Monday, June 27, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award and Seven Facts about Kai Murphy

Yay! It's Blog Awards time again, and this time, I have received the Versatile Blogger Award from Jenn Lacourse of Life's Whirlwind Adventures.   Jenn and I are both members of GoodReads--a FANTASTIC website if you haven't found it yet--and Jenn is definitely the definition of versatile, splitting time between raising her children, planning her upcoming wedding in Tahoe, and helping kids find their voice as an English teacher. Thanks, Jenn, I really appreciate it!

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Pass the award on to five newfound blogging buddies.
3. Share seven random facts about yourself.
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

Drum roll, please! Here are the five bloggers (in no particular order) I have selected to receive MY Versatile Blogger Award:

1.  Sarah Ahlers (Falen) ... Holy smokes, she is so, so, so close to getting representation for her novel that I'm truly biting my fingernails in anticipation. She also has a pretty sweet pic of herself in a steampunk hat on her blog; really makes me want one.
2.  Deana Barnhart ... Does it all... Writes, reads, raises kids and has one of the most helpful blogs out there, with agent interviews, blogfests and tons of goodies for aspiring writers and established authors. A very classy lady for sure!
3.  Kelvin O'Ralph ... Has started a great networking group on GoodReads and works tirelessly to help all us wanna-be writers connect and socialize. He's also writing and promoting his two first books, LS: The Beginning, and LS: Deception.
4.  Kate ... Sums up her versatility perfectly in the "About Me" section of her blog: "My life is full, overflowing. I'm a painter, a writer, a mother, a procrastinator and a daydreamer. Maybe there isn't time to fit it all into one life, but I'll keep trying." A great blog to check out for sure!
5.  Deb Salisbury ... Writes fantasy and is amazing at world-building. She has invented this incredible world Menajr, and she knows everything about it, from the height of its ocean swells to its myriad of inhabitants and religions and trade items. Definitely an inspirational must-read for those of you world-builders out there!

On to my seven random facts. And instead of telling you seven random facts about me, I think I will steal a cue from Anita Howard and tell you seven random facts about the main character in my young adult novel, The Mermaid Gene. Kai Murphy, my protagonist, is WAY more compelling than I was at age seventeen.

1. Kai's father founded the Tampa Bay Dolphin Research Team in Florida, so Kai grew up studying population dynamics, committing dorsal fins to memory, gutting fish and performing catch-and-release medical exams on hundreds of bottlenose dolphins.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
2. Although Kai is a proficient researcher-in-training, she also suffers from mild obsessive compulsive disorder. Her silverware must always be arranged in tidy right angles, she can't stand odd numbers and she always silently counts her steps in her head.

Photo Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
3. Kai's talent and reserved personality make her the brunt of many jokes. Her nickname "Kid Wonder"also reflects the opinion that many of her jealous co-workers believe she's nothing more than a coattail rider.

Photo Courtesy of jurvetson
4. Kai closely resembles her Hawaiian mother, but she inherited sea green eyes from her Irish father. She also inherited his analytical nature and sense of determination--which inspire her to seek a fresh start by leaving her home in Florida and joining a beluga whale research team in Alaska. Cook Inlet's belugas teeter at the verge of extinction, and it is now Kai's responsibility to cruise the icy waters in a Zodiac, counting whales for a database.

Photo Courtesy of claumoho
5. Although Anchorage is teeming with water spirit myths, a mermaid is the last thing Kai expects to glimpse in Cook Inlet's murky waters. When the late-night sighting of a silvery, speckled tail threatens her convictions, she teams up with her roommate Sophie Kensington and flirtatious twin deckhands, Noah and Aidan Fischer, to investigate.

Photo Courtesy of Mike Baird
6. Kai doesn't have the stomach for scary movies.  Her fragility is tested when she accidentally stumbles upon a group of shadowy poachers and a warehouse closet crammed with hunting rifles.  Realizing mermaids aren't Cook Inlet's only mysteries, she begins carrying around a can of grizzly-tough pepper spray, just in case.

Photo Courtesy of jkbrooks85
7. As Kai searches for answers and begins falling for Noah, she realizes even he isn't above suspicion.  The thoughtful and protective deckhand seems a perfect match for her, but sometimes, appearances can be deceiving.  The fate of her team--and the inlet's struggling beluga whales--just may rest in her hands.

Photo Courtesy of Green Fire Productions
There you have it! I hope you've enjoyed meeting Kai Murphy, and please keep your fingers crossed for both of us as we search for representation. (Silly me, and I thought writing the book would be the hard part! ;) )

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

100+ Followers & Marathon Revisions Complete!

Oh my goodness, I have been having Blogger withdrawals this month! So much has been happening in my professional, personal and literary life that I haven't even had a spare moment to write anything down or catch anyone up--let alone enjoy a day off or sleep late. (Especially incredible when you consider--when left to my own devices--I can easily sleep thirteen hours in a stretch. The doctors are kinda baffled by me, so much so, in fact, that they recommended a sleep study for me last year to see if I had a sleeping disorder. The verdict: Nope, she's just kind of like a three-toed sloth.)

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
First and foremost, it occurs to me that I have hit a milestone: the 100 Follower Mark! Holy smokes, I am SOO thankful to all of you who have graced me with your presence... When I first started this blog this spring, I was amazed and humbled to hit the 10 follower mark. I nearly fell out of my chair when I hit 50 followers, so 100 followers is almost beyond my comprehension. You guys are AMAZING!!

In more exciting news, I have also begun working Sundays at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Longmont, CO, in addition to working Mondays-Fridays at my nature center in Denver. I have definitely bitten off way more than I can chew--considering I'm already commuting an hour to and from my nature center every day--but I'm so happy to finally be working at an animal hospital again. My patients so far: screaming baby birds and squirmy baby raccoons, and I couldn't be happier.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In writerly news, I have officially joined the Lighthouse Writers Workshop group in Denver, and I have attended a couple of events so far--lectures and agent panels and whatnot. I have also been lucky enough to get to spend time with Beth Christopher ("slushdiver," for those of you Query Trackers out there), who is also from the Denver area and is in the midst of submitting a bomb YA to many of the same agents I've been submitting my manuscript to. She is FANTASTIC if you haven't gotten to know her yet, and she's so, so, so damn close to landing a dream agent that you can't help but be excited when you are around her!

Logo Courtesy of CBS Denver
In my own agent news, I recently received some amazing feedback from one of my dream agents (but nothing from my four-month marker yet!). Her thoughts led to a revise/resubmit request, and I have been slaving away for the past two weeks on my resubmission--which I officially finished last night and am hoping to send off this afternoon. (!!)

Here is the guist of what she said: "The book is very well written. The characters came to life for me: Kai, Sophie and the Fischer twins. I loved the relationship between Kai and Noah--it felt very real and I found myself caring a lot about them and wanting them to get together. I also loved the Alaska setting, there was some very vivid writing here and I got a taste of the beauty of Alaska."

She gave me some pointers on some pacing issues with one of my subplots, and every single thing she said totally resonated with me, so I was overjoyed when she invited me to resubmit after redrafting a few things. So, so, so excited and nervous at the same time that I can hardly stand it.

WHEW! So that's what I've been up to, and I can't wait to spend some time exploring cyberspace and seeing what you guys have been up to. I've missed you! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Four-Month Mark

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Well, it's official. My first full manuscript request has been under review for four months today. My other three full requests have all passed the one month mark, and I am absolutely freaking out in anticipation.

Four months! I have felt every single moment pass, and most have crept by with a nauseating, slow tightness and a sense of unbalance--one that settled in my stomach in early February and hasn't budged since.

I am NOT a patient person, I HATE surprises and I DON'T take unrealistic risks. I still can't believe I embarked on this journey, and I simultaneously want to pat myself on the back and punch myself in the face for this. (I have also obsessively convinced myself that my submission to this first agent must have gotten lost in cyberspace. She's a lightning fast responder, and four months seems like twelve lifetimes for her.)

My question is this... For those of you currently in the midst of this process--or those of you who have already graduated to the next stage of submissions (i.e., the dreaded publisher hunt)--how in the world do you stay sane??

Everyone says I should distract myself, go on vacation or start my next project. And although I've piddled down about 25 pages of my next project, I'm so amped up and unbalanced that my creativity has dried up like Colorado soil after a rainstorm.

A perfect case in point. "Colorado soil after a rainstorm?" Really?? That's the best simile I can come up with? ... Did I just end a sentence with a preposition? Did I even spell "preposition" correctly? ... Am I actually too lazy to check? Yep, looks like I am...