Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Funnies—Perceptions

These made me laugh and I had to share. The Mormon one killed me :) Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Ramblings—77 x 7 x 7

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday.  It was my birthday! I’m 36. Yep, I’ll own it. I fought hard for every one of those freaking years!

I had a fun post planned in my mind for yesterday, but then my hubby let me sleep in and I decided to blow off the entire day! I love blown days.

I do have a normal post for today. So back to business…

I was lucky enough to be tagged by the famous David Powers King and the sweet Freya Morris. So of course I have to do it:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
  4. Tag 7 authors
  5. Let them know 

So without further ado…here is mine :)

Jocelyn slept longer than Taggert expected.
What a thing to escape into a dream, where nightmares are faceless and in the peripheral of thought. They never stand before you and demand resolution. In dreams you can run, delay, postpone, but rarely confront. Is this why she slept? Maybe her fantasy nightmares were easier than her waking ones. Was she peacefully lying there fleeing her existence?
            When she opened her eyes, Taggert looked away. He wanted to give her some time to remember where she was and what had happened, without his gaze.

Now, to find 7 people who haven’t done this yet…Hmmm.  If you have already been tagged…sorry for the re-tag :)

Melissa Sarno
Angela Brown
Katrina Lantz
Ilima Todd
Tasha Seegmiller
Kyra Lennon
Ruth Josse

Have fun :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Won’t You Be My Neighbor—Chantele Sedgwick

Alrighty people do I have a surprise for you! The always kind, never grouchy, eternally helpful, superwoman ChanteleSedgwick is here today! Do you feel lucky? I do. So welcome Chantele...

Chantele: Wow! Thanks for the warm welcome! I totally wish I were superwoman! Ha ha!

Angie: You are superwoman! You can juggle babies, write books, and leap over laundry in a single bound! Okay, I'll stop embarrassing you :) 

First real question...It's really a double question...What is your favorite thing about yourself (don't be modest)? And what would you change about yourself if you could?

Chantele: So ... My favorite thing about myself? Oh, crap. Um ... I think my determination is one thing I like. If I want something bad enough, I won't give up. (I guess there comes a point when I should, but ... you know.) And something I'd change would be how critical I am about my writing. I'll never ever think I'm good enough, and I wish I could be more positive about it. :)

Angie: I think most people can't look at their own writing objectively. We either love it or hate it. I go back and forth too. Sometimes I think it's total crap and consider destroying it (but I don't). Have you ever done that?

Chantele: ALL the time. I don't really throw anything away though. I just move on to something else. Or let the "crap" settle for a while and then go back to it later and figure out what's wrong with it. It's usually not as bad as I thought it was. Surprisingly. But sometimes it's ten times WORSE than I thought it was! Ha ha. :)

Angie: Hehehe :) That is NEVER a good realization.

Next question...I know you will yell at me and tell me this is impossible to answer, but give it your best shot. What fiction book has taught you the most about writing? I will be a little lenient and let you pick one author if you must :)

Chantele: Oh, freak. Seriously? I really want to pick two. And they aren't really books, more of the authors that taught me the most. Sorry, I'm cheating. ;)

The first one, and you guys will roll your eyes at me for saying this, but the author who made me realize I could write while raising my kids, was Stephenie Meyer. I'm not saying she's the best writer, I just admire her for putting herself out there and making me realize I could do the same.

The other one is J.K. Rowling. She was able to create such an amazing world out of nothing. Reading her books are like magic. They pull you in, keep you there and it feels like you're part of Harry's world. It takes an AMAZING author to do that. I'm still in awe of her writing. And I can read her books again and again and again and still find new things in them.

There are so many things we can create as writers. A whole world of possibilities, which is what makes writing so much fun and rewarding. Hopefully that made sense... my pregnant brain isn't working lately

Angie: You are such a cheater...but I will let it slide. I love J.K. too! I can read anything she writes. I am also with you on Stephanie Meyer. I've had a few complaints about the last books, but I still love her. I never realized until reading her that you didn't need a writing degree to become a published author (I'm slow I know). I felt like an entire world opened up to me when I realized that.

Chantele: We were slow together, because I thought you needed a writing degree too! Ha ha. Great minds think alike. ;)

Angie: You said it! 

I'm feeling like a fun question...If you had to lose one of your five senses, which one would you pick and why?

Chantele: My sense of smell. I couldn't stand not hearing my kids sweet voices. Or seeing them. And I could do without smelling certain things. ;)

Angie: I think I could do without hearing my sweet children :) I have a VERY chatty seven year old!

Chantele: Ha! I already have selective hearing. ;)

Angie: What did you say? Ha! Me too :)

So you've had a big year already. You split with your agent, found a publisher who loves your books and now you are on your way to having a real live book in your hands. * Squeal* I'm so excited. Other than the time it has taken to get here, what has been the hardest thing and the easiest for  you?

Chantele: That's a tough question, but I think the hardest thing so far was splitting with my agent. I mean, I had an AGENT. There are so many writers who would have loved to be in my position. But it all came down to what was best for me and my books. It was really the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my writing journey. But, I don't regret it. Not one bit.

The easiest thing for me, has been not giving up. If that makes any sense. I want to be an author so bad and I've worked so hard to get this far. Surprisingly I haven't wanted to give up. Which is weird. Usually I give up on lots of stuff. LOL! But I knew writing was something I couldn't stop. I have too many stories in my head to throw it all away. It's a part of me now. And a part of me that I'm proud of. :)

And SQUEE for having a real live book in my hands! I still can't believe it.

Angie: It is so cool! How long have you been writing? And what made you start?

Chantele: I've been writing seriously since 2007 ... so about 5 years. I've had stories in my head for MUCH longer though. Since high school. I remember typing stories on my parents computer and making sure no one knew what I was doing. I don't know why I was embarrassed about it, but I was. I stopped writing for a while after that, but still had stories floating around.

After I had my second baby, I realized I needed to write them down. Seriously write instead of toy around with the idea. I had one particular character that wouldn't leave me alone, so I sat down and ended up writing  60,000 words in two months. It became my first YA novel. Which I still want to go back and re-write. Once I finished that one I started another one. And another. Now I'm on my 6th and still loving every minute of it. :)

Angie: Six! Wow! Sometimes I think it is easier to write one than to write more. Are you still a writer if you only write one?

Chantele: Of course! I think writing one book is a big accomplishment! Seriously. And each time I start a new book, I think, "There is no way I can write another book." But if you do it once, you can do it again. 

Angie: There is a moment when you think, "I can't duplicate that." But I think you are right. Tons of people say they are writing a book but never finish.

Alright, time for the pageant question :) Pretend you are on a stage with millions of people watching you (no pressure)...What is one thing the world would be better with more of? (You can't say reality T.V. or Vampire Diaries or chocolate ;)

Chantele: I was gonna pick chocolate, but that's a no go... Um ... I think one thing the world would be better with more of, is optimism. Everyone is so negative all the time. If we were all more optimistic, people would be happier more often. :) And there can never be a shortage of awesome books in the world, either. ;)

Angie: I give you a ten for that answer :) And a standing ovation! My hubby is excessively optimistic. I think I can count on both hands the times I've seen him really down.

And more great books? Yes please!!!

One last fast question...Will you give us all a little hint of what new book you are currently working on. Give us a premise or fun character detail or even better a hook sentence :)

Chantele: The new book I'm working on, is actually the sequel to my Fairy Tale book. So, I won't spoil any of that. ;) I'm also working on a YA sci fi (I think ... ) about a girl who's dad is the FBI director and uses her gift of hypnosis to put criminals away. She isn't sure if the criminals are innocent or not and has to decide who the bad guys really are. That's the best way I can explain it. Haha. :) 

Angie: I'm so excited for your first book and the sequel! And how cool does the FBI book sound? Awesomeness!!!

Thanks so much for answering my insane questions :) You were brilliant!!!

Chantele: Thanks SO much for having me, Angie!! You are the best!

Chantele is so much fun :) Everyone can check out Chantele’sbook on Goodreads. Thanks everybody for stopping by.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Lessons in Storytelling—“This is my partner Ghee Buttersnaps”

This is possibly my favorite quote from Psych, but it is SO hard to pick!

Shawn Spencer: If we end up catching the Devil, and he starts acting all... devil-y, I know what to do. First I'll buy a fiddle. Play a quick tune, so he underestimates my abilities. Then I'll challenge him to a wager. If he wins, he gets my soul. I win, we get his cooperation—

I love Psych! It is my 12 year old son’s favorite show. If you have never seen it…shame on you. If you have then you know how deliciously funny it is.

I was thinking about all the ways they add humor to the show and how writers could use the same principles to “funny up” their stories and today’s post was born…
Lessons on adding humor to your story complements of Psych

Have a “strait” character—(obviously not “not gay”… you know what I mean :) A funny character needs a strait character. You need someone serious to bounce all that crazy off of. Example:

Burton 'Gus' Guster: Great. Now you've gotten me kicked out of a funeral. Just add it to the list. Kicked out of Petsmart, kicked out of Santa's Village, kicked out of the Salvation Army... 
Shawn Spencer: Dishonorably discharged!

Trifle with words—My hubby always tells my kids not to do this! LOL :) Jane Austen uses this technique a lot and it still works today. Find something funny in a word and use it. Example:

Juliet O'Hara: Detective Lassiter is literally on fire today. 
Shawn Spencer: "Literally on fire" as in Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial, or as in a misuse of the word "literally?"

Character chemistry—Shawn and Gus can banter with the best of them. You can really get a sense of their relationship. This works amazingly well in stories: Example:

Shawn Spencer: Life insurance policy? 
Burton 'Gus' Guster: It doesn't make any sense. 
Shawn Spencer: Tell me about it... Dude, seriously, tell me about it. I have no idea what this means. 
Burton 'Gus' Guster: You never could understand legalese. 
Shawn Spencer: Oh, really? Remind me who it was who set up our Psych 401ks? 
Burton 'Gus' Guster: Oh, you mean our 601ks? Because India doesn't have 401ks. 
Shawn Spencer: It's a growth economy, Gus. We've already made like, 500 rupee. 
Burton 'Gus' Guster: That's thirteen dollars.

Mocking—Who doesn’t love a little well placed mockery? It always comes off best when the person doesn’t realize they are being mocked: Examples:

Juliet O'Hara: I had no idea you were so serious about bowling. 
Shawn Spencer: Quite serious, quite serious. Matter of fact, Lego wants to sponsor me this year. 
Juliet O'Hara: Oh, that's great. 
Shawn Spencer: They also want me to wear shoes made out of Legos... So I'm torn...

Shawn Spencer: Good morning detectives, collecting money for the Policeman's ball? 
Carlton Lassiter: We don't have balls. 
Shawn Spencer: I honestly have no response to that.

Funny nicknames—This won’t work for all story types or characters, but it is a fun way to add quirks. This is one of my favorite reoccurring parts of the show—when Shawn introduces Gus using a ridiculous name. Examples:

Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Ghee Buttersnaps…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my associate MC Clap-yo-hands…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn and this is my partner Dequan “Smallpox” Randal…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Lavender Gooms…
Shawn Spencer: This is my Vice President Longbranch Penny Whistle…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Control Alt Delete…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my friend Ovaltine Jenkins…
Shawn Spencer: I’m Shawn Spencer and this is my partner Squirts Macintosh…

Oh my goodness, I have to stop! I could go on all day.

Humor is so important. I don’t think you need to be a standup comic to write it :) So add a little funny into your story.

Got a favorite Psych episode? I want to hear about it!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Funnies—Paraprosdokian

My mother-in-law turned me onto this—Paraprosdokians. It is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected.

When I learned about it I thought, “How have I never heard of this? I’m a writer.” I had to share a few of my favorites with you. 
  • Where there’s a will, I want to be in it. 

  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong. 

  • If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. 

  • I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you. 

  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory. 

  • There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away. 

  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice. 

  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the  target. 

  • Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.  

  • If it weren’t for the gutter, my mind would be homeless. 

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Random Ramblings—Hardback, Paperback, e-book…Oh my!

I’ve been thinking about this lately and I want to get some other opinions.

I’ve always been a bit of a book snob. I LOVE hardbacks. If I can find a book in hardback I always buy it. Sometimes I won’t buy books if they only come in paperback.  And e-books are they really books?

This was all before I started trying to get published.

But now I’m in a bit of a conundrum. I’ve read some FANTASIC books in paperback—some of my favorites in fact. And since getting a Kindle, I’m loving all the books I can ONLY get in e-book.

I think hardbacks will always be my favorite. I love how they look on my shelves and they hold up so nice to multiple readings. But now I’m starting to change my mind.

So my questions to you are…What book format is your favorite? Would you sign with a publisher that only printed paperbacks? Or e-books?


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crafting Corner—Tension. Don’t leave home without it!

I try and learn as much as I can from the books I read—even the terrible ones. One thing I’ve noticed about the bad published books I’ve read lately is there is a lack of tension.

Tension is an ABSOLUTE must!!! I think the more the better. So what can you do to add more or fix the tension you have?

What to do:
  • Big tension. Have overarching tension, a problem that starts at the beginning of the books and follows the characters around like a black cloud. This tension will only be resolved at the end of the book. 
  • Small tension. Tension should peak and resolve over and over. Small bits of changing tension will push people to read your story. 
  • Use setting. The emotion of a place can really increase the emotion in your character. Cut off escape routes and narrow options. 
  • Add potential threats. Potential sometimes has more power than actuality. What could go wrong? Play that up! 
  • Put your characters in danger. Physical danger. Emotional danger. Psychological danger. But don’t forget to have them react! 
  • Choices. Force your characters to make impossible choices. Choices between people. Choices that are all terrible. 

What NOT to do: 
  • Don’t rely on the overarching tension to carry the story. It will always be there, but it is usually not enough. 
  • Don’t undermine your tension. If the situation is scary don’t have your characters making out :) Character reactions add to the tension. Use them. 
  • Long lyrical sentences and paragraphs don’t really add tension. They take time to read and understand. Keep it short and simple. Faster reads speed up tension. 

I hope that helps a little. Tell me what has helped you to add more tension to your stories.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Won’t You Be My Neighbor—Melissa Sarno

Hey everybody, welcome to this week’s Won't You Be My Neighbor! This will be awesome, because I have the delightful Melissa Sarno. I've been following Melissa for a while now and I can't wait to interview her.

Melissa lives in New York City, and so in honor of her sophistication I'll forgo the Mr. Rogers get up and wear black. That is the New Yorker's uniform, right? Or have I been watching too much TV?

Melissa: Thank you so much for having me, Angie :)

Yes, yes. Black is still the new black here. But the best thing about living in a place like New York City is that anything goes.

For example, a man who wanders the streets where I work likes to wear lace dresses and a petticoat. He also likes to tie dye his dog to look like a rainbow.

So, rock that sweater, Angie. You'll fit right in with the Brooklyn hipsters...

Angie: That is hilarious! Not many people dress crazy like that in Utah, unless you hit Walmart at 2 am :) Then all bets are off.

Melissa: I'd like to troll around a Walmart at 2am with you.  Actually, I've never been to a Walmart.

Angie: Trust me you aren't missing anything. I only go as a last resort.

Alright I’ve got a great first question...If you had to pick one article of clothing and never wear it again what would you pick and why?

Melissa: Do high heels count?  I would abandon high heels in a millisecond.  To be honest, I've pretty much abandoned them already. Too bad I wasn't a feminist back in the day.  I could easily jump on the bra burning wagon.

Angie: Oh my goodness, yes high heels count! I can understand the appeal that they make legs look nice, but no one can convince me they are comfortable. I do have to keep the bra though. If I didn't I could knock out small children if I moved to fast! TMI? Probably.

Melissa: Oh my goodness, that made me literally laugh out loud, Angie!  I am definitely not as blessed. When I made it to a B-cup, I think I cheered.

Angie: Ha :) I think blessed is in the eye of the beholder. Okay, I'm going to stop now. No more boob jokes.

Another question...I love your blog. I LOVE the way you write. It is so poignant, lyrical, and thoughtful. I always feel relaxed when I read your posts, like I just got a deep breath of fresh air. I've always wondered what is your favorite thing to write? Characters? Description? Dialogue? Setting? 

Melissa: That's really nice of you to say.  I am so grateful that you read it and get something from it because I'm never sure what on earth I'm doing with my blog.

Oh wow.  This is difficult to say. I guess my answer would be that I love to write it all.   I write character-driven stories so characters mean everything to me.  Dialogue is the most fun. But also the most difficult to get right.  I can get much too carried away with description. I am always working to make my stories leaner.  But my first instinct was to say setting.  I love real and imagined places. So, after that tangent... Setting.  Setting is my favorite.

Angie: I love great settings. I love when it feels like a character in the story. You didn't even know it, but that is the perfect tie in for my next question (seriously, I had this planned before your answer).

New York City is a character just by its self. Pick your favorite spot in the city and tell me how it inspires you.

View FROM Valentino Pier
Melissa: You can't possibly do this to me.  A *favorite* spot!  I love this city too much.  And there are far too many places.  I am inspired everywhere I go. After much internal debate, I have decided on Valentino Pier Park in Red Hook Brooklyn, which sticks out into the New York Harbor. It is always hazy there near the water.  So quiet and still.  I cannot express how difficult that is to find in New York. I cling to that quiet because it lets me think clearly.  It makes me feel peaceful.  And peaceful, quiet things inspire me.

Angie: It sounds amazing! I love peaceful places. When everything is quiet, it is like I can finally hear all the things the characters in my head have been trying to tell me. That sounds a little crazy. Hey I might fit into NYC after all :) I could totally rock petty coats.

Melissa: I am with you.  Characters always in the head, babbling away. What color would your petticoat be? (Mine would be purple)

Angie: Oh, I LOVE purple! I pick salmon. I've been digging that color lately :)

Here is a good question...What is the last book you read that you LOVED? What did learn from it?

Melissa: Right now I am reading Tina Fey's Bossypants and I am in love because I'm laughing to a point where I'm near tears.  

But, the last book I really, truly loved and this is so unoriginal given how people are fawning and falling all over it (as they should) is John Green's The Fault In Our Stars.  I learned that funny, real, intelligent characters with tremendous heart are still in demand. :)

Angie: I've wanted to read that! I love when a book is so great it turns off my writer brain and I become a reader again :)

Oh, I forgot to ask you what genre you write, and what you are working on right now?

Melissa: I write Contemporary YA.  I'm querying one novel and at the very early stages of another. 

Angie: No wonder you love Green :) Well done Contemporary is some of my favorite stuff to read!

Last question...pageant question! I was thinking how lucky you are that you get time to think about this and don't have to answer on the spot like most 17 year olds I've interviewed.

Okay, to the question...If you could pick one cliché that sums up your life what would it be? (Example--I would pick "when it rains it pours" for good and bad :)

Melissa: I love the pageant question.  I've been waiting for it.  I do not know how anyone would answer in seconds.  I decided on 'a watched pot never boils'.  I am a very impatient person, constantly looking ahead, pushing too far forward. I've seen that when you're looking away, that's when the good stuff happens. :) But Ill never learn.

Angie: 9.5 and TONS of clapping!!! I'm impatient myself so I understand :) What a great answer. I love it!

Melissa: This was such a super fun interview.  Can we do it every week? Hehe.

Angie: Thanks so much Melissa! I would like to do this every week. If I ever make it to NY you can show me your favorite spot on the pier and the NY public library! 

Everybody drop over to Melissa's blog and give her a shout out :) Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lessons in Storytelling—Ode to Walt

Me, Sister Bug, and Pluto
It rained our last day...yes those are ponchos
I’m back from Disneyland!

A big thanks to all of you who live by me—for not robbing my house :) I do have shelves and shelves of books a lot of you want.

Disneyland was so much fun. There is something that lights up in my kids faces there that can’t be duplicated. I just love it!

I wanted to take today and give a small tribute to Walt Disney. What a great storyteller! Here are a few quotes by the Dreamer himself—I think they work wonderfully for writers :)

"In learning the art of storytelling by animation, I have discovered that language has an anatomy."

"I just make what I like - warm and human stories, ones about historic characters and events, and about animals. If there is a secret, I guess it's that I never make the pictures too childish, but always try to get in a little satire of adult foibles."

"I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination."

"Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work it until it's done and done right."

"My fun is working on a project and solving the problems."

"A good ending is vital to a picture, the single most important element, because it is what the audience takes with them out of the theater."

"You don't build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them."

Total side note—I missed you guys :) I hope you all had a great week last week, no computer viruses, unexplained deaths, or missing puppies. Happy Monday!


P.S. - Shelly Brown :) I don't remember when you said this, but you are so right...the Ferris Wheel at California Adventure is by far the scariest ride!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week Off

Hey Everyone! I won’t be around this week. Hubby and I are taking our 3 kidos to Disneyland :) There aren’t too many things better than that. I’ll be back next Monday. You all have a great week!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Every Authors Dream

Besides being published, don’t you think every author would love to see their book made into a movie? I do.

It’s so much fun that Kyra Lennon and Rachel Schieffelbien are co-hosting this blogfest.

Post pictures of the actors you would like to play characters from your book (how many is up to you). And post a song that best describes a character or your story as a whole. Fun, right!!!

This was so much harder than I thought it would be! Holy cow, Taggert was difficult for me. I looked forever!!! I think it’s because no actor was a perfect fit with how I see him. I also don't love Glee so that ruined things a bit, but Chord Overstreet is a good fit.

I picked 5 characters—the ones I love and hate the most :)


Life circumstances have left her broken,
 but she has an inner strength that will ultimately win out.


Charming—Risk Taker—Smart.
Unable to see his weaknesses, he hopes charm and intelligence will make up for them.


He’s always there to fix Taggert’s mistakes. Now, if he would just fix his own.


She can be your best friend or worst ememy—your choice.

Prince Zven

Best advice—stay away. No one lives to cross Prince Zven.


I had an easier time picking a song, even though I don’t really use music as inspiration. The Reason by Hoobastank perfectly captures the twist in my story. I won’t tell you who it’s about, but my beta readers know. You’ll have to take their word for it :) I don't love the video, but I love the song!

Thanks again Kyra and Rachel. This was so much fun.

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