter may be. But, it's something to strive for, no?

Anyway, I have come to realize that writing this query letter is like trying to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. How many damn licks will it take to get the center???? Each version I write is like another lick, but eventually I HAVE to get to the center, right? As long as I don't quit, I will get there. And there's no biting to get to the center. That's cheating. That would be like having an expert query letter writer, write the query for you (but damn if that wouldn't be a HUGE money making business, heh?) So, I'll keep on licking and licking until my tongue is raw and cavities form because getting to the center of that Tootsie Pop for the that delicious chewy, chocolaty, mouth watering tootsie roll in the center is soooooooooo worth it. And so is my determination to write the best query letter I can!

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Query Letter Writing Process (warning: content may be hazardous to your eyes)

How's your query letter writing going, Melanie?

@#$%!#%@$%&*%^@$%!@#$!#$%#$%^, but thanks for asking.

Seriously, this is torture. Who would think that writing a 90Kword novel would be easier than a 300 word letter about the novel??? I only got two words to say to that:

Fuck. Me.

Excuse my language, but working on this letter makes me want to spew shit that only a potty mouth from the inside of a portable bathroom at a barbeque showdown would appreciate.

I have researched and read and researched and read anything and everything to do with query letter writing. I have even read the research about reading the research about researching the reading and writing of query letters! (did you actually get that, cause I think I lost myself there). I have also been lucky enough to receive some wonderful help and feedback from a very talented author and I still can't seem to get it right! But therein lies the problem: I refuse to give up. I will continue to torture myself until I have fried every last neuron in my brain in writing the perfect, eye catching, word hooking query letter I can. I mean, it's not like giving up is an option, right?

Okay, thanks for the vent. Time for my 1,856th attempt at this letter.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

10 Things About Me Me Me :-)

I've been tagged "it" by my buddy Joann over at It's Dark, Dark In Here (hey this is the second post with Joann's blog mentioned :-) ) to tell 10 things about me. Since I just updated my "Me" page, I will try to add 10 things I have not mentioned. Okay, here goes.

10. I'm an "American Mutt". Yes, each one of my grandparents was from a different country-Hungary, Austria, Sweden and Germany.

9. I lived in foster homes between the ages of 3 and 5 and was going to be put up for adoption, but my Guardian Angel *waves excitedly to Daddy* saved me. He got official custody of me when I was six  and raised me as a single father my entire life.

8. My dad is the "Real" Kramer (shhhhhh)

7. I studied acting at HB studios in Tribeca for a while and thought I would go the acting route, but decided it wasn't the life I wanted.

6. I tried for 5 years to have kids and finally had success with the miracles of modern medicine. I am a very proud IVFer :-)

5. I almost dropped out of school when I was 16, but my father convinced me to stay in and I ended up going to college and getting a BA in psychology and a MA in Elementary Education.

4. I was a beauty advisor/make-up artist for Lancome for 3 years at Macy's Herald Square. (The money was great, but the retail hours...HATED IT!)

3. I'm not a night owl AND I'm not a morning person. Not sure what the hell that makes me? I like my sleep (too bad I don't get enough of it)

2. I have been with my husband for almost 15 years (married 7). He is from Puerto Rico and we plan on moving there with our girls in the next couple of years!!!!!! Tropical weather, banana and mango trees, beach weather year round, and lots and lots of family HERE WE COME!!!

1. Discovering my joy for writing has been the best thing that could have ever happened to me (well, other than my family). Writing has given me a mental release from life that I believe everyone needs. Whether it be from photography, drawing, sewing, knitting, scrap booking, reading, whatever it may be, having something to pull you away from everyday life is so important. And most importantly, writing has brought some amazing people to my life. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my writer friends (and you best know who you are :-))

Naomi, Hayley, and Shari...TAG, YOU'RE IT! :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Okay, this one really cracked me up.

I had just picked up the girls from Pre-K and Lorien was in a bad mood. Apparently, she was angry that it was time for her to go because she wanted to play with some toys at the table. So, her mood carried into the car and she was a total crank pot. It didn't help that she was up 4 times last night and was scared that the ceiling in my bedroom (yes my girls were sleeping in my bed with Dh and I), was full of bees. She got stung for the first time this past summer and is now PETRIFIED of bees :(

Anyway, I degress. So, she's in a bad mood in the car and I'm trying to distract her and cheer her up. Nothing is working. Finally she says:

"That's it. I quit. I'm angry. I want to be out of this world. I want to go to Pennsylvania!"

Huh? I friggin' cracked up. And I mean I laughed hard. Pennsylvania?? Where did that come from (we live in NY).  I really need to get a special notebook and just jot down the things they say and when they said them. Will be cute to look at when they are older. Hmmm....I think I will run out and buy a notebook tomorrow.

So, any kids say the darndest thing stories from any of you? Doesn't have to be your own kids. I just love hearing the crazy things that come out of children.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Need Your Help Purty Peas :-)

Okay, so, I was on Joann's blog, It's Dark, Dark in Here (I visit it often) and I clicked on her MOI (FAQ) page and realized I don't have one of those and since Joann mentioned that it's the first thing she generally looks for when checking out a new blog, I figure there are probably others like her.

And I don't have one.


Since I don't have anything to blog about right now, I thought, let me put it up to my "followers" (God that sounds so cheesy! And I remember my Dad always reminding me as a teenager..."Don't be a follower. Be a leader."). Anywhoo, I was wondering if you could offer some good FAQs for me to answer as I feel silly asking and answering my own questions. The questions could be serious or totally ridiculous (or both if you ask more than one!) I will try to answer all of them as long as it's not TOO TOO personal--you know, don't ask my bra size or questions like bikini or thong? Unless it's regarding a hot celeb :-) Ask as many questions as you'd like and I will try to include them all. Of course you are all doing me a huge favor, so a GINORMOUS, GIGANTIC, GARGANTUAN THANK YOU in advance for your help. I think this could be fun. Or really, really embarrassing. But I'm totally okay with embarrassing.

Ask away Peeps :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Random Post--Bookmarks

Last night I had the most random thought and said to myself, Why not blog about it? So, today's post is about bookmarks. Yes folks, the ever exciting, thrilling, can't contain one's exuberance, bookmarks.

So for the last couple of books I have read, I was using this stupid torn piece of paper from  Great Wolf Lodge. I mean, don't get me wrong, it served it's purpose, but it was a strange jagged-y triangular shaped piece of paper ripped from the corner of a Save 20% coupon. I seriously don't even remember how it got ripped or why. Did I tear it off because I needed it for a bookmark? Who knows. God only knows why I do the things I sometimes do, and I sure wish s/he'd let me in on the reasons.

Upon picking up the last book I read, I said to myself, Wait a minute...My husband has several bookmarks in the nightstand next to his side of the bed. I had used them in the past and couldn't for the life of me figure out why I demoted myself to a piece of torn paper. So, I'm back to using an "official" bookmark thing-y. It's a LOTR bookmark with a picture of Arwen and Aragorn (happy sigh) walking hand-in-hand during the Coronation of the King scene in The Return of the King. The picture is so beautiful and has a calming sage green tassel with the One Ring inscribed with Elvish writing around it. Yes ladies and gents, I have the one ring to rule them all...muahahahaa.

So what about you? What do you use as a bookmark? What does it look like. What's the story behind it?  Share the juicy details!

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNo or NoNaNo

It seems that NaNo has taken over the world in my writing community. For those of you who don't know, NaNo is a sort of contest in which you have to try to write a 50K word Novel in a months time. It's not about quality but about quantity. It's intense from what I hear and read, but has a lot of advantages to the writer by forcing them to just write and not think about editing or revision. Just get the story down. I've even read that several people have had their NaNo stories end up being published (w/edit and revisions afterward, I'm sure). Basically, NaNo is not so much of a competition between writers, but one with yourself. It must be an amazing feeling to write 50K in a month. Such an accomplishment.

Okay, so why am I not part of this crazy NaNo stuff? I don't know. Maybe because I'm too excited about the revision work I have going on in my completed novel right now. Maybe because I can't imagine having the time to do this as a SAHM who's husband is working towards an online Bachelor's degree and so I have been trying to keep the girl's entertained a little more while he studies. Or, maybe I'm just scared that I can't do it. Who knows. Perhaps I'll try some other time. But I have to admit I feel very lonely right now in my writer's world. I feel like 90% of the writers I communicate with are going crazy doing NaNo right now and they are bonding in a way I can't with them. Sigh. Oh well.

Maybe 90% is a steep guesstimate. So, question of the day: NaNo or NoNaNo
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