Saturday, June 25, 2011

Critique Time

Here is a wonderful contest I hope you can join!
This contest is only open to YA, Middle Grade, memoir, pop-culture non-fiction, and women’s commercial fiction.

So here's how the contest will work:
  1. Be sure your work fits into one of the following genres: YA, Middle Grade, memoir, pop-culture non-fiction, and women’s commercial fiction.
  2. Sign up on the link below.
  3. On June 25th, post your title, genre, word count and the first 250 words on your blog for critique.
  4. From June 25th through June 26th, hop around to the other contestant's blogs and critique their first 250 words.
  5. On June 27th, come back to Shelly Watters blog and post your final entry on my dedicated contest entry blog post. Be sure to include:
    1. Your email address
    2. Title, genre, wordcount
    3. Your polished first page (250 words) Don't stop in the middle of a sentence.
That's it!

Victoria will read all of the first pages and select one for a full request (which will include at least a partial critique). She will also request partial for the runners up that she selects!

Contest rules:
  1. You must be a follower of Shelly\s blog and/or Twitter
  2. You must spread the word, via twitter, fb, blog post, whatever.
  3. Your work must be complete.
  4. Your work must fall into one of the following genres: YA, Middle Grade, memoir, pop-culture non-fiction, and women’s commercial fiction.
  5. You do not have to participate in the critique portion of the contest, but why would you miss the opportunity to polish that baby until it shines before Victoria reads it?
Monster's Maze
25,000 words
by Halli Lilburn

 Mid Grade age 9-13

 “I’ve got super bombs and I’m going to pummel you!”  Shane dove onto the lawn firing a nerf gun and spitting out laser blast sound effects.
“Yah well I’ve got the shield of death and anything that hits me bounces back at you.”  Jared grabbed a nerf ball and threw it back.
They didn’t notice Constable Jason Buchard pull up to the yard on his bike.
“Your mom home yet?” he yelled to get the boys attention.
“Cool bike!” Jared said, “I brought my BMX so we can do stunts at the park.  Hey Shane! Wanna have a race down the hill?
“Yah!  That would be rad. No, she’s not home yet.  I hope you’re not gonna cook us supper again...” Shane said, dropping his gun and grabbing his bike.
“No! No, I just wanted to thank her and Petra and you... again.”  It was then that Shane noticed a package of wrapped flowers sticking out of Jason’s backpack.  “Can you tell her to call me?  When she gets home?”
“Hey, is this the guy who almost choked to death yesterday and your mom saved his life?  That would be so cool if your mom started dating a cop.  I thought she hated cops because of what happened to Brody.” Jared blabbed on as he buckled on his helmet. Leave it to Jared to bring up topics that shouldn’t be discussed.
“Yah, uh, See ya later, Jason.  I gotta go.”  He turned to hide his red face, shoved his helmet on and raced out of the yard.

So what do you think??

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I got this idea from Hannah Moskowitz to have an ARC tour.  In her words:
Wait, what's an arc tour? It's a way for a lot of you to read one arc! It's the chain letter of giveaways! I send out a copy, put you guys in order, and you guys send to each other. And before I send it out, I'll write lots of notes in it and tell you guys to write in it too, so by the time it gets back to me it'll be like a scrapbook from all of you, and that makes me really happy.

YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO ENTER IF: You are in the U.S. or Canada, you are a book blogger, and you promise to review this book. (NOTE: My definition of "book blogger" is pretty lenient. If you have a blog where you will review my book, you're in. Hell, you're probably in if all you'll do is review the thing on Goodreads and tweet about it. I'm easygoing.)

So my new book "New Shifters" is comming out in 2012 and I want to share it with all of you.  Leave me a comment with your name, email, location and promise to post a review for me on your blog or other social media.  I would appriciate if you could hold your post until the release date and I'll let you know when that is.
Here is the taste:
The education system is getting an overhaul and Lina is swept up by her new school.  Swept away is more like it.  Her life becomes a battle with authority, central spy networking, shifting between realities and winning the heart of her swim coach.  One thing this school might never teach her is when to give up. 
YA speculative distopian fiction at its best.

Looking forward to knowing your thoughts!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gardening time

Now that I have my garden to grow, I wonder if it is a distraciton form writing, or a well needed break.  I can't tell, because I love gardening so much I could weed for 14 hours straight, but I haven't touched my manuscript in three weeks.  I rationalize and say I am giving myself a "cooling" period, so I can have fresh eyes.  Gardening sure distracts me.  It frees my mind from all of the brooding over characters and plot lines.  Every writer should have a second passion.  Or a third or fourth.  I love scrapbooking and singing too.  BUT gardening has a time limit, especially in Canada where the growing season is only 2 months.  So I figure, to make up for lost time, I will dedicate 2 months in the winter to writing.  November, for NaNoWriMo, and January, because it isn't Christmas.  This satisfies my dilema.  SO, what are your "distractions"? and how do you justify them?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Conference and Donation

I am excited to be able to attend this weekend's Writer's Guild Conference in Alberta. I will get to chum with Judith Graves again.  And I will be donating books for the rebuilding of the Slave Lake Library.  For those of you who don't know, the town of Slave Lake was destroyed in a forest fire.  The library was only a year old.  So, I'm taking as many books as I can carry (probably more) to the conference.  They will be stored until the new library can be built.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why Don't I Like E-Books?

Reviewing books is a pretty fun past-time.  I've signed up for advanced reader copies through places like and because getting free books is great for me as an author and great for my job as a librarian. However, I've noticed a blatant trend in my reading habits.  If I get a hard cover or paperback I display it on my night stand, ogle over the cover image, and carry it around the house like a baby singing lullabies to it (seriously).  If I get an electronic version of any book, I download it into my outgoing critiques folder and promptly forget about it.  Occasionally I will skim through the e-book titles, get bored with the first page, and check my e-mail instead.  Seriously, the e-book could be the next Harry Potter, but if I have to sit in front of a screen I won't want to read it.  So my apologies to the people who are expecting reviews from me for e-books, but I can't get into them.  I will, eventually, drag myself to the computer and finish them because I promised I would, but it is so much EASIER to curl up with a REAL book and hug it until 4 in the morning and get it finished.
All the hype about e-books being the "wave of the future" might work for some people but not for me.  I'm not opposed to technology, but I've seen the evidence against it staring me in the face.  If e-books do take over the world someday I'll be the little old granny who still uses cursive and a rotary phone and says, "I'll never understand this electronic gadgetry. Back in my day we used to write with pens on paper that came from trees...." and my grandkids will say, "There goes Gran.  Off on another tangent." But I won't be alone will I?  Are there others out there like me?