Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

First of all, I'd like to say that for the first time I've completed my most important resolution from last year. In fact, for the past five years one of my goals for the new year has been to write an entire novel. I can't believe it's taken me this long to just go out and write one, but hey, better late than never, right?

I'm still trying to figure out my resolutions for 2012, but it definitely includes writing another book. Now that I've written one, I've got the confidence to keep going and going and going. I feel like the energizer bunny, lol.

Anyway, I have a skating test on Monday. For those of you who know skating, I'm taking my Juvenile Moves, and my Pre-Juvenile Freestyle tests. I'm skating a two minute program, when I'm used to only a minute and thirty seconds. It seems like a short amount of time, but it's amazing how long two minutes feels like when you're constantly moving.

To make matters worse, I think I'm getting sick. My head feels like it's about to pop, and my throat feels like I swallowed a thorn bush. (Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but still.) So hopefully I won't lose my balance during my tests.

What are you're New Year's Resolutions?


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Relaxing and Laziness

I have been super lazy this Holiday Season. I'm not even going to try to deny it. I've been sleeping in until 10:00am each morning (probably because I've been staying up until 1:00 each night...). I've been playing video games with my brother and sister which I never do. And it's nice to be spending time with them, but when I play those games, I'll play all day long. They're addicting.

And then of course, we've been watching a lot of TV shows. We don't actually have cable but we have some sort of streaming through Netflix and Amazon. So we started watching the show called Lost. I used to watch commercials for it when we did have cable, but I was too little to take any note of it. In fact, I thought it looked boring.

Well, I was completely wrong. It's full of suspense and pretty much always ends with a cliffhanger. As a writer, I think it's an awesome show to learn from. (That's my excuse for watching it.)

Anyway, I'm still searching for last minute changes in my book. It's a lot more work than I thought. Every time I finish a draft, I announce it to my family. But my dad keeps asking when it will really be done, and I honestly have no idea. Hopefully soon. He says he'll only read it once it's published, so I've got a lot of work to do.

In conclusion, I've hardly done anything since school was let out. I'm not quite sure how I haven't gotten bored yet... maybe I needed a little break.

How have you guys been spending the Holiday Season?


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

Well, I have exciting news! I sent the first 25 pages of my novel to be critiqued by Rachele Alpine. This is the first time anyone other than the people in my family will be looking at it, and I'm nervous. Of course, I was so nervous after an hour of sending her my pages that I had to re-read them. And do you know what I found? 65 errors.

There were minor inconsistencies, like, my MC was missing from school for three days, but in a lot of dialogue she says she was gone for five. I found that I had spelled the word 'once' as 'oce'. In one sentence I wrote two of the same word in the same line, "His dark green eyes eyes...".

I freaked out. Immediately, I got to work fixing all of the errors, but I knew it wouldn't change anything. I had already sent off my 25 pages. I know I really shouldn't have looked over it. I know that no matter how many times I look over it, I'm going to find things to change and that it won't be perfect. But I hate wasting people's time with things I know I could have fixed myself.

Perfection is our enemy. No matter how hard we try, or how close we get to catching it, it's always a step ahead of us. I've heard people say that a lot. Of course, just because we can't ever reach it, doesn't mean we should give up. But I didn't imagine myself sending off my first 25 pages for critiquing with that many errors. Could my entire story be that bad? I really hope not.

Anyway, I'm doing a final read through, and then, to prevent myself from falling into the black hole of editing that could keep me reviewing forever, I'll officially declare that I'm done!! So after that, I'll finally be asking for beta readers.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you're celebrating this December :)


Today is Christmas Eve Eve because it's the Eve of Christmas Eve. Just in case you were confused with the post title.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Inspiration

So, it turns out the 'secret place' that we went to was West Virginia. We stayed at the Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs and I was impressed. I was afraid that since this vacation was mostly just to 'relax', it would also mean doing a whole bunch of stuff that I didn't want to do, and falling behind in editing and all kinds of stuff. But, that was not the case.

We had so much fun, but I have to say, my favorite activity was playing laser tag. There were other families there, so we had a big group of people with us. We split up into two groups and chose teams. After that, the game began. Since I write Sci-Fi and Action/Adventure/Dystopian sort of things, it was pretty good inspiration. I felt like my main character in the heat of battle. Only, the worst thing that could happen to me in there was losing one of my ten lives, where in my story, the consequences are much worse.

I was actually surprised with how good of a shot I was. Sure, I risked my 'lives' a few times, but overall, the girls team won. Of course, after we had achieved victory, the boys tried making excuses, saying that they let us win. But something tells me that that wasn't the case.

Anyway, Christmas break starts tomorrow for me, and I'm looking forward to lots of time to write and get stuff done!

Have a great day!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Honestly, I have no idea where I've been. I usually have enough time to write a blog post on the days I set out to write them, but I guess I've been letting editing get in the way. Not that that's a bad thing, but still, I feel kind of bad. I guess I'm just being lazy because it's the Holiday Season.

Anyway, I have some good news! I finished doing the biggest edit of my novel! Now all I've got to do is read over the comments my mom (over at Imagine Today) made for me and fix those.

We're going someplace secret this weekend. I wish I could tell you where we're going, but even I don't know. My mom and dad won't tell me, but apparently we'll have to dress up all the time. The other 'hints' I've gotten are that the place is South East of where I live, and it's about a five hour drive away. Where could that possibly be?

Either way, I like long drives because I can write in the car. And my super cute Toshiba Netbook has a battery that lasts forever (eight hours). So I think I'll be all set :)

Back to finishing up editing! Hope you guys have a great weekend!


Don't worry, I know that today is Thursday. But I don't think I'll post tomorrow unless I completely finish my book. Just wanted you to let you know!

Friday, December 9, 2011


No, don't worry. I'm not talking about food or animal sacrifices or anything. (Unless you're trying to impress the writing gods or something...)

We all have to make sacrifices to get our writing done. But it can really be hard sometimes. For this entire week, I've been trying so hard to meet my goal of finishing my entire book on the 10th of December, but as tomorrow swiftly approaches, I just don't see how I can possibly edit thirteen more chapters tonight.

I'm still trying to figure out what I did wrong. I've sacrificed so much time this week for my writing! Okay, maybe I didn't wake up as early as I planned to every day, but I did a lot of other stuff. I stayed up late to get my work done. I didn't go to the movie theater last Sunday with my mom, sister and dad! I even skipped watching two episodes of the TV show Glee to get my writing done! (I couldn't resist watching the most current episode of Star Wars the Clone Wars with my brother, though...)

So, maybe I set too big of a goal for myself. Or maybe I just didn't execute my 'plan' correctly. Or maybe it was just a bad writing week. It sounds silly, but some days when I'm practicing my violin it's just randomly worse than other days. Same thing with skating. Some days I'm really focused, and other days, I completely lose my balance doing simple things.

It's easy to get discouraged when no matter what you do, you feel like you won't finish soon enough, or won't get good things written down. But, I've found that going around and feeling sorry for yourself isn't the way to get what you want done, done. Trust me, I've tried it.

Luckily, I happen to be in a very good writing mood today, so even if I don't finish on the tenth exactly, maybe I could extend my deadline to the end of the weekend or maybe even Monday. Either way, I've still got a lot of work to get done, so I should get back to it.

What are you guys planning for the weekend?


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Out Of My Novel!

I've been editing like crazy, but it's starting to pay off. I'm really excited because I've only got around fifteen more chapters to edit. And even though that sounds like a lot, my chapters are pretty short.

I've noticed that I've got a ton of scene's that are there just for the sake of being there. Sadly, a lot of times they are scenes that I really like. Scenes that have tons of awesome descriptive language but don't move the story along at all.

Before I start editing a scene, I'll read through it as it is. After reading it, I'll ask myself, 'what's the point I'm trying to get across here?' And If I get that point across someplace else already, or there really isn't a point, I just delete it. I've found parts where my MC is walking through a hallway getting to her room from someplace else. And when the point of my scenes are just to show that my MC is going somewhere... well that's not so great.

So what do I do? Tell those scenes to "get the heck out of my novel!"

I guess I've kind of come to enjoy being able to delete things out of my story, because I've got enough words to edit already. So when the entire scene can be taken out, I'm just thankful I don't have to go through it! My favorite part about writing a story is the actual writing part of it. The editing is fun, but I think it takes waay too long.

So the lesson I've learned? Don't keep scenes that are there just for the sake of being there. It seems obvious, but sometimes it's hard to pick them out.

Anyway, I've got to start on my school work now so I can be done with it sooner so I can edit more.

Do you guys have any great editing tips?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Where's the Snow?

WARNING: This post discusses the topic of global warming.

Okay, I don't really know where you guys live, but in the area of Ohio that I live in, there is no snow on the ground. I remember when it used to snow at Thanksgiving around here. But it's already December 5, and I have no idea where it could be.

I'm sorry, but I'm a winter girl. Winter is my favorite season... steamy hot chocolate (mixed with coffee :) ), an inspirational snowy landscape to look over, and not having to go outside... Don't get me wrong, I like being outside but that usually means I have to write on paper instead of my computer. I remember about two or three years ago when it didn't snow until after Christmas. That was probably the most sad thing ever.

(The funny thing is, I really don't like the cold. But winter means I can stay inside, and my mom doesn't really want to go anywhere because it's cold. So that means I can sit around and write all day :) )

Anyway, I'm getting really worried because it's raining outside. I could go outside in a t-shirt and be fine. And if I stayed out there for too long I'd get cold. But I remember when winter meant going outside in a sweater and freezing to death when in contact with the winter air. This is our backyard:

Does this look right to you?
(If you look closely enough, that long rectangular object in the top right corner of the picture is an example of what a bad photographer I am. That's kind of besides the point, but still.)

I know that the human-caused global warming topic is kind of (sometimes very) controversial. And I really don't want to discuss things that go against other people's beliefs, but I personally think that we are making an impact on our environment.

So this December, my goal is to turn off all the lights when I leave a room, take short showers (instead of my usual half hour...) and do everything I can to better the environment! I really want it to snow this Christmas!

So, what season do you guys like? Are you a fan of winter?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Untraceable- Interview with the Author

Hey everyone! Today I am interviewing S.R. Johannes (Shelli), author of the newly released book Untraceable! Let's get started!


Okay, Shelli, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have am MBA in marketing and worked in corporate America for over 15 years doing marketing, communication, and training. I walked off the job in 2006 and have been doing freelance marketing ever since. I own my own marketing company and have worked with Spanx and Goody Hair. I have a hubby from England, 2 kids and a Goldendoodle. I’m actually very boring, which is probably why I write thrillers :) I love being at home, doing yoga, reading and playing with my kids. That’s my everyday.

So how long have you been writing?

(Author S.R. Johannes)
I started right after I had my daughter in 2004. I always say she sat on something. I think since I had 4 months off maternity leave – I started writing while she was napping and couldn’t stop. I hadn’t written much before that. But when I was little I used to write all the time. IN 2006 I left my corporate job and started freelancing in copywriting and marketing. From there I started my own business where I could take the jobs I wanted while writing. It’s the best of both worlds.

Can you tell us more about your book Untraceable?

It's a wilderness thriller with a missing person, a kick-butt heroine, and of course - two hot boys :) what else do you need? Besides Moon Pies.

 What was your inspiration for this thrilling romp through the wilderness?

My hubby came home from camping and said “I was so deep in the woods, someone could do something bad and get away with it.” That planted the seed until I visited the bear pits in Cherokee. I just put those two things together.

I wanted to create a contemporary thriller. I loved James Patterson growing up and there are very few young adult thrillers out there that aren’t paranormal or dystopic. I wanted to create a “stay up late and read” sort of book with a strong girl character who could take care of herself in the real world with no magic or special powers.

What were the difficulties you had to overcome while writing it?

No one else believed in this book. My agent wanted me to shelf it. A publisher wanted me to make it dystopic. So my agent and I parted and I went off on my own. Something inside me needed this book out there.

Did you get published through a publisher or self publish?

I self-published. But I worked very hard to make sure it was of a high quality so you could not tell by looking or reading. Self-pubbing has a tough stigma so I wanted to set myself apart.

Is this your first book?

This is my first book that is published. But I have three other books that have almost been bought by publishers over the last 5 years. A tween paranormal, a teen nonfiction cyber guide, and a MG fairy book. I think I do better in YA though.

What are your upcoming projects?

A special edition is coming on ebook in Jan/Feb with the original ending. Book 2 should be done by summer 2012. After that, we will see. I have a SEKRIT project I'd love to get an agent for but that wont be until fall of next year.

Are there a certain genera you prefer to write in?

Young adult. My voice seems to come natural at 15 or 16. I prefer contemporary books. I can’t do paranormal or fantasy well. I also prefer suspense and thrillers. For some reason I cant seem to write a book without someone trying to get my MC.

Do you prefer writing on your computer or a notepad?

What is a notebook? :) Computer definitely.

How would you describe your main character, Grace, as a character?

Grace is independent, caring but awkward. She connects with nature more than she does with people. She’s a total introvert and would be happy alone for days at a time.

I will say she is impulsive and annoyingly reckless. Exactly like I was as a teen. I didn’t think about the effects of any cause. I didn’t think of consequences, I just did dumb stuff and got lucky. That is Grace. She acts and then thinks.

But no matter what she does, her heart is always in the right place. 

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I see pieces of myself in all my characters.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Don’t give up and go with your gut!

Anything else you want people to know about you or your book?

Give it a try. I know it is not dystopic or fantasy but I think you will not only stay up late reading it but you will walk away forever changed. I hope.

And for a final, random, question. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

Besides food and water - books, laptop (with great wireless plan), and picture of family.

And there you have it! Thank you so much for stopping by today, Shelli!
Alright everyone, check out Shelli's blog to congratulate her!

Her book is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and on Smashwords for other ebook editions! Happy reading + have a great weekend!


16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies her whole life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. But when Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. When a Cheetos bag and stolen government file materialize, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.
Then one day while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent, that’s definitely not from her neck of the woods, and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged Wyn. 
Now with renewed confidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kickass heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.


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