Writers: Totally a Labor Organization

Writing Song of the Day: “Holiday” by Madonna

So, it’s Labor Day. What does that mean for you?

A pool party?

A cook out??

A day of relaxation???

What about what the holiday was created for originally? The United States government made Labor Day a national holiday in recognition of various labor organizations. It’s supposed to be a day for those labor groups to be revered and loved on. But what have we, Americans, turned the day into? A day to either lay around and do nothing, or a day to mourn the end of summer and the beginning of dun, dun, dun…the school year!
But what does labor day mean to us writers??? Well, if you are like me and Pam and you don’t have children, it’s our last full day to possibly get some writing done. If you do have school aged children it’s the last day (besides the weekends) that you have to entertain your kids instead of sending them off to school. Either way, we are a labor organization, aren’t we? And just like those groups that Labor Day was originally created for, we deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

So, in the spirit of Labor Day, here is what we think belongs at a celebration of what we have deemed the Labor Organization of Writers:
*Party Favor Pack: Consisting of pens, a Moleskin, a flash drive, and Post-It notes.

*Snacks: Of the sweet, chocolatey, and oh-so-bad-for-you variety

*Pictures of sexy celebs: We all need to look at our muses–whether it be Leo DiCaprio or Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

*Balloons: Because what’s a celebration without balloons?

*Music: Moody, deep, and probably instrumental.

*Inspirational Items: Quotes, pics of their kids, or books from authors that we all aspire to be like.
What would you all add to our celebration??? Have a happy Labor Day!


Friday Fives: Distractions

Procrastinating Song of the Day: “Distraction” by Angels and Airwaves

Good Friday, peeps! We hope you all have a great weekend & a great Memorial Day. With that being said, let’s get this weekend started right, shall we?

Via Paper Hangover (Pam’s group blog–check it out here) we’re getting our Friday Five on!

This week they wanna know:

What are FIVE of your most distracting (procrastination-worthy) things (habits, websites, etc.) on the internet?

As we’ve admitted numerous times on this blog, we have diagnosed ourselves with adult ADHD, therefore this list could be A LOT longer than five things. But for the sake of keeping things short we’ve narrowed our Internet distractions to the following five items:

1.) TWITTER–Omigod. We were actually not willing to get Twitter accounts at one point. Now, I don’t think we could live without it. A day that you don’t see us tweet something, anything (even just a re-tweet) , is a day that zombies have attacked our humble Virginia county.

2.) BLOGS- Right after we made our own blog (we used to have individual blogs at one point) we proceeded to find other writers and readers so that we could be on the up and up about any news, advice, or general support.

3.) Pam: As I mentioned in my post from Monday(here), Publisher’s Marketplace is part of my daily routine. It never hurts to see what’s getting purchased. This way I know where my own writing stands and I get more motivated to finish current WIPs.

4.) Quita: E-mail. LAWD, I check my e-mail once every ten seconds. Hoping that I’ll get that response from an agent that I’ve been waiting for since March/April.

5.) Celebrity Gossip Websites: It’s not always trashy stuff (Pam gave up Perez Hilton’s site at least a year ago), but we do like to keep up with the news on the Hollywooders that we stalk on a daily basis. You know, the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert Pattinson, Justine Timberlake, etc.

There, you know how we procrastinate when we should be writing that masterpiece that we’re dying to get out of our heads. What about you–how do you distract yourself on the Internet?

Dreamy Wishing

Fantasizing Song of they Day: “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry (check it out on the Rock With Us tab)

Oh hey, Wednesday…it’s you again.

Well, at least our home girls at YA Highway posed an AWESOME question for their elusive Road Trip Wednesday. What are these clever girls asking us today??? They simply want to know: What movie do you wish had been a book first? And if it were a book, who should have written it?

This took me and Pam all off oh… TEN SECONDS to come up with our choice. We definitely would have read Inception if it were a book first.

As a matter of fact, after we saw the movie we spent days, okay weeks…okay months, talking about how uber amazing this movie was and how we wished we had come up with this concept for a YA series (Inception is actually responsible for the birth of our collaboration project).

Why would Inception make a good book? Great plot line- check. Great characters- check. Twists and turns within the great plot line- check! An ending that keeps you guessing- CHECK!!!!

**Disclaimer– it’s just a coincidence that two of the guys we stalk starred in this film (Joseph Gordon Levitt and Leonardo DiCaprio *swoons*) they in no way influenced this choice**

As for the second part of the question, we also quickly decided Chuck Palahniuk would be the ULTIMATE writer for Inception as a novel. Don’t believe us? Have you read Fight Club, Choke, or Stranger Than Fiction? Okay then, read them and then try and tell us he wouldn’t kill the novel.

Now that we’ve successfully taken up at least ten minutes of your day…tell us, what movie do you wish was a book first??

Contest: We Need Titles!

Writing Song of the Day: “What’s My Name” by Rihanna ftg. Drake (check it out on our Rock With Us tab!)

Sooo, we kinda crept past 75 followers (woo hoo!). And I kinda mentioned on Twitter that we may have a contest once we reached this milestone. Well, since we’re having a contest, we figured we’d be a little selfish, too. 🙂

Quita and I have story ideas for days, but the one thing that we really suck at?


So we stole an idea from the lovely Lauren Oliver and are asking our wonderful followers for your help! We’ll give you our NaNoWriMo pitches below and you can leave title ideas in the comments. If we choose your title, you’ll win a $15 dollar Amazon Gift Card plus a novel! Which novel? Either…


That’s right…we’ll have TWO WINNERS! One winner for naming Pam’s story, and one winner for naming Quita’s story. Both will win a gift card and one of these lovely novels (whoever contacts us first will get first choice).

The rules? Please don’t list more than TWO titles for EACH pitch. Oh, and make sure you follow our blog. And that’s it. Of course, you can spread the word about our great contest, but that’s entirely up to you–we won’t love you any less. 😉 Winners will be announced next Thursday, November 11th (Leo’s b-day, by the way!). Without further ado, here are the pitches (plus click here for more in depth info):

Pam’s NanNoWriMo Story:
Since Tara can remember, her older sister has always been sickly. But now she’s wandering off, screaming right before people die, and squeamish around iron. She has to be a changeling, right? It’s Lost Boys with fairies!

Quita’s NaNoWriMo Story:

Avery always wished for a life better than being dragged from foster home to foster home. When a seemingly nice couple from North Carolina and the school’s hottest girl take an interest in Avery, he feels his wishes have been granted. Not if Lincoln has anything to do with it.

Now have at it! 🙂

Annnnd…Go! (NaNoWriMo Kick-off)

Writing Song of the Day: “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na…)” by My Chemical Romance– check it out under our “Rock With Us” tab.

Yes, Pam and I are delving into the scary world of NaNoWriMo this year- and we are most definitely going to finish this time. We’ve been reading blogs, looking into our local NaNo events, and we even set a reward for ourselves when we make it to 50,000 words by November 30th.

Feast your eyes on this…

Looks good, right? We know 🙂

Anyway, we wanted to do a kick-off blog post about NaNoWriMo for all other participants (and others who just enjoy stalking our lives) interested in our method for completion, and what we are working on.

First, let’s discuss our novel ideas. After visiting Nathan Bransford’s blog and reading up on all of his advice for NaNo, Pam and I did a lot of soul searching about what exactly we wanted to write. We both kind of pride ourselves on realistic fiction, so we decided to do the exact opposite of this and go head first into the world of-dun, dun, dun… SUPERNATURAL/PARANORMAL YA!!!

Pam’s WIP:

Tara has to say goodbye to her life in California when her family decides to move to the Pork Capitol of America, Newfield, Virginia. Her older sister, Michaela, has been terribly sick since she was a baby, and her parents have found a specialist who can treat her. But Michaela also feels as if she’s been to Newfield before…and many of the locals sure seem to recognize her. Tara’s used to her sister being a little “off,” but now she’s wandering off in the middle of the night, screaming before people die, and developing a strong fear of iron.

Tara shares these discoveries with her new friends, “twins” Malik and Justine, and they lead Tara to believe that Michaela could only be one thing…a changeling. Or the child of a fairy that was swapped with Tara’s real sister.

Which means Michaela isn’t human. Which means Tara’s “real” sister could still be out there. Which means Tara and the Twins have to get to the bottom of everything before some not-so-friendly locals put an end to Michaela, whatever the hell she is. This is me paying homage to Lost Boys…only with fairies.

Become her writing buddy at: pharris81

Quita’s WIP:

Avery Grey’s always wished that he could have a life other than the one he was granted. At 16 years old, awkwardly clever Avery is still constantly moving from foster home to foster home. Every family that’s taken him in just tends to give up. As soon as Avery has resigned to living the rest of his teen life in his urban group home for boys (including creepy follower Gustav) , an elderly couple from a small suburban North Carolina town set their sights on Avery.

Just like that, Avery’s wish comes true and when the seemingly normal couple takes Avery home, he embarks on his last chance. He wants to be on his best behavior…after all, he doesn’t have that much longer until he’s free to be on his own. At first, things almost seem too easy. Avery makes new friends that are much better behaved than his group home co-habitants. Amongst them is Tierra, the school’s most exotic beauty that every boy has tried to woo and Avery, out of everyone, has caught her attention. This makes Avery a few enemies, especially mean spirited Lincoln who loves playing with fire and has severe allergies to iron
and salt. Lincoln and his followers will go to great lengths to get rid of Avery before he gets too close to Tierra and finds out more than he should know.

Avery soon finds that some wishes are better left un-granted.

Become my writing buddy at: mhockaday

So, now that we have the ideas- when the hizell are we gonna find time to write? Not only are we full time educators, but Pam is starting to teach part-time classes online and I am taking graduate history courses online (did we mention that we are also working on our MFA?). It seems like we want to torture ourselves, but really we just want to finish another manuscript- and this is the perfect opportunity. Okay, enough blabbering- you want to know how we plan on being superwomen, don’tcha?

Here’s the plan:
  • Write 7-8 pages a day- at lunch time, while students take tests, while students complain about life, while teachers attempt to whine about students, while we are supposed to be listening to our moms on the phone…you get the point
  • Double up on the weekends if we missed our page count during the week
  • Complete blog posts for the week on Sunday
  • Get work for MFA done during the weekdays (sometimes at work, sorry children- after November you will have our undivided attention again)
  • Finish all MFA assignments on Friday
  • Cook meals that will last at least two nights
  • Take minimal bathroom breaks
  • Limit stalking time of Hollywood actors and random musicians (We luv you Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Pattinson but…Must. Finish. Novel!)
  • Limit TV time (not sure if this will ACTUALLY happen- but we shall see)
  • Finally, attempt to not check Twitter and e-mail every five minutes

***BTW- We LOVE our students and we love our jobs. We plan to be fully attentive to our day jobs and the kids. Just jokes!***

Got any other tips for us? What about you all–how are you going to complete your novel? And don’t forget to “buddy” us at NaNoWriMo-we luvs the buddies.

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

Workout Song of the Week: “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” by Michael Jackson

I’m interrupting my weekly Agent Wish List series to answer my six lies and a truth post last week (also known as, the post where I received my second blog award!). Never fear, however! I plan on giving you some juicy agent scoop tomorrow when I share news of my EPIC SKYPE session with Kathleen Ortiz and Suzie Townsend. These ladies are incredible, and I can’t wait to tell you all the tips they gave me (and you, my loyal followers, as I asked some of your questions).

Alas, you have to wait until tomorrow.

So, did you guess which one of my seven confessions were the truth? Here we go:

1. I once stepped on a snail, then cut my hand on porch swing while freaking out from killing said snail. FALSE. This horrendous moment did happen, but I was just a mere witness. The victim here? My fabulous cuz (sorry to share your business!).

2. I came in first place at a talent show for reenacting the whole choreography from N SYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.” FALSE. I did use to enter talent shows for dancing when I was in middle school, but I never performed “Bye, Bye, Bye.” I do, however, know all of the dance steps. Hmm, maybe I’ll post a video of me humiliating myself whenever I score a book deal. 🙂

3. Freddy Krueger scares me. Like seriously. FALSE. Not one bit. Freddy’s my favorite villain–the dude has swagger. But the villain that really freaks me out–Mike Myers. I just got a chill from typing his name!

4. I once saw a cat with its head turned all the way around. TRUTH. As strange as this sounds, I really did see a cat with its head turned all the way around to the sky. It fell from a dumpster truck, and when I went to go check on it, that was the monstrosity that I saw! It was walking around and everything! Needless to say, I have an intense fear of cats…to the point that I may not enter your house if you have one as a pet.

5. If I could marry any celeb, it would have to be Keanu Reeves. FALSE. He was one of my first official crushes, but the celeb I really want to put a ring on it is Leo DiCaprio. *sigh* A girl can dream, can’t she?

6. I fell down the stairs at a Kings of Leon concert. FALSE. Thank God! I did see KOL in concert (they’re one of my favorite bands EVAH), but I didn’t humiliate myself like that. That’ll be saved for my vlog dancing to N SYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

7. My favorite snack in the world would have to be my grandma’s banana pudding. FALSE. I’m not sure my grandma even makes banana pudding–it’s been so long since I’ve seen her cook/bake! My aunt is the banana pudding guru in my fam, but that still doesn’t top a batch of warm, chocolate chip cookies–which is my ultimate snack. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Blue Lipstick Samurai’s recipe. 🙂

So, there you have it. You probably know way too much about me than you wanted to. Don’t worry, I’ll post helpful info tomorrow with notes from my Skype session.

In the meanwhile, hmm, I’m only 5 away from 50 followers. I think I may have mentioned that I’ll hold another contest once I reach 50. I’m just saying…