First Sentence Critique

Miss Snark is hosting a first sentence critique today.  Unfinished manuscripts were allowed.  So even though nobody has ever read my WIP, and I'm only 15k in, I entered.  I've never been good at beginnings, and I think my first sentence would be better with the second attached to it, or maybe the first page...we'll see what critters think.  (I'm sure it is too vague, and lacks voice, but ah well.  It is what it is!)

The posted sentences will get a YES or a NO along with a brief explanation as to WHY.  Feel free to head over and critique the 50 entrants that got in (lottery-style).

Or you can just crit it in my comments:


Happiness is so many things.


Happiness is so many things.
It isn’t this.

FIRST PAGE  (I've really never, ever rocked a beginning, so crit away or smile and keep your opinions to yourself, since this is a complete rough draft.)

Happiness is so many things.


            It isn’t this.

            It isn’t blue skies with a backdrop of bluffs.

            It isn’t twittering birds flying over this God-forsaken town.

            It isn’t 600 kids of whom five-ish know my name.

            It isn’t a mom who cries in her sleep, or having a boyfriend without kisses, or passing a chemistry exam when I started the same course last semester

            somewhere else.

            Somewhere where blue skies

            and robins

            and friends meant I was happy.

            A place where my mom was with my dad and he was with me and we smiled and hugged.

            A place that was




            The door slams when I rush into the kitchen where Mom is at the stove.  I stop, confused.  She doesn’t turn and for three seconds I wonder who this woman is and what she did with my mother.

            “What, what are you doing?” I ask.

            She turns and smiles.  She actually smiles.  “Making spaghetti.”

            When I don’t speak or move or breathe because I am afraid of this moment, afraid maybe that if I move I will smash it into kazillion teardrops, she says, “Doesn’t spaghetti sound marvelous?”

            It does.  I can’t believe it but it does.  I bring my backpack to the room I am using to sleep in and do homework in and hurry back to the kitchen.  I take out milk and find French bread on the counter.  I slice it up with a bread knife that has never been used and spread butter and sprinkle garlic and find parmesan cheese to grate.  Mom hands me a baking sheet, and she is


            I am looking at her again and examining her hair—did she cut it?  Her eyelashes are wearing mascara and it is not smudged black underneath her eyes.



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk that's geared toward readers and writers. To join in the fun, add your name to the list.

What I'm Reading

This is terrible.  I'm currently between reads.  I finished MIND GAMES by Kiersten White and I bought THE LINCOLN LAWYER for $2.99 and then I went on vacation.  Normally, you'd think of vacation as the perfect time to read, right?  Not this week.  I am with my parents, husband and three kids.  Did I mention three kids? That's why I'm not reading this week. 

That, and FRIENDS has been on late every night....one episode after another.  I've been busy laughing.  Remember when Ross went on a date wearing leather pants and couldn't get them back on after taking them off to cool down?  Remember when Rachel wanted a bunny cake for Emma's first birthday party, but ended up with a penis cake instead?  Remember when Ross applied for a grant but had to go through his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend to get it?  Remember when Rachel couldn't gossip, but found out Monica and Chandler were secretly dating?

Oh, yeah.

What I'm Writing


I'm 14k in. 

It's emotional and that's how I'm writing it.  My characters don't think in complete sentences.  Sometimes they don't use periods.  Sometimes their thoughts ramble and come out in run-on and run-on and run-on sentences.  Sometimes they pause

and words continue on a different line than the one they started on.

Sometimes my characters get stuck on a thought and can't stop thinking it and they repeat, repeat, repeat.

My novel might not be clean.  It might not be correct.  But it is emotional.

What Inspires Me Right Now

You.  Anyone out there who is writing every day.

What Else I've Been Up To

I'm in Door County, WI on vacation.  I run every other day.  Outside.  At home I run inside.  I am trying not to be afraid of the birds on the telephone wires.  I've been playing tennis with my seven-year-old and my five-year-old.  We went kayaking yesterday and got stuck in the middle of the lake.  Waves kept pushing us out farther and farther.  50 minutes of hard-core paddling got us back to the beach we started at. Ow.  My arms are SORE today.  We've taken walks.  We went to Wilson's for ice cream and played at the park.  We've built moats in the sand and collected sea shells.

Ready. Set. Write.

I'm not officially participating, but I'd really love to write  at least 1k per day and finish  my novel in two weeks.  (Which would require about 1.5 k per day.)


(WIP) Cover Reveal

I'm on vacation.  I have pictures to share with you, but they are not handy at this hour.  Instead, I'll share a different image.  (And I'll save the pics for a different day.)

The night before I left home, I started researching how to create a cover for a book in case I ever wanted to self-publish one.  (And for fun because I love photography and playing around with design.)  However, I had no idea what a stock image was.  I don't have Photoshop.  I didn't know how to add text to an image.  So, after finding a couple of resources, I spent a quarter of an hour creating my first cover for my WIP.  Here it is....

My first-ever try at creating a book cover. 

The original photo was this:

It's amazing all the fun options out there for photo editing.  I used foto flexer since I don't have Photoshop.  Check it out!

I'm currently 14k into this WIP and so badly wanted to be 35k into it at this point.  So, instead of digging up vacation pictures and linking to resources to help you in case you're interested in creating book covers, I'm going to go and write (while my family sleeps).  BUT, I'll be back another day to share all of these things with you.  Until then...write, read and enjoy  life!



What's Up Wednesday

I visited my friend Kari Marie White's blog Writing by Heart and learned about What's Up Wednesday.  I decided to give it a go this week.

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk that's geared toward readers and writers. To join in the fun, add your name to the list.

What I'm Reading

MIND GAMESI just started reading MIND GAMES by Kiersten White. 

The other day I visited her blog and found that it was on sale for $2.99.  I'd enjoyed her PARANORMALCY trilogy and I'd just finished THE FAERIE PRINCE by Rachel Morgan, so I was in need of a midnight read (I was staying up late to celebrate the end of the school year---I'm a teacher.)

What I'm Writing

A new work in progress about a small group of teens and the issues they each deal with in their lives.  Some of their issues stem from, or become more complicated by, miscommunication.  They will need to learn, or not, that assumptions and not asking questions will cause them more heartbreak.

What Inspires Me Right Now

The novel I'm writing uses two of the same characters I created for a different novel, one that I finished two summers ago.  The rest of the characters and the old plot are gone--very necessarily.  I'm excited to say that I think this is the novel I've always wanted to write.  It's a little deeper than anything else I've written and I'm not worrying so much about "plot" as I am "story" and "emotion". 

Books that have a more poetic writing style (such as Tahereh Mafi's SHATTER ME, Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER and Jandy Nelson's THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE) fuel the emotional way my words are typing themselves out.  I've also been inspired by the two POV and story in Chelsea Fine's SOPHIE AND CARTER.)

What Else I've Been Up To
-Cleaning my classroom for the summer cleaning crew and for Vacation Bible School use.

-T-ball, machine pitch, soccer (my two oldest boys play, not me)

-Getting ready for two weeks of vacation:  one week with my parents, one week with my husband's mom and four siblings and their families)

-Laundry, cleaning, feeding children, bathing children

-Playing in the sandbox

-Making sure my one-year-old doesn't break an arm when he's climbing up the play set to go down the slide since he thinks he's three.

-Running and trying to get some strength training in

-Using Essential Oils for the first time.

-Stalking Indie authors and wondering how to create a cover for a book.  Investigating options for Photoshop and wondering how the heck to find a stock photo and upload it and add text and size it right...NOT that I'm going Indie, but just because I want to create these cool graphic images.

AAAAAnnnnd...that's that!

I'm not participating in Ready. Set. Write, but my writing goal has been to get 1k in per day to finish this draft by the end of June.  However, even though I was clipping along, a week of final grading and report cards threw  me off my sprint.  I haven't caught up.  Yet.  My goal is my goal even when I'm falling behind.

Best of luck to you with finding quiet reading time and writing time this week!  (Even if you lose your writing inspiration, try to write through it. You can always delete later. Chances are, you'll gain momentum and something you write will trigger a new muse!)



considerations, such as traditional publishing or going indie

Though I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately, I've noticed that quite a few of the writing bloggers who got started around the same time as Erica and me have gone indie.

I'm so intrigued.
And so impressed.

And yet I'm wondering if it's worth it.  (For me.)

I know that the novel I'm working on right now will be queried.  I'll try to get it an agent who will try to get it a publisher who will try to find it many readers.


I can't help but wonder.

About $$$$.

I quit a better paying job last summer to take a (much) lower-income job doing the same thing (teaching).  I'm closer to home.  I'm literally with my family (I teach at their school). I teach my faith (It's a Catholic school--hence less pay.) I'm happier.  So I would love to make money writing.

This leads my wondering mind to wondering whether selling fewer copies indie (not that that's always the case) because I feel like I'd reach fewer people (I'm nowhere near the business woman I'd need to be --yet--to sell big) would make more money than giving away a larger percentage of money to all the people who take a cut for traditional publishing. 

(It kind of drives me crazy to think that I would make a teensy tiny itsy miniscule amount of money for a book that I spent hours on.)

I'm wondering if I'd have what it took to put the time into researching and creating and dreaming and everything else to self-pub and self-market completely solo. Or would it be worth it to pay someone else to do some of that for me?  Would it make more sense for me to focus on the writing part and pay someone to save me time?

I think I'd LOVE to make my own cover art and do the formatting and create swag and a new web page and ALL of that, but I also know that that would take me SO much time.  And, I can be honest with myself, I don't have that.  I am a mom with three kids whose teaching job takes all my school year time and a lot of my summer time, plus I try to run/workout on a daily basis and I can barely squeeze in an hour a day to WRITE much less do anything else.  Even now I'm taking 20 min (ish) to write this post and that's out of novel-writing time.  (My baby is napping and I'm sure he'll wake up any minute.  Then it's off to pick up the dog from the groomer, pick up the ceramics we made at THE FIRE, off to finish packing up the classroom and THEN to the zoo since I just promised my older kids.  And there's t-ball tonight.)

But I'd love to make it all mine.  I'd love to get up in the morning and hop online and see how my book is selling and being rated and to collect some extra money (since I want to buy a travel trailer and a permanent camping site and hubby says no unless I get a second job--hey, hey, writing!)

Help me out.  What are your plans for your writing?  What have you done already?  Most importantly, WHY?  Why did you/didn't you/won't you/will you go indie? 

I love the idea of selling indie novellas.  To see what happens.

Maybe some day.

For now, Erica and I will put finishing revisions and edits on our co-novel (we had to take a break from it to get to the end of the school year) and we will query it.  I will get farther than the 12k I'm at on my latest WIP.

But I'll continue to research and stalk you all and consider.

Hopefully we'll have a post or two here along the way as well.

We'll visit you!



absolutely 100% invested

Whether I'm writing or running or mothering or teaching or cleaning or complaining, I'm 100 percent invested in whatever it is I'm doing at that moment.  And having that many things going on at once makes me 1000% exhausted.


The lack of blog postage postingage posts.

But, now that the teacher part of me can sleep for a few weeks, I can spare some time for the writer part of me, or more specifically, the social writer part of me. READ:  you guys.

ALSO, I've been writing, some, these past few weeks.  In fact, in one week alone I got 10k into a brand new novel. 

This is the one, folks!


Also, I've been reading.  Most recently, I read THE FAERIE PRINCE by Rachel Morgan, an Indie author who has done it all completely right.  The novel?  It's the second in a trilogy.  It's paranormal.   It's romance.  It's kick-ass, hard-core, girl making her way to the top.  Rachel has also started her own media company to help out other authors who decide to go Indie.  You must read THE FAERIE GUARDIAN and THE FAERIE PRINCE.  And you must check out her new company (Morgan Media) to see the beautiful images she can create and services she can offer.

Since it's summer, I'm getting ready for Write On Con coming up in August.  I'm hoping to have THE NOVEL done by the end of June so it can be edited and revised and ready for WOC.  Shh. Don't tell me there are rules about letting it sleep for six months.  Rules schmools when it's the one, right? 



Since you probably forgot all about us way over here, I'll make my way around your blogs to catch up!!!

Miss you.