Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy 2012!

From us here at Tangled to you and yours...

Hope you have a GREAT New Year and we can't wait to get tangled with you in 2012. 

We'll see you then.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Break(down)

Right... so it's Wednesday (I think) and that means time for me to share how things are going in the world of writing. *insert crickets chirping here*

I'll be honest, I've been in a sort of creative purgatory since Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, when you're the most grown up person in the house, the holiday season brings a LOT of responsibility. Not the least of which is making sure that Christmas magic doesn't get lost in the hubbub of Christmas chores. 

All that to say, this blog post will be slightly abbreviated. As in...well, this is it. But just so you get an idea of what writing is like with 4 small children home for the holidays, I'll refer you to yesterday's writing exercise.

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and blessed holiday season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

13 Days of Doctor Who Blog Hop: The First Time I Met The Doctor

(Banner by Studio D)

We are so excited to be a part of Erica O’Rourke’s and Eliza Evans' The 13 Days of Doctor Who

Many of the girls here at Tangled Up In Words are Whovians and we are so happy to be counting down the days until the Doctor Who Christmas Special with you! Don't forget to check out the details at the end of this post to learn how you enter to win the grand prize: Season 6 of Doctor Who on DVD! 

Patricia: The first time I met the Doctor, I wanted nothing to do with him. It was Memorial Day weekend in 2008 and my husband and I were flipping though the channels trying to find something to watch. After passing three channels playing various episodes of Doctor Who I began a conversation that would change everything for me when it came to the Doctor:

Hubby: What do you want to watch?
Me: Anything but Doctor Who. I mean seriously, it's on every freaking channel. Who watches that?
Hubby: Huh... Have you every actually watched an episode of Doctor Who?
Me: ...No. It looks stupid.
Hubby: Let's watch one. 
Me: Yeah, no thanks. 
Hubby: Just watch ONE. I think you'll like it. 

So we watched one (Season 3, Episode 6: The Lazarus Experiment). And then we watched another. And another. And another. And then 11 hours later it was Monday morning and the marathon was over and I almost cried over the fact that I was going to have to wait four more hours until the stores opened so we could go buy Seasons 1-3 and watch them all.

Which is all we did. Over the next week or so, we would go to work, come home, eat, watch as many episodes of Doctor Who as we could until I fell asleep and then rinse and repeat until we caught up the season in-progress. From that moment on, Saturday nights at 9pm were all automatically reserved for new episodes of Doctor Who.

I've come a long way from that fateful day in 2008. In fact just today we had a very different conversation at my house.

Me: So I printed out a tiny TARDIS to tape amongst the glow-in-the-dark stars for (5 year old son's) bedroom.
Hubby: Really...
Me: And while I was looking for a wall decal I found a full, door-sized TARDIS.
Hubby: Huh.
Me: Like for a bedroom door.
Hubby: Yeah.
Me: Like for OUR bedroom door. 
Hubby: Um, no. *SIGH* Remember when you didn't even want to watch that show. When you thought it was "stupid".  Now look at you!
Me: I have no idea what you're talking about. Also, I just bought the TARDIS. It will be here on Friday. 

Danielle: The first time I met The Doctor I had no clue how much I would love him. I think that's the truth for most people. For me, meeting The Doctor was a three-step process. The first step? Saying no. I was 21 and living in Nashville. My Rebecca told me I should watch it--and I vehemently and repeatedly declined. (I was pretty stupid back then.)

Then I moved to Boston.

Most of the friends I made here were bloggers and writers--and all of them LOVED Doctor Who. I usually sat in conversations and said nothing. When they told me to watch it, I gave a non-committal shrug. A few months later I went back to Nashville for a weekend visit, during which Rebecca asked me again. And I said I would. During that weekend we watched the first the first few episodes--and I decided it was okay. Then, somehow, the whole first season was over before I even left. And I really liked it--but I went home and had no Netflix and it was fine. I didn't really care.

And then one day I did. I can't explain it. I woke up and OMG I wanted to watch Doctor Who. That was step three. I bought Netflix. For the last week of December--a year ago!!--I started with "Christmas Invasion" and watched DW. I finished the last Tennant episodes on New Years Eve. It's all I did--watch Doctor Who. I barely slept because I had to watch it. Then, on New Years Day, BBC had a series 5 marathon and I watched those also. I watched that season twice actually. In the same weekend.

From there the Monster was born. I found Tumblr. I found other friends who liked DW. I converted people to DW (including Christina and 8 others. I keep count). I love it. A lot. I never miss an episode and I love talking theories, fandoms and every little thing in between. I will never NOT be a Doctor Who fan.

The first time I met The Doctor I had no clue how much I would love him. But now I do. It's crazy how much a show can mean to you--how it can change you and teach you and make you laugh through your tears. That's Doctor Who. The reason I think I love The Doctor so much is because when you meet him, you meet 100,000 other people you never expected.
Whovians unite. They come out of the woodworks. Talk to you on busses. In lobbies. Online. In grocery stores. There's something unifying about The Doctor. Once you meet someone else who is a Whovian--you always have something to talk about and it never gets old. That's the thing that people don't understand before they experience it. And even when you try to explain it to them, you can't. It's part of the experience.

The first time you meet The Doctor you'll never forget it. Because knowing The Doctor changes you. It may not be a profound way for everyone, but at the very least you'll never look at bow tie or an angel statue the same way. That's the power of Doctor Who. I am very glad I met him.

Christina: The first time I ever watched Dr. Who was at the insistence of Danielle. Now, I have a healthy love for sci-fi (just ask me about Farscape!) but I couldn't get over the low-budget look of the first season with Christopher Eccleston, that and the mannequins coming to life creeped me out a bit. So after watching only an episode or two, I was ready to give up on it and move on...until Danielle came to visit. During her visit she sat me down and made us have a Dr. Who marathon and I'm so glad she did! I only had to watch a few more episodes of it to realize how much I loved it. After that I watched seasons 2 through 5 as fast as I could, in about two weeks. And then had to wait for season 6 online (which I devoured as well!) I've fall in love with this show and am so SO glad Danielle showed it to (shoved it at) me love. (But that's what happens when you find an amazing show that you love so much, you want everyone else to see how wonderful it is!) And David Tennant will always be my doctor. <3

Thank you so much for joining us on our blog hop stop! You should tell us about the first time YOU met The Doctor.

 "Before I go, I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic! And d'you know what? So was I." 
-The Doctor 

To enter the grand prize giveaway, please leave a comment with your name and email address. You may enter once at every stop on the blog tour, for a total of thirteen chances. The Grand Prize giveaway is limited to the US and Canada, due to regional restrictions on the DVD. Individual contests will close at the discretion of the author, but the Grand Prize contest will accept entries on any site until midnight CST on December 24th. We will post the winner on December 25th, and notify the winner via email. 

For details about other fantastic stops on the hop, check out the Wibbly Wobbly Schedule. 

Don't forget to check out tomorrow’s stop on the blog hop at Ryann Murphy’s site, Make sure to comment for another chance to win the Season 6 box set!

Monday, December 19, 2011

pre-Christmas Monday

We usually use our Mondays to update you on our plans for the week. Well, since it's Christmas, we decided we'd each share something from our own holiday experience! We'd love to hear yours as well.

Patricia: Christmas for me has always been synonymous with books and reading. While Christmas morning is about Santa and presents and pimento spread on Ritz crackers...Christmas afternoon and evening are about curling up in comfy pajamas with cocoa and marshmallows and reading until the house is quiet and the only light in the room is from a roaring fire and a shimmering Christmas tree. Since I first read it when I was 11 or 12, I always read THE UNLIKELY ROMANCE OF KATE BJORKMAN and then quickly dive into whichever book Santa knew I so desperately wanted.

Danielle: I'm spending Christmas with my mom and sister in South Carolina. It's our first one in a new states. I'm excited to see them. Usually we spend all day enjoying our presents--but this year, since we're not really doing presents, it will be nice to spend the day reading, cooking, playing card games and probably watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies--as those are a family favorite.
Cindy: Christmas for me has morphed into something entirely different from what I knew when I was growing up. What used to consist of secret santas with distant cousins and meals of potato salad (yuck!) and homemade biscuits (yum!) now has a completely different look. Instead of driving across town to spend our day with family, we drive 7 hours with two small children to spend a day or two with our beautiful goddaughter and best friends before heading to spend Christmas day with the family. Then, a couple days later we go back home to give our children their own Christmas.

Christina: Christmas for me is lots of time with the family (mine and my husbands now too). And each family has different traditions that I just love. My hubby's family always watches It's a Wonderful Life every Christmas while making rice crispy houses (instead of gingerbread houses). With my family it's always lots of hanging out, eating, and there's this one random Santa puzzle that my aunt always make us put together too.
One tradition that I remember as a kid are the twelve days of Christmas. Growing up, (not every year but a few of them) my parents would give us all little treats like candies or something we needed for school, like pencils and such, for each of the twelve days of Christmas. I always loved it and can't wait to do something like that when I have kids of my own!

What ARE you doing over the holiday?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Better than my words

I had this post planned for today all about "what comes next". But then this tumblr happened---and it seemed more interesting. If you've missed it on twitter, you should know about it. (I even have a point at the end! I promise!)

RyanGoslingYoungAdult tumblr

You should go browse. Not only is this tumblr page hilarious, filled with a hot boy and giving lots of awesome shouts to YA--it's also really encouraging. Like this one.

From the AWESOME RyanGoslingYoungAdult tumblr

(Thanks Ryan. I'm glad someone appreciates all the work we do.) Honestly, this tumblr came to life at just the right time for me. I've been feeling the pressure of the new WIP and the anxiety associated with the old one. Plus, I have this big meeting with my bosses, stuff with the internship and I'm just hanging on until I can have a vacation. So finding this tumblr was something kinda awesome and I wanted to share.

Why did I want to share? Because sometimes when things are caving in...

When deadlines are approaching and holiday stress is at it's highest...
When you have 13 places to be at the same time and the holiday party dress from last year doesn't fit anymore...
When you have to a bunch of projects (or change a bunch of diapers) and you haven't slept in days...
When you're kicking yourself for not writing the 2K you wanted to write this week...
When people around you are succeeding and you're static...
When you want to do edits but can't because you're waiting on notes...
When you're overwhelmed by new ideas but already writing three...
When you just want to write but can't because you don't know what comes next or you don't have time or you're just so tired..
When you _____ (Fill in the blank!)....

Laughter is important. This tumblr will most definitely make you laugh. You should take a minute (or ten) to chuckle. And hey, if there's a Hot Boy attached to the laughter---even better.

(I also love this one and this one!)

Got anything that makes you laugh?? Leave a comment below with a link!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Because you can't spell "Procrastination" without the letters for "Sprint" (or "Raincoat")

I need a deadline. 

In high school and college I thrived on deadlines. 10 page research paper I haven’t started due in two weeks? I couldn’t even read the instructions without getting distracted. 10 page research paper I haven’t even started due tomorrow morning? I AM SO ON IT! I am at my best at the last minute.

Another way of putting it: I am a MASTER PROCRASTINATOR! If there is a tomorrow to do it, I will put it off until that tomorrow comes. 
 This has presented a problem when it comes to my writing. I have the desire to write, I WANT to write, I have the ideas, the story, the characters screaming at me to write down their story so they can stop re-living the same scene over-and-over again. But when it comes down to write or watch ONCE UPON A TIME (again)? Write or bake cookies? Write or SLEEP?! The “or <Insert procrastination here>” has begun to win more and more as the holidays kick into gear and I find myself more and more exhausted each evening. 

The solution seems so simple: Just give yourself a deadline! Yeah… not so much. My brain doesn’t seem to respond to my “pretend deadlines”, even when I call them “goals.”

So my wonderful husband has come up with a new solution. A real deadline. A “if you want to go to BEA you need to have a full first draft finished” deadline. And I WANT to go to BEA this year! And I know what you’re thinking, BEA isn’t until next June… so have fun procrastinating until May! But NO! Registration for BEA opens this month. And soon after that I have to let people know if I’m in or not for room arrangements, etc. 

So now I have a deadline. My fully finished first draft is due (to my husband) on February 15, 2012. And while I may spend the next few weeks bogged down in all of the Christmas craziness (side note: how? How? HOW?! Are we 19 days from CHRISTMAS!?) you better believe that as my deadline nears I’m going to disappear completely, for hours/days on end, and I will be SO. ON. IT. 

How do you guys push yourselves to get your writing done? What about those days/weeks where work/children/life is brain-meltingly crazy? Are you ready for the holidays? What are some of the gifts on your wishlist?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview with Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Today we are beyond honored to have the incredible Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency here with us about the YA world, writing and Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey.


Ammi-Joan Paquette
As an agent, what would you say is the state of YA today? What are you seeing too much of? What aren't you seeing enough of? What would you like to see? 

From my view, YA books remain stronger than ever in contemporary publishing; editors are excited about them, readers are excited about them, and authors are excited about them. I think one of the biggest challenges facing authors today is to find the story, hook, or character that feels completely fresh and new. There’s a wide and wonderful body of work out there, and it’s growing every day, and if there’s anything I am seeing a little too much of it would have to be “the same old thing.”

And on the flipside, what am I looking for? Something that feels utterly new and different. Something that surprises me. Something that knocks my socks off. I’m looking to fall in love—with a character, with an idea, with a storyline. Sweep me off my feet and make me swoon!

What's one the most common errors you see in a new writer's work? Any suggestions on how to overcome that? 

One of the biggest things you can do for your writing is to develop your voice. Really dig deep into the character’s psyche; analyze his or her personality and figure out what makes him or her tick. Then convey that to the readers through tone, mannerism, and way of speaking. Voice is a very individual thing, and every author will approach it differently—and it will also be different for each book. But this is what will give your story the ring of truth and authenticity: finding your way into the heart of that world, seeing those events through your character’s eyes, and living that story in real-time. Something to ponder: How would the story change if it were related by a different main character? Who your character is should affect how the story is told and the layering—and relaying—of the story.

What drew you most to SHATTERED SOULS? Was there a moment in the book (that you can tell us) or something about the story that made you want to work with SS and Mary? 

Goodness, I love so many things about SHATTERED SOULS it’s hard to narrow it down to just one! I think Mary is a perfect storm of an author: she’s smart, she’s prolific, she’s professional, and she really inhabits her characters. I love how every aspect of her book is excruciatingly real—from the dialogue to the characters to the world and everything that comes along with it. You open the cover and it’s a door and you walk through and you’re somewhere completely new. And then you never want to leave.

How would you describe SHATTERED SOULS in six words or less? 

Dark, gripping, swoon-worthy page-turner!

Thank you so much Ammi-Joan for answering our questions. If you want to learn more about Shattered Souls you can check it out on Goodreads and order it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. It comes out tomorrow!! Also, this is just one stop in the release tour for the book, so you can check out other stops here and learn more from Mary's agent and editor. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Check-in

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right?

Christina: I got a new student and as a result, I've been exhausted this week. So I didn't get the two chpts done that I wanted but I did finish one (which was the end of Part 2 in my WIP! Yay!) I did get some edits done for other people that I needed to but I still have more too. So, my plan for this week is to write another chpt (hopefully two though) and get more edits done for my CP's and such!

Jodi: In an effort to locate my lost sanity, I've gone on a writing hiatus. Short of my blog post for Tangled, I've only written a few hundred words toward my fiction goals. But, in the interim, I'm working on improving my French vocabulary (bucket list!), and I get to READ!

Danielle: I finished Darkness (it's now an MS officially!!) and did a round of edits before sending it off to some betas and CPs. I'm doing some edits for my internship and a winner of a contest. I also just started a brand new WIP that I'm calling Salt and I am so excited. :)

Cindy: I'm slowly revising...... I revised about 18 pages over the last week but that's it between sickness and people visiting. I want to revise at least 50 pages this week.

What are your goals this week? How can we cheer you on?! Let us know in the comments of in Twitter: @tangledupnwords @PatriciaERiley @DanielleEWrites @cindyiswriting @TheDrunch @christinaferko

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hushed Blog Tour: Interview with Kelley York

Today on Tangled we get to be part of the HUSHED blog tour from Entangled Publishing and the lovely Kelley York. You can check out a complete list of tour stops by clicking on that banner above. We asked Kelley some questions about writing, about characters and about this that book that everyone is raving out about!

You say in your bio (below) that you have an abundance of pets. What pets do you have? What's your dream pet?
I have three cats (Noel, Irish, and Quinn), three rats (Gin, Grimmy, and Noah), two hamsters (Exquisite and Hope), and more recently we’ve added a bunny to the mix named Pattie. If I could have any animal in the world...I’d probably want something like a wolf or a fox. (Have you ever seen foxes playing?! THEY ARE SO CUTE.) Obviously those kinds of animals aren’t made for living in captivity, though. Realistically speaking, I want a dog. Some kind of big, lovable mutt.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why/how does that approach help/hurt you? 
I’m definitely a panster with very little plotting. I tried desperately to plot my last book from beginning to end, and it made things a lot harder for me, trying to conform to what I’d written in my outline. My characters often take their own routes and do things I wasn’t expecting them to do and ideas come to me as I write. I never know what it’s going to be until I’m done with it.  

Which aspect of craft is your weakest and how do you overcome that? 
Anytime I’ve noticed a particular problem in my writing, I actively work on fixing it. I used to info-dump a lot in my opening chapters, and I think I’ve overcome that. It’s always a struggle for me to describe things. I don’t think my writing is very poetic when it comes to talking about settings, so I fumble with that a lot. Action scenes (fights, mainly) are terrifying to me and I’m terrible at them. It takes a lot of work and combing over it again and again to get it right.

What scenes do you get most excited about writing? What scenes are the hardest for you?
 I love the emotionally-charged scenes. Evan and Archer’s ‘just bones’ talk is probably one of my favorites in HUSHED. Drama! Heartbreak! Deception! I like those sorts of scenes.  

Was there any music that inspired HUSHED?
There was indeed music. I actually made up a whole playlist of the main songs I listened to and posted it on my blog awhile back. “What Sarah Said” by Death Cab for Cutie is always the first one that comes to mind for a very particular scene.

What are some the best kinds of characters to read? How do you enjoy seeing them develop? How does that translate into your own writing and characters?
I love the tragic, emotionally/mentally broken characters. I’m thinking of Cole from Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER series is one of my favorites of that variety. He was probably the most complex and interesting character in the entire trilogy. I like picking apart characters. When someone has that kind of emotional or psychological damage, it’s sort of like this barrier keeping them from living a normal life. I enjoy watching (or writing) those characters figuring out their own way of living life without the damage controlling them.  

Describe HUSHED in 6 words or less.  
A dark, manipulative and twisty thriller.

How did HUSHED develop?
 It started with Archer. He was the first character and I had a vague idea of him, then along came Vivian, and Evan followed. I started writing with little idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted the story to go, and let the characters bounce off each other. Chain reaction. I don’t feel I should have to throw obstacles at them and watch them react; they needed to build their own momentum.

Did you do any research HUSHED? If so, what are some things that you pulled from? 
I did some research on the various murders. Overdosing, corpses left for a few weeks, gas leaks, etc. I went through forums and websites for my answers, wanting to make sure I found several places that said the same thing rather than relying on any single source.

Every review we've read of HUSHED always references the intense relationship between Viv and Evan and Archer. Was that something you planned or did it just happen? 
 It sort of just happened. I never plan much before writing, so everything that happens is a product of the characters running off on their own. Evan and Archer, in the original vague idea I had for HUSHED, weren’t even meant to end up together...but we see how well that worked out.

What's one thing you want people to know about HUSHED if that's all they ever learn?
We might not be able to control some of the damaging events in our lives. What we can control is how we react to it.

Kelley YorkAuthor Bio: Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets.  (Although she does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.)  She has a fascination with bells, adores all things furry - be them squeaky, barky or meow-y - is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she's a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid. Within young adult, she enjoys writing and reading a variety of genres from contemporary with a unique twist, psychological thrillers, paranormal/urban fantasy and horror. She loves stories where character development takes center stage.

Kelley's website:
                                                       About HUSHED: 
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her. 

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed. 

Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is. 

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

Buy the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

'Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was unputdownable!!! ~YA Fantasy Guide

'How exciting that we live in a time when gay teen protagonists can be just as screwed up as straight ones -- and their stories just as creepy!' ~Brent Hartinger, award-winning, author of Geography Club and Shadow Walkers

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writing is a Test of Patience

You know that scene in The Wizard of Oz where the witch is melting? 

My brain feels like that.

See, I just finished a book that I've been working on for 15 months. (That's one month less than the entire time I've lived in Boston, to put that in perspective for you.) And it is joyous feeling, knowing that you've told someone's story. That you started something--and finished it! Because some days while you're drafting it feels as if you never will. I know I feel that way all the time. It's almost impossible to be a writer and have things NOT feel impossible.

I blame the waiting. Writing involves a lot of waiting. There are tons other people in the world who talk about the correlation between writing and waiting. In fact, if you google various versions of "writers/writing" and "waiting" you get "about 181,000,000 results (0.23 seconds)". LOTS of people have things to say on waiting.

It's such a popular topic because writing is a test of patience.

Slushing through words can feel like torture. Finding the right ones to tell a character's story to someone else. Building a world. Prioritizing life so you CAN write. Computers, jobs, the cute shows on TV and the weather ALL test a writer's patience. And that's before you have agent, while you have an agent and forever until you die.

No one likes tests. But where writing is concerned, I think waiting is the best kind of test we can face. Why? Simple: It proves how much you want it.

Waiting is part of life. Someone somewhere said: "Between the wish and the thing lies the waiting."
Between what you want and what you have (what you can have) you always have to wait. How do you survive the waiting?? Passion.

The passion that you have for writing will be the only thing that overcomes all the rest of life. The stories, the characters...all of it. That's what matters most. Because honestly, you can wait forever for the "right" story, the "right" agent, the "right" timing and never get it. I like to think that the waiting part is what weeds out the people who are serious about writing, who can't function without it--and those who are only in love with the idea of writing. If you can't wait for something then how much do you really want it? How willing are you to work 15 months and 6 rewrites for one book? How long will you wait to get the thing you want--a few months, a few years, decades? What are you willing to give up so what you want becomes a reality?

Waiting is good. It lets you think about what you're doing. Why you're doing it. What you want out of it. It's like marriage--do most people wake up and meet someone on the street and marry them in the same day? No way! That'd be crazy. You wait. You get to know each other. You make sure it's someone you love, someone you support and get along with, someone you can't live without. It's a process like everything else.

Writing is a test of patience, of passion, of hope. There's a lot of waiting involved, but the old cliche says the best things in life are worth waiting for.

I certainly hope the old cliche is right because I'm waiting. Luckily, I don't have to wait alone. There are 181,000,000 other people who have waited and are waiting. 
Quotes to think about....

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.

Patience is the art of hoping. ~Marquis De Vauvenargues 

The three P's of success: passion, persistence and patience. ~Doug Bronson 

Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls. ~Maya Angelou 

It's a new month...What are you waiting on? Why? Are you being patient? Is that easy or hard? How long are you willing to wait for the thing you want to happen?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Today is the final day of Nanowrimo and unless I can come up with 38000 words by midnight, I think it's safe to say I'm not going to be a "winner" this year.

Entire outlines have been scrapped. New ideas have blossomed only to fizzle under the onslaught of kids, holiday responsibilities and life in general. And I've discovered the logistics of trying to write a novel while meeting the needs of 4 kids, ages 6 and under, is overwhelming. Let's just say tears have been shed.

That being said. I'm still a huge Nano advocate. While it's November timing isn't ideal for a mom of 4 (this is when the school year really ramps up in parental involvement -- especially for room moms), the fact that it's forced me to place my writing higher up my priority ladder is a really good thing. Sure I'm not incredibly thrilled with my results, but at least I've written something instead of talking about writing something.

And isn't that the biggest hurdle? There will always be other responsibilities. Being pulled in several directions at once seems to be the norm for pretty much all of us. But Nanowrimo has taught me that a serious writing career is going to require some difficult choices. Acknowledging that fact is a big hurdle for me. 

For years, I've been waiting to "have time" to write. As if massive blocks of free minutes were going to magically appear once I:
  • finished college
  • got the "right" job
  • had kids
  • became a stay at home mom
The real truth is, it never gets easy. Working writing into a real life with real life responsibilities is hard no matter what age or stage you're in. But if you love it. If the voices in your head won't stop talking to each other and making you giggle to yourself in public, then you have to make the time for something you love. 

It's an exciting journey. But watch out for those first steps. They're kind of tricky.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I thought I'd do another post with pictures that I find inspiring. We haven't done one in a while and I kind of enjoy them. :) Hope something in them inspires you to write or create art in some way! I can already imagine a creepy story of a lost girl. What about you?

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Monday!

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we'll post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right?

Christina: I got some edits done for people and two chapters written over the holiday break. My goal for this week is to work on more crits for people and finish two more chapters!

Patricia: Despite big plans to practically complete all of NaNo over the weekend, I came away with 7,432 words and memories of an extremely fun and relaxing weekend with family and friends. The plan for this week is to keep moving on PLETHORA and lay a little more ground work on CATNA. (Plus, it's her birthday week!!)

Danielle: I left work Wednesday night with a new fire and a goal. From Wednesday to Friday I wrote about 20k, and edited about 17k. And I FINISHED MY WIP! (and won NaNo) It's a very, very exciting thing. Very exciting. I even started doing some edits on my own and plan to finish up that by mid-week so I can send it along to some betas. I also may or may not have watched practically a whole season of Supernatural. I'm almost at the finale of season 4--but I'm going to wait to watch until my editing is done (and it will hurt!).

What are you doing this week? Let us know so we can check in with you and encourage each other. Leave a comment or tweet us about it: @tangledupnwords @PatriciaERiley @DanielleEWrites @cindyiswriting @TheDrunch @christinaferko

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meet Jodi

If you could be any item on Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Chicken Quesadilla – Because it’s my favorite, and it’s important to like yourself.

If you were an item of clothing what would you be and why?
A gorgeous pashmina, because it can make a humdrum outfit sublime – plus it can keep your shoulders warm in a pinch.

When's your birthday?
June 10

What quote inspires you most?
There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. – Ernest Hemingway

What's a pet peeve you have?
I make a fierce point not to cultivate “pet” peeves (as if being peevish warranted encouragement) for as soon as I pick a particular action to condemn in someone else, it is the nature of the universe that I find myself guilty of the selfsame sin only moments afterward.

Something about you that no one would know just by looking at you?
I was born an old soul, and like Benjamin Button, am intent on aging it in reverse. My children are going to be VERY embarrassed by me; I can't wait. 

Who's your favorite princess and why?
Princess Kate, of course. She’s beautiful, young, and hasn’t had enough time in the public eye to fall down to mere human status yet.

Why do you want to write within the YA genre?
The honesty, the expectation, the quest for experience, the intensity of feeling – what’s not to love?

Which YA book character are you most like? Explain.
Flip from “And Both Were Young” by Madeleine L’Engle. Flip suffers most because of her own insularity. Growing up for her is largely defined by letting other people – flawed as they might be – into her world. I wish I’d had someone to guide me through the maze of young adulthood as she did.

Plotter or Panster?
I really want to be a plotter. I think you wind up with a stronger story that way. But I also believe you should listen to the character. I do NOT believe you can force a story to happen the way you think it should.

What do you like to do when you get stuck while writing to help work through it?
I take a break. Do something mindless and let my subconscious help out. But man…do I love Twitter. I’m gonna need a 12 step program soon.

Was there a specific book you read that inspired you to start writing?
To Kill A Mockingbird. Every wannabe writer in the entire state of Alabama has, at some point, wanted to be Harper Lee.

What is your single most favorite thing (feel free to be as vague as you like) about you're current WIP?
I love, love, love my flawed Main Character. I want things to work out for her!

What book from childhood do you most wish you had written? What book from the past year?
Where the Sidewalk Ends because I really admire poetry with mass appeal.
There are SO many good ones to choose from but probably Lola and the Boy Next door by Stephanie Perkins or Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.

Two truths and one lie about yourself.
I am a crochet/knitting savant.
I am the baby of my family and have the self-centeredness to prove it.
I re-started my nanowrimobook on Nov. 18 but am going to win by the end of Nov.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me

Before I starting writing I had real life friends. I wanted to go out to dinner and shopping. I wanted to get out of my house and breathe fresh air. I enjoyed their company and looked forward to anything they wanted to do. What happened, you ask?

Writing happened. Imaginary friends happened. Drafting and revising and drafting again happened. Now all I ever want to do is write. I think about my characters all day long and live for the moment I kiss my children good night so that I can perfect their story. I sneak a few paragraphs here and there throughout any day that I can, but most days I can't get anything considerable done until my children are fast asleep. This means the nighttime hours are my writing time. And my writing time is very, very valuable to me. So much so that I get annoyed when I have to leave my house to do something else. (I know it's horrible. I'm ashamed.)

But it's like I'm possessed. I have this undying, unwavering, unending need to finish this book. I absolutely have to do it. And when I'm away from my characters, I'm not even enjoying myself because all I can think about is how much time I'm wasting NOT writing. As I said before, I'm not proud of this. I know it's not fair to the real life friends. So I've decided to write them this letter, this formal apology for my lackluster friendship skills as of late:

Dear Real Life Friends,
It's not you. It's me. Honest. I have a disease, an addiction to something you can't yet see, but is entirely real inside my head. I hear voices. These voices are telling me a story and I can't seem to rest until I've written down every word of what they have to say. I know this must sound ludicrous and maybe even a little nutso, but it's true.

I know that you're wondering what happened to your spontaneous and exciting old friend, and well, I just wanted you to know that I'm still here. Somewhere inside of me is still that same friend that you know and love, she's just a little possessed at the moment. It's not that I don't enjoy your company. I do. Or at least, I did. But I know, just know with all my heart, I'll still love your company once I finish this book. I swear it.

I just need a little space right now. Some time to work things out in my head would really be helpful. I hope you can forgive me. I promise to come back to you someday. Just...not right now. I still have 66 pages to revise. And then I'll probably revise it one more time for good measure. But one day in the future, I'll show my face again. Honest. 


Your Dear Old Friend

Do you think that will earn me forgiveness? If not, maybe a little funny from one of the most hilarious shows of all time will help? 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Announcements!

Welcome to another installment of the Monday Check-In! Every Monday we'll post small updates on what we've accomplished in the past week with writing. If we've gotten a lot done, or accomplished some of our goals, we cheer each other on. If we've not gotten enough done, or are in writing slump, we still cheer each other on. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really can do it, right?

Today's going to be a little different than usual. Why? Well, it's almost Thanksgiving!! And with that comes LOTS of last minute things in real life and in between all the crazy, we'll all be writing.

This week: 
Cindy's family all has the stomach flu.  
Patricia is catching up on all the words this week since there's extra time off work.
Christina is hoping to write another chapter this week.  
Danielle is looking forward baking these GREAT strawberry cupcakes for Thanksgiving.

Announcement time!! 

We're sad to tell you that Drea had to leave Tangled because of work and moving issues. We love Drea and we know she will be awesome at whatever she does.

Meanwhile, we're very, very pleased to add Jodi Burrus to Tangled. Jodi has so lovingly and enthusiastically stepped up to be part of the team. We know she'll be excellent and a lot of insight to the materials here. You'll learn more about Jodi this week, and you can check out her info in the About Us page.

We are now offering free critiques! You know how everyone says the first 500 words are important? Well, now you can get some feedback from us. Each week one (or two) of us will post some feedback of your work. We're open for entries now and you can expect the first critique to go up December 2. Check out all the requirements and enter by clicking here.

That's all for this Monday Check-in. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

To Listen or Not to Listen? Part Two

Yesterday, Danielle wrote an awesome post about Shiny New Ideas and how hard it is to ignore them (even though it's usually the right thing to do!)

Continuing her topic, I wanted to talk about those times when you should listen to those Shiny New Ideas! Quick disclaimer: Unfortunately, like everything in writing, I can only tell you about my own experiences. Please don't take anything I say here as a promise of a magical solution, only you can truly answer the question about whether or not it is right for you to listen to the Shiny New Ideas that are lurking somewhere between pages 50-100 of your current WIP!

Until recently, I have always subscribed to the idea that right way to handle Shiny New Ideas was to jot them down in their most basic form and then desperately attempt to ignore them while they drive you to distraction with promises of complex, complete plots and deep, multidimensional characters. And when your current WIP is starting to feel stalled out and never-ending like this:

It's just that much harder to ignore an idea that feels like this:

This is exactly where I am this week. 10K into my draft of PLETHORA I had a great idea. A different story, with different characters, and countless ideas for scenes. But I was committed to my current WIP, it was a story I needed to tell and I could see this Shiny New for what it was ... a distraction. It is a good idea and I will definitely add it to my queue for future projects, but it was not something I was willing to let interfere with my long-term relationship with PLETHORA. 

But then it REALLY happened... 25K into my draft and things started to get overly complicated. I found myself sitting on the floor, surrounded by piles of subplots and MIA characters. And then I heard it... a conversation between two characters that were NOT from my current book. But they were interesting, and they were snarky, and most importantly THEY WERE TALKING! So I listened, and they kept talking, and the more I figured out about their story the more I loved it. It is completely different from my current WIP, it was simple and fun and had a complete, linear plot that came to me fully laid-out. It had a bittersweet, heart-wrenching romantic ending that I instantly fell in love with.

So after a few days of SQUEEing to myself about it, I decided to tell one of my CPs and my sisters about the idea. And ALL of the conversations started with them chastising me for letting myself get distracted by ANOTHER Shiny New. But then they heard the SHINY NEW IDEA. All of them loved it. And suddenly I was unsure of what to do next.

My options were:
1) Stay the course. Write it down. Ignore it. Come back to it after finishing current WIP.
2) Drop current WIP like yesterday's jam (bonus points if you get this joke) and run off into the sunset with SHINY NEW IDEA.
3) Work on both books at once.

Now I'm going to be honest here, when I first considered this idea, it made me feel a little like this guy:

Writing a book is a LOT like a long-term relationship, you are dedicating a significant chunk of your time on this planet to loving and nurturing it. You will have moments of great joyful happy dancing and moments where you're so frustrated you want just want to cry. You will celebrate milestone and anniversaries with it. You will have fights about the way things are supposed to be and end up not talking for a few days, followed by a make-up session where you write the best scene of the book. It takes up all of your spare time, thoughts, and energy. 

So why, oh, why, would anyone work take on TWO of these book relationships at once?! 
But then I started thinking about my writing process. I love my writing, I love my characters and my stories, and I love the fact that I get so many Shiny New Ideas. But I think the real reason I get them so frequently is because I get bored with focusing all my energy on one story. I pretty much always have many different stories going on in my head at any given time and when I try to block them all but one, my brain gets bored and uncooperative and just shuts down.

Crazy person that I am, I've decided to try it! My hope is that this way I can be thinking about one book and when I get to that point where my brain doesn't want to think about that anymore, I can just switch to the other book and not feel guilty about changing tracks. I'm particularly excited about trying this now because these two particular stories have the main ingredients for being a perfect match: 1) they are different genres, plot styles, and POVs, and 2) I would be happy to finish either of them, so I'm not concerned about one book getting more attention than the other.

I think the moral of the story is this: Until you know what your ideal writing process is, it's important to try new techniques and tricks when you feel like things aren't working. Because if you don't keep trying new things, it's unlikely you'll find the thing that works.

So tell me: Have you ever worked on two projects at once? Any advice? Do you think I'm crazy for trying this? What is the writing process that works best for you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To Listen or Not to Listen? Part One.

I am not a person who gets new ideas very often. Unlike Patricia, who is the Queen of Shiny New Ideas, my ideas come when least expected--and usually after I've complained about not having any. I don't know how many of you get your ideas. But my ideas come to me loudly and they always, always start with a line in a unique voice. Then they haunt me, taunt me and yell at me until I give in. That's how I know it's the story I need to tell. (I apparently like those stubborn characters who harass me. It's telling.) The louder something is the harder it is to ignore.

If you are doing NaNo--or ANY draft--there's a certain point where the Shiny News start attacking.

They find you when you are weak. When you've hit 30-50k and you're halfway between "beginning" and "ending" and lost somewhere in "what was I thinking? I can't do this!" They attack! They try to pull you away with newer, better, shinier characters and plots and fancy words. Here's where the dilemma comes in: To listen or not to listen?

I sadly can't tell you the answer to that. I think it's different for every person, every WIP, every Shiny New. I think some people can manage two drafts at once with equal love and dedication, and some can't. Some stories need a break, so you run away with the Shiny New. There are a hundred scenarios for every single idea. Me, I'm that girl who tries (really hard) to ignore the Shiny New.  I write my idea down somewhere. And then, once I've finished my WIP, I look at them again. It's pretty amazing how "The Best Idea EVER" is totally nonsense when you look at it again.

See, without the regale and fanfare of the Shiny New, without the perfectly placed temptation of new satisfaction in your struggle, Shiny New Ideas are no longer shiny or new. They are just ideas. And an idea without some sparkle and promise is a lot more work--and probably (9 times out of 10) not a very good idea.

I'm here right now. Kind of.

I have a SNI that is so shiny and so new and so exciting! The difference is that I haven't had a new idea that I felt I could REALLY write since I started this WIP over a year and half ago. That's a long time. I've had a few other projects, but none of them are finished because I kept coming back to this story. It wasn't done. It wasn't ready. I wanted to tell it. And this is the first time in 15 months that I feel like i've been telling it the way it needs to be told. It's exciting. It also means: SNI ATTACK.

There was a line in my head for two days. A line in a voice that was (is) so strong and snarky. That's when I gave the "I'm not writing this right now. I'm not even thinking about it" speech. And I didn't.

I kept saying to myself. "I am TOTALLY NOT writing this." Even though I want to. I won't even think about it. I'll ignore it. It will be easy because I most definitely do not have the whole first chapter written out in my head and all the story and three cutesy-banter scenes. Do not. I'm not even thinking even about it. Obviously...

Okay....obviously I have thought about it. I have the whole idea ready! But I will not write it until I've finished my WIP. I will try really hard not to even write a scene, because if I do then I won't want to stop. That would lead into trouble for me, my stories and my CPs. Until that time, I will not listen to my SNI. I will just let it simmer on the backburner. Let it keep developing and write, write, write my WIP so I can get to the SNI.

Not listening to a loud shiny new is hard. It's really hard--especially when you love the idea. It's a constant echo in the back of your mind and it finds ways to slip into your thoughts and I, personally, have to fight it all the time.

But what happens when you don't fight it? What happens when you listen to that Shiny New? You can check out Part Two tomorrow and get the other perspective on listening to it from the queen herself. (Patricia!) Until then, chime in on this.

What's your process?  How often do your SNIs attack? Do you think you listen or don't listen? Are there any steps you take to block it out of your mind?