The Pretty Writing Trap

I don’t know about you guys, but for the longest time my goal was to make my writing sing. I searched for the perfect metaphor, traded similes until the right one rang clear and when I closed my eyes I tried to picture my descriptions perfectly so it would resound on the page.

And technically, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Those are all things that are important to master while writing.
That’s all good and well, and I was pretty happy with the result. That is, until one of my crit partners came to me and told me my pretty writing was getting in the way of my protagonist’s voice.

Whoa. I read that comment at least half a dozen times. Then I raced back to my WIP and was instantly mortified. My partner was totally right. In my quest to beautify my writing, I neglected the voice. This was especially tragic since my WIP was in first person. *cringe*

So I rewrote the first part of the sample for the umpteenth time with a focus on my MC’s voice. I stopped panicking. This was a feasible fix. It’d take a lot of rewriting, but it wasn’t a death sentence. Plus the new version was a million times better.

But it got me thinking. Somewhere deep down inside I knew writing pretty wasn’t the goal, yet somewhere along the line I’d forgotten. True writing is what we should aim for. True to you and, most importantly, true to your character.

My MC was a seventeen-year-old guy and I was using phrases like “phantom rain” and “limp and delicate as a newborn.” It wasn’t until after I became aware of my tendency towards pretty writing that it occurred to me no sane seventeen-year-old boy is going to say that. Geesh.

So. When reviewing your work, here are two questions to ask yourselves: Am I writing pretty? Is this something my MC would say or something I like because it’s a nice image?

Remember the old adage kill your darlings? Yeah. That applies to now. Like that beautiful simile that you spent hours on—was that YOU or your character?

Think about it.

Edit: I know I kind of mentioned this, but I'd like to clarify--please don't worry about this or any other editing issue while writing your first draft, just get it down. This is something to consider while editing. That is all. :)

Have you fallen into the writing pretty trap? What other things do you try to look out for when editing?


Welcome to Never-Ending Editing Syndrome Anonymous, also known as The Writing Group that Suffers From WAIT I CAN’T SEND THAT OUT YET IT’S NOT READY YOU CAN’T MAKE ME STOP EDITING *CLING*!

*ehem.* As this is our first meeting, and I understand we’re all feeling a little uncomfortable, I will break the ice. *deep breath.*

Hi. My name is Ava Jae and…and I suffer from Never-Ending Editing Syndrome. There. I said it. Wow, I actually said it.

Now many of you are probably wondering what Never-Ending Editing Syndrome is and how you magically arrived at this meeting, when you have no memory of signing up for such an event. As the latter is not really that important, I’ll just address the former.

There are many symptoms associated with Never-Ending Editing Syndrome. If you suffer from more than one of these, you probably are infected:

·         Telling friends, family and anyone who will listen that you’ve finished your final edits of your WIP only to resume editing a few weeks (or days) later.
·         Asking beta readers if they could look over a few chapters again because the version they read was three or four drafts ago.
·         Moving that deadline over because it’s “just not ready.”
·         Panicking after you send out an excerpt and doing another emergency edit even though it’s already too late and—AW CRAP IS THAT A TYPO?!
·         Inexplicable sobbing.
·         Recurring nightmares of that rejection or scathing review because of a misplaced comma on page fifty-seven.

Now of course, you are probably wondering what the cure is. So am I. Let me know when you find one.

UNTIL THEN! There ARE ways to fight it. It’s difficult, I know, and sometimes it takes a little pushing from someone else. But NEES is NOT a death sentence and it CAN be overcome!

Here are some strategies:

  •        Stick to your goals. This means not allowing yourself to push a deadline over. When you hit the deadline, guess what? You’ve met the deadline. Stop editing. Like now. I see you still reading. STOP!
  •       Trust your beta readers and critique partners. If you have a critique partner that rips your work to shreds and points out every glaring plot hole, good. Hold on to them. They’re invaluable. After they’ve gone through your manuscript and you’ve made the necessary changes, trust your readers. Chances are, they enjoyed your book, so don’t make any more changes. I know it’s tempting. Really, I do. BUT STOP MAKING CHANGES!
  •       Complete this sentence: I will be done editing when ________. Now fill in the blank. Maybe when you get five positive responses from betas. Maybe when you’ve made your cardboard antagonist sympathetic. Maybe when your writing isn’t pretty anymore (more on that later). Regardless of what your overall goal is, fill in the blank and still to it. The only unacceptable answer is “perfect.” DON’T FILL IN THE BLANK WITH “PERFECT” OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND DROWN YOU IN SPARKLY CONFETTI!

Finally, remember this: your book doesn’t have to be perfect, just enjoyable. No one’s book is perfect. NO ONE’S. No one expects yours to be, either. Make it the best you can, then let it go.

Do you suffer from NEES? What symptoms have I missed? What other strategies do you suggest?

Dear You,

Photo Credit: William Arthur Fine Stationary on Flickr
Yes, you. Reading this right now. I don’t care who you are, if you read this blog regularly, if you clicked the link that brought you here just for the hell of it or if you happened to stumble onto this page by accident.

This letter is for you.

You are beautiful, unique and loved. It doesn’t always feel like it, I know. Some days are rough and though you are part of a body of 7 billion people, you feel absolutely alone. Sometimes those days turn to weeks or months or more and it feels as though you need to fight for every moment in order to be heard, in order to be seen, in order for someone—anyone—to care.

But you are not alone. There are thousands of others out there feeling ugly, feeling forgotten, feeling insignificant and every one of them—EVERY SINGLE ONE—is wonderful and perfect.

You are perfect. Say that aloud: “I am perfect.” No, I don’t mean unflawed—every one of us has flaws—but if you continue to be true to yourself, you need not change a thing. 

Here’s another one. “I am beautiful and loved.” Say that twice a day; once when you wake in the morning and before you go to bed at night. We don’t hear it enough. The world likes to make us think that we must be tall, blonde and a hundred pounds to be beautiful. But they’ve been lying to us. Lying to you. Lying to me.

You are already beautiful and wonderful because you are unique. You are YOU. You have a birthday, a favorite song, a family, and when you close your eyes at night you dream of faraway places and impossible lands. There are days when the tears never run out and days when you laugh so much it hurts to breathe. Inhale deeply for a moment—remember that you are alive, that every breath is a new one, that every second is a moment that is uniquely you.

You are beautiful. You are unique. You are loved. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Enjoy today, friend. Today, just as every day, like you, is special. Go outside and enjoy the fresh air. Smile. Read your favorite book, listen to your favorite song. Treat yourself to something delicious because you deserve it. Smile again—it’s good for you! 

Get in touch with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, but you wish you had. They’ll be glad to hear your voice again. Maybe they’ll cry a little, maybe they’ll laugh or maybe they won’t answer at all. I don’t know but try anyway because our family, our friends, they are the ones that have loved us from the beginning and will love us until the end.

Now, I know there are some of you without a family, I haven’t forgotten about you. Go out and create your own family. Find people you can trust, people you can hold on to for the rest of your life and spend holidays with. Maybe you don’t have anyone like that yet, and that’s ok. There are good people out there, waiting for you. They don’t know it yet, and it might take some time to find them, but they’re there, I promise, and you’ll know when you’ve found them.

Dear you, don’t let the world get you down. Don’t give up on your dreams and most of all don’t ever forget how beautiful and wonderful you truly are.

Now, go on. Enjoy today. Enjoy tomorrow. Enjoy every day, because every day is new and made for you.

And when you’re feeling down, read this again and remember how wonderful and perfect you really are. 

5 Reasons Why

Most people don’t like to write. The thought of sitting in front of a computer, pounding away at the keyboard for hours on end doesn’t translate to “exciting” for the average person. Hell, there are even some days when I think writing is overrated, but I keep at it anyway.

The question of course, is why?

Why write when you could go out and enjoy the sun? Why torment yourself over finding the right word, over ending the next scene over editing and editing and editing until your eyes bleed and you can quote from your book BY PAGE NUMBER?


There isn’t a simple answer, but I’ll tell you why I do it. Five reasons. Here we go.

  1.       On MOST days, I love writing. I guess that makes me weird, but there are some people who love to sit around and solve math problems all day and that just doesn’t make any sense to me. I suppose I’m the same kind of weird to them that they are to me, and that’s ok. I embrace weird. Normal’s overrated, anyway.
  2.      Discovery. Those who’ve never written fiction before may find this one difficult to understand. Don’t you know what you’ve set out to write? they wonder. In simple terms: no, not always. And even when I do, sometimes my characters will do something COMPLETELY different from what I planned. And that’s the best part. Because they’ve taken a life of their own. Because they’ve surprised me and when that happens they truly become alive. And it’s the best feeling in the world
  3.      I love reading. I’m not saying that all readers love to write, but all writers should love to read. Period. Reading is the equivalent of studying, and if you ask me, it’s the most fun I ever have working. Because when you’re a writer, reading is working. It’s learning from the greats, and there is always ALWAYS more to learn.
  4.       I’m a dreamer—a daydreamer, that is. I daydream all the time. When I eat, before I sleep, when I’m in the shower, I even daydream when I’m supposed to be writing. I don’t really know what everyone else daydreams about, but I dream about different places. About characters and worlds and situations that are impossible in real life, but could totally happen in a YA paranormal novel. Yes, that’s how I think. And I love it. Because in my books, the impossible can be possible. And that’s just freaking awesome.
  5.      NOT writing hurts. I mentioned in a previous post a time when I went a few months without writing. Let me tell you, it was miserable. I felt guilty for not writing. For not working on a story. For not getting anything of literary merit down on paper. And for not keeping to the stories I tried to start. Truthfully, this is the core reason why I write. I’m a writer. I write. If I don’t, I feel like something’s missing. That’s just who I am, it’s part of my life and I’m proud of it.

In the end guys, I write because I’m a writer and writing is what I do.

Maybe you don’t write (and maybe you do!), either way, what is YOUR passion, and why do you do it? 


As I’m currently in the brainstorming-editing-brainstorming-rewriting-brainstorming-WAITING FOREVER TO EDIT MY RECENTLY FINISHED WIP!-stage, I thought it appropriate to talk about ferrets and how ridiculously adorable they are.

Aha! Weren’t expecting that, were you? Just kidding. Today I’ll introduce you to my two favorite brainstorming techniques; one of which I’ve used for ages and another I just recently fell in love with.


I’m sure many of you have tried this, but if you haven’t, for the love of all things bookish, TRY IT!

The What-If game is very simple. I’ll describe it in steps, because steps are fun.

STEP ONE—THE MAGICAL QUESTION: sit down with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil (or pen or marker or crayon or keyboard or what-have-you) and at the top you write the miraculous words “What if…?”

STEP TWO—DOT: Now make a bullet point (or star or heart or fish because you can).

STEP THREE—BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT, THINK: Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the question hang. What if…what if what if…what if ALIENS INVADED THE EARTH AND THEIR ONLY WEAKNESS WAS…WAS…FERRETS! Ok, that one might be a tad bit ridiculous, but write it down anyway. There’s no such thing as anything that’s too out there for the What-If game.

In all seriousness, this really works. Start with an idea, a basic idea (What if I wrote about pirates?) and see how far you can push it. What if their Captain was a crazy, egotistical half-wit only someone as insanely talented as Johnny Depp could play convincingly? What if he didn’t have a ship? A crew? What if the world was flat? What if they sailed over the edge?

This can go on forever people, FOREVER! And it’ll help you uncover some gems you may not have thought of otherwise. Trust me.


As I mentioned earlier, I discovered this technique very recently, but it’s quickly becoming a favorite.

The idea storm is simple and best done on a sheet of notebook paper or on a program that lets you write literally all over the page, like OneNote. I still think pencil and paper will work best, though. It helps with the whole freeing, creativity thing which is what you’re going for here.

So! I was inspired by the Wordle word clouds online and thought it’d be fun to make one by hand, except instead of writing words that you use often, you write words that relate to whatever you’re trying to write. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Step by step, here we go!

STEP ONE—PAPER: Get your notebook paper out and turn it SIDEWAYS. I don’t know why this helps so much but something about writing over the lines instead of conforming to the shape of the page really gets your right brain going.

STEP TWO—THE FIRST WORD: Write a word somewhere on the page. It can be as big or small as you like, except it’s probably best that you don’t take up the whole page (unless you want to cram the rest of your words in tiny little letters around it. Actually that might be fun. Maybe I’ll try that.). Anyway! If all you know at this stage is that you’re writing a dystopian novel, then go ahead and make your first word dystopian. Maybe you want to make your antagonist sympathetic. Write that. Maybe you only have a name. Go ahead and slap that baby down.

Great. Now you have the first word.

STEP THREE—GO CRAZY: This is pretty self-explanatory. Go crazy. Write all over the page. Write in funny angles if you want, different sizes, above and below the red line, around the holes in the page, it doesn’t matter, write wherever you’d like. The goal is to fill up the page with ideas, words, thoughts, names, even full sentences that pertain to your new WIP idea. If you’ve got some symbol in your head, go ahead and draw it. There are no rules here. Use funny colors, use pens and pencils. Doodle if you’d like. Just think about your idea and get it down.

Best part is you can use either one of these at any stage of the game. Don’t have a novel? Start with this. Stuck in the middle of a scene and don’t know how to end it? Whip out the paper and get your brain storming.

I challenge you guys to try these at least once. Who knows? You might just find you like these methods too.

These are obviously only two of many different brainstorming techniques. What do you do to get your ideas on paper?

My (Short) Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Wow. Where to begin?

You’re all going to think I’m a softie since I rated the last book I reviewed with five stars but…GUYS I just loved this book so much, I added it to my list of favorites.

So yes. I’m giving it five stars. And this is why.

To start, I was hooked from page one. No, there wasn’t any crazy action sequence, but there didn’t need to be. From the very first words, Roth crafts an engaging dystopian world that is just similar enough to be recognizable as once our own.

In Roth’s rendition, Chicago has been split into five factions based on certain traits its people consider most important: Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Abnegation (the selfless) and Dauntless (the brave). In world were “faction before blood” is the rule, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose between her Abnegation family, or where she feels she truly belongs.

So she makes a choice, renames herself Tris and plunges into a fiercely competitive initiation well beyond anything she could have prepared for.

Divergent is exciting and chock full of action and memorable characters. I loved watching Tris grow, I drooled over a certain mysterious someone from the first line of his introduction and I was left itching for a sequel.

My only regret in picking up Divergent is that I read it too quickly. Definitely give it a try. You won’t regret it.

What have been your favorite reads so far this year?

#wordmongering: Are YOU In?

I said a while back I would do a post about #wordmongering, so here it is.

If you’ve followed me on Twitter for more than a week or so, then you have likely seen my bursts of excitement and confetti tagged with the mysterious #wordmongering hashtag. They looked like this:

So as you can see, I have a love affair with virtual confetti. Wait. I mean, I use the #wordmongering hashtag a lot. I mean…uh, MOVING ON!

There’s a point to this post and the point is this: If you’re a writer, and you’re on Twitter and you haven’t checked out #wordmongering yet, you definitely should.

But of course now you want to know why. WHY Ava, should we check out this mysterious silly-sounding hashtag? I mean, wordmongering isn’t even a word, IS IT? No, not yet my friends, but it shall be.

First of all, it was created by @notveryalice and @MonicaMarieV, one of which (@notveryalice) created an awesome website that explains all. So if you have any questions after reading this super-informative blog post, check it out because it’s pretty and holds all the answers. It even knows where the fountain of youth is and where your favorite sock disappeared to. Ok, I made that up. But that’d be pretty cool.

ANYWAY. Digressing a lot today.

I discovered #wordmongering a little over a month and a half ago. At the time I wasn’t really working on a manuscript, but I was trying to get one started. I saw people posting their word counts on this silly aforementioned thread and eventually curiosity got the best of me, so I checked it out. I was expecting a bunch of writers talking about how many words they wrote. What I WASN’T expecting was a community full of encouraging people with arms open to all newcomers.

Wow. I fell in love immediately. Not only that, but I started a manuscript. And finished it thirty-three days later.

The system just worked for me. Basically, at the start of every hour, those participating in #wordmongering write as much as they can for half an hour. After that they report their word count and relax for the next half hour. It doesn’t matter if you’re written 50 words or 1000 words because (and this is the best part) negativity is not permitted. So if you feel bad you only wrote 50 words, guess what? People will come and give you virtual hugs and say you did great anyway.

And they mean it. Because it’s 50 words you didn’t have half an hour ago.

The half hour writing spurts worked for me. It helped me conquer my ADD tendencies and I didn’t wear myself out because I was relaxing every half hour. I know it’s not perfect for everyone, but at the very least I’d encourage you to try it out if only for the opportunity to meet some amazing, warm people.  

As long as you don’t mind me attacking you with confetti, that is. 

Paragraphs: A Little Rant

Maybe it’s my short attention span or maybe it’s the high school AP English teacher trapped in my skull saying, “Guess what? You were lied to: all paragraphs do NOT have to be five sentences. In fact they better NOT all be the same length OR ELSE!” but I take issue with long paragraphs.

Now, you’re probably wondering what defines a long paragraph. Is it five sentences? Ten? Thirteen? TWENTY-FIVE?

With exception of that last one (because I pray you never write a paragraph with twenty-five sentences), I’d actually say that depends. Yes, yes I know, diplomatic answer, but hear me out.

If you write a paragraph with three ridiculously long sentences (as in thirty or—God help you—more words), then guess what? You have yourself a long paragraph.

If, on the other hand, you write a paragraph with five or six telegraphic sentences (one without any embellishments such as “The cat meowed.”), then my long paragraph alarm will probably remain silent.

The best and easiest way to tell if your paragraph is too long is simply by looking at it. Does it look like a brick sitting on the page? Yes? Then it’s probably just that—a brick on your page.

Now, that’s not to say that all long paragraphs are evil. I won’t completely discriminate here, I know the value of having a long paragraph or two, especially if the pace has slowed down and you’re giving the reader a bit of a breather. In that case yes, longer paragraphs are acceptable. Necessary, even.

But just as I would advise against having a page full of uniform short paragraphs, I strongly advise against the same with long ones.

Now again, I’m not claiming to be any expert because I’m not. But I’ve found that varying paragraph (and sentence) length not only helps set the pace and create a nice flow, but adds a little extra dynamic element to the writing. 

It might be a subconscious thing, or it might just be the all-too common ADD nature of readers like me nowadays, but when I see paragraph after paragraph of the same length (albeit long or short), my eyes tend to glaze over. It becomes monotonous. The voice in my head goes dull and flat and—zzz….

Varying paragraph and sentence length helps fight against that. Rather than a steady, flat reading experience a long paragraph followed by a short paragraph breaks up the page and harmonizes with each other. It acts like a chord in a song rather than the same single note over and over again.

It works. And it keeps us interested.

So what do you think? Does paragraph length make that much of a difference, or am I just crazy? J

Editing: Learn to Love It

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher read to us a picture book about the Iditarod, or snow-dog racing in Alaska. I don’t remember the title, but it focused on one of the Huskies and how he overcame challenges. Obviously I don’t remember the plot very well, but I do remember it had a lot of pretty pictures and at the time I thought it was a good story.

Then she told us that the author had re-written it something like well over twenty times before he was able to find a publisher. I distinctly remember my fourth-grader mind thinking, “Wow. That’s so boring. I’d never want to be an author.” 

And who could blame me? I was in the fourth grade. The thought of re-reading a paragraph even twice was painful. Re-reading? Editing? Who needed that?

So I shouldn’t have been surprised, I suppose, to discover after writing my first manuscript that I had absolutely no clue what editing really meant. I thought I did, after all I re-read it and had others look over it for me and changed the phrasing here and there to make it stronger, but all I was really doing was a series of line-edits. I wasn’t re-writing. I was polishing.

Let me tell you now, polishing a first draft (unless it’s some kind of spectacularly AMAZING first draft) is like trying to buff a rock with a sponge. Sure, you’ll get some of the dirt off, but no amount of sponge-love is going to make that sucker smooth and shiny and in the end all you really have is a wet rock.

I don’t want to talk to you about what the right way to edit is, because I don’t think there is just one way to do it and to be honest, I haven’t really perfected the process yet myself. I’m still learning.

I do think, however, that a lot of it has to do with the mindset you go into it with. If you open up your WIP (and I don’t care what draft you’re on) thinking, “Ugh, this is going to suck,” then guess what? It’s going to suck. It’ll take forever, your eyes will probably glaze over a few pages in and you’re not going to catch much. 

Like anything else, it takes the right mindset.

Editing isn’t always fun, in fact especially if you’ve already done a few drafts, it’s often not fun at all. But if you don’t learn to love editing (or at least kinda like it), it’s going to be a very long road ahead. Remember that with every edit you’re making your manuscript better. With every draft, you’re bringing it closer to the shelves.

No, it’s not the easiest process in the world, but it can be exciting. With every change you’re chipping away at that rock to pull out the diamond inside. It’s there, you felt it at the very beginning, when you first began this venture of writing a novel, you just have to find it.

Then, when you reach THE END that final time, you’ll know it’s ready. You’ll feel it, and you can let it go and show that diamond off to the world.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of editing?

Writing and Love

 “It’s like falling in love, no matter how bad your last breakup is, when you’re falling in love you think this time it’s going to be perfect.”—Amanda Hocking

I got this quote off of an interview on YouTube I saw two days ago of (as you deduced from the tag) indie extraordinaire, Amanda Hocking. Maybe it’s because it was timely for me since I’d just finished my WIP hours earlier, but the quote resonated with me.

Because to me at least, starting a new book is exactly like that. When you start a new manuscript you don’t think about the others sitting in the drawer (or hard drive, as it may be). You’re focused on the story, you fall in love with your new character, your new plot twists, your new moments.

Some days the writing comes easy and the words come pouring out and at the end of the day you’re elated with your progress. Some days each word fights its way out and you want nothing more than to throw your keyboard (or laptop) across the room and scream at the sky.

But then you reach that magical moment where you can write “The End” and it’s all worth it. Because you just finished your manuscript and you have a real, completed full-length story written by your hands. Sure there’s a lot of work ahead. Sure there will be editing, writing and re-writing. But it’s written and it’s is special, you can feel it. Something inside you is tempted to believe that this time it’s really going to happen.

But it’s not always perfect.

I think every writer goes through this, which is why it makes the rejection even harder. We all have faith in our books; otherwise we wouldn’t put them out there. So to be told repeatedly in (as often is the case) a form letter no less, that our work just doesn’t have that spark, is devastating. It’s like, as Amanda put it, a bad breakup.

It doesn’t hurt any less each time the query process comes to a close and the manuscript takes its place with the others, and yet when we start a new story it’s rejuvenating. Beautiful. New characters, new journeys, new worlds! Your words take a life of their own and you fall in love all over again.

The cycle is exhausting, but that’s just part of life as a writer. And although I’m not yet published, I know without a shadow of a doubt that the heartbreak is worth it. I love every second of being a writer. Because it’s not about being famous and making it big.

It’s about the story. The characters. The writing. And ultimately, it’s about you.  

Here’s the full interview. I found it refreshing and inspirational. Hope you guys do, too:

Pushing Past Writer's Block

Photo credit: MyDigitalSLR on Flickr
I’ve read more than my share about writer’s block. Some say it doesn’t exist. Others say it’s just part of the journey. Still more make money writing books about how to conquer it.

Many use the metaphor of a brick wall when describing it, and I think that’s fair enough. It certainly does have wall-like qualities. You’ll be writing along one day, perfectly at ease then BAM! Suddenly you don’t know what to do. Where do you go from here? How do you connect this scene to the next?


The interesting thing about the brick wall metaphor is that many say getting past writer’s block is like breaking through it. I like to imagine a wrecking ball crashing into it and bits of writer’s block debris fly everywhere while the author laughs maniacally and continues to CONQUER THE WORLD THAT IS HER BOOK.


My experience, however, is that you can’t always break through with a wrecking ball. Sometimes, regardless of how hard you stare at the wall, the marvelous wall-destroying idea doesn’t blossom in your mind. Sometimes it does, and that’s when you go crazy with the demolition, but not always.

Upon keeping stubbornly to my 1500 words/day quota, I discovered something interesting about writer’s block. You see, you can’t always destroy the wall with one fell swoop (though that would be nice, wouldn’t it?) Sometimes instead, you have to shove your back against it and push.

What I mean is you have to write through the block.

No, it’s not easy. These are the days that the writing will come a little sluggish. The times when you have no idea what the next sentence will be or where it will come from or even where it will take you. But if you take breaks, work hard and most importantly keep to your goal, the words will come. I promise. They may not be the best words you’ve ever written and they certainly won’t flow the nicest. At the end of the day, however, you’ve met your quota.

And slowly but surely, day after day, you’ll push that wall back until it gives up and crumbles beneath your feet.

What do you do to get past writer’s block?

And the Winners are...

So! As I mentioned earlier this week, I was bestowed with the great honor of the Versatile Blogger Award by the great Lyn Midnight who indeed has her own blog you should definitely check out. Also, she just so happens to be @lympha13 on Twitter, and is indeed an amazing Tweep to connect with. Plus she’s a writer (of COURSE) which makes her doubly cool in my book. 

NOT ONLY THAT, but she’s a Harry Potter fan (like me) and an Avatar fan (like me) and likes sci-fi (like me) AND is just an all-around nice person. Can’t go wrong there.

ANYWAY! Awards make me pretty happy inside. But I also like giving them as much as I like receiving them, so here we go!

Oh wait! First there are rules. *sigh* After all, with every gift comes a great respon…yeah ok here they are:

The rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award on to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

I’m personally going to say don’t feel obligated to do so…because that makes the whole award thing…not as fun. And I’d rather this not look like spam. Spam is no fun.

Spreading the love however, is lots of fun. So HERE WE GO!

Oh maaaan! Seven whole random facts! Alright, alright, here we go:
  1. Aside from being a crazy writer-person, I’m also a Photoshop nut. I love Photoshop. It’s unhealthy really, my love for such an expensive little piece of software. But like reading and writing, I will never abandon it.
  2. I love technology way too much. I love living in an age where new tech comes out every few years and I get ridiculously excited when the newest iPods/iPads/Macbooks/TVs/Cameras come out. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have the funds to buy big-ticket items or my wallet would cry every time the newest thing was released.
  3. I have a dog. He’s a Yorkie and his name is Tye. I tweet about him from time to time, but the spambots tend to attack when I do, so I try not to mention him too often. He’s also insanely adorable.
  4. I suspect I might be a little OCD and I’m definitely a perfectionist. This makes editing kind of hellish since I never know if I’ve made it “good enough.” Part of the problem is that “good enough” is never good enough for a perfectionist. Ay, that be the rub.
  5. I like to read serial killer novels and I’ve even ventured into a haunted house horror novel with a crazy murderer and creepy tenants and the whole nine-yards. However, I’m a HUGE coward when it comes to movies. I’ve never watched a horror movie in my life and I never will. I haven’t even watched The Dark Knight because the Joker always creeped me out.
  6. If you haven’t noticed already, I am an enormous Ted Dekker fan. I own every single one of his twenty some-odd novels and pre-order his books before I even know what they’re about. If you like excitement, thrillers, or awesome fantasy, definitely check him out.
  7. I don't like long paragraphs. Not when I'm writing and not when I'm reading. Long paragraphs = evil.

     YAY! Glad that’s over with. *phew*

Anyway. The reason you’re here. THE SUPER-FANTABULOUS WINNERS! YAY!

Confetti! Party horns! GLITTER! (Hey I’m not cleaning it up. Make whatever mess you’d like).

THE WINNERS! In no particular order! 
  1. Ara Grigorian— Ara is another one of those really awesome people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet on Twitter, where he goes by @araTHEwriter (*hint hint*). He is also, as you probably guessed by his awesome Twitter tag, a fantabulous writer. His blog, The Rookie Scrivener is well-written, informative and occasionally has awesome pictures of the French Opera. Check it out to see what I mean.
  2. Jessica LeiJessica’s blog is beautifully designed (something that attracted me to it right from the beginning), she’s a writer (of course!) and she just so happens to be a wonderful follow on Twitter (@leijessica). She has just over a hundred followers on her blog and they are all well deserved. I love her blog, her writing, her style and her competitions. Yes. There are competitions. And prizes. I’ve yet to win one, but I am determined. 

    Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that. You might be my future competition. Hmm.

  3.       Tammara Webber— So Tammara is yet another very awesome Tweep. Seriously, Twitter is bursting at the seams with amazing people. Follow her on Twitter (@TammaraWebber) not just because I told you to, but because she’s a super-nice person with a lot to offer.

    Her blog, A Room of My Own, is also very nicely designed and especially informative if you are even considering self-publishing. Tammara’s book Between the Lines is up on Amazon and B&N and she talks about her experiences with self-publishing on her blog. Very useful information awaits!

  4.           Joseph Eastwood—Joseph is awesome. Period. He’s a great writer, an aspiring author who plans to self-publish this Fall, active on Twitter and always, always encouraging. I don’t know what it is about Twitter, but it’s chock full of amazing people and Joseph is one of them. His blog has some great content worth frequenting.

    Plus he writes poems, which is pretty freaking cool.

    Definitely follow him on Twitter (@Joe_Eastwood) and while you’re at it take a look at his blog. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

  5.       Mia Hayson—Something I love about Mia’s blog is her graphics. She has the funniest little graphs and pictures she includes with her blog and make me smile every time. You should follow her because her blog has a lot of pretty colors. JUST KIDDING! Her blog DOES have a lot of pretty colors but beyond that, her posts are interesting, funny and insightful. Definitely worth checking out.

    And coincidentally, she TOO is on the Twitter! Follow her at: @MiaHayson

So congratulations winners! Go forth and spread the love!

My (Short) Review: The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

FIRST! A quick reminder that FRIDAY will be the day that I announce the winners of The Versatile Blogger Award! YAY! *party horns* Stay tuned to find who these awesome people are!

SECOND! The Priest’s Graveyard.

As I have mentioned and will make abundantly clear in the future, I’m a huge Ted Dekker fan. 60% of my bookshelf is comprised of Dekker books, and (fun fact) my little profile picture over there is indeed a stack of Dekker novels. SO that being said, some of you might consider me a little biased and others might assume I’d be extra-critical since I’ve read so much of his work.

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m either. I enjoy each one of his books the same way I would any other novel by someone else and if I thought the book was terrible, I’d let you know.

The Priest’s Graveyard, however, was anything but terrible.

The story begins with Danny Hansen, a vet from the Bosnian war who was left irreversibly scarred by the horrors he witnessed there. A teenager at the time of the war, Danny learned what it means to lose everything, what it’s like to kill and the ways of a tactical soldier. After leaving Bosnia he became a priest.

A priest who judges the sins of others with a shot of tranquilizer and a gun.

Then there is Renee Gilmore, a strung-out heroin-addict who is plucked off the streets and nursed back to health by wealthy lawyer Lamont Myers. But when her savior disappears, Renee is haunted by her lover’s would-be murder, and she will stop at nothing to avenge his death.

Two people with completely different stories collide, and when their lives become intertwined, they will take you on a thrilling journey where every twist will take you by surprise.

I loved The Priest’s Graveyard so much I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and Amazon. Between the personal connections I made with Danny and Renee and the pages dripping with excitement, I highly recommend this one.

So! What books are YOU reading this summer? 
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