Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's Up Wednesday: The Please Do Your Research Edition

Rant ahead… you’ve been warned. J

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J 


I finished reading THE YEAR OF FOG (Michelle Richmond) for my IRL book club. Premise: future step-mom looks away for less than a minute and future step-daughter is abducted. The writing was spectacular; the story, well-executed. But for a mother of two who’s a neurotic worry-wart? I had a tough time getting through the story. 

Currently I’m reading a book that is making me want to throw things.  

Okay, so normally the teacher in me tries to say very positive things about books, even if I’m not completely enthralled by them. If I don’t like them at all, I don’t say anything. That’s just how I roll. But this book I’m reading? The premise is pretty good, one a lot of people can relate to. I feel like it’s taking a while to get to the main crux of the story and there are some issues I have with buy-a-bility, but I am enjoying the story itself. The main character’s a teensy annoying, but I warmed up to her. And the writing, for the most part, is pretty good. So, what about this book makes nice girl Alison want to throw things?

People who know me know that I probably watch soccer as often as I brush my teeth—and I tend to be a good little patient and brush twice a day. So, when I came upon the part of the story where two of the big secondary characters play soccer, I was all kinds of excited. Until the soccer game happened. My soccer lingo was a little rattled when the main character improperly used the term goal box. My jaw dropped a little when the players came into the stands to chat with the fans at half-time (that is unheard of in my parts), but I talked myself into being okay with it because maybe that’s just how some folks do things and how they refer to things. But when the coach called a time out in the middle of the second half, I may have thrown the book. 

There are no. Time outs. In soccer.

I guess if you’ve never watched soccer, you might think that hey, they have time outs in football and basketball, so I’ll just write that in there because I need one of the players to stop what he’s doing and do something else instead. But um . . . no. As my husband always says, when you ASSUME something, you make an ASS out of U and ME.

That, my friends, is where research comes in. Why it’s so important that you get the facts right—even if it is something that might seem like a small thing—because if you don’t, you turn faithful readers like me off, to the point I might not even finish what might be a truly great read. And, on top of that, I will recommend your book to NO ONE.

I know. You’re probably thinking BIG DEAL. Get over it, Alison. But, to me, it is. I love soccer. I love sports. And this is why I’m neurotic about getting research right. Why I do so much needling on the minor details. Why I talk to people about things I’m not sure about. Why I get hoards of reliable readers who will tell me when something’s not quite right.  

I’m still bothered by this. And I think what bothers and angers me more is not only did the time out thing escape the author’s notice, it escaped her readers' notice, her agent’s notice, and the notice of her editors at a major publishing house.

Okay, rant over. But seriously folks, for the sports lovers (and animal lovers and music lovers and whatever lovers) out there, please, please, please do your research. Also, sorry, but I’m not going to reveal the name of Frustrating Read here. I’m not normally a book basher so I’m uncomfortable divulging this much. BUT if you really want to know, feel free to DM me. 
WHAT I’M WRITING: I’m this close to finishing this particular round of revisions. Don’t get too excited. I’m not. My revision list is six pages long and I have, like, a hundred some comments in the doc. BUT I am excited to work on that list. Hoping, hoping, to have the next round finished by the end of February. Then a polishing round before I send it off to CPs. *fingers crossed*

WHAT WORKS FOR ME: I revised a chapter last week that reminds me so much of this scene from The Breakfast Club.  

For those of you who know me, you know this movie is my favorite movie EVER. And the scene I wrote is definitely not John Hughes worthy, but it has the reveals, the feels, and well, the fifteen year old gave it her stamp of approval so… the scene’s a keeper. And my favorite. And the one that makes all the frustrating times with revisions WORTH IT.

So, when I get a little frustrated with what I’m working on and want to throw my WiP against the wall (I know…violence #smh), I reread scenes like this one. Do you have a scene that keeps you going?


My life’s not super exciting. But I am going to see Wicked this weekend. And I have a retreat with some writer friends coming up that I’m super excited about so… 

What’s up on YOUR Wednesday?! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J


I finished this amazing little something titled LET’S GET LOST (Adi Alsaid). Awesomely and uniquely cool road trip book and a great way to start my year off in the reading department. HIGHLY recommend. Currently reading THE YEAR OF FOG (Michelle Richmond): writing, awesome; topic, unsettling. I’m having a tough time, physically and mentally, getting through it.

WHAT I’M WRITING: Revising the Mean Boys story. Some days are easy; some not. I’m still completely in love with the characters and their story so...

WHAT WORKS FOR ME: At the moment, daily accountability. I report in to a few friends on a daily basis and I don’t want to disappoint them (or myself). So far, it’s helped me make great strides this month on the WiP. *crosses fingers* it continues. J 

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO: Aside from reading, writing, and watching everything football and soccer? Nada mucho. The Millers have been enjoying a nice hiatus from the crazy that is typically our lives. 

What’s up on YOUR Wednesday?!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bring on 2015!

With the many twists and turns life threw at my family and me, 2014 was definitely a roller coaster ride. My husband and his boys soccer team made it to their tenth consecutive regional final. My daughter got her permit. My son hit double digits. I started querying again. The World Cup happened. Which resulted in lots of soccer watching and time with friends. We invested (not by choice) in a new washer, dryer, and lawnmower. We got to visit with a lot of family, spending QT in the Delmarva and Florida. I revised one story and drafted another. And yanked out the gear shift in my truck. Lots of ups and downs. Some not so good times, but also lots of amazing times. I’ll take it. J
And now it’s 2015—which is kind of a big milestone year for me: my daughter turns 16, I turn 45, and my husband and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. I’m not a big one for setting New Year’s resolutions, but, before Christmas, I did post a few goals for 2015 as part of the YA Buccaneers 12 Days of Books challenge so I thought I’d share them here too. Ya know—give me something to focus on before I hit the big 45 (ugh). And so here they are—things I’d like to accomplish this year (in no particular order)… 


1) Finish revising the current WiP

2) Take a kid-free vacation with the husband

3) Organize pictures from forever ago

4) Try to be more selfless. And kinder than necessary.

5) Watch a live Eagles game—so if they’re losing, I can’t throw things at my television

6) Exercise 30-45 minutes a day, at least five days a week

7) Write a brand new story

8) Get a new tat

9) Spend more QT with the fam

10) Take a few risks (broad, much? J); do or learn to do something I’ve never done before

11) Read at least five books a month

12) Live more in the moment

13) Try to be more patient—with publishing, with others, with myself 

And with that last one, I’ve chosen


as my focus word for 2015

and because I’m completely shameless, some accompanying quotes
and, of course...

Considering I’m the least patient person I know, THIS will be a challenge. J Hopefully, I can report lots of success with my focus word and goals at the end of this year!

How about you? What are your goals for 2015? Any milestones? And do you have a word you’d like to make your year’s focus?