Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergen

Little Fox begs his Mama Fox to tell him the story of how he came to be a part of their family.

This is my all-time favorite book for children about adoption. It fits any adoption (domestic, international, baby, toddler, child, foster, boy/girl...) as the . As an adoptive parent, I feel this book helps hit all the major questions an adoped child may have about their past and future. As a mother, I felt like the author knew exactly what I struggled through while waiting for my little boy. 

The only part that I would have liked to have seen different is the mention of Papa Fox. Mama Fox often says "us," and refers to the parents in plural. But Papa Fox is never mentioned. He's not even in any of the pictures. It's possible that is because Mama Fox is putting Little Fox to bed, so she is telling him the story. But I just wished that Papa Fox at least had a picture in the book.

Other than that, this is perfect for any kind of adoption. It perfectly captures the emotion and love that comes with adoption and (finally!) being a family. This is a very sweet book that holds a treasured place on my shelf.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bad to worse.

There's nothing like getting pooped on in the wee hours of the morning and not knowing it until you rub it on your nose. (I feed and change him in the dark.)

There's nothing like a fussy baby who only eats a quarter of what he's supposed to every 45 minutes - starting at 3 am, ensuring you are grumpy and irritable when you get up three hours later...if you were ever down in the first place.

There's nothing like getting a phone call first scolding you for something you inadvertantly did wrong.

There's nothing like getting an email from your insurance saying you owe hundreds of dollars worth of doctor's visits for your newborn...who apparently saw a psychiatrist in Texas the day after he was Nevada, and knowing you have to fight them on it.

And to top it off, there's nothing quite like getting your first rejection letter from a publisher saying they don't feel strongly enough about your work to pursue it.

I guess I just have to hope that tomorrow is better.

Good thing I know what is really important: this little ball of wiggles in my arms who can't decide if he's hungry or if he has sour tummy, if he wants held or put down, if he wants his binkie or not...

Ahhhh.... Pin It

Friday, November 6, 2009

8,000 down, 42,000 to go...

I don't know if you remember from last year, but I am participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. November is the National Novel Writing Month, and I have taken the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days...with a newborn.

For a while I didn't think I could actually do it. Seth was constantly wanting to be held, or needed to be fed, or needed to be changed, or bathed, get the picture. And then when he was asleep I would just sit and hold him, looking at him for the fun of it. When I finally did put him down, the dishes needed done, the floor needed vacuumed, the NEVER ending pile of laundry needed chipped away at, I needed to shower, the whole nine yards.

Finally, last night I went from 4,000 words to just a little over 8,000. Doubling my word count in a matter of hours.

I did the math this morning in my head (running off of little sleep!) and came up with I would have to write 5,000 words a day to meet my goal. I just about cried and then dozed off, smelling defeat. Actually it was just a poopy diaper, but I promise that's what defeat smells like too.

But then this morning, after I finally pealed my eyelids opened, changed that poopy diaper (which he still wasn't done with, so I had to wait until he stopped straining and his color went back to normal), and got on the computer, I re-did the math. I only have to write 1,730.5 words per day to reach my goal.


That I can handle.

Yes, it seems like a lot. But if I can get another good writing session or two, I'll be able to get ahead on my goal, thus making it easier to keep up when I fall behind.

But what am I sitting around here yacking for? I've got a novel to write! - Right after I shower and do the dishes.

(PS. does anyone know how to properly spell the word "poopy"?) Pin It

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Catching Fire

Have you ever read a book, and when you were done you were practically on the verge of pulling your hair out because you wanted to know what happened next?

And have you ever read the sequel to such a book and when you devoured every word printed within it's pages you just couldn't bear to close it because you don't know how you'll stand the next year waiting for the final book?

It doesn't happen to me too often, but it happened with the Twilight series, the Eragon saga, and now the Hunger Games books. You must read these books. They are so awesome and disturbing at the same time. I can't tell you more than that, but I must stress the disturbing factor. Read the descriptions here and here and you'll realize why I say that.

You'll love and hate Katniss in the first book (emphasis on the hate), and love and forgive her in the second book.

But most of all, you'll beg for more.

I would know. I was on the waiting list for 6 weeks before I got my copy from the library...and they bought 20 books.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Insert creative title here:

Ok, so I've sent The Gifted to one publisher, and I haven't heard back, and I'm prepping to send it to another publisher.

I know, I know. It's been a LONG time...but I had to go through the book again to polish it one more time. And boy am I glad I did.

The first publisher I sent it to I was able to just upload it on the computer directly to their website. The second publisher wanted it printed off with a specific formatting for page numbering and such, and then mailed in. It's 222 pages, and you can't just print that off anywhere!

And in my mind's eye I saw an editor sitting in a big fancy office. In front of him sits my manuscript. It's a hot day, so he opens the window. Suddenly the wind barges in, takes loose pages of my manuscript and blows them out the window and down the street. Do you think the editor is going to chase the random pages down the street until he catches them all? Probably not. He can just slide mine off the desk and into the garbage and pick up the next book without another thought.

I did not want to let that happen. So I decided to have it bound. No loose pages, no pesky wind, no problems for me.

The only place I know of to print stuff off and have it bound is the Copy Spot, the copy center at the university. Sure, I probably could have gone to one of the ship and copy places in town, but let's be honest: I'm comfortable with what I'm familiar with.

So yesterday, being my day off, I drove up to campus, fought for a parking spot (school started a week ago), and hiked down to the Copy Spot. Tyler came with me, he likes to get out of the office when I come to campus.

I got to the Copy Spot and asked the college student wearing the maroon Copy Spot vest how it worked. Did I need to print it off there and give it to him to bind? Did I just give him my jump drive and he took care of it?

"Is this for seminary?" He asked.
" it for history?"
"'s just...?"

So he told me to pull it up on the computer there, and once I had it up, he would help me print it. I went over to the indicated computer and got in my purse to pull out the jump drive. Well, I was supposed to meet someone on campus at 10:00 to sell her something, and it wasn't in my purse. I looked up at the clock, it was 9:44. I didn't have time, so Tyler and I left. I drove home, grabbed the item, drove all the way back to campus, fought for another parking spot, made $.65, then hiked back down to the Copy Spot.

When I got there, the guy I talked to before was gone, and a bubbly blonde was in his place. There were two or three people in line, so I thought, "No problem." So I went up and told her I needed to print and bind a 222 page document.

"Is it for religion class?" She asked.
"Is it for Brother So-and-So's history class?"
"So what is it?"

'Scuze me? It's mine, that's what it is. It's the next best-seller! Don't you know who I am? Just kidding:)

"It's just mine." Lame-o answer, I know. But she caught me off guard.

So she smacked her gum, flipped her hair and told me to pull it up on the computer and she'd come over once I got it pulled up. By then there was no one else in the store. No one. I pulled it up on the computer and went back to the counter. Mind you, this is a TINY store. It has a maximum capacity of twelve people. It's little. So I went back to the counter to let her know I was ready for her and the blonde just stared at me. Finally she said, "Hi, can I help you?" I looked around, unsure if she was serious. I wanted to say, "I was up here 38 seconds ago and you forgot who I was...?" But I just pointed to the computer and said, "It's up."

So she came over and pressed print. Yeah, I could have done that. So my document started to print. I waited until it was done printing before I logged off the computer, just in case there was a problem. In the mean time, the Copy Spot all of a sudden became a popular hang out. It was soon filled beyond capacity with students. And everyone was looking at me like I was the hold up. Ok, so maybe I was the hold up, but there were two other computers! So I hurried over to the printer to see how far along I was in the printing process. According to the publisher's directions, in each upper right hand corner it was to say: Andreasen/Gifted/Page 1. So I just looked in the upper right hand corner for the page number....but it wasn't there.

In a panic I checked all the other pages. It wasn't there either. Instead it said: Debhr?Ghf*hbh

On every. Single. Page.

So there were 15 pairs of eyes on me, and I had a choice to make: accept this garbled version of my book and send it off to the publisher, or track down an employee and do it again. I wasn't entirely sure I could find the employee in the sea of bodies that massed that little cave of a store...but I knew that if I sent something to the publisher that wasn't up to their specifications, they had no obligation to read a single word.

So I squared my jaw, straightened my back, and elbowed my way through the crowd until I found the maroon vest.

I'm not rude, so I waited my turn and showed her the garbled mess. She went over to the printer (which was luckily out of paper) and canceled the print job. In the mean time someone else had tried to print and their job got canceled too. In a huff he left the store and vowed to return when it was empty.

Good luck with that.

So I asked the attendant, as she's flying away to help someone else, what to do about my paper. She yells over her shoulder, "Is it in PDF form?"
"Well isn't there a way to convert it to PDF form?"
"I don't know," I shrug.
"Me neither."

And then she's gone. Helping someone else. So I stand there like a dweeb, holding the computer and catching glares, waiting for her to come back. Finally the girl next to me takes pity on my and shows me how. I felt like an idiot because it took one click of the mouse and voila.

So I finally got my document to print, and I checked to make sure that it looked right. It was perfect.

222 pages takes a while to print. So I had to stand there guarding the printer with people behind me huffing and tapping their feet waiting for me to be done.

FINALLY I had my manuscript in my hand...for real. This was it. All I needed was to have it bound. So I waited and took it up to the counter, where they showed me, "Oh, to bind it you take it over to this hole punch, and do it just like this..."

So five sheets at a time or less, not kidding, I had to hole punch my entire book. It took me forever! And then they gave me the front, back, and spiral binder and waved me out the door.

Ok, so 45 minutes, $12.91 later, here I am:

It's so beautiful!

No, I didn't dress up just for this picture. I took the picture this morning before work. I considered being funny and taking a picture of the last page...but I didn't :)

So I'll kiss my book good-bye and send her off to the publisher. With a self-addressed-stamped envelope so I will get her back if they don't want her.

Wish me luck! Pin It

Friday, June 5, 2009

I'm a gold digger

My sister-in-law called me Wednesday and told me about an adult reading program at the local library. If you fulfill the requirements (which are easy things like donate items to a good cause, tell a friend about the library, read a book...), you get a gold membership card.

When she told me that, I literally went, "Oooooooh, a gold membership!" And then I had to stop and think. "What's a gold membership?"

Well, I was not disappointed with the answer. It's a normal library card, but you have no fees on your account for a year! I don't often incur fines on my account, but that's because when I know I can't finish my book, I take it back to the library. Unread. Incomplete. Unfinished. I'll never know what happens (never mind that I can just renew it or check it out again). But on rare occasion when I simply must know the end, I take it back a day or two late, paying the $.20 per day.

So now I can finish my books with no fear of penalty! And not only that, I can check out movies for however long I want! Ok, I won't abuse the system, I promise. But still, that's pretty cool, huh?

Gold membership, here I come! Pin It

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

We're actually going to change the order and make it the bad, the good and the ugly.

The Bad: Unless this is your first visit to my blog (and if so, welcome!), you've heard about my involvement in the Amazon contest. Quick rundown: Out of 10,000 submissions, my book made it to the top 100. Unfortunately, it stopped there. I did not make it to the top three finalist list. But that's not the bad news.

When I sent in my manuscript to Amazon, I basically signed a contract saying Penguin "owns" my book until the contest is over. Now that I'm out of the running, I'm ready to take off and find an editor, a publisher, the coupon I lost last week...anything!

Here's the bad news (finally!): I just found out (by sheer luck) that Penguin still holds the rights to THE GIFTED until June 30th. That means I am legally prohibited from querying publishers or agents. In other words I can't do anything with my book until July 1st (because it's not really "mine").

Phew, that was a close one! I was moments away from pushing SEND and releasing my book to see if any agent fishies bite.

The Good: There is still a possibility that Penguin will want to publish THE GIFTED. That would be awesome! It'd save the trouble of having to hook an agent or a publisher, and I'd be a real live author. Ok, so I'm a real live author now, but you know what I mean.

The Ugly:


...'Nuff said.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Please vote!

Hola friends and family.

I did not make it to the final three in the Amazon contest. But that's ok. I've had my pout, and now I'm back up on my feet moving forward.

But if I had made it to the final three, I would want everyone I know to vote. And since I didn't, I'm still asking you to help choose the winner.

You have to have an Amazon account to vote, you can only vote once, and your vote cannot be changed once it's cast.

Go to to download the finalists' excerpts and vote. Sorry, there's no place for a write in. ;)

This is going to be a tough one to decide, so good luck! PS. I may ask you to vote, but I don't vouch for what you read. There is swearing and's not my fault!

Well, I made it as far as I possibly could without winning, and that was more than I could have hoped for. I'm working hard on getting THE GIFTED published so that you can all read the rest of it!:) Thanks for your support and for giving me courage! Pin It

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Creativity or wasted time? Your call.

Yesterday I was playing around on I like to read the threads (which are like chats or online conversations) about the contest.

One of them was about "casting" for their book. They wanted to know if anyone else had casted the characters for their books. And I thought, "What a fun idea!" Stephenie Meyer casted for Twilight way back before it was even optioned for a movie...but she wrote a NY Times Bestseller, teen sensation, American Harry Potter that turned into an actual movie.

Anyway, I won't dwell on that.

So last night I thought it would be so much fun to find the faces that match the names. I could not use real actors, try as I might. It just seemed wrong to me because these characters aren't actors. They're real to me. So I had to find real people (not that actors aren't real).


When I put Pyper on paper (haha, love the alliteration), I had one face in mind, with someone else's colors. That makes no sense, I'm sure, but I'll explain in a second. While I was writing, I remembered seeing a book cover (two, actually) with a profile view of a girl, and her red hair was a curtain around her face, like she'd just moved her head and her hair is whipping around to catch up.

Last night while I was searching for pictures of Pyper, I found her!

I seriously have seen this on book covers twice, for Tantalize, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, and The Homeplace, by Gilbert Morris. However, if I ever get to pick the cover of my book (hahaha, dream on, right?), it will be this gal, even though she's been used twice already. She was seriously the model Pyper.

And the colors I mentioned earlier...This Pyper's hair isn't dark enough. It's more of a strawberry blond. Pyper's hair is red. Dark red. I had a roommate in college, Liz, who had the most gorgeous red hair and dark green eyes you've ever seen. She told me once color is the kind that doesn't come in a bottle. Which is totally true (and I used that line in the book). So after over an hour of looking at pics, I never found one with the right colors. Oh well. Use your imagination for that one.

I'm sure you want to see a front view of Pyper. So did I. So here she is (with the wrong hair color):

I know the pic seems wrong to you. She's wearing a dress. Where's her black shirt and worn out jeans? Where's her black gloves? But trust me. This is her. I wish I could elaborate, but I can't. I'd give too much away. Just know that when (not if) you read the rest of the book, this picture of Pyper will come back to you and you'll go, "Ohhh..."

Kael is near and dear to my heart, but I get so irritated with the guy at the same time because he's a frustrating person.
Anyway, I found two possible Kaels that appealed to me.

Kael A: This is the best I could find of this particular Kael. He had a dozen or more shots on, but in most of them he had a blond wrapped around him, and in some cases he was missing a key feature: a shirt. So I'm not going to put a picture of a bare-chested Kael on my blog. Sorry. Just keeping it rated G.

Kael B: For reasons I can't explain, when I first saw this picture I went, 'Oh, that's him!' But the longer I looked at the pic and the more other faces I had to compare it with, I started to doubt myself. His hair is a little long, but that's ok. Anyway, this was another Kael and I just had to share. I felt like I was being unfair if I didn't put his face on here.

We don't get much from the book (dumb author) except that Kael's hair is shaggy brown and his eyes are a brown-green. Both of those guys fit, but I'm not sure which fits more.

This is Baler. Hands down, no question, this is him. Ok, maybe his hair is a little poofier than Baler's, but everything else is spot on. How come I know and you don't? Because chapter two cut off right before we get a more detailed description of Baler. I picked this image last night. This morning I read the rest of the chapter and it described this guy right here:

He looks like little brother material, huh?

I found a lot of pictures of gorgeous gals who could have all been Summer except for one thing. They weren't. They were all smiling and happy and playing on the beach. They just did not embody the image of Summer.

She was a hard one to find, but I finally found her:

High cheekbones, sharp eyes, snooty attitude. That's her.

And last but certainly not least:

And interesting thing happened when I went looking for Raven's picture. I searched for teenage girls with black hair (as opposed to blond hair when I searched for Summer). When I went looking for the blonds, I got a lot (and I mean a lot) of girls on the beach, or on cell phones, or kissing guys.

When I searched for the dark haired beauty, I got a lot of dancers and athletes. Stereotypes, anyone?
Anyway, I looked for a good ten minutes and hadn't found any Ravens. And then I thought about a movie I just saw and realized that Raven was in it. And then I thought, "Ok, if I had my choice of actresses, Raven would be ___."

I'm not going to say their names because then you'll remember what movies they're in (if you've seen them) and I think that'd ruin it.

So here's Raven A:

You know her, I'm sure you do. But this was the cleanest pic I could find of her. Apparently she likes to pose almost nudie. And I think this one is Raven to a 't'. Or R. Or V. Or whatever.

Here is Raven B:

You may or may not know this one. I'm guessing not unless you watch the Disney Channel. The problem with this Raven is that in all her other pics she was too innocent. So I had to find her most snooty picture, which was kind of hard to do.

So. There they are. The cast of The Gifted. Of course that's not all of them. I didn't find Robyn (Pyper and Baler's mom) because there just isn't enough about her for you to care yet. And I didn't find some of the other key characters because that would have been too confusing. And it might have given too much away.

And I have a few other pics up my sleeve for after the book is published (see, I'm being positive) and you can read it and then I'll give you the pics I found.

So what do you think? Did you find someone else that matches better? If you did, let me know and I'll post their faces here. Which Kael and Raven do you like better?
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Who? Me? Never.

If you can imagine me, sitting at my computer in a bright green sweater with my hair up in a bun, you will also see that I am rolling my eyes and crossing my arms. (It's difficult to imagine since I'm also typing, but pretend I'm not typing, just throwing a fit.)

This is me in denial.

I just got my Publisher's Weekly review for my book. Apparently it's been on my stinkin' site since yesterday and I just didn't even see it. But I read a lot of people on amazon commenting about their PW reviews and thought, "Hey! Where's mine?" So I went looking and voila. It was on my webpage under editorial reviews...go figure.

So, for those of you who are biting your nails to figure out what on EARTH is going to happen next...the nice man (or woman) at Publisher's Weekly has written the Reader's Digest version for all the world to see. And here it is.

"From Publishers Weekly

"With its odd character names and troubled teenage protagonists, this competent contemporary fantasy aims straight for the “Twilight” audience. “Miracle child” Pyper Wynn drowned and came back to life but she came back with amazing powers. Hiding her telekinetic abilities has made her into a social outcast; her best friend is her little brother, Baler. When Kael, the hottest guy in her high school class, shows interest in her, Pyper’s sure it’s a set-up but his persistence wears down her resistance and he has her mom’s seal of approval. Then Pyper meets Kael’s mom and discovers they are Fae. They tell Pyper that she is the Gifted, the champion born to fight for them in the epic battle to choose the new King of the Fae. Relieved to know there’s a reason for her talents, Pyper begins to train for the upcoming battle but Kael’s warning to tell no one, especially Baler, creates some misgivings. As the battle draws near, Pyper’s questions about her place in the Fae world as well as her relationship with Kael must take second place to taking action, no matter the cost to herself. This gritty YA fantasy manages to smoothly blend modern teenage angst with enough elements of the fantastic to make an entertaining, if somewhat melodramatic, read."

So. There you have it. Now you know. Unless you don't know. And if you don't know, then I'll tell you. Fae = fairy. Yes, The Gifted is about fairies. I'm just relieved he didn't tell you the end!!

I only hope your not disappointed. I cringe at the thought, and then I remember I'm not that should count for something.

I was delighted to discover that The Gifted would appeal to "Twilight" fans, being a Twi-hard Fan-pire myself. But I completely skipped over all the good stuff, like "competent," "entertaining," "smoothly blend" and went straight for the guts. The bullet at the end of the shiny barrel.


He called me melodramatic. Me.

Ok. Fine. I'm melodramatic. But did you have to say it for everyone to see?! Sheesh. Give me a little privacy, allow me a shred of pride, please.

But in the end, my feelings were hurt for only a second until I realized a) the review is about The Gifted, not me. And b) a synonym for melodramatic is sensational.

Ha! I'll take it. I'll take my mediocre review and frame it on my virtual wall for all to see.

So there.

PS. I never ever, ever, ever said Kael was the "hottest guy in her high school class." That's enough cliche to make me barf. Seriously.

PPS. If you've ever written a novel or story of any kind you will find that characters tend to come with names. I don't love the name Pyper. I fought it tooth and nail...and I lost. That was her dagum name and I can't help it if it's odd. But quite frankly, so is she. So there you go.

The Last PS. I promise. I completely ignored "gritty" because it could mean course and rough, or it could mean determined, resolute, courageous. How on earth am I supposed to know which one it is? So I'm ignoring it completely before I give myself a complex. Pin It

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax day: a good day? It is if you're me...

Why is today a good day if you're me? No, it's not because I've already done my taxes. No, it's not because today is my day off and I'm still sittin' around in my bathrobe. No, it's not because I won the lottery...because I didn't.

Today is a good day for me because I just found out that I am in the top 100 semi-finalists for the Amazon ABNA contest!!!!!

Yes, you know my book that I've been trying to shove down your made it to the next level!!!!

Last time I had to wait ALL day before I heard anything. This morning I got on the website and saw the announcement. Tada!!

Go to and click on "Fantasy" and you will see little old me...well, The Gifted by little old me.

I honestly figured I wouldn't have not great news for you because I've read some of the other entrants and discovered they were filled with blood, vulgarity and sex. Mine is not. I don't write that and I don't want to read it. So I figured I'd be out. But hey, here I am telling you the good news!

I told my sister-in-law, I could really get used to having good news to share! Good news seems it's been few and far between for us up until recently.

So from here the 100 will be narrowed to 3. Just 3. I'm pretty positive this is as far as I go, but I'm not discouraged or upset. I'm already looking for an agent or publisher that will take me. (I've had a lot of people ask me if I'll try to get published. The answer is a resounding yes.) The problem is I legally can't submit my manuscript anywhere else until I'm booted from the contest.

I feel so blessed to have made it this far and I am EXTREMELY grateful to you for your support. I know I keep saying that, but I keep meaning it too.

Wish me luck! Pin It

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today is the last day

Tomorrow I find out part of the fate of my book. This is the fork in the road. Either I continue on in the contest, or I find someone else to publish my book. Hanna tells me I need to be more positive and have more confidence...I'll try, but no promises.

Hopefully I'll have good news for you tomorrow (or probably Thursday actually).

So this is your final call if you'd like to read my excerpt.

Thanks everyone, really. Wish me luck (though most likely my "fate" has already been decided).

PS. Kadie -- if you're reading this....STAY AWAY as long as you possibly can! It's snowing here!!!! Pin It

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Three to go.

It's been three weeks since I found out I'm a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Since then I have received so many kind emails and calls from people telling me I'm brave for entering the contest (though I don't feel brave) and that I'm very talented (though I don't feel talented). Thanks so much for your support.

I've also received thirteen amazing reviews on! Thank you so much! I know that you had to have made a purchase in the past on before you can leave a review. So if you weren't able to, that's ok. I understand and I appreciate the thought. As Edward says, "It's the thought that counts. I should know." Yes, I just quoted a fictional character. No, I'm not ashamed of it.

Now I have one more week before I find out if I made it to the semifinals or not. Editors from Publisher's Weekly are reading the manuscripts (the entire book, not just excerpts) for ALL the quarterfinalists. They will score the MS on a couple of different things, including the reviews (so thanks again!!) and then the top 100 scoring MS will make it to the semifinals.

After that an expert panel of 3 people will read the remaining 100 manuscripts and choose the top three. Then members will vote on the winner based on the excerpt (which will be extended an additional 5,000 words).

Ok, so back to where I am in the contest. I will find out next Wednesday if I've made it to the semifinals. Even though my "chances" (percentage wise) are better to making it to the semifinals than they were to make it to the quarterfinals (20% as opposed to 5%), I am not very confident right now. I kind of think this is as far as I'll make it. Which is still amazing! I feel very honored to have made it this far. Even though a guy posted on a website that all the excerpts he's read (including mine) are rubbish, we don't deserve to be there and we should be ashamed of our work. Can you guess who didn't make it this far? Anyway. My work isn't rubbish. I deserve to be here. And I am not ashamed of myself. But whether or not I'll make it any further in the contest is up in the air.

So three weeks down and one to go. Hopefully this time next week I'll have good news for you. Maybe not, but that's alright.

Thanks again for your support and kindness. You guys are awesome!

If you still haven't checked the excerpt for The Gifted by Deborah Andreasen (that's me!), here it is:

I still can't believe I've got my own Amazon page!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your overwhelming support! I've received numerous emails, phone calls, blog posts, book reviews and comments about my book excerpt. It is humbling and very fulfilling to have something I created be so enjoyed!

This whole experience seems so surreal and I have to keep wondering if it's actually happening. To me, no less. My dear friend emailed me and asked how I'm handling all the fame. I had to laugh at that. Fame? I don't know. Maybe someday though.

I have been very encouraged to take my book to a publisher as soon as it becomes "mine" again. At the moment it's property of Penguin Books until they tell me they don't want it. But I hope someday soon you'll be able to read the rest of the book. (And hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed the first 1 1/2 chapters)

I also want to say thank you so much to everyone who has left a review. Those are so very helpful, and they make The Gifted look good in front of the judges!:) That point aside, they really do mean a lot to me. I treasure every single one, along with all the wonderful comments and emails and phone calls.

Anyway, I may sound a little loopy because I'm heavily medicated right now, but I'm coherent enough to say thank you to all of you so much for caring about me and answering my call for help. You're so great! What good is an experience like this if you can't share it with everyone you know?

Thank you. Pin It

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (updated)

I did it. Yay!! (Insert happy dance here) I made it to the quarterfinalists! I screamed and jumped and choked on my own spit. And then I did it again. I'm so excited that in the shower this morning I was so distracted that I almost washed my face with shampoo and shampooed my hair with conditioner. And then my hands were shaking so bad I almost couldn't get my contacts in.

I did it!! I have editorial reviews and everything! Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I entered a manuscript to a contest on There were 10,000 submissions. From those ten thousand they have narrowed it down to 500 quarterfinalists. That's me. An excerpt of my book has been read and reviewed. And now it is posted on under "Fantasy." But before you go charging off to find it, let me give you a direct link. :) My book is entitled The Gifted. In case you're wondering.

Can you believe that? I have my own Amazon page!!!

From my limited understanding of how the rest of this game is played, amazon readers are now able to download and review the excerpts. I thought you'd be able to vote on them, but I guess that's not until later. However, Publisher's Weekly is reviewing the excerpts and will pick a top 100. I guess reader reviews help the "judges" decide which books to move forward, so I could still use your help. Even if you don't know me and still read my blog, I could use your help.

(Update: Apparently you CAN vote on it. You can give me five stars. Sorry, that's the only option. :D)

Download the excerpt and read it, if only because I know you'll enjoy it. I did. I mean, I do. (You will have to go through the process like you are going to buy it, but it's free.) Anyway, then write me a review with the understanding that the judges will be reading that review. My book is not perfect, I know that. But I still think it's pretty darn good. Spread the word too. The more the merrier. Right?

If I don't make it to the semi-finalists, I'll be fine. I'll be disappointed, but I'll be ok because I have a polished manuscript and editorial reviews to send to publishers.

This has been a huge honor so far. I'm wondering if most of this post makes sense, but seeing has how I can't remember if I brushed my teeth or not and at the moment I'd run out the door barefoot (in 30 degree weather), I guess I can't rely on my coherency at the moment. Pin It

Monday, March 16, 2009

Today is the day...supposedly (updated)

I find out today if my book made it to the ABNA quarterfinalists. But as of 8:12am my time, I have yet to receive any notification of my book's status.

Later today (supposedly) the quarterfinalists will be announced on You can download excerpts and vote to see who will make it to the semifinalists and the finalists. So I'd recommend you do that, regardless of whether or not I make it. But hopefully I will:)

Cheers! (And keep your fingers crossed for me!!)


It's 9:27pm. I have still heard nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Zip.

I'm going to bed. Pin It

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wish me luck.

Some of you may know that I am a writer. I love to write (as you have all witnessed with my very, very long blog posts). I remember winning awards in eighth grade because of my writing. Ever since then I've just been enamoured by the power of the written word.

When I went to college I HAD to read. I read so much my eyes bled. Ok, not really. But sometimes I felt like they were going to bleed. I had to read so much boring stuff that I swore once I got out of college I'd never read again! Unless of course it was the scriptures. Or if I found a really good book. But that was it. No more reading.

And writing? Don't even talk about writing. With all my business writing classes (apparently when you major in business they want you to actually sound intelligent when you send out media to employees, co-workers and bosses. Who knew?) and English assignments (that the teacher never liked because I usually wrote about stuff that no one writes eating disorders or how to avoid car wrecks when travelling home) and business plans (yes, actual business plans. I think I wrote five altogether) and estate plans and lessons for church (I was a RS teacher 3 out of my 4 years of college), I vowed to throw my laptop out the window and laugh at it.

But Tyler wouldn't let my throw the laptop out the window because we spent too much money on it. So I relented and kept it.

Graduation came and went. I was working at a bank when I graduated. My branch was half an hour away, so I had to stay there for lunches. And what is there to do when you're eating lunch trying not to dwell on this job that you hate?

Wouldn't you know it? I started taking books to work. ONLY because there was nothing else to do besides complain about my hostile work environment. (It wasn't really hostile. I just really disliked it from the depths of my soul.)

And then a funny thing happened. I started reading at home on the weekends. And Tyler and I started reading books before bed. And I got hooked.

I bought books from DI just so I had something to read. I got a library card!

And then I got a new job that I loved, but I still read. I read so much that Tyler started to feel neglected. So I cut back on the reading.

And then (there are a lot of and then's. Sorry.) something really funny happened. I suddenly had an overwhelming surge of creativity flow through me that I absolutely had to release it or else I would positively explode!

So I took a painting class. Though that helped, it wasn't quite enough. It was like a pin prick in a swimming pool. The pressure was building and I was going to burst.

Soon after I had a dream. It was such a crazy dream that when I woke up I had to write it down. (For those of you who didn't know this already, that's how Stephenie Meyer started Twilight. She dreamt the scene where Bella and Edward are in the meadow and he's "in the sun." And now look at her. She's the next J.K. Rowling. Don't ever discredit your dreams. They are very liberating to your creativity.)

Before I left for work that morning, I had fifteen pages of this fantastic gibberish written down. It was essentially two completely different chapters in someone's life. I knew I had to write the story to bind them together. So I did. Several months later Desert Snow was born.

Aaahhh. That hit the spot. I felt much better. But I wasn't done! I had to keep doing it; I had to keep writing.

Two months later, The Journey Home was born. A few months after that, The Dream Weaver was kind of born. It's about 2/3rds of the way done with the promise that I will go back someday and finish it.

And in November I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I did it. I did it and have never been more proud of any other writing. In the month of November, The Gifted was born.

And do you want to know something funny? Every single one of my books started with a dream. I can tell you the exact scene or exact line from every book that came from my dream. In The Dream Weaver it was a single line that scared me to death. So when I woke up I had to write it into a book.

So. Here it is, February 1st and you are probably wondering why I'm babbling. That happens a lot, doesn't it? But you still love me anyway, and that's the point.

Tonight, at 12:01am EST (10:01 my time), submissions for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest will officially be accepted. That means that tonight, I will enter The Gifted into a contest against 9,999 other manuscripts.

The prize? A publishing contract with Penguin Group. Am I excited? Yes. Am I nervous? Not really. I don't have anything to lose. Do I hope I'll win? Yes, but I'm not completely naive. I know I'm up against some stiff competition (my dad and aunt are also entering). So even though I probably won't win the contest, I'm still grateful because now I have a polished manuscript to submit to publishers.

Here is the contest outline:

February 2 Contest submission period opens (That's tonight). 10,000 entries are slimmed down to 2,000 based on a "pitch." A 300 word summary of the book, it's strengths and character development, the intended audience and how readers identify with my book.

March 16 Quarter finalists announced on The 2,000 submissions are cut to 500 based on an excerpt from the beginning of the book.

April 15 Semifinalists announced and Publishers Weekly reviews posted. The 500 semifinalists books are read by a panel of judges and given reviews.

May 15 - May 21 Three Finalists chosen by Penguin; customers vote for the Grand Prize Winner. Anyone with an account can get online, download excerpts from the top three and vote on the winner.

May 22 Grand Prize is announced on

So, as you can see, it'll be at least a few weeks before I hear anything. I've been rushing for 20 days to get things ready, and then I'll have to sit and wait. I'll keep you posted and let you know anything as soon as I do. Because I know you're all dying to hear about my contest results. But you'll all have to have patience; it'll be a while.

It's ok though. While I wait, I'll probably read a book...or five. Pin It