Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wanted: Critique Partners

I read a pretty awesome post today by Susan Kay Quinn about self-publishing and it has renewed my hope in giving up on querying.  Querying is beyond frustrating, agents with all the power telling us that we just aren't the one that they can take on in this economy.  Rachelle Gardner revealed at her blog that most first-time authors don't even make enough to sell through the advance that they get on their book and it can be all that they make on the book.  A self-published author can sometimes make more than that if the story is good enough.  Everyone's experience is going to be different, but it can be done.  You should really check out her post

I've decided that I want to self-publish one of my novels.  I'm looking for two or three critique partners to work on it with me.  I will definitely return the favor.  The one I'm looking for help with is "To Love Without Hope".

Here's the summary:

The faded image on the missing poster taped to the diner door, haunts every waking thought of Sophie Olson’s life.  Jordan Michaels disappeared two months ago without a trace, and his body was never found.

Nineteen-year-old Sophie is not a stranger to pain; being raised by a neglecting father will do that.  She believes that no one should know the truth of her life and is content to live a lie that everything is okay.  Her life crumbles as she is snatched by a sinister and eerie man one April night.  Her best friend Matt tries to protect her and is taken into the darkness with her.  The basement shows no hope of escape and the chain on her wrist clinks on the stone floor; the depiction of a slave to a man named Everett.  Sophie quickly finds herself face to face with the boy from the poster.  Jordan is broken and beaten.  She begins to believe the lies that Everett spews; there is no hope, only death to come.  Despite it all, Sophie starts to fall in love with Jordan and Matt and it’s a deeper love than she could ever imagine.  But it won’t save her.

Inspired by a true story, TO LOVE WITHOUT HOPE is a 52,000 word journey of broken faith in God and a love that that will break our hearts and heal them.  This life-changing story tells the tale of unbearable pain, lost hope, and the fight to overcome, even if we can’t survive.


I have already done three drafts of the novel and I'm looking for input on characters, plot, and overall quality of the writing.  Any little typos that can be caught would help too.  Those things are tricky.   I will send one chapter at a time and give you time to read, make notes, and send back.  Please, pretty please!  I will compensate you if necessary. :)

If you are interested, leave me a comment with your email address or send me an email at kristam[at]iastate.edu.  I would be so very, very appreciative!  You might even end up in the acknowledgements!! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Award and Update

I've felt a little lonely in the award department, but I received an award this past week!  My lovely award is the Sunshine Award from JEFritz.  Thank you!

When given this award, one is supposed to respond in the following way:
    Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
    Write a post about it.
    Answer the questions below.
    Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and let them know.

As for the questions…
Favorite color: Light blue or pink
Favorite animal:  Hippos!!
Favorite number:  Umm... I guess 8.  Not sure why though.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  Strawberry milk - YUM!
Facebook or Twitter:  Facebook, I have yet to figure out Twitter.
My passion: Writing, obviously - but I also love writing and kids!  I want to have six someday. :)
Getting or giving presents:  Both - I love to give gifts and receive, but mostly give. 
Favorite pattern:  My best friend, Jessica, informed me last week that I actually have a plaid problem because I love plaid and I have too much of it.  It's my favorite pattern. :)
Favorite day of the week:  Tuesday - NCIS and Glee are on TV :)
Favorite flower:  None?  I do like pink carnations I guess.  

And I am passing this onto 10 (well 4) sunshine-y bloggers!



As an update, I am now finished with 15 of 26 of my A-Z posts for April!  (crosses fingers)  I'm getting there!  Though I did accidentally post one last week and had to redo it.  Oops!  So, if you saw a strange post that disappeared... yep, sorry! :)  I've also got some exciting *not life changing exciting, but still exciting* writing stuff, but I will save that for tomorrow!

And to all of you that saw "The Hunger Games" already - I envy you.  I promised a friend I would wait to see it with her and she doesn't come home until April 6th.  I am counting down the days.  Don't give me any spoilers, but I hope it was amazing!

Hope that all of your writing is going well! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rising Book 1: Resistance - A Review

I've been waiting to read this book until I finally got some money to buy it!  I read it in a matter of hours!!  It's written by one of my blogging friends, Laura!  You should definitely check out her blog

Title: Rising Book 1: Resistance
Author: Laura Josephsen
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: February 21, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction

Plot: First, here is the summary of "Rising Book 1: Resistance" from Amazon -All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country. Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he's attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king.  Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse's urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die. And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon.  (Book 1 of 2)

My first impressions of the book were the fact that I couldn't put it down!  The main character, Alphonse starts out having a bad encounter with some angry cows at the start of his summer break and it only gets worse from there.  A strange man showing up at his door, being chased by members of the "military" and making friends with Mairwyn - a secretive young woman that works as a mechanic.  The book was incredibly well written!  I couldn't stop reading it.  All of the characters were full of secrets and captivating.  At times, I wasn't really sure who to trust, but things kept changing and the book twisted right when I thought I could guess the next turn.  The story was rich and exciting!  The first part was written in Alphonse's POV and the second in Mairwyn's.  I liked getting the chance to read both characters.  

Romantic Element:  The love element in the story was subdued and wonderful.  Alphonse and Mairwyn don't start out well and things are rocky between them.  She really kinda hates him, but the way that the author writes the changes in their relationship and how they grow is inspiring.  I won't ruin it for you, but these two characters... I loved them! :)

Overall:  I am eagerly awaiting the continuation of this story!  I was so sad when I reached the end of the book.  Alphonse and Mairwyn grow so much throughout the novel and you just have to know more about them!  I admit that one of my favorite minor characters was little Ellery - what a stinker and so cute!  The plot kept me engaged and it was amazing!  I definitely recommend this book to anyone!  You will not regret it!  The world that Laura wrote is simply beautiful and complex.  I wish I had wings and lived in such a beautiful place, just not the war part.  I haven't read a book so well-written in a long time.  Please, you will seriously fall in love with Alphonse and Mairwyn!  I can't wait to read the second book! :)
Have a great day! :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Special Writing Place

I've been busy planning out my A-Z Blogging posts so I can have most of them scheduled beforehand and that's been taking up some of my time.  So far I have 5 of 26 posts done and scheduled.  I have to keep plugging away!

But in more important news - I learned something important about myself and writing today.  The importance of having a writing spot.  I've been struggling with getting writing done for a while now.  Whether I'm sitting at my desk, sitting on my bed, or lounging in the living room - I couldn't get any writing done.  My roommate was being extremely annoying today - so I decided to take my laptop and head to the local coffee shop downtown to try and get some writing done.  I picked a secluded booth, purchased an iced vanilla latte, and stuck in some headphones.  I actually got 1,500 words written today!  That may not seem like a lot, but it helped me. :)  It was so very nice to get away from the distractions.  I will definitely head to the coffee shop to get my writing done now.  Having a place where I can write without distractions is really important.  I hope that you have a special writing spot too!

Here's a little snippet of what I wrote today on my WIP "Nameless" - my main character, Edom is describing the Guard (aka really terrible bad guys) when he sees them outside the capital:

Even in the heat of the fall day, the members of the Guard were dressed in black robes, concealing their black tunics and blacker hearts.  One was standing at the main entrance to the capital.  Sunlight glinted off of the curved blade in his hand, clasped at his side.  That blade was used to kill innocent children.  It was rusted with the blood that was never cleansed from the metal.  The Guard didn’t wipe their blade after a kill, but left it as evidence that they had succeeded on taking another evil from the country.  The rustier the blade, the more power that member had among the others.  If they could see the man’s eyes, they would have seen the eyes that were as cold as a stone at the bottom of a frozen lake.  Eyes as cold as their hearts; Edom had seen them so many times and they haunted his dreams. 

Don't they just sound terrible?  So, do you have a special writing place?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A-Z: Challenge Accepted

For the month of April - I will be blogging from A-Z with hundreds of others!  Yep.  That's a little intimidating.  I admit that I signed up for this a few months back and I haven't been willing to put it on my blog, but today I will.  I am going to do it!

That's a lot of posts - I don't think I've ever done that many in a month, but I am planning on scheduling some soon to help me out. :)

I am thinking of doing a theme with my posts, but I haven't come up with one yet. 

Off to do some writing!  Have a stupendous day! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lucky 7

Ah, I've finally been tagged in a pretty (painless) meme by Cherie over at her blog, Cherie Writes...  You should check out her blog if you aren't following it yet! :)

Here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current ms.

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.

4. Tag 7 other victims, er, authors.

Alright, let's see what I have on page 77 of "Nameless"... well, I don't have a page 77 yet, so I am going to use page 7 of my current ms.


Edom smiled once, but it quickly fell.  “I didn’t want to burden my young sister.”
Liora ignored his compliment as she firmly grasped his arm and closed her eyes, letting the blue glow flow from her hand and into his body.  A moment later, the growths were gone and he began to breathe a little easier.  Edom pushed her back slightly as he sat up and then moved to stand, brushing the dirt off of his brown cloth pants. 
          “You scared me,” Liora whispered, not afraid to be frank with her brother when most would have not spoken.  “I don’t understand this.  

Hope you makes you a little curious about it! :)

Now, I am tagging.... 

Whoever wants to be tagged!!

Have a great Wednesday!! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Clean Water Movement

I've been quite busy lately and I realized that I haven't posted anything.  Work is going well and I'm still really enjoying it!  I wanted to share something with you all.  Something I'm really passionate about.


In our society, $2 can buy a cup of coffee or two candy bars.  It can also be used to go to a cheap movie - the town I live in has a dollar theater, where it is only $2 to see an evening show.  $2 bills are no longer being printed, but they used to be a form of currency in America.

Every twenty-seconds a child dies from water related diseases.  Unsanitary conditions kill 1.8 million people each year and more than 1.5 million of those deaths are children under the age of 5.

I don't know about you, but that breaks my heart.  There's an answer to this problem and it doesn't cost more than $2 a month.  Drilling wells.

A well can cost thousands of dollars, but the Clean Water Movement can make a good well for $500 and saves lives.  If 250 people donate $2 a month, we can dig a clean well a month.  I personally know the President of this movement and he doesn't make a dime from this.  Dustin is all about giving to others and providing clean water.  I don't want to preach to you, but you should really check out the website:


Here's a little clip from the local news:

Anyone can give $2 a month - I do and I hope that you can too. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Goals

It's time for an update in goals!!  Here are my goals from February:

* Write to 10,000 words on my WIP - "Nameless" 
 Didn’t quite get to 10,000 words yet, but my word count is now 8,337 – so I have +1,322 words than I did last month and that’s the most that has been written on my WIP in three months.

* Find a job!
Done – I have a job at Starbucks and I love it!  My co-workers are a lot of fun and I like going to work! :)

* Read "Open Minds" by Susan Kaye Quinn

* Hear back about "To Love Without Hope" pitch in ABNA (February 23, 2012)

Goals for March:

* Write to 12,000 words on my WIP – “Nameless”

* Do a dry read of “The Secret” and make a list of scenes that need to be cut, scenes that need to be added or edited

* See “The Hunger Games” in theaters! (Very, very, very excited for this movie!  I loved the book series!)

* Read “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks


A little more about my new job!  I did my first day on Tuesday – 8 hours of cashier training, which I admit that I was very nervous about, but I got the hang of it.  Yesterday, I did 7 hours of barista training and learned to make several of the hot drinks that they serve!  Steaming milk scared me at first, but I really enjoyed it once I got over my fear of it.  I work again tomorrow and I get to learn more drinks.  My boss is very funny and personable.  I spent the whole day with him yesterday and he was very patient and kind.  Yay!  I haven’t met anyone that might become a character in one of my books yet, but I’m sure that I will someday. :)  It’s a great opportunity to observe people! 

Have a great Friday! 

How are your goals going?