The Finish Line, Baby!!

Chill-axing Song of the Day: “The End” by Kings of Leon

So, Quita and I have done the unthinkable. As you may recall, a few weeks ago we announced we were going to participate in NaNoWriMo. You see, we attempted and failed miserably last year. But after some coaxing from our writing sis, Racquel Henry, we decided to take a stab at it again.

And we didn’t just stab that sucker–we filleted it!

Okay, that was a rather lame analogy, but not only did we meet the 50,000 requirement LAST Monday, but we also surpassed it! We both finished our first drafts last Wednesday and felt like doing this:

And this weekend, as promised, we will indulging ourselves with this:

Yeah boy!

So, I know that NaNo has been getting some flack by a few people. You know, if you were a real writer, you wouldn’t need NaNo to get your butt in the chair and yadda yadda yadda.

Well, I’m sorry, as much as I heart writing, sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes I put everything and everyone first so much that my writing ends up taking backseat. It felt good making writing a priority–no matter how much I wanted to cry and pull out my hair this past month. Plus, after spending the past year writing and revising Wants, I had a great time just writing something for fun. Maybe I’ll polish it up and let a few other eyes read it, but just finishing it is also reward enough.

Oh, and did I mention that both Quita and I know that writing everyday isn’t necessarily impossible? As much as we whined about it, we always ended up writing more than our daily quotas. This is a habit that I know I can continue EVERY month (though maybe not as strenuously).

So, our lovely followers, how do you celebrate when you finish a first draft? How long do you wait until you start revising it?

Psst–by the way, we FINALLY came up with titles. My Lost Boys meets changelings manuscript is called The Switching Kind, and Quita’s coming-of-age genie project is called The Yearning. For now at least. 🙂

If You’re Thankful and You Know It…

Writing Song of the Day: “Thank You” by Alanis Morissette

Okay, we’re pretty sure you’re all doing the same thing we’re doing right now–stuffing your face with turkey and listening to the same story of that one cute thing you did when you were a kid (if you’re like me, you’ve heard this story about a ZILLION times). However, I don’t want us to lose sight of the purpose of Thanksgiving. That’s right, break the word down and it basically means “to give thanks.”

So, without further ado, we would like to share our lists of things that we’ve been very thankful for over the years:

Pam’s List:

1. Family: Well duh. They’re the only ones that will tolerate my epic mood swings.

2. Leo DiCaprio: From Romeo to Jack Dawson to Dom Cobb, my heart will always go on for this man. Yes, I had to go there.

3. Crumbs Cupcakes: Umm, because they’re CRUMBS CUPCAKES!!

4. Risk-Taking Authors: Ellen Hopkins, Elizabeth Scott, Courtney Summers–you are why I write. And you make reading worthwhile again.

5. The Writing Community: I have met so many wonderful writers through blogs, Twitter, forums, and beyond. No matter if we’re published or still struggling toward that goal, we’re all amazing cheerleaders for each other. Nothing makes me happier than reading that someone has gotten an agent or a terrific book deal–well, besides those things happening to me, but that’s besides the point… 🙂

Quita’s List:


1.) The Health of my Family: Both my sister and cuz (yes, Pam) got in car accidents this month. I’m thankful that they both came out pretty much unscathed. WHEW! Also, after losing one parent two years ago, I’m glad that the rest of my immediate family is still here for me.

2.) Good Music: I don’t know what I would do without it. Any chance I get, I’m rocking to my music- while writing, while grading papers, and while eating lunch at my desk all by my lonesome 😦

3.) Food: Because me loves to eat- hence the fluctuating waistline. And I truly don’t discriminate- cupcakes? YES! Pizza? YES! General Tso Chicken? YESSS!

4.) YA Books: I’m soooo thankful my cuz turned me on to YA books. They are some of the best I have read in my entire life.

5.) Colored Pens and Post-Its: Because I would be LOST without them.

6.) The parents of the following men for creating such GORGEOUS offspring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ashton Kutcher, Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Pattinson

7.) Ditto to Pam’s # 5: we heart the writing community :)))

Obviously, we have TONS more that we’re grateful for, but we figure you’re all in turkey-induced comas by now. Tell us, what are some things you’re grateful for??

RTW: November’s Best Book!

Reading Song of the Day: “Secret Crowds” by Angels and Airwaves

Our girls over at YA Highway want to know about the best book that we’ve read this month.

With us toiling away with NaNoWriMo this month (and it’s our goal to actually be DONE by today), we didn’t have time to get in much reading. Poor Quita didn’t get to finish anything, and I only managed to read one book.

But this book? Oh yeah, it was a good one.

This came to me in the mailbox completely by surprise–it has Lauren Strasnik’s autograph and everything! I’m sure I entered a contest for it because I’ve been hearing RAVES about it through the Interwebs, but it still caught me completely off guard.

My goal was to read Catcher in the Rye this month for school, but as soon as I opened this book, I couldn’t put it down. I’m sure if I had enough time, I could have read it in one sitting. But with two jobs, NaNo, and MFA classes, I was on a tight schedule. I did manage to squeeze in a few pages each morning before work–and I almost made myself late a few times because I didn’t want to put it down (sorry students!).

The plot? A young girl has to move to a new town after her parents’ separation. At her new school, she meets a rather peculiar set of twins. She starts to develop feelings for the guy twin, and the girl twin? Well, let’s just say she’s not too thrilled about that. And I don’t want to give away anything else so do yourself a favor and read it!

Why did I heart it? The writing was just so sparse and direct, yet I still got a vivid image of everything that was occurring. Also, the pages just dripped with voice and the author does a FANTASTIC job with “teen speak.”

Okay, I think I’ve drooled enough. Did you have a favorite book you’ve read this month?

We Can’t Help But Wait!!!

Reading Song of the Day: “Can’t Help But Wait” by Trey Songz (check it out on the Rock With Us tab)
Don’t you love that Christmas morning feeling? You know the one where you’re all excited about what’s in the stocking or under your tree? Maybe you’re too old for that now (like we are) but hearing about new YA books coming to stores near us gives us that Christmas morning feeling all over again. Since it’s Monday and we kinda want to feel excited about something, we decided to share the upcoming YA books that we are most looking forward to.
What’s that you say? This blog isn’t big enough to put ALL of the books we can’t wait to read? You’re right…so we’ll narrow it down to just a few.
Books we BOTH want to read!!

Matched by Ally Condie (will be published November 30th, 2010) Goodreads summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Click here for more info!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (will be published February 2nd, 2011)

Goodreads summary: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Click here for more info!

Divirgent by Veronica Roth (will be published May 3rd, 2011)
Goodreads Summary:
One choice
One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever. Or, one choice can transform you.
Click here for more info!

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard (will be published May 5th, 2011)

Goodreads Summary: “I want to be beautiful like you, I thought, as if Mandarin were listening. I want apricot skin and Pocahontas hair and eyes the color of tea. I want to be confident and detached and effortlessly sensual, and if promiscuity is part of the package, I will gladly follow your lead. All I know is I’m so tired of being inside my body. Click here for more info!
There is one more book Pam is looking forward to (will be published December 21st, 2010) and that is…
Fall forAnything by Courtney Summers

Goodreads Summary: When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? Click here to read more about this book.

There is one book Quita is looking forward to (will be published February 15th, 2010) and that is…

Desires of the Dead (The Bodyfinder # 2) by Kimberly Derting

Goodreads Summary: The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found. When Violet Ambrose’s morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. Click here for more info!

Don’t even try & lie…you know these books look good!!!

Please, do share…what books (not yet published) are you looking forward to reading?

Contest…Fail!

Reading Song of the Day: “Shake” by Jesse McCartney” (check it out on our Rock With Us tab)


Once upon a time two girls tried to run a contest for their NaNoWriMo novels. Now, these girls are writers…but they suck royally at picking out titles. They sent out a notice for their writing buddies to lend a hand. While some of them tried and came up with some really GREAT titles (thanks ladies!) none of them seemed to be the right fit for the two girls and their nameless WIPs.

Which makes them feel like this:

Okay, cutting to the chase. Even though we extended the contest in hopes of more entries…we received four submissions to our contest. Four really unique, interesting, and talented novel titles that are just not right for us. However, we didn’t want Alex Mullarky, KO, Abby Stevens, and Holly Dodson to go away empty handed (you RAWK so much ladies!!!). Therefore, we are offering a $5.00 Borders gift card to each of you.
Please e-mail me at: marquitahockaday@gmail.com with your name, home address and your e-mail address. I will try and send the gift cards electronicaly and if that doesn’ t work I will use your mailing addresses to send the gift card to your home.

Thanks again for entering ladies and we hope the gift card helps you buy a book you’ve been looking forward to reading!

***BTW- this means we still have TWO novels to give away at some point in the future…stay tuned!***

Dine and Dash!

Writing Song of the Day: “Confessions, Part II” by Usher

Don’t forget about our NaNo Titling Contest! It ends tonight at midnight, EST, and we need your creative muscles! 🙂

It’s time to get on the road again with our ladies at YA Highway for their weekly Road Trip Wednesday question. To celebrate Kirsten Hubbard’s debut novel, Like Mandarin (which Quita and I can’t WAIT for!), they want us to: Explain a time you did something crazy.
Okay, time to step in our confessional booths.

When we were much, much younger (we were young and dumb, okay?), we were convinced by Quita’s older sister–the master manipulator that she is (though we do heart her)–to do the unthinkable. It was summer vacation. She was hungry; we were hungry. And we were broke with a capital “I ain’t got two quarters to rub together.” So Quita’s sister asked that we go to Pizza Hut, get a “To Go” box…

And run out without paying.
Yes, our lovely readers–Quita and I were forced at gunpoint (okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic) to dine and dash.

We were scared out of our minds. We paced the Pizza Hut for a good hour before going in–but we were more scared to go back home and face her sister empty-handed. She was the oldest–a full-fledged high schooler. And as Courtney Summers shared with us so eloquently, a teenaged girl can be the creepiest thing aside from a zombie attack.

So we caved in, ate our pizza, asked for a box to bring to Her Highness (seriously, she was like royalty to us), and then darted out of the restaurant at top speed.

Unfortunately, a worker decided to get his cardio that day and chased us. Everything was a blur, but I do remember Quita shouting: “Don’t look back, Pam! Run like the wind!”

Well, my “wind” was more like a gentle summer breeze because we were caught in no time. Just as the worker was about to call our parents (even though we begged him to just call the cops instead), our own personal guardian angel stepped in and paid for the pizza for us.

We don’t know your name, sir–but we love you.

It’s been over 15 years, and we just shared this story with our moms earlier this year. Even though they laughed it off (which I’m sure they wouldn’t have done if they were actually called), Quita and I still can’t go into a Pizza Hut without feeling a little queasy.

There you have it. We’re so ashamed!! We’re both extraordinary tippers now because of this incident. So spill it–what’s the craziest thing you’ve all done?

Squeezing in Time!

Writing Song of the Day: “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson (check it out on the Rock With Us tab)

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo (which Pam and I are KILLING right now–both of our word count stands at a little over 31K) we wanted to share some tips from the most recent Writer magazine. You know how you always have so much stuff to do? Like, I don’t know… live a life and work a 9-5.

So when do you make time to write?


It’s one of the age old questions that you see on a lot of writing blogs, we hope to offer something that you will make you go, “Aha! That’s the advice I’ve been looking for!” From the article written by Cheryl Bolen (author of 9 historical novels) here are few tips on how to make time to write:

Write every day: Easier said than done…I know. But since we started doing NaNo we realized that it’s not that hard to write a few words each day. If you can’t get to a laptop, then carry around a journal or a small pad and jot down your thoughts.

Set daily and weekly goals: Write down a word count goal or even a page count goal for each day or each week. This way you give yourself something to work toward.

Decide how badly you want it, and lose the time wasters: If you WANT to write or if your goal is to be a writer then you NEED to set aside the time to successfuly do so.

Declutter your life: Eliminate things that compete with your writing (this inclues watching TV- CURSES!!)

Use writing time wisely: Don’t use writing time as editing or revision time. If you are the type of writer that needs/uses outlines– try to finish the entire outline before writing the novel. Even if it changes as you go, at least you have a blueprint.

And finally, if you are writing any kind of research heavy project- don’t waste writing time on the research: Just go with the flow and research when it’s time for revisions.

Now you have our two cents on the topic. Besides what’s mentioned here– what else do you do to make time for writing?

**BTW- don’t forget about our NaNo titling contest. You have until Wednesday at midnight to enter!**