Archive for May, 2010

For Bikers Who Golf!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Yes, I’m still on a tech break. It would be pretty pathetic if I stopped blogging for only two days, no? One might think I’m addicted. While I’m breaking, I thought I might as well commandeer the blog for some free advertising for my husband’s new business (he’s the one without the beard-goatee thingie). For more information, pop by www.ironhorsecaddybag.com or visit on Facebook. Happy viewing!

Tech Break!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

You do the math.

I need a blogging break. Nix that. I need an Internet break. I’m beginning with the blog, then weaning myself off Facebook and Twitter. I might even give up obsessively checking email twelve times a day. So if you pop on over here in another few days to see what’s up and discover you can’t even leave a comment, have no despair, I will begin blogging again in June. Closing comments will help me stop logging in to check on spam.

You’ll notice you can still leave a comment today. I’ll close comments tomorrow or Friday.

Tech break! Wish me luck!

The Top Ten Writing Tips I Learned From My Students

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

By Gabi Stevens

Thanks so much for having me at Muse Interrupted. I’m excited to be here to “talk” to all of you.

In the day job, I’m a teacher. Eighth graders. They’re a fun group: too young to be mature, too old to be childish.  They are challenging, contrary, frustrating and inspiring. So here are…

The Top Ten Writing Tips I’ve Learned from My Students:

1.  Dream big—Did you know I have a classroom full of future multi-billionaires? Seriously. Or if they won’t be as rich as that, at least they will be actors, singers, or professional sports figures. OK, reality check. But they aren’t so wrong. If you’re going to dream, dream big. Like placing on the NYT list, or winning the Rita. Or even bigger like being on the ship that will colonize a distant planet or having the ability to breathe underwater. You never know when a big dream can lead to a plot.

2.  Have fun—Life is too short. There is much to learn and sometimes school, uh-hem, responsibilities can weigh you down. So seek fun. And if you still have responsibilities to shoulder, find the fun in everything. Somehow. Attitude will take you far.

3.  Procrastination is a bad idea—I usually give my students their essay assignments weeks (WEEKS!) in advance. I pretty much can tell you that most of them wait until the night before to write their papers. I have daily, weekly, monthly reminders of how bad procrastinating is. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I actually don’t procrastinate; I’ve just learned it’s a bad idea.  

4.  Creativity doesn’t come from a book—I’m not a big fan of how-to books; I know they can be useful, but really, if you want to learn how to write, read and write. There are some lovely books on creativity: On Writing, Bird by Bird, The Writer’s Journey among many others, but I honestly believe creativity has to come from you. It can’t and shouldn’t be regulated, or dictated, or made homogeneous.

5.  Reading makes you smarter—I can always pick out my readers, those kids who read voraciously. They have better vocabularies, grasp ideas easier, think more logically, and form their own ideas faster. Reading teaches you facts, ideas, words, and grammar.

6.  A little misbehaving is good for the soul—I’ll be the first to admit it: the biggest weakness I have as a teacher is discipline. But I also don’t see the point in dinging the kids for every little thing. Now, I don’t let them go totally nuts, but let’s just say I’m lax. And sometimes raising just a little hell keeps the peace better than policing the rules would. But I also admit that I’m lucky because I teach very small classes. This year my biggest class has eight students.  So go ahead and break some of those grammar rules.

7.  Consequences matter—This is great help in plotting. Your hero or heroine might do a noble deed, but there will be consequences to their actions. This concept led to the twist at the end of my current release, THE WISH LIST, and turned the story into a series rather than a single title.

8.  Vacation is a good thing—While I truly love my students, it’s nice to get away from them. Sometimes it’s good to get away from writing as well. I know there are authors who never take a break, who write without taking a holiday, but I can’t be one of those writers. Some of the best advice I got once when I was having trouble with a book was “Don’t write. Wallow in not writing.” I cam back when I was ready and the troubles went away. If you’re on deadline, a break isn’t always possible, but reconnecting with yourself, your family and friends (who aren’t writers) can rejuvenate you.

9.  A laugh is always welcome—Do I really need to explain this? Lightening the mood helps to relieve tension. Even in the darkest and heaviest of books, a touch of humor helps the reader breathe.

10.  Report cards suck unless they’re good—We want everyone to like our books. We worked so hard on them, but realistically there will be people who won’t enjoy our story, our style, or our voice (Or all three or any combination thereof). Something we as authors have to live with.

So have you ever learned something from a surprising source?

–Gabi

***

Leave a comment or question for Gabi to enter to win THE WISH LIST. If you’re reading this post through a feed on Facebook, Goodreads, or another social network, please visit the comment trail at www.museinterrupted.com to be eligible for the draw.

To read Gabi’s bio and the cover blurb for THE WISH LIST, see yesterday’s post. To learn more about Gabi and her books, visit her website at www.gabistevens.com.

Gabi Stevens Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Paranormal romance author Gabi Stevens visits the blog tomorrow. Gabi’s blogging about The Top Ten Writing Tips I Learned From My Students, and is giving away a copy of THE WISH LIST (May, 2010, Tor Books), the first book in her new trilogy.

About THE WISH LIST:

Kristin Montgomery is more than a little shocked when her aunts inform her they’re fairy godmothers. Worse, after dropping that bombshell they hand her a wand and head off on a world cruise. Now Kristin’s uncomplicated life as a CPA in San Diego has disappeared like magic and she not only has to deal with her burgeoning magical powers, but also a reluctant—and distractingly sexy—magical arbiter.

Tennyson Ritter is a historian. A scholar by choice, he is yanked from his studies to act as arbiter for the newly chosen fairy godmother. He doesn’t want to waste his time with a woman who doesn’t know anything about magic or the magical world, but soon the beguiling Kristin draws him away from his books and into her life.

But before Kristin can hone her skills and pass the tests necessary to fully claim her powers, she and Tennyson must work together to defend the world—both magical and human—against those that would claim her powers for their own.

About Gabi:

Gabi Stevens was born in SoCal to Hungarian parents. After spending time in boarding school, college, and studying abroad, she’s still in the classroom trying to teach eighth graders the joys of literature. An award winning author, Gabi now writes in New Mexico where she lives with her robotics engineer husband, three daughters, and a neurotic dog. She loves to play games, has a wicked addiction to reading, avoids housework and cooking, and doesn’t travel nearly as much as she would like to.

Her latest book is THE WISH LIST, from Tor Books, May 2010. It is the first book in a three book trilogy. You can reach her at PO Box 20958, Albuquerque, NM 87154-0958 or through her web site at www.GabiStevens.com.

Magnolia Blossom

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Yes, I’m being a lazy blogger this week. Deal with it. I am.

From my mom’s garden. Happy springtime!

She’s Ready For Her Close-Up

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

And, really, why shouldn’t she be?

“Dear Human:

You are getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy. You want to walk to the dog treat cupboard. You want to pull out all the treats! You want to feed me now. Nownownownownow!!!”

Things I’m Not Good At

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
  1. Putting on fake eyelashes. I wound up with glue inside my eye, on my lids, on my hands. And a fake eyelash smeared across my eyelid. Could not reposition it properly, no matter what I tried. Had to scrub eye with about 1/2 cup of eye makeup remover and then just go for three coats of mascara instead.
  2. Applying fake fingernails. Every time I’ve tried buying fake fingernails for a costume, I can’t even get them to stick. But this time I went to an expert! The lady at the cosmetics counter. She assured me the fake nails I bought would stick, and did they ever. I had to get someone else to put them on. Then help me paint them. Then trim them. Then trim them again. Because I couldn’t pick up a darn thing. But at least they lasted the night, unlike the eyelashes, which didn’t make it to the party.
  3. Removing fake fingernails. I had to swirl my fingers for ten minutes each in this little jar with a scrubby thing inside. Then, over the next day, I had to continue peeling off the remnants. The real nails underneath were not pleased.
  4. I’ve realized I’m really not good at posing as a world-famous author. Instead, I seem to feel obligated to channel Count Dracula’s wife. In my defense, my character was named Gothika, famous for a series titled Legion of the Doomed or something, My Liege was dressed as a vampire bartender, and we were attending a Mardi Gras-themed murder mystery party. He rubbed off on me.

Things I’m Good At:

  1. Getting into (my version of the) character.
  2. Making a fool of myself.
  3. Yes, even with a crew of 17-22 year-olds. My dh and I were the oldest at the murder mystery party.
  4. Giving away the villain. The lawyer did it. Just happened to be Eldest Son.
  5. Having fun!