Nothing but treats around here

christy's kids will be transformers. erica's will be a bow hunter and a crypt master (whatever that is). they'll be getting tons of treats, so we figure you should, too. here you go, take your pick:

oh, wait, we have a few more treats in store for you. november is about to be one very sweet month. don't forget to tune in tomorrow!!


Sorry, we're not home right now. Please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Have a nice day!

we're currently away from our blog
              expect our return shortly

until then, browse
      we have lots of fun tabs you might never have looked at,
             fun pictures on the sidebars,
                     lots of other links to blogs with active bloggers


wish us luck, we'll try not to hurt ourselves

click on the story starter
and you might be taken to a few passages of what we've written in the past

super sincerely,
erica and christy

p.s. leave us a comment about what you're reading/writing this weekend.


Friday Book Review

Last summer, I (erica) discovered the Gone series by Michael Grant. It was a stretch for me, since it's a really long book, and all the characters are under 15, and some really scary stuff happens, and the kids get superpowers. Usually not my thing. But I stood in Borders (yes, stood - I was in a hurry and couldn't just sit in a chair and read for free this time!), skimmed the first few pages, and they were pretty awesome. I've read the first two in the series and I recommend them, although they aren't for the faint of heart. Teenagers are mean when left alone.

I'm separating this book review into two parts.

First, the books. Gone starts dim (everyone 15 and older suddenly disappears) and goes very, very dark (dead babies, beatings, murder, gangs, anorexia in the midst of possible starvation, kids encased in cement, and many, many other examples). Book Two, Hunger, starts right in with a dead kid and doesn't stop until many, many more have gone to, hopefully, a better place.

Charming, right?

Hang in there, there are some blinking fireflies bringing light to this world. And they made me keep reading. Sam and Astrid's sweet-as-punch budding first-romance. People who discover what it means to be a true friend. Kids who've barely reached double-digits who are able to find the strength to feed, clothe, heal, and love each other in a time of need. For every kid who raided a house and left meat out to rot is a kid who hid canned foods knowing they'd need it eventually. (okay, they don't think of themselves as kids in the book. that's my own word here.)

I don't know if I would've read this as a (actual, real) teenager. I wasn't into the supernatural and this series does have a significant plot line surrounding those with powers vs. those without. In fact, it's probably the biggest plotline, but since I've only read the first two, of course, I don't know exactly why everyone over 14 disappeared. Or why there's a big bubble over the town. Or why kids can make light or be built of rocks or have octopus arms. But I'm reading them now. All because of something that brings me to my second part of this review.

First pages really are important. If I was standing in Borders, looking at a wall of 1,000+ books, and needing to be somewhere in less than 20 minutes, and opened a book who's first page sucked - nope, moving on. We've all heard this as writers. We've (okay, I've) thought - how shallow, you can't judge a book by it's first page any more than you can judge it by its cover. There's so much more. Plot, subplot, climax, resolution. . .

Sorry, folks. You can judge a book by it's first page. I still don't judge them by their first line, but I doubt I would have picked up Gone if it simply said: "I noticed all the parents, teachers, and cops were gone and that made me a little excited and a little sad but mostly I was just hungry."

But Michael Grant is a great writer and I'm sure I'll be picking up the other two of the series (so far), and grabbing a box of kleenix, a glass of wine, and some alone time to try to finish them. Because this series isn't for the weak. So I'm gonna' have to fake it.

(note to self - never again write a paragraph with 3 sentences starting with but, because, and so. That's just bad writing. But fun. And informative. oops, there's another no-no)


it's a BOOfest! and i've got a real life ghost story for you

Quinn and Patricia A. Timms are hosting a BLOGFEST for today!  Click on image (up there) to read other participants' haunted recounts (real life horror stories)! 

I, personally have never experienced any form of haunting, but a colleague of mine lives with one every day-- and has since she was very young.

Here is her story.

Years ago, when she was just a little girl, she took a walk down her street to visit the woods at its end. Ever since, the man has followed her.

The dead man.

Thirty years have passed since that day on the street in front of the trees, the day he first attached to her. He's followed her from home to home, and even now, in the house she built with her husband, he remains.

She's never seen him, but knows he is there. He rests at the top of the stairs. She can feel him. His prescence chills her. She smells the putrid smoke from his cigarettes.

So do her children.

His fingers poke at her in the middle of the night and tug at her bed sheets. She knows he stands at her window and watches her while she lays in bed.

Professionals have come to rid her house of him. He is too strong. He laughs in their faces.  They tell her what he looks like.  What he says.  And that one day soon she, too, will see him.

Her light draws him in and he plans to stay.

Her son wakes with nightmares. He may have the light, too--with his own dead who follow in it.

She's searched for the dead man's history in data bases at the library: obituaries, articles. She has yet to pinpoint his name. More than likely, she's told, he's been dead for over 100 years.

Halloween is not a spooky time of year for her. It makes no difference. Every day she is reminded that some who have died choose not to move on.

And every day she's haunted--

by a ghost of a man who once was.


Half-Marathon of Words: THE WINNERS! and what we can all learn from them

Michael (gideon86) was the first to cross the finish line after only one week of writing.  He finished at 21,068 words.  We were amazed at his motivation and stamina! 
Patricia Timms crossed the finish line at 21, 283 words-- only hours after Michael.

Both writers blew my expectations for this competition
out of the water!

While only expected to "write in" their word counts weekly, both emailed me their accomplishments daily (or should I say nightly?  both tended to write until midnight and beyond!).  And what a successful strategy that was for them! 


So, while I rearranged my schedule to write at 5:00 in the morning, rather than run or do a class at the neighborhood YMCA (okay, I tended to get up closer to 5:30.  i might as well just be honest or we all know erica will just "edit" this later and add that i'm lying!) to elevate my daily word count (goal of 1,000 words) from its usual count of zero.  I'd wake up every morning to one, two or maybe three emails updating Patricia's and Michael's words counts from over night. 

(They averaged 3,000 words per day.  Of course, math whizzes that I'm sure you all are, you had THAT figured out a LONG time ago (hello, 21,000 words divided by 7 days).)

I tended to get about 500 done before I showered each morning.

Anyway 5-ish AM came, I turned on the fireplace, poured a cup of coffee, sat in my barstool as carefully as possilbe while holding my breath so as not to wake up either child fearful that the pitter patter of little feet would only lead to demands for an early breakfast and therefore another ZERO words,  *takes deep breath*, opened my email to check in with erica and read emails like this:

day 1ish

Patricia:  "My word count for today is 1,736. This competition is giving me a pretty good indication of what NaNo is going to be like. I’m tired, but eager to fit my writing in whenever I can now."

Erica:  "I woke up and wrote about 350."

day 3 ish

Patricia:  "My total word count for this weekend is 4,762."

Erica:  "Okay, I'm up. Coffee made. Fireplace on. Fingers ready. It took me 1/2 hour to get this far. :)"

day 4 ish

Patricia:  "I tried to go to sleep early last night but I just laid there awake thinking of my story. I had to get up and write. Here’s what I managed to get down in words, 2,285. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it through the
day without a nap now."

Michael:  "I think I wrote a lot today. Ten hours. So I wrote over 6100 words."

Erica: "I think I just figured out my problem in this marathon. I've only ever been a sprinter. Nothing longer than the 400 meter."

day 6 ish

Michael:  "I made it to the 10.5k ... well a bit over. I still have another 10.5k to go. How does anyone do it without collapsing?  I still have another hour to work on it before I need to go."

(At this point I had no advice to offer him since I was at about 4,000 words.)

day 7 ish

Michael:  "I crossed the finish line! I just did my last count and I made it! YEAH! I'm exhausted, the sweat is pouring down my face and I can barely see."

Patricia:  "I started my story at 28,758 words and ended at 50,041"

"This was too much fun. I have a pretty good idea of what NaNo is going to be like now and I’m even more excited as a result. I didn’t know I could be such a fierce competitor in writing. My family had a fun time watching me pound out the words, get anxious, and eat a lot of mini sized Snickers bars. Wrappers everywhere, that’s all I have to say about that. Yesterday I was working so hard to get the words in that my left bicep started twitching. The twitching lasted from morning until I went to bed that night."

"My writing group has been cheering me on the whole way and demanding posts of more than 2,000 words per day throughout the week. That was a big motivating factor for sure."


oh and this:  WRITE. WRITE. WRITE.

and midnight vs. 5 am appeared to be more productive according to this little "study"

thank you both for competing and i'm so glad you had each other to make the race an actual race

to me, you are both winners

and thanks for the motivation
this is a much better kick in the butt than we gave over the weekend

now we all know IT CAN BE DONE

keep in touch with michael and patricia via their blogs for motivation
patricia has some great nano footage planned, btw

this medal belongs to our first place winner
michael (gideon 86)! 

this medal belongs to all race participants:
jamie, dl curran, rach, and
our second place finisher:
patricia timms

We're also super excited to introduce you to Michael's NEW BLOG:  In Time...click on his name under his virtual gold medal to visit him!

Our other competitors have superior blogs also.  Click on their names under their virtual silver medal to pay them a visit.

Patricia:  Simplicity in Volumes
Jamie:  Writers Write, Right?
DL Curran:  words 'n' whimsy
Rach:  Rach Writes...

whew. this blog was enough writing for me.
i'll start my daily WORD GOAL again tomorrow.

just check my sidebar to be sure.
you can yell at me if it doesn't go up.
to 10k by sunday night.
that's right.

i'm challenging myself.
to 21k.

or maybe 42k.


your twofer tuesday post: Cliffhanger Blogfest PART DEUX...Pick me! Pick me!

Brenda Drake's The Never-ending Scene/CLIFFHANGER Blogfest DAY TWO

scroll down to see christy's post for the contest

And, well, that's it. Sorry, we're tired. We've had a long week. It's parent-teacher conferences, writeoncon, reviews for cliffhanger scenes, not to mention raising four boys and two husbands collectively (as well as something like 40 elementary students). So, check out christy's scene from yesterday.

Munch on some pecans.

Return tomorrow for your daily dose of awesomeness by erica and christy. And, um, comment on christy's link below. See you tomorrow. Sorry we're taking a nap, but it's needed.


Cliffhanger BLOGFEST (and a little snack on the side)

big plans tonight?
well, then.

Brenda Drake's The Never-ending Scene/CLIFFHANGER  Blogfest
October 25-26

 Love suspense?  Can't put down that page-turner?  Well, then!  Visit Brenda's blog and click on all those who signed up to partake in this blogfest!  You'll get to read 53 cliffhangers that will leave you wanting more, more, more!  (And, uh, you'll be left that way, cuz there are no actual pages to turn!) You get TWO DAYS to read these, so take your time!  I mean, hurry...what are you waiting for!  Go!  Go!  (WAIT!!!  FINISH READING OUR BLOG POST FIRST, of course!)

oh, and by the way, mine is posted below.  (scroll down a little ways)

YOU also NEED TO CLICK HERE! for a writeoncon LIVE-CHAT at 9:00 pm EST featuring the fabulous SARA MEGIBOW of NELSON LITERARY AGENCY, LLC! (note: sara was the first agent erica ever queried and her first partial request. yes, ultimately rejected, but erica credits sara for giving her the idea that she actually could do this writing thing - er, at least this querying thing!)

Pecan Snacks (or substitute almonds)

What you'll need:
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 pound pecans
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

What to do with that stuff:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat egg white with water until frothy. Stir in pecans and mix to coat.
Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir into pecan mixture. Spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Enjoy while scrolling to keep up the live chat!
Store what's left in an airtight container.

NOW, while you munch, prepare to sit at the edge of your seat....

here's a never before seen read or, uh, edited--by anyone other than me--scene from my beloved and forsaken (for the time being) manuscript SOLSTICE  (still needs a lot of work!)

“They’ll never be able to get my father and aunt. No one will be able to convince the council anything was my fault. They’ll continue to search for you and Stana.”

“Child, they most likely have Stefen and Alexia in Themura at this moment.” Her thin lips spread across her face.

“That’s impossible." My mind tried to make sense of what she was saying. "My aunt is—." Trembling only made my singed skin hurt worse.

“Right over there?" She pointed a blue finger toward the outskirts of the forest that imprisoned me. "By your grandparents and mother?" She cackled. "Not anymore, Pumpkin."

She took a step toward me, then stopped. "Oh, don’t worry. No one will harm the rest of your family. Not today."

I drew my arms in closer to my chest. The rocks beneath my back seemed to grow sharper.

"Your aunt received a phone call from a Themuran council member only moments ago. She left to meet your dad, who gave his business partner a lame excuse for leaving him, yet again. Your father is soooo naïve. Poor man." She took another step and hovered above me.

She clucked her tongue. "He spent most of the past year trying to find the source of the evil that was tarnishing you all. He practically turned himself in, flying to Greece the way he did. Tattling again to the Council. So like his grandmother. The woman who started this whole mess."

Her mood seemed to change as the light in her eyes dimmed. I grew hopeful her insanity would be on my side. Leave me a chance. Then she leaned in, her voice an icy whisper.

“You see, your family will never learn to mind their own business. Yes, Stefen and Alexia were easily fooled. They’ll be transported to Themura any minute now where they'll pathetically try to defend their family name.”

She paused, glaring at me with deep blue eyes, a color no Earthian possessed. Her coppery auburn hair stuck out as though electrified by some unseen current.

Suddenly, her lips curled into a snarl. “You have all the power my daughter should possess. You’re a measly Transporter. Descended from the highest Greek council, yes, but that shouldn’t matter. My daughter has Themuran blood in her. She should be the one who can see auras and soak up the powers of those around her…not you. You aren’t even aware of how powerful you are.”

She spat at the ground. The dirt her saliva kicked up erupted into flames. "Enough talk. I can’t stand looking at you anymore.”

She’d made up her mind. There was nothing left to say. She leaped at me and snatched the bracelet and charm off my arm, scratching me with her long nails in the process. Her hands shot up into the air, coppery glitter pouring from them. The shards cascaded around me. She vanished and left me to disintegrate in the fiery pillars that grew up around me.


And they lived happily ever after...awww.

currently...and don't mind me venting to you...I AM SICK TO DEATH OF BEGINNINGS.  and don't let me fool you.  it has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that i have rewritten my beginning (not edited, not revised, BUT completely rewritten, chopped, changed, started over) TEN times since July and this is in addition to countless edits and revisions.  SOOOOOO.  i DON'T want to hear your first line.  your first 250.  your first 5.

okay.  it's not that i don't want to EVER.  just not today.

today i want to know how it all ends.  i want to revel in the fact that you are amazing.

that you are part of the 10% of all people who have written, completed, finished, ceased, terminated, concluded, drawn to a close, ended, stopped, and even finalized A NOVEL.  (manuscript, whatever)

for those of you who have spent countless hours on your beginning, like me, let's take a day to rejoice in the finales of our stories.  share your novel's parting words with me.

post your final sentence in my comments.

or...even your final 250. 

instead of worrying, is there a HOOK?  let's for once wonder if there is contentment, finality, wonder, something to leave the reader pondering, a closing that leaves us sighing, "ahhhh". inspiration. romance.

yes, how do YOU end your novel?


Character Quirks

He shifted his weight from one foot to another.

She ran her hands through her hair.

The bald man rubbed the top of his head.

The mother shook her fist at the two year old who stood in a pile of toilet paper and kleenex.

Dad threw up his hands to the heavens before glaring at me, speechless.

All things a character may do when experiencing a strong emotion: nervousness, stress, frustration, anger.

blurting out without thinking first
no sense of direction

All things a character may display often throughout the course of a novel.   A characteristic quirk.  Something a reader comes to rely on.  Something that lets the reader KNOW your character.  Something they come to expect when certain situations arise.  These are character quirks that help your novel move along. They make your reader know your characters, fall in love with your characters, become exasperated with your characters - all good things. They eliminate unneeded dialogue tags and adverbs.

Oh, he's rubbing his head again? Now I know he's nervous!

When can all this hurt you? When they contradict something your character might normally feel. Don't mislead your reader! If your character runs her fingers through her hair while she's flirting and suddenly does it while talking to someone she hates, don't be surprised when your reader reacts by saying "She can't like him! He's such a jerk!" unless, well, she likes him. If she feels like screaming at him and running away - no hair combing needed.

Pay attention to these actions. Your readers will. Happy writing!

(psst. . . marathoners. . . word counts due tonight at midnight for week's total. email christy. it's anyone's game. first to the finish line wins great prizes, but of course, we're all winners. we have to say that, we're teachers.)


A Little YA Inspiration

This past summer, just after I virtually met erica through Writeoncon.com, she gave me some great resources to go to while trying to help me out with my teen voice.  I am not a natural when it comes to writing like I'm fifteen, or or even seventeen I found out after starting novel #2.  So, I'll admit it, I'm an adult who writes like an adult trying to sound like a teen.  There.  I said it. (Admitting it is the first step to being cured, right?)

My defense, naturally, was that I wanted my teen to sound older, mature, intelligent, and NOT like a hippety hoppety, overly "Oh. My. Gawd. Like, did you just see that guy?  Like, he was sooooooo hot."  You know?

HOWEVER, I have since seen the light and have come off my horse and am beginning to see the glimmer of overwriting and sounding very somewhat adultish.  It doesn't mean I don't still do it.  But, I am slowly (very snail-like) improving. (erica says - christy is doing much better. she just hates to admit that - you know - she's a GOOD writer) (christy now wishes she hadn't given erica administrative privileges of the blog)

Here is a resource erica gave me waaaaay back in July/August when we first became friends.
Read up on teen voice on Randy Russel's Blog from April and another from May. (erica still has privileges and recommends you follow and read Randy's blog. he's an elevensie and an all-around great guy. and she *claims* she knows some of his guest bloggers and that they're wonderful writers who are now being published)

So, I've been practicing putting on my "teen eyes" so I can look through them instead of my 30-uh, and then some-eyes.  IF you are writing in first person, as many YA authors do, then DON'T tell (or even show) things that your character wouldn't actually notice or see for themselves.  YOU have to walk around your story in his/her body and his/her mind, not yours.  Think like your characters. Use their words.  Their emotions.  READ UP.  There are so many YA novels out there that do this, ahem, well.

And here's someone else who has helped me get into character (I KNOW I'm not an actor, but sometimes I feel like it.  You know, when I'm living in my mind for a bit.  I mean my MC's mind, of course!)

While you listen, read on, please.  I guess I had lots to tell you all today!

WHILE ON THE TOPIC OF YA...It's TEEN READS WEEK sponsored by the American Library AssociationEncourage teens to read books about music and poetry.  Help them find books that show they can read for pleasure just like they can watch TV, listen to music, etc. for fun.  Introduce them to audiobooks.

My first thought of a YA title that does this was Shiver and it's sequel Linger.  While not specifically about poetry or music, Sam, one of the trilogy's main characters (a third book comes out this upcoming summer!), reads and quotes poetry and comes up with song lyrics througout so he can sing them and strum his guitar.  He's passionate about reading and music.  So...I thought that fit the theme perfectly.  AND teens and adults alike LOVE these books.  Everyone should read Maggie Stiefvater.  INCLUDING YOU!


Too Too Sweet! (Our Twofer Tuesday Post)

christy's award

erica's award

 Rachel Morgan gave us a Friend Award!


We think lots of you are pretty "sweet" too.  So handing out these awards was as easy as pie...a piece of cake really.  Take an award to go!  One belongs to each of the following friends of ours.

1. rachel morgan for giving us crazy ladies a friend award in the first place
2. michael for always standing by us (and leading the half-marathon race---just...can't...keep...up!)
3. mia for promising to make us look popular if ever we have a book signing and for her blog literary jam and toast for making us laugh (while teaching us a thing or two!).  a fave blog.
4.  clarissa draper for following us and putting us to 50 and for having an amazing and technical blog (it taught me a thing or two!)
5. grandpa for asking about team jacob (cuz i just love to think talk about taylor lautner jacob)
6. th mafi cuz we want her for a friend.  who wouldn't?

1. dl curran for joining us in our 21k and rocking at it
2. hart johnson for writing in the tub and obviously being very successful at it!
3. rach for competing and writing a dystopian (inspiring me to add that genre to my "someday I'll write a ...." list
4. jamie for running writing a half-marathon with us (and for listing both twilight and marley and me as "likes" since they inspired me to write (christy))
5. su for enjoying our inspirational post and wanting to blog about running
6. Patricia Timms for the same thing and for sharing it with others.  AND for joining us in our race.  without her first day kick in the butt i wouldn't have gotten anything written. awesome luck in nano!

and i'd love to give one to erica  without her i'd not be blogging. or be learning what i have recently about writing. especially to stop putting two spaces after a period.  this task is way harder to stop doing than writing adverbs.  who knew?  (but we promise NOT to post THREE awards on our blog.)
(erica intercedes and cuts her off. trust me, its for the best. that girl is giddy when you give her sugar)


Mealtime Madness Monday

So, some of you may have read that we're hosting a half-marathon that's going on right now. In honor of that, I (erica) am posting a healthy recipe. Because if your body isn't healthy, you can't run write. (thinks about hemingway and faulkner) Okay, you can. But not for as long as you can if you're healthy.

I suggest pairing this with a sparkling apple cider during this time of year. Also, because it's hard to run write with a hangover.

Plus, this recipe is really versitile - the celery, water chestnuts, grapes, parsley flakes, ginger, and onion are all optional, but I encourage you to try them all for great variety (and better health).

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken (or canned, if you really want to speed it up)
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup halved red or green grapes
3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (I personally use miracle whip)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons finely minced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste (use sea salt if you have it)

Super simple directions: Combine chicken, bacon, water chestnuts, celery and grapes in large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients; add to salad and toss to coat. Chill until serving.

*This just in: healthy eating makes you thin. Being thin *may* cause you to want to be naked.

** When Victor Hugo, the famous author of great tomes such as Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, ran into a writer’s block, he concocted a unique scheme to force himself to write: he had his servant take all of his clothes away for the day and leave his own nude self with only pen and paper, so he’d have nothing to do but sit down and write.

***French poet and author Edmond Rostand, who is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac, was so sick of being interrupted by his friends that he took up working naked in his bathtub.

****A virtual-friend of mine, Hart Johnson, is trying for Naked World Domination - and has a great book deal to show for it. Check her out (nope, no naked pictures, sorry, because she is a cutie) here. 



Someday I might get published...and then this could be me. (and # 50!)

OH!  AND THIS VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT--we have our 50th follower - Clarissa Draper!! Clarissa, watch your email inbox for more information about your prize!!


a little music for you to write by

in case you don't have an iPod, like erica, we'll provide you with some tunes.


"shotgun start" - 10 things to give you inspiration during your running/writing

BANG!  and we're off!  Good luck fellow 21k competitors!

1. silence.  find a time when no one else is around.  run. write.  it'd be great if u could get your body up at 4 AM to spend a quiet hour furthering your weekly mileage novel.  so a good night's sleep is required.  by 8PM.  (sorry, erica.) this leads us to #2

2. time. set aside a specific time to run write.  one or two hour blocks would be ideal. try to keep it at the same time every day.

3. music.  you need at least one great song that really gets your legs moving reminds you of a character or the mood in your story.  play it before or during your writing time. or during your brainstorming time.

(note:  brainstorming time should NOT take place during the time you've set up as your writing time.  this time is solely for furthering your novel.  brainstorming should happen while driving, while showering, while running, while pulling your kids in the wagon, while reading aloud to your class at school, while explaining to your boss why you deleted a file accidentally during your lunch break, or while burning cooking dinner)

4. share. tell people you're competing in a marathon. don't let them interrupt your run writing (you know, unless there's a hospital visit involved). everyone needs a support system. also, feel free to email us. we'll cheer you on all the way to the finish line!

5. ms word.  say goodbye to the internet for a few days.  stretch every time you complete a workout a chapter.  that's your break time. the other thing is just procrastination.  a distraction. NOT a break.  eating a snickers candy bar is a break.  or is that kit kat?  (maybe don't eat those either.  then you'll just have to run more miles and THAT will take away from your writing time. just take a bathroom break and get back at it.)

6. goals and rewards. to help you along, set up a time for fun research. 15 minutes - be strict with yourself - to check email, blogs, etc. before you start. then shut all tabs. don't log in again until you've reached 750 words. then, you've earned 15 more minutes. try for 500 more words before logging in again. remember, an average page is (around) 250 words.

7. just start. stop rereading your entire ms every time you sit down.  really?  you don't remember at least the gist of what's there?  it hasn't changed.  just start where you left off.  you can edit later.  way, way later.

8. motivation. okay, if you must check the internet, use it for writing motivation. check out us, of course, but NaNoWriMo's pep talks might help you get motivated, too. They're here.

9. underscore.  if you can't think of a word you want or remember that character's name from back in chapter 2 or the type of car your mc's mom drives, just underscore and leave it blank.  you can ponder and figure it out later.  don't reread to find the info right then.  write.  (although, uh, just a tip, maybe, just maybe that character shouldn't be there in the first place?)

10. ultimate goals. sit back in your chair and remember why you write. to tell a story? to make money? to be able to quit your job and write/run/parent/etc. whenever you want? guess what? you can't achieve those goals unless you write. so get typing!

additional helpful tip:  skip all words ending in ly. this will get you to the end of your novel faster and keep your editing to a minimum. no, it won't rack up your word count, BUT should those words be there in the first place? (trust us, it pains christy to say this)  (so so true *tears up*)


Writing Wednesday - Revisions

I (erica) have been thinking a lot about the topic of "overwriting" lately. I've researched it, I've identified it in other people's writing, and yet I still do it myself. Why, oh why?!? Here's my very simplistic definition of overwriting: using 25 words instead of 10 to get your point across. Or: Overwriting is using too many words. (See? I can do it.)

So, I entered (another) revision process on AND this weekend to specifically look for examples of overwriting. An earlier critique warned me about this sentence: I tried not to stomp my foot, but apparently my desperation caused my body parts to take control over my brain. Couldn't she just stomp? Why yes, yes she could.

Other tips for revision and to avoid overwriting:

-Check your dialogue tags. Most likely, you should reduce them by at least half (again). And change almost all of them to "said."

-Think you've caught all your adverbs/adjectives? Think again. Of course, some are fine (necessary, even). But use the "find" feature on your edit bar to search for words containing -ly and cut some (again).

-Do you have a lot of sentences containing more than a few commas, or a semicolon, or dashes? Chances are your sentences are too long. Break them up. A paragraph is easier to read if you balance longer sentences with a few short ones.

-Upload your ms to www.wordle.net to create a word cloud. If the biggest words aren't your character names, you might have a problem. Common offenders are just, really, and that (and in my case, breathe - I know it's a romance, but jeez, do we really need to talk about the fact that they breathe quite so often!?).

What are your favorite (or least favorite) revision and editing tips? Please share in the comments.


Researching: Two Questions (and then some more) for TWOFER TUESDAY

So....after reading an author interview on  Marieke's Musings (on world building), I started thinking. (Well, I'd thought about it before, but only started thinking about blogging about my thinking after reading the interview.) The author, Leah Cypress, said she took a research trip to England to tour castles and jot down descriptions (for her novel Mistwood). I wondered 1) what she wrote down...and 2) what her notebook looked like.


But seriously.
What DO you do to research for your projects?
                        What have you done in the past?
                                                What are your plans for researching further?

Do you sit in crowded restaurants, parks, stores, roller rinks, gyms, bars, etc. and jot down gestures and facial expressions, to find that perfect quirk for your character?

Do you travel to exotic locales?
1)What does your "notebook" look like?
2)What do you write down?
                Will you share an EXCERPT with me?
                                                              Share your notes? 

Do you jot down descriptions? conversations? movements of those around you? research years and historical events? names for characters or settings? problems and/or conversations you overhear in a crowd?

Please, please tell me.
         Where do you go?
                      How does it help?
Do you have helpful tips for the rest of us?

Thanks. So. Much.

oh.  and here is a helpful post if you need some ideas of what to watch for in a crowd.
it's on Books, Boys, Buzz  Writing Tips:  Use of Body Language

AND on a completely different note...OUR FIRST OFFICIAL WEEKLY WORD WATCHER WRITE IN IS COMING UP!  be prepared to post your 21k competition project name and official # of starting words THIS WEDNESDAY! we start writing (and countin) THURSDAY!!!  are you in?


Mealtime Madness Monday

The Twilight books have inspired approximately 1,256,472,151 new authors (okay, I [erica] *may have* made that number up). To be truthful, both of us *may have* caught a case of Ifstepheniemeyerscandoitsocani-itis. In fact, it's christy's one-year anniversary of reading the book, catching the bug, and writing Solstice. In her honor, my Monday recipe is mushroom ravioli. Well, it isn't my recipe (shh, I hate mushrooms), it's someone named susie's. Pair it with a great Italian Primitivo or California Red Zinfandel (in honor of Bella's later, um, drink of choice - but way less yucky).

pssst. . . have you signed up for the half marathon yet? no? what are you waiting for? the pot just sweetened. erica and christy will BOTH (oops, sorry, got excited) give you a redline critique if you beat us to the finish line. that's right - query, synopsis, first 5 - any of those. critiqued. by us. and we're fun, so you're assured to get something useful and fun as your prize (along with the - can I say - yes I can - awesome t-shirt and blog medal). SIGN UP NOW (oops, got carried away again. but sign up. and revel in the awesomeness that is your new novel)


Winding down....Let's play tag. You're it.

I saw this on several blogs and ignored it for a while since we were busy.  But now that I'm kicking back for the weekend I guess I have time to play.  Got these questions from Quinn's blog.  He's the reason for the extra question at the end.  I like it, so I kept it.

Erica's answers are in this color, mine are in this color.  I thought they were nice fall colors.  I'm in that mood.  Hubby and I took the kids to to the pumpkin patch today.

1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why?
I'd SO be Elastigirl. Sure, you can get stuck between closing doors. But you can also smack people from across the room without them knowing who did it.

mega cleaning power...if you saw my house lately you'd understand why i need this

2. Who is your style icon?
Thrift sale (so, maybe it's you!)

audrey hepburn, jennifer garner

3. What is your favorite quote?
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." -EB White

hmmm....today it's "I love you to the moon--and back."  from Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

4. What is the best compliment you've ever received?
 compliment - ???? I can help you out, erica.  you are the BEST blog partner ever!!!

5. What playlist/cd is on your ipod/cd player right now?
 iPod - I have no iPod, but I aspire to own one someday. grr...

i only have my iPod on when i'm running, which i am not doing right now. 

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
I was born a night owl, but am forced (as a mom/teacher) to be a morning person.

my answer is identical to erica's

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Dogs. Bar none.

yeah, she stole mine again.  cats make my eyes turn red and my throat itch.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?
(erica has no idea, she just goes with it)

my middle name is lynn, my grandmother's maiden name was west.  i am shy.  i didn't want to put my own real name out there in case someone i knew found out i tried to write a novel.

9. Do you prefer coffee or tea?
Coffee. If possible, with flavored creamer, but black is nice. Coffee someone else made is ALWAYS better than mine, though!

coffee, black.  20 oz every day.

Now it's your turn.

(Copy and paste the questions, with your answers added, for your next blog post.  Or one next week.  Or two weeks from now.  Whenever you get around to it.  And don't forget to tag anyone reading the post so they can do it, too.)


Crusader Challenge Friday

You guys are all Crusaders, right? So, Rach is hosting a Crusader's Challenge this week and we are proud to contribute - with our own take on it, of course. To see the rules, check out this post. Here you go:

erica: I sat down to write the other day and I realized I hadn't emailed christy in, like, 6 minutes. I thought maybe she might be worried about me, so I grabbed a glass of wine and a Mars bar and settled in to tell her more about my day.

christy: I sat down to write the other day and accidentally opened my email. There were, like, 9 emails from erica. What, did she think I was worried about her or something? I grabbed a glass of wine and settled in for what I knew would be a long chat session.

erica: Hey, christy, just watched Goblet of Fire again. That Irish guy on the World Cup quidditch team is hot. What does he see in Hermione?

christy: erica, you're married. And I'm pretty sure Viktor isn't Irish.

erica: Just sayin' he's hot is all. And a great player. Those white eyes at the end were a little freaky, though. But hot.

christy: I've got 2 words for you. Cedric. Diggory. aka edward cullen.

erica: christy, you're married. and I thought you were team jacob.

(both exit into a wine-induced dream about quidditch, hot players on brooms, giant goblets, vampires, werewolves, and ... elephants?!? how did that happen?)

And that's the story of how we got less than 500 words written last night.



so tonight we take our favorite character on a date...all of us. separately (except for erica, who's sitting this one out - really, she's taken over the week, let's have christy have a chance, shall we?).

we can't wait to find out what you're up to!  post about your rendezvous in our comments or paste your blog link so we can be a fly on the wall wherever it is you treat your fave fictional friend!  (500 words or less if you can.  but who's counting?)

be sure to stick your nose in everyone else's business and click on all the links.  don't miss out on any gossip as we glimpse the secret longings of our blogging friends.

wow. we're like the E! tv of blogland.  (whoa!  who's her new bff?  she's dating who?  did you see what her date was eating?  ewww...!)

this is you...in a comfortable spot on the wall
 don't worry, you can start right now.  right here. bzzzz.  shhh. here comes christy now....

Nervous didn’t begin to explain my sweaty palms and quivering knees.

I stood, hoping my pounding heart wouldn’t be heard by Dawn, my MC, who was just down the hall. How would I explain who I was, a stranger in her bedroom? Ridiculous, since I’m the writer who created her. If I didn’t want her to enter, she wouldn’t. (But, do you know how sometimes when you’re writing your characters kind of take over? Anyway, I’m determined to stay in control of my own story here. Just this once.)

So, I stood there staring up at the ceiling, waiting for Phinnighen, my date for the evening, to materialize. He was somewhere in Themura, the alternate dimension I’d dreamed up as one of the settings in my novel, Solstice. I waited here in Earth, in Wisconsin, wondering why I hadn’t chosen his dimension to meet in. (Too late now. )

Dawn’s room was dimly lit, with only her bedside table lamp on. I didn’t have to wait long until a handsome guy of 5’10”ish or so appeared. Wow, he looked a lot taller than he did on paper. ( I guess I’ll need to add to his description in the novel.) I was kind of in awe of my creation. His shimmery bronze aura really did cling to him. Just like I’d written. I wondered how he and I could eat out without attracting all sorts of attention. I mean, he kind of glowed. Hmmm…well, I guess we’d just have to go to a dark, candle-lit restaurant for our chat. Now my whole body quivered. His eyes alone made me swoon a little. Again, I reminded myself to get a grip. This was, after all, just a “business” meeting, for research.

I grabbed his hand and he kind of gloated as the frigid tingling sensation travelled through my limbs to my core. However he did it, (hence the meeting to discuss details) he transported us to Pasta Vino where we sat at a corner table. There was no one around. I took an easy breath and sat back, arms folded, and smiled at my date. I couldn’t figure out how Dawn wasn’t attracted to him in the least. Huh.

“So…Mrs. West, you wanted to, uh, talk?”

“You can call me Lynnea…well, actually, it’s Christy.” (Pen names. I never know quite who I want to go by. A little bit of an identity crisis.)

It had crossed my mind that it might look kind of odd, me out with him, since besides the fact that he has this shimmering aura thing, well, I’m double his age. And, well, the candle lit restaurant was my only option, right? I wasn’t just trying to relive my youth. (No, that’s not why I write YA!)

“Okay.” He looked uncomfortable.

“Yes, well. I wanted to ask you a few things, but what would you like to eat, before we get started?” A waiter appeared out of nowhere. He kind of resembled the short balding penguin-like guy on the Munsters. Phin just looked at me, bewildered. “What’s the problem?”

“Well, I don’t know what I eat. You’ve never actually fed me anything…in 116,000 words. You never fed me a bite.” He sounded kind of hostile.

“You’re not in all of those words, really.” I tried to redeem myself. “Only a few chapters. There wasn’t really time. I just figured you ate when you weren’t, uh, involved.”

“Involved? I played a major role in the resolution of your plot! You couldn’t let me even taste any Themuran food?” He sat back and folded his arms, challenging me. “I’ll bet you don’t even know what Themurans eat. Do you?”

I narrowed my eyes. “You were a lot nicer in the pages I wrote. Besides, that’s why I’m taking you out. To learn more about Themura. I was hoping you could help me.”

“Yeah, right. I can see the words up above. You think I’m hot. That’s gross, Mrs. West. Or whoever you feel like being right now.”

This was not going as expected. I felt crushed, horrified, mortified. Clearly, a writer is not meant to join the pages of her own book. I really liked this kid. If I ever get to the point where I can revise the end of my novel, if I ever find a version of the beginning that’s good enough, I hope I can like him again after his rudeness to me this evening.

I tipped the waiter and walked home. Well, actually, I called my husband because I wasn’t sure I could make it several hours on foot. Even if I am a marathon runner.

Don’t forget to sign up for our competition of words! Starts next Thursday! I may have cheated and gone over in this post, but I promise not to cheat when I "write in". When I win the medal and t-shirt and whatever else we offer up…it’ll be fair and square!!!

Thanks for your participation in our FIRST EVER BLOGFEST! We’re grateful to have some wonderfully creative followers. erica and christy

seacrest out.  we mean erica and christy out.  we got a little carried away. there's a first time for everything.


Writing Wednesday - The Evolution of Erica's Query

So, today, in honor of our blogfest week, I'm (erica) introducing something I have a love/hate relationship with.

My query letter.

To be honest, my first query letter wasn't a query - it was a pitch. I got my novel, A New Day (more about my love/hate relationship with titles later, btw), ready for a contest, and needed a 300-word pitch. Here's the losing one I came up with, along with my own version of redline comments:

McKenzie (Kenz) Grayson is moving to back to Vespa, Wisconsin, the hometown she and her mother fled from after her father's death seven years ago.  That's a lot of really boring words strung into one sentence. She's determined to finish her last year of high school and leave town again as soon as possible. Unless, of course, her mom's prediction of finding an all-new life and love suddenly comes true. And this would make her stay why? Also, note: 2 critiquers saw the word "prediction," thought it was a psychic ability, and wondered why I didn't play that up (nope, no paranormal here!).

Lincoln James spends every moment enjoying sports, friends and girls. Umm, he's 18, big deal. Fully recovered from a life-threatening illness, he is determined to have fun with everything life has given him. Why is everyone around here so determined? The last thing he expects is to find a love that makes him question all of it. What in the world is he questioning? He seems to be enjoying everything - now he thinks he needs to hate it because of some girl? Downer!

Kenz and Lincoln find themselves drawn together from their first meeting and soon learn to discover themselves, each other, and the power of love. Cliche, anyone? The summer brings unexpected challenges, including a devastating car accident and a sexual abuse allegation, that threaten to destroy the new relationship. Not information we need right now, but I can't help it, I love all these parts! When they later begin to suspect that Lincoln's mother, a nanotechnology specialist, illegally altered the methods used to save him years ago, Kenz must decide if the truth about Lincoln's perfect life is too much for her to accept or if her future still lies with him.  What just happened? Is this sci-fi?? And holy heck, that's a long sentence!!

A NEW DAY's theme of teenage romance is balanced with positive views of family, friends, work, and healthy living as seen through Kenz's eyes. Ah, yes, all good things teenagers love to read about (blech). Scientific theories of nanotechnology are used to determine a possible, although currently fictional, explanation for Lincoln's miracle recovery. Doesn't sound bad, until you find out later that this is only a very small part of the book and maybe shouldn't even be mentioned, especially twice, taking up almost 1/3 of the query!! (double blech) A stand-alone book at approximately 60,000 words, it spans only one summer and offers the opportunity for a sequel following Kenz and Lincoln through their senior year of high school. Eh, probably not needed.

Current version, in blue, without redlines. I let you put those in the comments section! (and yes, the book's now longer - part of the revision process I went through this summer)

Dear Ms./Mr. Name,

It's the summer before McKenzie (Kenz) Grayson's senior year of high school and instead of spending it with friends, boys, and the beach, her mom's making her move to Wisconsin. Back to the town where she buried her family's secrets, along with her father, seven years ago. With little hope for the year ahead, she goes, and watches another chapter of her life close behind her.

Everything changes when Kenz meets Lincoln James. He's fun, smart, gorgeous and - even though she's warned that he's a serial dater - irresistible. One date leads to more and before she knows it, they're almost inseparable and she's happier than ever. Then comes a devastating car accident, a sexual abuse allegation that could land Lincoln in jail, and the truth behind an experimental surgery in his past. Kenz is well known for choosing flight over fight. But after all that's happened, will she find the strength to run back into Lincoln's arms?

A NEW DAY is a YA contemporary romance, complete at 62,000 words. It will appeal to smart, fun readers who enjoy books such as (blah, blah).

I'm submitting this to you because (read your blog, blah, saw an interview, blah, whatever)

My (whatever you asked for) are pasted below according to your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration.

erica (I usually capitalize this part, though! With contact info. and everything - yes, I'm very professional :)

Okay, so onto comments! What do you love/hate about mine? Yours? What do you do when the *%#@ thing just doesn't sound right??!!


Two For Tuesday: First Love Syndrome

So, in honor of Thursday's blogfest (click on the hearts [points to the right] for more details!), we're posting about things we love to hate this week. Today, it's our opinions on our first love manuscript.

By Christy
You've spent countless hours, wept countless tears, unkinked fingers, massaged tendonitis of the wrist, rubbed your temples wishing away the migraine, so when is enough enough?

Your queries get form rejection after form rejection. All 75 five versions of it.

Your crit group never seems to say, "This is THE one!"

Your first 250 words don't draw the excitement out of others that you feel.

When is it time to step away from your very first novel and try something new?

I'm not trying to post a downer blog. I'm just being realistic. (Which is truly rare for me.)  Because this is the way it works for many of us. Even more bleak is the likelihood that you might have to step away from not only your first love  manuscript, but your second, third, maybe even your tenth fourth. 

Don't feel unfaithful. Your characters know you love them and always will. Maybe someday someone else will love them too. Will anyone ever love them exactly as you do? Does any reader ever feel exactly the same about any facet of a novel as the writer? Do any two readers ever really view the characters, setting, or events through the same set of eyes?

There's a good chance you'll go back to your first novel. A good chance that after your twelfth sixth is published your first will be too. Or a chance that you realize it won't, but that you're okay with it. Your feelings for it have changed and you've accepted that it wasn't really as good as you thought when you were just starting out - overeager and naive raw, unpolished.

Do you feel as you once did for your first teenage sweetheart?  Your highschool love?  Even the person you were with before you met your current love? Time. Is. All. It. Takes.

So give it some. Step back or plunge ahead. With or without your first love, never give up.  Seriously.

by Erica
You've thought about it for months. You cradled it (well, your laptop, anyway) in your arms the last 300 nights in a row. You are not sure you're ready for anyone to see it yet. Because, well, they might see a blemish on your perfect baby's cheek and that would destroy your hopes and dreams for her (yes, mine's female) to live the published life you always knew it would have.

You feel actual pain the first time you post your query/first page on a public forum. It's out there.

You almost vomit when you get the results (see Nathan Bransford's review of my first page here). How could he/she/they do this to me? She's so perfect, can't they see that? Wait. . .


Take a deep breath. She's still your baby. Cradle her, but look down carefully. See the blemishes? Yes, you do, don't you? They'll heal, but it'll take you some time and research to happen.

Try again. When you think you've got it nailed, send her out into the world (maybe just show a few people this time - advice I probably should have taken back in July. . .).

Repeat until you find success. (tomorrow, more on my love/hate relationship with my query)


Mealtime Madness Monday and a Farewell to Summer Tribute to Grillin'

Yes, the days are shorter and cooler.  The leaves are turning their customary autumnal hues.  People on the street are wearing a little more green and gold and Monday's mood is determined by the football game the previous day or the anticipaton of a win or loss that evening. 

This is fall in Wisconsin.

Soon, grilling on my deck with a glass of wine in my hand will be a memory I cherish as I look out at my snow covered deck, unable to push the door open against the frigid drifts.

So, tonight, I (Christy) give you a farewell to summer grillin' recipe.  One of my favorites.  (And no, it's not Wisconsin brats.  And I won't even include any cheese, although my father-in-law makes the absolute best cheese curds in his factory.  Maybe one day one of you lucky followers will get some in the mail!)

Grilled Salmon with Soy Sauce

filet of salmon (1 lb.)
1/2-1 cup cup soy sauce
tsp. lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic (minced)

place filet in a tray of aluminum foil
mix ingredients in a bowl and spread evenly over salmon
place on grill (medium heat) until salmon is flaky

serve with:

4-6 medium-large red potatoes (diced)
zuccini (diced)
carrots (diced)
onion (diced)
green and red pepper (diced)
place all vegetables in aluminum foil

season with:
salt (or seasoning salt)
garlic (small amount)
parsley flakes
several tablespoons of butter (solid squares)

fold foil enclosing all vegetables, grill on medium heat for an hour (or until potatoes are soft)
(okay, can't do it...add shredded cheddar cheese before serving)

And try it with a great red wine:  Malbec.  This may be a completely inappropriate pairing for salmon.  I don't know.  But I had a glass over the weekend and it's my new fave.  Enjoy!

What are your favorite grillin' recipes?


Winding Down After Another Week of Blogging...and so completely filled with gratitude!

thank you! miles mcg
25th follower of erica and christy
 After two weeks of blogging we have quadrupled our followers. erica and christy picked #25 as a number to celebrate...so we are thanking our 25th follower by dedicating a blog to him and giving him two virtual flowers. (we're sure you're thrilled!)               
                             MILES McG! It's YOU!
(you can take your flowers or leave 'em...just know they're yours!)

We are so grateful to all of you who chose to click the follow button, so don't think we've forgotten you in any way (*waves to new friends*). You just never know when one of you will be chosen for something special!

But today, this is for Miles. Please accept our token of gratitude and allow us to share your blogging brilliance with our friends in the blogosphere.

Check out his blog: An Author's Quest

He has only been blogging for a short time, but already has some great posts to offer writers who, let's face it, all pretty much travel the same road when on the way to becoming published. He's sharing his journey, his thoughts on writing topics, and book picks while also giving nods to fellow writers, their blogs and contests.  He'll even introduce you to his adorable human puppy, Ruby! Follow Miles and stick with him so you can celebrate when he gets his offer for publication. We're rooting for you Miles! 

We'd also like to thank Quinn for following our blog and choosing us for an award, which we gladly accept.  Please check out Quinn's blog: seeing dreaming...writing. Extra bonus for checking it out this week - he's running a contest! We are happily passing this award along to these sites that we've just recently discovered. Blog on!

If chosen for this award, please collect it here and add it to your fab blog. Then, choose up to 15 others that you enjoy, link to them and let them know you're awarding them so they, too, can enjoy the honor.  You know, keep it going (if you want to).  We're all friends here in Blogland. To our male blogging friends, we're sorry it isn't more manly. We don't know who started this picture!

Here they are (in random order):
  1. http://smallworldreads.blogspot.com/
  2. http://writeupmylife.com/
  3. http://kangaroobee.wordpress.com/
  4. http://missdeepwoods.blogspot.com/
  5. http://milesmcg.blogspot.com/ 
  6. http://adinawest.blogspot.com/ 
  7. http://rachaelharrie.blogspot.com/  Become a crusader like the rest of us!  Check out this blog!
  8. http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/musings/ 
  9. http://tessyquin.blogspot.com/
  10. http://dlcurran.blogspot.com/
When we have more time to puruse Blogland, we'll add a few more to our "Blogs" tab above. Add any you like to the comments section, especially if they're writers following the same journey we're on. It would be helpful to everyone here!


Writing Half-Marathon Competition

So...are you a little behind on your current WIP or the revamp of your completed MS?  Yeah, us too.  I was thinking a little competition might light a little fire under my fingers and keep my computer time more focused. (Because I (you) really don't need to check facebook every 10 minutes, or your email, or read all 100 blogs you follow every time you start up your computer or finish a paragraph, page or chapter.  Really.)

I know there are lots of major contests out there already, but we're adding one of our own just for kicks.  Maybe some of you will take part in this. (Please? We don't want to do it alone!)

Half-Marathon of Words Competition.

I (Christy) run.  Sometimes lots of miles.  I've run only one full marathon, but also five half-marathons, a handful of 15, 10, and 5Ks in the past couple of years.  So when planning out my goals, marathon distances is how my mind works.  I'm applying that mentality to this word competition.  Keep reading.

Here's how the contest will work. 

1.  Sign up on our blog by Wednesday, October 13 at midnight central time.  Just post a comment and we'll add you to the list.  Be sure to paste your email and/or blog website along with your name.

2.  At 12:01 AM CST on Thursday, October 14, the starting gun will go off.  Sometime that day, post your current #of words for the project of your choice for this contest along with the project's title.  We'll update your info on our list of participants and post it for everyone to see.

3.  Think of this as Weight Watchers for Writers.  Instead of trying to lose pounds you need to gain words.  So, you'll need to "Write In"  (Get it? Weigh in?  I'm so clever.)  every week (by Thursdays at Midnight, uh huh CST) with your weekly word count.  We'll update your personal stats and post them for everyone to see.  That way you can check out the competition.

4.  How many words do you need to write to win this competition?  Well, a half-marathon is 13.1 miles.  Which is also a 21K.  That's your goal. 21, 000 words.  The competition will go on until someone crosses the finish line.  I'm thinking it will last 3-4 weeks.  That's between 750-1,000 words per day

5.  Once you are the first to cross the finish line, post a comment announcing it to our little blogging world and reap the benefits:  Your gold medal and free marathon t-shirt (YES, we'll send you a tee shirt!).  Oh, and all the (losers) participants need to blog about you, your stamina, willpower, and phenomenal achievement on their blog (or if blog-free, FB, twitter account, etc.).  AND share a teaser of your choice from your fabulous MS on their platform.  So if you lose, you'll have some work to do.  And if you win you get some free press.

Winner of the Half-Marathon of Words Competition Blog Medal 

First Place Finisher
Half-Marathon of Words Blog Competition

Half-Marathon of Words Blog Competition
   ALL participants will receive this Blog Medal

We hope you will choose to participate in this competition and get a little closer to sighing the words, "The End". 

(rules to come...check back)