The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Book 5: Shutter Island

I notoriously have several books going at once, but sometimes that is the mark of a so-so book. If I can read three other books while I'm also reading yours, maybe yours just isn't the best book I ever read. On the other hand, sometimes it means that I'm just not in the right mood for that particular book. Such seems to be the case with "The Gunslinger". My sister bought G and I the entire Dark Tower series, and I started to read the first book, but I just haven't really been in the mood. Maybe I just got my fill of King with "Under the Dome" and need a short break.

Either way, my official book 5 of the year turned out to be Dennis LeHane's "Shutter Island". Oh. My. God. What an amazing book! I really wanted to read it before I saw the movie because everyone keeps saying there are good twists. I wanted to experience the secrets of the story in the realm of words and my own imagination instead of on the theater screen, even though I'm sure Leo does a great job as Teddy Daniels.

So what is the book about? Without giving away any twists, I'll just tell you the basic premise. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, a war-torn widower who has never truly gotten over the death of his beautiful wife several years ago, is called out to investigate the escape of a violent inmate from Shutter Island's prison for the criminally insane. The patient, Rachel Solando, seems to have simply disappeared into thin air. It doesn't take long for Teddy and his partner, Chuck, to begin doubting the honesty of the people in charge at Ashecroft prison.

The book is both a mystery and horror. A psychological thriller that will leave you guessing until the end. The writing is exquisite. It drew me in straight from page one and had me hooked until the very last word. It even left chills on my skin with the last two pages. It's a short read (I just started the book Tuesday night and finished Wednesday afternoon), but oh so worth it.

Random Snow

Woke up this morning to a winter wonderland! Sure, they said there was a possibility of snow last night around 9PM, but when I got out of my writing group's meeting at 10, there was nothing but cold out. Everything was nasty and wet from the rain all day, but there was no sign of snow.

This morning, however, it's snowing these big, puffy white flakes and the ground is completely covered in snow! How unexpected! I wish we could both stay home and just enjoy it today, but G has to work, of course, and I have so much that needs to get done after almost a week of doing next to nothing, productivity-wise. It's definitely a day for working hard - it just begins with a pause to admire the beauty of a random snowy morning.

A Week Away

Sorry for the week-long absence. I have been going between busy and sick, feeling alternately depressed and ill. I promise to be back next week, strong again with daily posts.

Anticipation

Have you ever noticed that sometimes anticipation only leads to disappointment? There are just these moments in our lives that are impossible to recreate, you know? But when a similar opportunity comes around, we anticipate that it could be just as wonderful as the last time. That excitement and preparation, however, sometimes kills it or adds too much anxiety to make it joyful.

I have noticed this with vacations before, for example. I remember the very first time my family went to Panama City Beach. I was in fifth grade and Mom picked us all up early from school on a Friday so we could drive down to Florida. When we got there, I saw the most gorgeous white sand beaches I'd ever seen. The waves were perfect and I played in the tide for what seemed like hours before we retired to our hotel room or went out to dinner. That trip was pure magic. I remember a fun waterfall at the hotels' pool and finding great shells on the beach. I remember family fun and great dinners. It was fantastic. I have been to Panama City Beach at least 10 more times (probably more), but it has never been as amazing as that very first time. In fact, I have no desire to even go there at all any more. Recapturing that fun weekend of my childhood proved to be impossible, no matter how often I went back.

Which isn't to say it was never fun again. It was. I remember one church youth trip in particular that was awesome. I also remember my senior trip when my sister went with me to buy booze :P. That was great. It was just... different. The same thing is true of so many events and places in my life. Very rarely have I done something a second time, only to have MORE fun than I had the last time. Maybe part of the problem is that feeling of wanting it to be the same. The idea that it CAN be the same. Being so anxious to feel that same magic you felt last time that you completely forget to enjoy the moment. Self-sabotage, in a way.

As trivial as it sounds, I think this EQ2 expansion is similar. I've been looking forward to it for the new content, but even more than that, I've been desperately hoping we could make a lot of money in this expansion. When the Ruins of Kunark expansion first came out, I made a Killing off crafting. That was a couple of years ago, but man, it was sweet. The money just kept rolling in and every time I turned around, there was more to be made. I was hoping to replicate that this time around, but I'm realizing, after twenty-four hours, that it's virtually impossible. It's a different server, for one, with different needs. It's also a different economy - which believe it or not, does affect the game world too. I feel pressure to make money in order to justify my excitement.

I think that in this, as well as all times when I want so badly to recreate a feeling that is long passed, I need to just realize that having that same experience twice just isn't possible. I need to enjoy the new times for what they are - new. Different. Learning to let go of the past - whether you're talking about something as seemingly trivial as a video game or as important as a relationship or a life-changing event - so that you can truly enjoy the present and get the most out of today, is one of life's most difficult (but most important) lessons.

Everquest II: Sentinel's Fate Expansion Released Today


Is it crazy that I'm this excited about a game?

This is a question I've been asking myself for the past several years, really. I never saw myself as a gamer. Sure, we had the Nintendo when I was little, just like everyone else. And I definitely enjoyed playing it. But once I got a little bit older, then went off to college, there were so many other things I wanted to do with my time. I didn't have a PC in college, or a console, for that matter.

Several years later, however, I met my crazy ex-husband, who then introduced me to the world of gaming. Come to think of it, that may have been the only good thing about that entire relationship. One night when we were browsing through games at a closing CompuServe or some such store that had PC games but was going out of business (50% all games!), he picked up a copy of Everquest and said we should play. Indirectly, that moment changed my life - in ways I never could have imagined at the time.

Everquest - sometimes lovingly referred to in the gaming world as Ever-crack - became an addiction. I never really got that good at the first game, but I certainly had fun and enjoyed meeting people. After a year or two of playing, however, I was at a max level of something small like 40. I quit playing at the time, but by then I was a gamer for life. I moved on to console games and single player games on my PC, but I missed the MMORPG world (for those of you who don't know what that means - it stands for Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game).

When Everquest II came out in the fall of 2004, I knew I wanted to play. That was shortly after a house fire had me living in a hotel. True to form, of course, my ex-husband had a top notch laptop and played the game from release, while we couldn't afford for me to get a computer even though mine had been destroyed in the fire. But that's a dead issue at this point. The point is that when I got back on my feet and into my home a few months later, I bought a new computer and a copy of the then brand new EQ2. I fell in love with the game instantly. Little did I know the game would lead to the greatest love of my life - my amazing husband G.

G and I have both been playing Everquest II since about launch time in 2004/2005. Yes, that's a good 5 years of playing this game, with slight breaks in between to try other games. I owe a lot to this game, seeing how I met my husband while playing, and everytime a new expansion comes out, I get excited. Today is such a day. It's been almost a year and a half since the last expansion, The Shadow Odyssey, and this will be the first time in over two years that the level cap has raised - going up to lvl 90 this time. I love new expansions. Shiny new content and lots of new quests and armor and tradeskilling items.

I'm off to a Sony Chat about the expansion and then I'll be off to Gamestop to pick up our copies as soon as they open. Happy Day!

Olympic Biathlon is Good Zombie Training

Yesterday, as G and I were watching the Olympic coverage on NBC, it occurred to me that the Biathlon is the single most zombie-conscious sport in the games. Think about it. It focuses on two main events - cross-country skiing and shooting. Skiing directly relates to endurance, stamina, and cardio. If you can ski 10 km faster than anyone else, then you can most certainly outrun a zombie. Hell, you can probably even outrun an entire horde with that kind of endurance. The shooting speaks for itself. I mean, these people have to hit five tiny targets practically dead center in order to get credit for the hit. What better practice is there for hitting a zombie in the head with a bullet under tense pressure?

Sure, there are other Olympic events that might be considered useful training when the zombie apocalypse hits. All sports deal with cardio and physical fitness to some degree, but the Biathlon is the only one that also champions shooting a rifle at a tiny bulls-eye both laying down and standing up. There's just nothing else that can top that. Consider this - if you put every single Olympic athlete in a field (minus the snow, even) and gave them a hunting rifle, then let loose a thousand hungry zombies, who would be the most likely to survive? Speed skaters might have the leg power to run pretty far, but then again, if they are short track skaters, they might not have the endurance to go the distance against never-tiring zombies. The majority of figure skaters are pretty short, especially the women, so what are their chances of making it to the front of the pack? Not great, unfortunately.

The distance cross-country skiers are the most likely to get ahead of the group and find shelter, but as far as defense is concerned, it's the Biathlon competitors who have specifically trained to shoot those small targets quickly and with such precision. As long as they had the ammo and the distance, they could easily take out more than a dozen zombies each in a matter of seconds. Therefore, the Olympic gold medalist in the Biathlon is probably one of the safest people in the world when it comes to the zombie apocalypse.

Unfortunately, this news does not bode well for the United States, who has never once won an Olympic medal in Biathlon. It's the only winter sport that the USA has never won a medal in. (Prior to yesterday that was also true of the Nordic combined, but Spillane came through with a silver medal, breaking the record for US Nordic Combined competition.) Does this mean that America will be the least prepared when it comes to the Undead? It's a reality we will hopefully never have to face.

Bonus XP Weekend

I'm hoping for a fantastic weekend.

First of all, therapy was great yesterday. Considering the fact that I pretty much randomly selected a psychologist from the internet, it was amazing, really. She basically said that since my life is pretty much in order right now and I'm in a happy, supportive environment, it's the perfect time to finally deal with all these issues that I've so far been unable to resolve. That's a good sign, I think, and I'm ready to get to work on those things. It makes me feel as if things are heading in the right direction.

Second, it's supposed to snow again today. They are predicting a light snow, with maximum of two inches, but still - it's snow! Honestly, the only thing about it that's not completely perfect is that it's not happening until six pm on a Friday - and therefore G doesn't get off work extra to be home with me. Why can't the snow fall on a Monday?

And finally, the Olympics begin tonight! I LOVE the winter Olympics. Well, in all honesty, I love ANY Olympics, but winter is my favorite of the two. Why? Two words - Figure Skating!!!!!! I was shocked to see that Sasha Cohen, who was hoping to make a comeback this year, did not make the US team. She finished fourth at the US competition behind some much younger, less experienced skaters. Young is good though. It's exciting for them, and even if no one expects any of them to be real contenders, I will still root for them with all my heart. Isn't that what the Olympics are all about? The fact that anyone has an equal chance of breaking out and winning the medal? I think the first figure skating competition on the schedule is the Pairs Figure skating, which is always beautiful and fun to watch. That should be on TV Sunday and Monday.

Oh, and I guess it's Valentine's weekend as well. The first of my new marriage! We don't usually do anything big on Valentine's day. It's too crowded at most restaurants, which makes it unpleasant and rushed. For me, it's good to just spend time with my amazing husband. I'm happy it's Friday and we have the weekend together.

And finally - it's Bonus XP Weekend in Everquest II. Normally, this isn't a crazy super exciting event, but this weekend it's particularly important because Sentinel's Fate, the new expansion, is being released on Tuesday! I have a baby Paladin that I've been working to level up to max lvl by then so that I can have a tank to pair with G's healer. I am very excited about the expansion, mainly because it gives us a unique opportunity to make some extra money this month. Hey, it's only Feb. 12th and we've already made almost $300! I'm hoping we can more than double that by the end of the month. Plus, like a cherry on top, we actually might have some fun this month since we can break out of our normal EQ2 routine to do something different with the new zones.

We used to play the game for fun, but for the past six months or so, we've been playing only for money. We do the same things everyday, and even though it's working and bringing in extra income, the game has definitely lost it's fun factor. I am hoping that with the new expansion, we will be able to reclaim a few weeks of fun again in the game.

Overall, it's shaping up to be a great weekend. Hope you all have a good one too!

Therapy

I start therapy today.

To be honest, I've been nervous about this for most of the week. I'm nervous about spilling everything to a stranger. I'm nervous about whether she can really help me or if it will be a waste of money. I'm scared what I might find out about myself.

I'm scared it will get worse before it gets better.

Purple Streak in My Hair

Yesterday, I spent most of the morning dying a purple streak into my hair. Why? Well, sometimes you just need a change, for one. Also, the heroine in the book I'm writing has purple streaks in her hair, and I am hoping that by having this in common with her, I will someone be more connected to her. Of course, I don't know how I can expect to me more connected to a girl I created in the first place, but what the hell. Anything is worth a shot.

Being relatively new to the process of dying my own hair a bright color, I went to the Hot Topic over at the mall by us and talked to the cashier - who incidentally had multi-colored hair. She gave me some tips, like in order for a bright color to show up on my medium dark hair, I would need to bleach it out first. She also told me which of the two purple dyes in the store would last the longest. I bought RAW products - both their "White Out" 40 volume bleaching kit with toner and their Deep purple gel hair dye.

First, I set up the area in my bathroom. Gloves (the kit came with some, but they were huge, so I bought a pack of 10 gloves at Dollar General for 1.25), small plastic cups to mix the bleach in (You can use pretty much any container as long as it isn't metal), the bleaching kit, aluminum foil, and the purple dye. I also threw down an old pink sheet to catch any dye or bleach that fell onto the floor.

The bleaching part was a little bit scary. Since I was chemically altering my hair, I knew that once I started, there was no going back. Following the instructions on the bottle of bleach, I mixed the activating powder with the bleach solution in the small plastic cup. Once it was creamy, I picked up a section of hair on my left side that I wanted to eventually dye purple, then covered it in the solution. (First, I separated the hair I didn't want bleached and threw it up in a ponytail.) I tried my best to mimic the way a hairstylist "foils" my hair when they put highlights in, but somehow it just isn't as easy as they make it look. My way was much messier, but that's where the gloves came in. I used the foil to press against as I brushed the bleach solution in, then I folded the foil around my hair and then folded it up into a smaller section that I could easily blow dry.

The bleach solution I bought worked off heat activation, so I kept the blow dryer on low and pointed it at the foil section. Every ten minutes, I checked it to see if it was lightening. It pretty much was a slow, boring process. Since my hair is so dark, I ended up keeping the bleach solution on my hair for about 30 minutes. I think it might have worked better with 40 minutes, but it turned out decent, just really brassy instead of platinum blond.

When I took the foil out, I rinsed the bleach off with cold water, then patted it dry with a towel. I thenwashed just the bleached strip with shampoo and cold water, then patted it dry again. I used the toner that came with the bleaching kit and left it on for about 15 minutes, but honestly, I didn't notice that it made a difference.

The next step was to dry my hair with the blow dryer so that I could apply the purple dye. It was very gel-like and extremely prone to staining. It pretty much got everywhere! Instead of using a brush, I just squirted the gel dye into my gloved hands and massaged it into the strip of hair, then put it up in foil again. I didn't need heat this second time, so I just sat at my computer for about 30 minutes, then washed the dye out. I dont' know if I was supposed to or not, but I ended up taking a full shower and washing and conditioning my hair. I was terrified as I watched the purple dye fall off my hair and go down the drain. What if I'd just spend the last few hours dying my hair and then washing it all out?

But there was nothing to be afraid of. Once I got out of the shower and blow dried my hair, a bright purple streak became visible. It's funny because in some lighting, you can barely see it at all, but in others, it's super bright. I really like it. I'm tempted to start the whole process over and put a few more streaks in it before all is said and done.

Zombies and Hello Kitty Stickers

Just a couple of random things to share this morning.

First of all, G and I have been slowly watching all the episodes of "The Office" on Netflix. They have all of the first 5 seasons on instant play, so we watch a few episodes every night while we play EQ2. It's definitely one of the funnier shows on TV. Dwight Shrute is one of the funniest and strangest characters I've ever seen, but so incredibly well-developed and consistent. He really makes me laugh out loud, which, let's face it, doesn't happen enough in life.

Last night, we were watching an episode about half-way through season 5 (yes, we've already gotten that far) and Dwight said:

"There are several ways to kill a zombie, but the most satisfying one is to stab it in the brain with a wooden stick."
LOL! OMG, seriously? That is such a Dwight thing to say!

My second random share is that I bought some Hello Kitty keyboard stickers, and I LOVE them. In fact, I love them so much I am going to order a set for my laptop as well. I type so much throughout the day that the letters and the paint are coming off the keys anyway. Besides, for only $5, it beats buying a whole new keyboard - plus it makes me happy.

Oh, and on a side note, I'm coloring my hair today - purple streaks. It's something I've wanted to do for a while now, so there's no time like the present. Especially when it's a rainy, icky day out like today.

My Favorite Super Bowl Ads

G and I watched the Super Bowl last night. To be honest, we aren't really huge pro football fans. Or even little ones, for the most part. But I like to watch the Super Bowl. Okay, so mainly we watched it for the commercials. This year, here were my top 5 favorite ones:

My #1 Favorite was marked by Google's first push into television advertising:



#2. The Doritos Commercials were all really good last night, but this one was awesome. It had me laughing out loud, which is always a good thing:



#3. The unexpected Dodge Charger ad. I wasn't expecting it to be a car ad at all, so when it came through, it was pretty cool. Funny ad.



#4. Gaming Ads have really been getting better and better - which is no surprise since gaming itself is one of the most revenue-producing past-times these days. The new ad for Dante's Inferno really caught my attention. Made me want to run out and buy it - except for this - I really want to buy Bioshock 2 and there's no way I can afford both games in the same month.



#5. And my fifth favorite Super Bowl commercial of 2010? The Betty White Snickers commercial.

How Many Books In a Year

I was thinking about this last night - I wonder how many books I read in a year? I'm not sure, really. If you look through my house, you'd think I read hundreds a year, if you were to base it solely on how many books I currently own. But there's no way it's truly hundreds. I would have to be reading a book a day for that to happen. Last year, I read a lot simply because I was reading a lot of Silhouette Desire books in order to better write them according to their "rules". Since I've moved on from that idea and on to other types of books that I want to write, I doubt I'll hardly pick up a Harlequin novel this year unless my critique partner is writing for them again this year. I think I just got burned out on them.

I was thinking that it would be fun to keep track of the books I read this year, both craft books and fiction books. I try to always have some book about writing going at all times, just so I can keep learning from other writers and keep thinking about the different aspects of writing a great novel. But I also always have a fiction book going, too. I suppose I will also count the audiobooks I listen to, since that's technically "reading" them. I certainly can't claim to be one of the most avid readers around, since I know there are people that devour books at a rate of more than one a week, but I'd still like to keep track for once in my life, just to see how many I read in a typical year.

So, this year, here are the books I've read so far:

  1. Under The Dome - by Stephen King
  2. The Wedding - by Nicholas Sparks (audiobook)
  3. Dear John - also Nicholas Sparks (also audiobook)
  4. Catching Fire - by Suzanne Collins
Currently, I am reading book #5, which is "The Zombie Survival Guide" by Max Brooks, as well as book #6, "The Gunslinger", book one of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Yes, I often read two books at once, don't ask me why. If I had to guess how many books I'll read over the course of the entire year, I guess I would say 35. That's just a guess though, so we'll see.

Have a good weekend all. If you're in the North East, stay safe with the blizzard heading your way. Looks like mostly rain here in NC.

Depression: Does it Ever Disappear Completely?

Lately, I feel like I have fallen back into some bad routines. I want to sleep a lot more than usual (a simple result of the fact that I feel tired all the time). I am having a hard time getting motivated. I feel generally down a lot. It doesn't really make sense that after a few years of battling depression, and, I thought, beating it, that this has come back. It's a mild case compared to the way I used to feel, but I still recognize the symptoms.

So why? Well, I have a theory on that too, but it doesn't exactly make me happy. Speaking of happy, this is really a very happy time in my life. I have goals again for the first time in a long time. My husband is amazing and our marriage is still young - not even two months yet. We're very happy together. My writing is going better than ever and everyone who reads my current WIP has nothing but good things to say about its potential. Financially, we're way more secure than we were this time last year and actually were able to come out after the wedding without having taken anything out of savings. Things are going well, so why would I be feeling symptoms of depression coming back?

The only thing I can really figure is that it's related to the original source of most of my depression issues. 10 years ago, I was assaulted, and let's just leave it at that. The man was pretty much let go and allowed to live free for the next nearly five years. During that time, I sunk down into a pretty crazy depression. Thoughts of suicide, feelings of complete self-hatred, gaining weight, even going so far as to marry someone who obvious wasn't right for me (self-sabotage perhaps?). Most of my goals disintegrated into nothingness and for a while, I was fine with just existing and never reaching for anything better. Then, he assaulted someone else and because of her pain, I was given my day in court too. Between both stories, the man was put away - sentenced to 8 years in prison.

When I was on my way home to GA a couple weeks ago for my bday, I got a call telling me that he was being released the very next day. Now, I knew this was coming. I got a notice about it in December. But they said he wouldn't get out until May and I thought I had more time to get used to the idea. The phone call was somewhat of a shock. Someone processed the papers wrong and miscalculated his days or some shit, and so, long story short, his release date was supposed to be January, not May. Now, he's living just the next state over, and after a google maps search, I realized it's only a 3 hour drive from here. That doesn't make me feel comfortable at all. I hate that he's closer to me than most of the people I love. It makes me sick to my stomach.

So what's the next plan? I thought that once I got over those feelings of depression, they would be gone forever. Apparently I was wrong. Even when I was finally feeling happier than I had in years and years, I still wasn't immune to these fears and these feelings. It makes me wonder if depression ever really goes away completely? Or if it lingers somewhere in the darkest depths of your heart and shows itself when any weakness allows it to rise up to the surface? All I know is that I can't let it drag me down again to the place where I was before.

Catching Fire - Just as Good?

I just finished reading Suzanne Collins' brilliant sequel to The Hunger Games. Catching Fire is a book I've wanted to read since the final pages of The Hunger Games, and it did not disappoint. Katniss and Peeta's victory in the games spurred a sort of revolution in the various districts, and Catching Fire is about facing the consequences of their actions - namely Katniss' decision to pull out those berries and defy the Capital during the games.

If you haven't read the Hunger Games series, you should definitely pick it up. It's one of those Young Adult series that easily crosses over to being interesting to adults as well as teens. What I love most about the series is the intense visual images that are conjured up. The dresses, the arena, the insane manipulations Capital people perform on themselves like pink tinted skin or golden jewels implanted in their cheeks. I love the pictures that go through my head, and Suzanne Collins seems to have a natural talent for making her readers see what she sees.

Everytime I read a great and truly talented author like Collins or Rowling, I wonder how they did it. How did they manage to create characters that speak to us so strongly? How did they make us care for them so completely? Where did they learn to write like that? Is it merely a natural-born talent? Or did they suck at first like the rest of us? I wonder if I'll ever be able to tell a story that reaches so many people and has such an impact.

The Hunger Games series is definitely one of those series that once I got into it, I could barely put it down. I will say that while Hunger Games pulled me into the story on the very first page, it took a little bit longer for the Catching Fire to really hook me. Sure, I already loved Katniss Everdeen and her story, but it just seemed to explain the past book a bit too much and the action wasn't quite as addictive. It was good, don't get me wrong. It just wasn't terribly hard at first to put the book down and turn out the light to go to sleep at night. However, about three or four chapters in, I was totally hooked. I couldn't put it down. I would tell myself "when I finish this chapter, I have to go to sleep!" But when the chapter was over, she would end with another hook that had me turning to the next chapter and reading on. I love that feeling. That can't-get-enough reading experience.

I will also say this, the ending to Catching Fire is much more of a lead-in to the third book than the first one was. It definitely leaves you with a sense that the story is incomplete, and it makes me want to run out and buy the third book. I'm not sure when that is supposed to come out, but you can be sure that the day it does, I will be in line to buy it. (And it will probably be read in a matter of days). Yes, it's just that good.

Contest Entry

Entering writing contests is a scary thing. First of all, you never know for sure who your judges are going to be in these things. Most of the time, for me, it's an RWA chapter holding a fund raiser contest where you pay $30 or so for some of their PRO and PAN members to read and rate your manuscript. I know there are tons of other writing contests out there, but for where I am in my writing and my writing communities right now, the RWA contests are the most beneficial and the most accessible.

So, like I said, it's usually just members of their chapter judging the first few pages or whatever, but when you enter, you never really know who will end up getting your pages. What it basically comes down to is luck of the draw. Some judges probably love almost everything, scoring high to almost every entry. Other judges are harsh and mark off for each little thing that they think could have been improved. If you're the only one in the contest who lucked out with two of the high rating judges, guess what? You win! Not necessarily on merit, but possibly on luck of the draw.

I entered one contest last year and got medium scores back. I didn't final and the comments were helpful. I look back now and realize just how weak the entry was, so I learned a lot from the contest. Towards the end of last year, I entered the mother of all unpubbed RWA contests, the Golden Heart. Also judged by random PRO and PAN RWA members, it's a crap shoot based on who you get as a judge. I like to think, however, that it is also based on skill and the quality of the manuscript to some degree. I entered for short contemporary series, and I feel that my entry is solid. We find out March 25th who the finalists are, and my fingers are crossed.

I am also going to enter a contest today. This time, for the first time, I am entering the young adult category. Why enter at all when it can be so subjective? Well, because the prizes are so totally worth it. In this particular contest, the top three young adult manuscripts get read by an editor at Berkley. For the most part, editors at Berkley don't read unagented manuscripts, so this is a rare shot at getting in front of them without an agent. With a huge publisher like that on the line, it's worth the $25 entry fee to me. There's no guarantee she'll like it or want to see more of it, but there's a chance, and that's all I'm asking for. The 25 page entry is due by midnight tonight, so I'd better get to work polishing it up and getting it ready to send in. Wish me luck!

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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