About Me

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Well, let's see I am a: Proud parent of one daughter, Proud wife of a wonderful man, Proud American, Proud daughter of a Vietnam Vet, Proud daughter of a very caring woman, Proud sister of two wonderful and Christian men, Proud Christian Woman, Proud teacher, Proud good listener, Proud Twilight Mom and PROUD BUCKEYE FAN!!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm on another blog!

I have the extreme honor of guesting over at Bird's Eye View with my good friend Michelle. She asked me about my experience writing in the unique genre of YA memoir.

While you're there, take some time to look around and leave a comment or two. Michelle's first literary work has been requested by several agents, so get ready to hear her name on the scene. I couldn't be happier for her!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

Raise your hand if you can tell that I haven't been online much lately!

Yep, that's what I thought.

My time is seriously compromised when school starts and I go back to my day job: teaching some of the world's coolest kids. I love them, I love my job...but I hate not having the time to write and work on all things author-ish.

I am going to do better! Starting now!

Okay, well, starting Thursday with a guest post at Bird's Eye View with Michelle. She picked my brain about writing a memoir-based YA. I hope that you'll stop by her place, leave some comments, and let us know what you think.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Post/Question

I was speaking (via e-mail) with Michelle Fayard the other day and asked her opinion on the following question: Do you think it’s wise to post on my blog excerpts from the book I’m writing? It’s not that I’m worried someone will steal my idea, but I don’t want to put too much of me out there. What do you think?

Michelle's response really gave me something to think about. I'll get into that in a moment, but for now, here's what Michelle had to say.

I’ve read in some places that you might not want to put too many excerpts out there for one reason—if you generate a lot of buzz about your book but people can’t buy it yet, they might get frustrated and not listen when the book does go live.

However, I’ve seen so many authors do excerpts, it makes me wonder about the validity of the advice.

Where I stand right now is somewhere in the middle. I plan to post only occasional snippets until I have a contract, and when I post these excerpts, I’m accompany them with a short article about it’s bigger significance. For example, I might post the lines where my character Reeca, the daughter of an abolitionist, encourages Josepha, a slave, to help make quilts with coded messages for use on the Underground Railroad. Then I could continue the post by talking about this fascinating possibility, which still is open for speculation today among historians.

Once I have a contract for my current book, the closer I get to the pub date, the more I’ll up the snippet volume both on my blog and on my Facebook fan page.

Pre-published author Michelle Fayard has more than 20 years’ experience as a writer and editor, and her nonfiction articles have been published internationally. Michelle lives in Northern California with her husband, Marcelo, and their 12 rescue cats.

To read the first five chapters of her historical young-adult novel, The Underground Gift, visit http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/ and click on Work in Progress.

So now what I was saying. Many agenst these days want an author to have a platform; something that matters to them, that they are teaching the rest of the writing world. When Michelle mentioned that she might start having excerpts accompany an article about its greater significance, well I couldn't help but make a connection.

It's a blessing in disguise that Tough Love comes with its own educational platform: HIV/AIDS. When the time comes, I plan to showcase information about the AIDS crisis, both here in the states and worldwide. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for me to have gone through the whole ordeal...and to be writing this book.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My First Award!

I spent a lot of time during July participating in a BlogFest. It was hosted by my friend and fellow writer Deana Barnhart. During that time, I was able to get some wonderful advice, work on my craft a bit more and get to know other writers. The best part, though, was meeting some ladies that I am now priviledged to call friend.

One such friend is
Michelle Fayard. Michelle is a pre-published author who has just received a couple of requests from agents. Things are about to change in her world and I couldn't be more excited for her.

But anyway, back to the award. There are a ton of awards out in the blogging world - everything from "You're cute!" to "Great advice!" and thousands in between. The Liebster Blog award, which spotlights up-and-coming bloggers who currently have fewer than 200 followers, is one of those.

The guidelines of the award are:

~ Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
~ Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
~ Copy and paste the award on your blog.
~ Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
~ And, most of all, have fun!

So here are my five:

Melody Wright, a lifelong writer who is just now starting to get serious about the craft. She is currently running a contest, so check her out.

My friend and mentor
Tawdra Kandle. Tawdra is on quest to be published; she writes about the joys, the pain, and the monotony of stories, queries, and rejections.

Lori Butterfield is my sister-in-law. She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom to five of my nieces and nephews. How she finds time to still knit, worship our Lord, and blog is beyond me. But she does it...and she does it well.

One of my sweet, dear friends (from my college years) has recently returned from a misison trip to Africa.
Rachael Willey was able to fulfill a lifelong dream when she visited Ngoswani in June. Her blog is all about living life to the fullest, praising God for the blessings we have, and being thankful.

Lastly, I'd like to extend this award to
Kristi Bernard. Kristi is another friend that I met through the BlogFest. She has some great info and giveaways on her blog.

Again, I am so blessed to have these ladies in my life and feel very honored to have recieved my first blogger award. By the way, come back on Monday to learn more about Michelle Fayard, when she will be my first ever guest post.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm in love!

No, not with my husband. Okay, well, yes with my husband...but that's not the point.

I'm in love with the Query Shark. Most of you have already heard of her, I'm sure, but for those that haven't, QS (aka Janet Reid) is awesome. Her blog is full of great information through the posting of hundreds of query letters. A few are awesome and have gotten it right from the very start; most, however, are not.

Through each letter she gives wonderful advice, telling the author how to fix what's wrong and, more importantly, why it's wrong. She isn't just being a class-A you-know-what. Her only job is to help those of us working on query letters to get stronger. Oh and she's funny while doing it.

Here's a great tip:

There's a simple way to figure out what goes in the first paragraph of a query.

1. What is your main character's name?

2. What problem/choice does the character face? (20 words or fewer)

3. Who wants to foil the main character's plan and why? (20 words or fewer)

These three questions are the blueprint of your query. You don't write the answers and send it as a query any more than a real estate agent posts blueprints instead of photographs of a house for sale.

You USE these questions to guide you on what to include (action/plot) and what not to include (description/character list)

Think of it as a writing exercise. Answer each of these questions. Use as many words as you need, then pare down to 20.

Another point Janet says: do NOT write a QL from the POV of your character. Most agents see this as a gimmick, and they aren't interested in gimmicks. They are interested in your book.

And lastly she say, "The SOLE purpose of the query is to get me to read your book." If you can write a QL that leaves 'em wanting more, you've done it! Plain and simple, right?

Yeah, not so much. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011


Oh my gosh, y'all, I am so excited!

As you know, I've been participating in Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up to Get an Agent blogfest the past couple of weeks. The first week was the post I did title "I Just Gotta Ask". Week two was the super fun Story Chain; the full story can be found here.

Each week, Deana has been able to offer some amazing prizes (as if meeting a bunch of cool authors and new friends wasn't enough, right??). And guess who was the winner for week 2?!?!

That's right baby - ME!!!!

I'm still learning about the details, but basically I've won a double query critique from fellow author Rachael Harrie (her blog is RachWrites). Besides writing YA horror/paranormal, Rachael is the founder of the Writers' Platform-Building Crusade, where she "link(s) aspiring writers, beginner bloggers, industry people, and published authors together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms." Pretty sweet, eh? The 3rd installment is coming up soon; go here for more details.

Okay, time to stop blogging and get to writing that query letter. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Story Chain

Well, here it is; my portion of the story chain. If you'd like to see what was written just prior to me, head over to the lovely Catherine Johnson's blog.

By the time Dio got to the first floor of the house, Uncle Tony was in the driveway. “Hey, wait up,” she called.

“Glad to see you changed your mind,” he said when she hopped in the passenger seat. “I have a feeling today is going to be amazing.”

Dio processed his words as she played with the funny little fuzz balls hanging from the rearview mirror. Nothing in her family was said or done that didn’t have a hidden meaning, so just what was Uncle Tony up to? She guessed his mind-reading abilities had something to do with it.

When they reached Sandy's house and Dio saw the taxi in the driveway she knew something was up. What's going on, she wondered?

Sandy came rushing out of the house. Well, as fast as she could go carrying two very heavy suitcases. "Oh, hey Dio," she called when she looked up. She dropped the luggage off with the driver and hurried over. "Sorry about all this," she gestured around, "but I leave for Europe today. Which reminds me, Tony, have you finalized the adoption papers?"

And for what happens with Dio next, go check out our beautiful and tremedous host, Ms. Deana Barnhart.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Dance!

First of all, have y'all seen how many followers I'm up to?!? Sixteen! Woot woot! I know that 16 isn't exactly an astronomical number or anything, but I had...count 'em...ZERO until about, oh, a month ago. So I'm pretty psyched!

Secondly, I'm happy to announce that tomorrow is going to be a great day! Yup, I already know it for a few reasons:

1 - I have a doctor appt that is going to go smashingly well. He's a wonderful dermatologist at Vanderbilt; such a sweet man and I enjoy my appts with him every 6 months.

2 - As part of Deana Barnhart's Gearing up to Get an Agent blogfest, several of us are doing a story chain. My portion will be up before 8:45 (Eastern time), which is before said doctor appointment. Nothing like getting the creative juices flowing first thing in the morning. ;)

3 - Due to said appointment (and two more un-said ones) Halen is going to a sitter tomorrow. After several days of just her and I at home, I'm *so* ready for a break. I love her, but I was NOT built to be a stay-at-home mom and we need time away from each other to stay sane. Plus, I can't write when she's around which means...hoping to get some writing done.

Okay, so your assignment is to come back here after 8:45 (EASTERN TIME) tomorrow morning and check out my part of the story. See you then!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just gotta ask...

Now that I'm getting a bit more serious about my writing, I have started doing more research about agents, platforms, editors, etc... One of my friends Deana has recently started a a blogfest. It's called Gearing Up to Get an Agent; you can find her blog and more about the contest here.

Part one of this contest is all about questions. A lot of times aspiring (or sometimes even veteran) writers have questions that seem silly, stupid, or crazy and they never want to ask them for fear of looking silly, stupid, or crazy. You get the idea. Now is my chance to ask one of those quesitons. So here goes.

Since I'm writing about my own life, is it a memoir? Then again it was so long ago that I don't remember every detail, so is it creative nonfiction? My book is definitely YA; can you even have YA nonfiction? I am having a hard time trying to figure out which agents to even approach because I'm not sure what my book is.

If you feel like you need to know more about my book to answer these questions for me, just read below. The first couple of chapters are listed here as previous posts.
Thanks, y'all!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Anybody out there?

I know there are a few people that check this blog once in a while, but I'm not really sure how many followers I really have.

So, if you're out there post a comment or do something so that I know you are listening. =)

In the coming weeks/months I plan to change the blog a bit to make it more about my life/family/etc and less about the weight loss journey. Of course, that will always be a part of this blog because it will always be a part of me but there are other things to write about too.