Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm a Twit!

Oh, yes I am. I decided to join the timesucking world of Twitter last week! I am having fun with it so far. I have found some of you on Twitter, but if I haven't let me know in the comments and I'll follow you! (And if you want, you can, um, follow me @kellypolark!)

Because behind this glossy exterior, I am a bit of a geek (don't all nod your heads at once), I still don't know my way around Twitter. I need my dear blog friends to show me the way.

First, check out Laura Pauling's funny posts about Twitter here and here.

Also, Debbie Ridpath Ohi has very useful information about Writers who use Twitter. Check her site here if you are in the dark like me!

Second, my questions (there's no such thing as a dumb question, right? RIGHT?!).

1. Okay, what does RT stand for and when do you use it?

2. If you retweet, how do you write something with the retweet to post at the same time?

3. How do you post an http link but not make it so freaking long?

4. Hashtags. Can you just make them up? Are they real links to something?
Hi. I'm Kelly. #I don't know what the heck I'm doing.

5. Are there any Twitter etiquette tips I need to know?

6. How do you post a photo to Twitter and have a short link for it?
7. How do you put the retweet sign at the end of a post?

THANKS for your help, peoples! I think once I get this thing down, I'll be having me some fun times on Twitter!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Need to Pelt Me

with Smarties because I am done! I finished my middle grade manuscript! I knew if I proclaimed my goal on my blog, it would force me to finish. The power of peer pressure!
Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement!
I am going to take the rest of the week to revise a little bit and actually give Mr. He and Mrs. She real names. (I have trouble thinking of names sometimes.) Plus make a hard copy to fix those typos. Then off to some readers in December! Yay!

Don't forget to check out Kidlit Critterpalooza at The Bookshelf Muse! There are 17 amazing prizes to win! Contest ends on November 28!

I am thankful that I finished, and I am so very thankful for each and every one of you who comes by just to read or to read and comment. You make my day!
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

My Tune for Tuesday is "All My Life" by Foo Fighters. One because my main character's dad kind of looks like Dave Grohl, but with a goatee. And I turned this up, danced, and sang,
"DONE! DONE! ON TO THE NEXT ONE! DONE, I'M DONE! I'M ONTO THE NEXT!" (Yes, I seriously did...)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Remember my lil buddy, Critter? I had him hang at my place in January. We had loads of fun and for over a year now, CRITTER, the creation of artist Ian Sands, has been travelling the world, meeting many talented writers and authors and exploring where they live. At each stop he learns more and more about KIDLIT and the importance of literacy and creativity. This journey was the brainchild of Christy Evers, who got her hands on Critter after an interactive art project of Ian’s, where 500 Critters were hidden all over her city for people to find.

Critter has visited PJ Hoover (and the Texas Sweethearts!) in Texas, Beth Revis in North Carolina, Christina Farley in Korea, New England with Nandini Bajpai, Illinois with little ole me, MG Higgins in California, Rena Jones in Montana, Cynthia Leitich Smith in Texas, Bish Denham in the Virgin Islands, Jacqui Robbins in Michigan, Tina Ferraro in California, Cynthia Chapman Willis in New Jersey, Jill S. Alexander in Texas, Ellen Oh in Virginia and finally, Alberta Canada with Angela Ackerman.

Critter has been to college, rock concerts (see him crowdsurfing in the above picture), national landmarks, a palace, attended his first SCBWI conference, walked among giant redwoods, and met the world famous artist, Robert Bateman. Now that his journey is coming to a close, it’s CRITTER’S hope that you will help him celebrate over at The Bookshelf Muse. His new hosts, together with old hosts, have teamed up to create the Kidlit-inspired event, Critterpalooza! and you’re invited! Party at the Muse! Party at the Muse!

There are many AMAZING prizes to be won, all in the spirit of helping Critter celebrate the wonderful creativity & support within out KIDLIT community, and to also raise awareness for his charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Seriously, great prizes! I'm offering a Poetry Pack with Poetrees by Douglas Florian and Stampede by Laura Purdie Salas. There are so many other fabulous prizes including a Skype chat, critiques, signed books, goodies and so much more!!! Don't miss it!

If you would like to donate a few dollars to Critter’s charity, just click on the I Love St. Jude button. Children’s lives are saved every day thanks to the support of people like you!

Isn't that awesome?! And here's another great contest in the wonderful world of blogs:

Carol's Dark and Twisty and Rule Breaky Giveaway! Carolina Valdez Miller is giving away two signed books! Plus lotsa cool arcs! Isn't she sweet? She's so not dark and twisty!
So, click those links and get on over to Angela's and Carol's blog. Do it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So Close

I'm so close I can taste it. And it tastes like Smarties and chocolate milk. Because those are my main character's fave treats (separately of course, you can't wash Smarties with chocolate milk! Well, you can, but you shan't). Did you just google if shan't is a word? Take my word for it, I have no idea.
I'm so close to finishing my middle grade manuscript. I had a month off while working on my house. Now I am using that energy towards my story. I have worked and reworked this manuscript since spring. I originally had written it as a chapter book the year before, but after some valuable advice, started rewriting it as a middle grade in April. So here I am working on the last chapter. I am almost there. I'm excited. I still love my story. Even after rereading it so many times.
You see when I add a chapter or scene to my story, I reread all the chapters I've written up to that point. I know it's slow going, but it just helps my writing flow into the next scene. And after all of this rereading, thankfully I still smile when I am reading it.
So, I am publicly putting it out there that I am going to finish it this week. I will send it out to beta readers (anyone want to read?) and critique groups soon after. How am I going to celebrate when I'm done? With a large glass of chocolate milk (hold the Smarties) of course! So please check in next Monday to see if I reached my goal. If I haven't, I give you permission to call me names, slap me silly, or even pelt me with Smarties.

Did anyone else catch the live author/agent chat on WriteOnCon last night? Make sure you follow their blog so you don't miss any of these awesome opportunities to pick the brains of cool, talented people in the publishing biz! Last night agent Stephen Barbara and author Leila Sales(Mostly Good Girls) chatted about the agent/author relationship. Fun and informative!

Since I'm Closer to the End, today's Tune for Tuesday is "Closer to the Edge" by 30 Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto of My So Called Life and movie fame is the lead singer. I saw them live in April (see picture of Jared's arm around me here), and they were amazing. You can see for yourself how a 30STM concert experience really is in the video. The venue is usually packed. The crowd knows all the words. You can see the crowd move three steps forward (which was impossible for me at my concert as I was about next to the stage which prompted me to swear at him (he didn't hear me ;) and have strangers be squished all around me). But the concert was awesome enough to let me forgive him for that. He also walked into the crowd, on top of the crowd just like in the video.
Watch and listen to CLOSER TO THE EDGE!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Block Writer's Block!: Guest Post by Stephen Tremp

November is the month of Nanowrimo and PiBoIdMo as well. There is a lot of pressure to get words and ideas onto the paper. What do you do if just can't think of one more scene? What do you do if you can't think of any more picture book ideas? What do you do if you can't stop eating Halloween candy (okay, that is a topic for another discussion)?

Today I have author Stephen Tremp to help you work through Writer's Block. Stephen Tremp is author of the near future science fiction action thriller Breakthrough. Stop by and visit Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs where Breakthrough is available for purchase and download to all eReaders. Take it away, Steve!

PhotobucketI have blogged about Writer’s Block on and off for the past year. This heinous dark thief of creativity can affect a writer in trivial or monumental ways and often rears its head at the worst of times. Writers Block can frustrate a writer’s creativity and source of inspiration and thus impede their ability to translate mental concepts into written words.

But not to fear. There are numerous simple exercises one can use to slay this sinister villain of imaginativeness. Here is a comprehensive list of methods I use to fight off this evildoer. This is a great blog to save to your Favorites or Bookmarks. Okay, here we go:

“What if …” Scenarios These two words have inspired writers and poets to pen masterpieces that are now considered literary classics. Think of a “What if …” statement, then make a pot of coffee, sit down, and begin writing. Please take a moment to read this brief link, then try it your self.

What would you do if you were not a writer: Here's a little exercise I do to get the creative juices flowing. I ask myself a question, "What would I be if I could be anything in the world other than a writer?" Then I place myself in this situation and think, “What can I do with this?” Again, take a moment to read this brief link and you’ll be amazed at how such a simple exercise can open the door for multiple stories.

Ask other bloggers to help with a particular problem: This is a great exercise with a huge payoff. Example: I was struggling with a particular chapter. I needed a jailbreak. And not just any ol’ jailbreak. I needed to bust out someone from the center of a state-of-the-art facility. It had to be clever and high tech. The response was 40 terrific comments. Although I won’t use all of the ideas in the actual jailbreak, I can use them while the characters are brainstorming ideas to bust the professor out. So I ended up with two chapters, the jailbreak itself, and a chapter covering the planning stage. Two for the price of one!

Research the research: I don’t have a particle accelerator in my garage. Good thing I don’t need one in order to perform research in the area of physics. I can research the research. Make two lists: One of topics you would like to research and one people who have a deep understanding of such topics. Then, go to theoretical physics or the name of a respected expert in the respective field of your story. For example, type in “theoretical physics” and a multitude of clips will come up that you can watch. These are free, concise, and usually reliable sources.

Weekend Follies Captions: This is a great way to get the creativity moving forward. On weekends I often post my Weekend Follies, five pictures of cute animals doing silly things and ask people to write a clever or witty captions. This exercise quickly stimulates the mind (best to do with a cup of coffee) and helps the neurons in the brain make those all-important chemical synapses between the nerve cells in the brain.

Guest bloggers: I belong to a few Yahoo! Writers Groups and we each take turns hosting. These are talented people; writer, editors, poets, teachers, researchers, etc. with fresh ideas. I subscribe to all posts, quickly eliminate those that are not pertinent, then reading and sometime saving the relevant ones.

Finally, ask your editor: You do have an editor, don’t you? Think of an editor more as a mentor. A life coach. A friend in need. Your editor is one of the best sources to bounce ideas off. Just don’t call them in the middle of the night. They hate that.

Please join me Monday as I visit Jemi Fraser’s blog and we discuss an emerging genre: Modern Steampunk.

Thanks for stopping by on Stephen's blog tour. Great suggestions, and I just might have to ask my wonderful blogger friends for help with future scenes...For example, in one scene I have a character that wants to meet her favorite rock band. How should I (cough)- I mean she go about doing that ? :).
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spot the Blunder, Shawty!

Last week our realtor sent a photographer to take pictures of our house to go on our brochures and online realty sites. Before this, she sent a stager to make sure our house would look as presentable as it could be. The stager was amazing. She told us the best way to position our couch. Which plant or what kind of centerpiece would look best on the table and so on. Have you ever watched HGTV's Get It Sold? Kind of like that.
So the photographer came and I had the place as clean and perfectly placed as possible. Which is a huge feat as I am not known as the world's most fabulous housekeeper. I checked and rechecked each room and I knew I was ready.
Or was I? Can you see what I forgot?

Yep, the bed's a mess. I'm a terrible bedmaker, I am. But you'd think my eyes would scan the foot of the bed to make sure the comforter was covering the sheet for crying out loud! Oi. But thankfully, my only blunder. But definitely a true Kelly blunder. Okay, I could have taken my TBR pile out of the nightstand too, but hey, I love my books. You'd think the photographer might have noticed the bed blunder, but maybe she didn't want to offend. Her pictures turned out awesome by the way. She made my wood floors look so shiny and the colors of the walls of the bedrooms pop.
Thankfully I am not a terrible writer (at least I hope not). But you'd think my eyes would scan my manuscript and catch every misspelled word or tweak each scene just right. But I can't. I'm only human. So use your critique group, use your family, win great blog contests like I did and get people (and by people, I mean definitely more than one person) to read your stuff. And your comforter, I mean, your manuscript won't be a mess.

One last thing.
Who the heck is Shawty?
This I wondered after I looked up the lyrics to Dynamite to make sure it was acceptable for my son to download on Itunes (it was fine...and catchy). Then I recalled the song from Fred the Movie (a Nickelodeon movie), "Call 9-1-1, Shawty burnin on the dance floor" and the Usher commercial singing "Happy Birthday" to Shawty.
Who is this mysterious Shawty that everyone and their mother is singing about?
So I googled "Who is Shawty?"
It turns out according to the Urban Dictionary, Shawty is used as a pronoun like man or dog or girl. It is also commonly used as a term for a hot female or girlfriend. So there you have it.

Am I geek for not knowing this or a bigger geek for googling it? You know it, Shawty!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This and That Thursday

1. My house went on the market on Monday! The house is just about perfect, and the cleanest I've ever seen it. I even bought a St. Joseph statue to bury in the yard (thanks for the reminder, Anita!). I have to admit I cried when the sign went up. I love this home and area so much. But I know we will be happy in cheeseland once we sell this house and are settled there.

2. Thank you to Ishta Mercurio for an awesome critique of one of my picture book manuscripts! I won a critique at her blog, Musings of a Restless Mind. She gave me such valuable advice and suggestions!

3. I also won a critique from Marcia Hoehne. I'll be sending her the first 1000 words of my middle grade manuscript soon. Thanks, Marcia!

*Jen Daiker at Unedited is having a superdeeduper contest on her blog! Enter to win a $65 CSN gift certificate!!

*Susan Fields is having a Back From Hiatus contest. Win your choice of a great non-fiction book that will help you write much gooder!
*Don't forget about Candyland's I Heart Joy Like Br80 contest! A fabulous cause with fabulous cash prizes and concert tix - yes, concert tix to a band I love, too (New Medicine, baby)!
*Marcia Hoehne is giving away Sara Pennypacker's Clementine, Friend of the Week!
*Kimberly Franklin is giving away a signed, yes, signed copy of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney! Plus bookmarks!

5. Next Friday I will have a guest blogger. Breakthrough author Stephen Tremp will give tips on Writer's Block! Make sure to stop by to check it out!

6. Now that my house is ready, I can get back to my writing!!! I am finishing that middle grade manuscript once and for all! I even finally stopped by The Practice Room again for a session yesterday. Yay!

7. Remember a few weeks ago when I said I wanted to see a certain band? (Okay you don't, but I did, darn it.) Well, soon after I found out they would be playing nearby in December!! I finally get to see My Chemical Romance live for the first time!!! Yay! Here's a preview of their next single, "Sing." Did I mention that I named a character in my middle grade after the lead singer? Did I also mention that the lead singer is an author of a comic book series titled The Umbrella Academy? And I get to see him in concert!!!!!!

What are you excited about?