About Me

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Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm a writer, reader, and huge TV junkie. I just might post about all three here on this blog. Have a look around. And if you want, drop me an email and tell me what you think. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

waiting on wednesday: The Water Wars

The lovely Jill (a fellow Alabamian!) over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on. Like all of you I'm sure, there are tons of upcoming books that I can't wait to read. But one that I'm most anticipating (at least for the month of January!) is The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher.

The Water Wars
By Cameron Stracher
Pub date: 1/1/11

Product Description from Amazon.com

Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold...

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn't seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn't go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us...

And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.

Doesn't it sound amazing? And the best part? It comes out in 3 DAYS! Yes people, on 1/1/11, The Water Wars hits the shelves...and you can bet I'll be first in line to snag a copy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

midwinter's eve giveaway winners!!

That's right people, I said Winners...cause I decided that since I had so many entries (132 total) I would add Two More Winners to the pot! Yay!

A huge Thank You to all of you guys for making the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop such a success! And amazingly, astoundingly, unbelievably, I got more than 100 new followers out of it! That's just insane! So thanks to all of you for that.

And now on to the winners.

I used Randomizer.org to pick the winners because it's the fairest way I think. Each of the three winners below will have the choice of any book from The Book Depository ($10 or less) and need to email me with their book selection and mailing address so I can get those ordered. Being that this weekend is Christmas, it's gonna take me a few days to get it done. But I'll get it done!

So without further ado, here are the winners!




Congratulations to all the winners! Please email me with your mailing address and book choice and I'll get those sent out as soon as I can.

And if you entered and didn't win, don't fret. Please stick around (don't unfollow me...it breaks my heart!) because I'm gonna have another contest when I hit 300 followers - which is right around the corner!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

midwinter's eve giveaway hop!

Hello all, and welcome to the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop! It's hosted by the awesomeness that is I'm A Reader, Not A Writer...go ahead, check it out after you're done here. (And my apologies to you all - I have no clue why this post didn't go up at midnight!)

This hop is a quick one - only two days long - but it's a good one! There will be tons of giveaways over the next two days, so after you've entered mine, hop on over to the next blog on the list and enter theirs. Then the next, and the next...well, you get the idea!

And to celebrate this Midwinter's Eve Giveaway, I'm rewarding one lucky person (US & International, too!) with any book they want from The Book Depository ($10 or less)! Cool, right? I like getting free money, so I thought you guys would, too. My requirement for entry is super simple: Follow my blog and comment on this post. That's it!

So go ahead folks, click the 'Follow' button to the right and leave me a comment below. Tell me your favorite book, what book you're dying to read, or just say "Hi!" and you're entered. Simple, right?

Remember, you only have today and tomorrow to enter all of the blogs on the list, so move fast, folks! I'll (hopefully) announce the winner on Thursday so be on the lookout for that.

So follow this blog, leave a comment, and you could win a book!

Here's the list of all the blogs participating in the giveaway so you can easily move on to the next one! And thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

don't be a hoarder!

We hear it all the time: Streamline your writing. Take out all the "unnecessary" words, phrases, dialogue, characters...make your writing tight and beautiful and perfect. Yeah. If it were as easy to do as it is to say, we'd all have books on the shelves, right?

But there is a way, I believe, to achieve the goal of tight, beautiful prose. And I think the A&E show Hoarders gives us a prime example how. Just bare with me, I'm not as crazy as I seem.

In some way or another, writing is like this show. The people showcased here collect as much stuff as they can and keep it. Forever. We as writers tend to do that, don't you think? When we start a first draft of "The Next Great American Novel", we are deeply in love with our words. All 150,000 of them. We don't want to lose a single one. We argue with ourselves, our crit partners, our beta readers, that each word means something to the overall story.

It won't make sense without that adjective!
But I need that "that" in there!
I know I used "just" 1,284 times...I meant to!

Sound familiar? Yeah, I do it too. But we can't, people. We just can't. If we do, our WIPs are gonna look like this:

Yeah. Imagine all that stuff is really words, piled from the top of the page to the bottom. Ugly, huh? None of us really want that, no matter how much we say we do. So let's try to not be Hoarders, and clean it up.

Like the experts tell the guests on the show, you have to dig deep to find out what the real root of the problem is, and begin there. Otherwise, you'll end up right back where you started. In our writing, we too need to dig deep. We need to dig deep into the back story of our characters to find what really makes them tick. We need to dig deep through our creative minds to find the words we really want to use instead of those plain, boring, unnecessary ones. We need to dig deep to discover that less really is more. Piece of cake. Done.

If only.

To me, the task of cleaning up my completed first draft was overwhelming when I first stepped into the world of "wanting to be a writer". So overwhelming, in fact, that I completely scrapped my first completed work just so I wouldn't have to edit it. Crazy, I know. But at the time, I just couldn't handle the stress of revision. (See how I like the word 'just'?)

Fast-forward nearly a year, and I'm exactly the same! Nah, just kidding. Now, after "digging deep" into the world of author blogs and agent websites and "How To Write A Book Without Really Writing It" books, I fully understand the all-encompassing need to revise, revise, revise.

That doesn't mean I want to, though.

I know that there are some writers out there who absolutely love revising their work. They speed through the first draft like a meth addict rifling through a stranger's belongings, just so they can get to the editing. I envy those people, I really do. I wish I could have the Gung-ho attitude they possess. But alas, I do not. I have to rely on my own lacking will power to get my butt in the chair and revise. But I have learned something that helps. And I learned it from Hoarders.

All you have to do is break it down room by room. On the show, the expert organizers and therapists that are brought in to help the hoarders usually tackle one room at a time so as not to overwhelm the homeowners. They would take the kitchen you saw earlier in this post and completely empty it, throwing out all the unnecessary junk and trash, putting back only what is necessary for survival. Boy that sounds good, huh? Don't you wanna get rid of the junk and trash in your WIP and leave only what's necessary for it to survive? I know I sure do.

For my current completed first draft, I am in the process of revising. And I've decided to break it down "room by room" - starting with the dreaded adjectives. We all use them, we all love them. And I'm sure we all abuse the heck out of them, too! Overuse, misuse, whatever you wanna label it, we all do it. I'm going through the entire ms, only paying attention to my use of adjectives, nothing else. Once I'm done with that, I'll go back to the beginning and work on something else (word repetition, probably). Then when I'm done with that pass, I'll go back to the beginning and pick another faux pas. And so on and so on and so on...you get the idea.

I'm hoping that revising this way will be much less stressful in my mind, and that I'll actually enjoy it. Who knows? Maybe once I'm done, my ms will look more like this:

So what about all of you? How do you revise? Do you see any of your writing in this kitchen - either before or after?

Friday, December 10, 2010

congrats to the YA cuzzes!

Who knows if "cuzzes" is even a word, but it's my blog and I can use it if I want, right?

Anyway, just wanted to say a quick CONGRATULATIONS!! to Pam Harris at Y(A)? Cuz We Write! She won a FULL MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE from the awesome agent Weronica Janczuk!

How cool is that? Pam was one of my very first followers here, so I just had to give her a shout out...way to go Pam!

And her blogging "cuz" and real-life "cuz" Marquita Hockaday was the first on the Honorable Mentions list (which technically means she came in 2nd Place, right? Which is awesome!) and she gets a 50 page critique from the same awesome agent!

I love your blog, ladies, and just wanted to say congrats on your amazing wins!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

bad blogger...or, how my muse moved in with me

Let me start by saying Sorry. My apologies for not posting anything on this blog for sooo long (hides head in shame). I made a post a while back saying I would at least try to post once per week (I know that's lame...forgive me) and so far I'm not holding up my end of the deal. Again, sorry.

But I have a good excuse. You see, my Muse called several days ago. She was traveling across the United States on her way to Arizona to help a certain vampire author pen her next Worldwide Phenomenon and needed a place to crash for the night.

I was giddy with excitement at her call, but then immediately switched to worry when I remembered what happened last time she made that call: She showed up for one day and then was gone, leaving me with a really good premise and nothing else. I cursed her for weeks after that. So needless to say I was a bit apprehensive (well, after the initial elation wore off), but I finally agreed to let her spend the night with me, deciding to not put much into anything she might say or offer up throughout the night. I fully expected to find a quick little note saying "Thanks for the nap!" stuck to my fridge and all my milk gone.

Well, imagine my surprise when I found my Muse nestled right next to me when I woke the next morning. I stayed in bed an extra 20 minutes, unmoving for fear of sending her on her way. But she stayed! Yes folks, she stayed. We got up, had a very nice breakfast, and she immediately went to work.

And she hasn't stopped.

She has basically moved in with me. She's taking showers at my house, washing her clothes, eating up all my food...and filling me with so many wonderful ideas to help with my current WIP revisions that I can't get them down fast enough. And even though I've had to make extra trips to buy milk (boy does she love her milk), I'm loving it! The walks we take, the hours-long talks that spawn major plot points and character developments...agh!

As you can see, even though I've been hugely neglecting my blogger duties, I do have an excellent reason: a new house guest! And it's the good kind of house guest - the kind that gives something in return for your hospitality - not the kind that eats dinner at your place every night without offering to cook first.

So please forgive me everyone. If you've by chance been missing seeing posts from writers write, right? on your blog roll, don't blame me. Blame my muse.

What about you guys? Has your muse inspired you lately? Has she offered up any ideas? Has she moved in for a while? Or has she bypassed your place entirely and taken the red-eye straight to Arizona to inspire that other writer?