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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Finally, News!

Hello, various other lifeforms!

After a long drought of no news from SH, I finally got an email from Rich the editor. Didn't say a lot; what he told me was nice however. Basically SHP didn't forget me and a copy editor is looking over the manuscript and that Rich is going to send me some more notes soon about the story. He also had some news on the cover, saying that they're going in 'a different direction' with trying to include the leading lady and lad on it. Sounds like a good idea, though I'll have to see a fake copy to really decide about it.

As for the BEA and the blog hop, no news yet on BEA. As for the blog hop, more research shows that it's a contest for our blog readers, who seeming go around the blogs of the SHP writers answering questions about the writer's books, and there are prize packs for the winners. And it's free! So if you want some cool SHP swag, click here at:

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: classes are over! Can now focus on finals and upcoming trip to France.

Dislike 1: no working power adapter. My Nintendo 3DS is running low, and the plugs I brought along which I THOUGHT would work didn't. Sam the roommate won't let me use any of hers either because it's a 'precarious setup' and she doesn't want any possible system blowups. So unless my sister's bringing the family's power adapter, I'm stuck with a dead Gameboy. :(

Dislike 2: practice essays. I'm taking a timed essay for my SciFi final, so other memorizing quotes for possible topics, I'm going to be doing fake one hour essays for practice. I'm starting Monday, but I already know I'm not going to like it. :P

And quote, from a movie this time:

“I just need to know that it's possible that two people can stay happy together forever.”

“Well, it's not easy, that's for sure. Now, I may not have the best track record in the world, but I have been with your stepmother for ten years now and I'm proud to say that we're very happy. Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly who you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.” 

—Juno and Mr. McGuff, Juno


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Writer's Tip #9

And here's an update that's actually on time!

No publishing news, but there are a couple Spencer Hill Press events coming up that I'll be hopefully participating in. First is the SHP trip to the BEA, otherwise called Book Expo America. Basically it's a convention for books and authors, and if I'm able to go, it means possible good press for TSA. The other event is the Christmas blog hop, where it sounds like every SHP author visits each other's blogs. More info about each event will be posted as I find out more.

Writer's tip nine ... make sure you know what certain words mean before you use them. You may have one action in mind, but with the wrong verb or adjectives or whatever you can end up making your character do the complete opposite. I tend to keep my dictionary app open on my laptop so I can check that the words I'm thinking about actually MEAN what I think they mean.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: I'm going to France! I have a written final exam on the 10th of December, and a final project due the 20th. So for the ten days in between, I'm flying over to Paris and exploring France. My sister will be visiting friends in London, so we're going to meet up and do it together. Can't wait!

Dislike 1: Said approaching written final exam. Need I say more?

Not a lot happened this week. And the quote:

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." -Author Unknown


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Writer's Tip #8

Yes, another delay, but only for a week this time! Hi everybody. :)

Little news on the publishing front. Leticia did ask for a double spaced copy of one of my manuscripts and a book summery (which I really need to work on), so that's kinda cool. And Spencer Hill Press is doing something called a 'blog-hop' for Christmas. Don't really know what that is, but it's probably something I want to take part in.

This week's writer's tip ... hmmmm, these things are starting to get harder to come up with ... wait, I know. Don't hesitate to write something down when you're writing. What I mean is when I'm stuck writing a section because I don't know how to express it like I want to, I just jot down what I want to happen and proceed from there until I get to where I want to go from. Then I leave the rough bit in the story until it's complete, then go over it and fix it up. Maybe it sounds stupid, but but the point is not to get stuck with writer's block, and you can always edit it later with other people's help (thus is the power of editors! Hope this tip made sense to everyone).

Weekly (Dis)Likes time!

Like 1: seeing my friend. The reason I didn't blog last week was because I was out in Edinburgh visiting an old friend of mine. We've been friends since the fourth grade, and though she moved away in seventh grade and we really haven't called or emailed each other, we've still remained close! She's studying abroad in London, and I'm here, so we decided to meet up and stay in Edinburgh for the night. Other than checking out the National Gallery, we mostly just walked around, but it was still fun. Love you Taylor!

Like 2: finishing my second essay for my SF class. Thank God that's done.

Like 3: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. This is the final book I'm currently reading for SF. It is BIG, over 800 pages long. However, it's been pretty interesting so far, so it's not too bad. It's divided into eight sections, and I've been reading one per day; at this rate, I should be done by Friday.

Dislike 1: no break. At my usual school we usually get on Christmas break right around this time, but of course I'm over here, so yay me for missing Thanksgiving with the family. :(

And Weekly Quote!

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.  -Dale Carnegie


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Writer's Tip #7

What's the excuse for a mouth long disappearance? October has my birthday in it, and my parents and aunt/godmother flew over for a week long visit. Lots of fun, but obviously little blogging time. On top of that was essays and MAJOR reading. But I'm back! No news from the publishing front, unfortunately.

But here's tip number seven: Beware the Mary-Sue!

Technically speaking, only fanfiction uses the Mary-Sue term, but it works in book writing as well! Basically, a Mary Sue is a flat character. Either they're perfectly perfect with no flaws whatsoever, or damaged goods that you just wish they'd drop dead. It's usually the former that happens, and it's awful. Unless your character is God, NO ONE IS PERFECT. Species, race, or gender, everyone has their flaws that go with whatever is good about them. I'll admit that sometimes it hurts to make a character have a temper, or dumb, or clumsy, but I promise it's for their own good. When making a book character, you can make a list of duel characteristics, good and bad. If one's longer than the other, make it balance. Or ask for someone's opinion.

Now Weekly (Dis)Likes.

Like 1: My birthday! I turned 21 and drank some delicious pear cider.

Like 2: My parents and aunt/godmother visiting. It was great! We spent one weekend in London, where we saw the Tower, Big Ben and Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and did a bus tour, and we saw Les Miserables. Wonderful show. Then they came to St. Andrews and went exploring while I went to classes (we did have dinner together every night). And then wrapped up with a trip to Edinburgh. I saw the castle (way cooler than Buckingham), and walked the Royal Mile. Loads of fun.

Like 3: My trip to Loch Ness. While in Edinburgh, Mom helped me book a bus trip to Loch Ness by myself, since everyone had to go home the morning of said trip. Sat in the bus a good eight hours round trip, BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!! Beautiful landscape, beautiful lake, beautiful castle, beautiful islands. Alas, I did not see Nessie, but I did get a plushie Loch Ness Monster, and I love it.

Like 4: My birthday presents. From my aunt, a lovely opal ring, which is nice since that's my birth stone. From my parents, the trips to London and Edinburgh and a writing notebook. From one grandma, money (bought a St. Andrews t-shirt), a pencil case, and a turquoise bracelet. From the other, the tickets to Les Mis, and money (I see a shopping spree in the future when I come home). And a surprise gift from my roommate, a graphic novel called Batman: Year One (must get thank you present in return). All great gifts, and I'm very thankful for it all.

Like 5: Movies!! Wreck-It-Ralph came out, and I can't wait to see it. Also can't wait for Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie to get on pay per view so I can watch that. And next year is Monsters University and Epic, which I love the previews for! Let it be summer already!

Like 6: Snow Patrol's song THE LIGHTNING STRIKE. It's sixteen minutes long, divided into three parts, and it is beautiful. Best part is the first (used in the Epic preview; that's how I found it). It make me feel so many things at once. Highly recommended!

Like 7: Gravity Falls. Lots of people on Deviant Art was talking about this show, so I looked it up on Youtube. It's Disney Channel, but it's hilarious. Watched a bunch of funny clips that made me laugh. The characters are random and awesome and the town with all its memories is interesting. I wanna live there.

Dislike 1: Even with all the birthday stuff, there's still something to complain about ... Russell Hoban! If you weren't dead already, I'd hunt you down and give you a piece of my mind for writing a book as awful as Riddley Walker! Be thankful I can't get to you!

And now a quote.

 Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. (If you want peace, prepare for war.) -Latin Proverb

Until next time,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Writer's Tip #6

Hola, me amigas!

Man, my life has really hit a dull point. I mean, I'm getting a book published and that's exciting, and so is the whole process, but right now not a lot is happening to report. That's what I mean by dull.

So this week's tip is: do your research.

I can hear your groans, and I assure you, I don't like research either. But except for hardcore fantasy books placed in completely made up worlds without a modern gadget in sight, most genres require a little bit of looking up for the subject your writing about, whether it be info about WWII for a realistic novel based during the 1940's to myths on vampires for a supernatural romance (and I really hope you're not, 'cause we don't need another Twilight). Heck, non-fiction is NOTHING but research. Like for TSA, I had to research swamps and their locations, plant life, and animals that lived there, plus I had to check if something like a swamp angel already existed (it doesn't). Without it, I would've ended up writing some completely fake account and ruined the whole book. You need to know your subject to write realistically and well about it.

So though we all hate looking stuff up, do it anyway. I promise your story will be better. You won't regret it.

Now, Weekly (Dis)Likes.

Like 1: Shopping. Did some shopping this week, and got a new sweater, a chambray button up, and some sweater tights. Now I can wear my skirts and be warm at the same time.

Like 2: dance club. Joined the dance club they have here. They offer a lot of classes, but the one I attend and love is Contemporary Dance on Saturday afternoon. Makes for a good little workout on top of all the walking I do here.

Dislike 1: forgetting my key. Forgot my key to my room doing laundry on Wed. Thankfully the window to my room was open and my roommate heard me, but still. Don't you hate that?

And this week's quote is locally grown.

"Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead." -Scottish Proverb

Adios, toasties!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Writers' Tip #5

Jolly well done, everyone!

Slow week on the writing front. The interview is still on, and Leticia's still trying to sell my other manuscripts (as far as I know). And I'm late again, but that's because of all the reading I've been doing for school. Since there's little to write about, time for a Writers' Tip.

But one little tidbit of book-related news; I bought a copy of J.K. Rowling's new book The Casual Vacancy. Can't wait to start reading it, though that probably won't happen until Christmas break. If you've already read it, NO SPOILERS PLEASE!

Ahem, now for tip five.

Write how you want to. And I'm not talking about style (I've talk about that next time), but material and environment. Find those that fit you. J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter on a little notepad in a cafe in Edinburgh (which I need to visit when I'm over here!). I write on my Apple laptop lying down on my bed in my room. Find your own place to write; it can be anywhere as long as you're able to be progressive and you don't get distracted. Paper and pen or a computer; there are both positive and negative connotations for each, but use whatever you're comfortable with. ALTHOUGH, I highly recommend you keep a typed copy on a computer and saved on a jump drive so you don't risk completely losing your manuscript.

And Weekly (Dis)Likes.

Like 1: Young Justice is airing new episodes again! Can't wait to see what happens. Hopefully Miss Martian and Superboy will get back together! And yes, I'm a proud cartoon junky. You're never too old to be one!

Like 2: My new dress. Bought it for five pounds at one of the many resale shops in the area. It's black and gray stripes with long sleeves, circular pockets, and a hood. I'll wash it with tomorrow's laundry and wear it on Tuesday. :)

Dislike 1: Carl Freeman. I'm sure you're a nice person in person, but dude, you need to learn casual writing. It's a miracle I can understand half of the stuff you say about SF.

Dislike 2: My creative non-fiction essay. Finished the rough draft, but it was harder than I thought it would be. I HATE NONFICTION!!

And, end quote!

"We must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men." -Monsignor, The Boondock Saints

Tata for now,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My First Interview!

Good day everyone! Again, only one day late.

Have a fabulous email to share:

"My name is Megan and I am from the UK. I am having an event on my blog in January 2013 to celebrate YA debuting bloggers in 2013. I was given you name by Kate Kaynak at Spencer Hill Press and I was wondering would you be up for an interview as part of the event to talk about Swamp Angel?"

Yep! That's right. I'm going to have an interview over my book!

The blog Megan writes, Reading Away The Days, is quite big and gets a decent amount of traffic. I'm guessing Kate was looking around for ways to spread the news about TSA, and she found it. Thank you Kate! :)

As for details, the event doesn't happen until January (like the email says), and the questions should come in November. But I'll be sure to tell you guys all about it.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1: My classes. Probably said that last week, but now that I've experienced a week of them I can be more sure. My Creative Writing class is awesome; right now we're working on creative nonfiction, and the professor is very pleasant to listen to. My Science Fiction class is taught by a woman (go females!) and though she can be a little too fast while giving us notes, she clearly knows her subject. Both classes have lots of reading and writing, but I like that for the most part, so it's all good.

Like 2: My new St. Andrews sweatshirt. It's green and soft and not too heavy. :)

Like 3: The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Saw the movie preview. Looks awesome. Love Emma Watson. Really need to read the book.
Like 4: My blisters are starting to heal. I'm getting used to the walking.

Dislike 1: The price of laundry. At my regular school, washing and drying is 75 cents each. Over here, it's 2 pounds to wash, 1 to dry. And since 1 pound equals maybe a dollar and a half of American money, I'm paying a lot for clean clothes. :\

And, quote!

Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein


Monday, September 17, 2012


Yes, again with the lateness. But if you read the title, I have an excuse:


That's right. I'm studying abroad, in a beautiful, active little town called St. Andrews as I attend the University of St. Andrews. (It's where Will and Kate met, do'cha know?) I came over here last Saturday, September 7th, and I've been doing orientation stuff all week getting ready for classes. Between that, preparatory reading for one of my classes, learning where's what, and getting used to the time change, I haven't had time to write.

Not that much is going on in the writing world. I'm still working with Rich on publishing, and everything's going fine. The biggest news to happen is that Leticia has read another book manuscript of mine, and she wants to try and sell it (I said yes, of course). The book is called BURN IN LIGHT, and it's a supernatural ghost story.

Now, the (Bi)Weekly (Dis)Likes!

Like 1: The fact I'm in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Like 2: The town. It's small, adorable, and has such beautiful buildings and an array of interesting little shops I need to check out out on a free day.
Like 3: My dorm room. It's spacious with plenty of breathing room for me and my roommate.
Like 4: My roommate. Her name's Sam, and she's awesome. She's nice, quiet, and we get along well. I hope we can become great friends.
Like 5: The food. Biscuits and tea every day. Yum.
Like 6: My classes. St. Andrews works with a system where the student has to do 120 credits worth of classes each year, 60 per semester. I'm staying here for a semester, and have two classes both worth 30 credits: Creative Writing I and Science Fiction (which was what I had to do the reading for). I'm excited and looking forward to them, and hope studying for them goes smoothly.

Dislike 1: The distance. The David Russell Apartments, where my dorm is, is right outside of town AND on the opposite side of town from where my classes are taking place. Which means I have to walk 30-45 minutes across town to get to said classes, or anywhere else for that matter. Very annoying, and I can't help but wish I was in one of the apartments in town. But at least with all this walking I'm getting plenty of exercise. :P

And quote!

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.  
"Do not give into evil, but proceed evermore boldly against it."  Virgil, Aeneid, Book VI

From the UK, tallyho!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cover Work (Again)

Greetings, Earthlings and Martians in disguise!

More cover work was this week's job. Marie sent over a bunch of cover designs. I'd post them, but I need to see if I need permission from Spencer Hill to do so since they are their designs. However, I will say the ideas they've sent over are awesome. They're all bits and pieces photoshopped together with weird figures representing certain parts, but they hold promise. There's some designs I really like, and I've found a font style I hope to use.

One thing I'm worried about is my own cover idea. I sent it to Marie, but she hasn't said anything about it. Probably should send her an email to see if she got it.

Now, Weekly (Dis)Likes! It's rather light again.

Like 1: I got a haircut this week, and the stylist told me she liked my hair. That's one compliment I'll never grow tired of hearing. I have thick, curly red hair that falls to my shoulder. Sometimes it's a hassle when it gets frizzy or messy, but it's my favorite physical feature about myself.

Like 2: My grandparents came over for dinner tonight. Grandma was looking well, and we actually had real food for once (my whole family minus me is on some diet). It's always great to have them over. I don't know how it happens, but everyone, including me, gets so animated; we always have the funniest conversations that make us laugh.

Dislike 1: Speaking of diet, the aforementioned one is driving me crazy. It's a vegan diet my family's on, which means all wheat, no cheese, no dairy, gluten-free, little to no meat, all in the name of losing weight. Yes, my mom specifically buys regular food for me to eat, but she doesn't cook the foods she usually cooks

Dislike 2: Yearly political campaign commercials. It's a miracle I've lasted this long. Usually I start hating them the first time I see one. They've only gotten annoying just now, but I wish they were gone from my TV screen!

This week's quote fits this blog well:

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." -E. L. Doctorow

Adios, amigos!
Colleen B

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cover Work and Finishing Up First Look-Over

Told ya I'd be back this time!

First off, I'm almost done looking over Rich's edited version of TSA. I only have the epilogue to finish as of now, and soon I'll send it back to him so he can look at my changes. And this will continue until we're both happy with the draft.

Secondly, I got an email from one of my co-editors Marie, asking about the cover and if I had any ideas and saying she had a few ideas of her own. I sent a reply saying I'd email her a copy of my cover idea while asking for her ideas so we could maybe combine the two in a way. Doesn't sound big, but this is excellent progress! And when we do get some final images, I might post them here and all you readers can vote for your favorite. :)

Take it away, Weekly (Dis)Likes!

Likes 1: ParaNorman. I've wanted to see this since I first saw the previews. The stop-animation it uses looks absolutely AMAZING. I should know, considering I've watched all the 'Behind-the-Scenes' videos on YouTube. Storyline doesn't seem bad either. Yet the local newspaper only gave it two stars. Don't care. Still wanna see it. The paper was wrong about Coraline (which I also enjoyed); surely they're wrong about ParaNorman.

Likes 2: This week I learned about a new emerging genre in books and writing. It's called New Adult. Basically its books for college-aged readers and people in their twenties, sort of a bridge between teenaged Young Adult and regular Adult. Think of it as Young Adult, but grown up. I'm definitely going to be looking into this genre, because I myself have been stuck as to what to read: Young Adult seems too immature while Adult sounds too mature. This will be a nice compromise. And I already have ordered a couple of New Adult books. Can't wait to read them.

Finally, new section! Nothing grand, I'm just going to start posting a weekly quote here. So to begin, here's a personal favorite of mine.

"I will love the light, for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness, for it shows me the stars." --Og Mandino 

Until the banana splits,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Editing Time!

Yes, I know. "COLLEEN ELIZABETH BOYD, YOU DIDN'T UPDATE FOR TWO WEEKS!" I know, and I'm sorry. Week One I didn't have Internet access 'cause I was on vacation, and Week Two was busy (and maybe I was feeling lazy). But I'm back, and I got good news.

During 'The Week I Had No Internet', Rich emailed his edited, note-filled copy of TSA. Ever since I've been looking over a chapter a day, reading his suggestions and changing stuff. I'll most likely be done in another week or so. And then I'll send it to Rich for hm to look over.

That's really the exciting news. For "Angelina's Secret", I've had put that on a bit of a hold because of another book: Sebastian Barry's "A Long, Long Way". St. Andrews sent me a copy of the book because during orientation week, there's a book discussion for it AND the author is visiting the college. It's actually quite good so far, though I usually don't read war books; very lyrical and elegant.

No Weekly (Dis)Likes this time. It's a Bi-Weekly (Dis)Likes list!

Like 1: my sisters. I'm the oldest of three. I adore my younger sisters so much. One is only thirteen months younger, the other four years. The amazing thing about us is that we're all so distinct. I'm the writer and artist, the middle one is a sporty nature lover interested in saving the world, and the youngest is a singing social butterfly. Because of that we can learn from each other. I can't imagine being an only child.

Like 2: My vacation was a week at the family lake house. We've had it since I was born, and I love it down there. Sun, swimming, boat rides; it's a great place.

Like 3: While I was on vacation, my aunt and her family were there. I love them lots. My uncle is awesome, my aunt loves me lots (she's also my godmother), and my two cousins are so cute. Can't believe one is entering high school. I feel old.

Like 4: Kindle. I used my grandpa's down at the lake house to get one hour of Internet every day (that's how I got Rich's email and could start the editing). There's good, but when it comes down to it, I prefer traditional books. They got that great smell and you can substantially hold them and flip pages and it's just SO much rewarding to read like that.

Dislike 1: No Internet connection for a week. Granted, I did not gripe about it the whole time like Sister #2 did, but still. Need I say more?

Dislike 2: My grandma's been through a lot lately. Getting on a breathing machine, hip surgery, and now her shoulder's broken because she tripped over her own two feet. I'm so worried about her. I hope she's okay in the future.

I WILL be here next week.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Writers' Tip #4 and Angelina's Secret

Hello everybody!

Again, it's been a slow week. Not much has happened in the publishing/writing world. The one thing to note is that I bought one of Spencer Hill's already published books. It was Mom's idea to do so and see what type of stuff they work with and what my fellow SH authors are like. The name is ANGELINA'S SECRET, by Lisa Rogers, and it's about a high school cheerleader who talks to ghosts while trying to stay out of a mental institution. Haven't started reading it yet, but I'm almost done with the book I'm on right now (CARTER FINALLY GETS IT, by Brent Crawford), so I'll start SECRET after that.

Now it's time for you weekly dose of Writers' Tips! This one focuses on characters. Tip number four: get a baby name dictionary. I found one for two dollars at an antique mall, and it helps me develop my story characters A LOT, because whatever you name your character can define it greatly. There is actually much in a name!
So, get a baby name dictionary and flip through it every time you make a character. You can probably find name websites, but a book is more correct/sound for definitions. You can use any process to name your male or female. Make it random, or go after a name starting with your favorite letter. My naming process is giving my characters names that identify with something they can do or something that describes them, which is very common for authors. For instance, Rylan Forester, the lead in THE SWAMP ANGEL got his name because I wanted to connect him to the plant life that surrounds his home with the swamp. Hence, we have Rylan, which means, 'rye land', and Forester, which is an old title given to someone who works in a forest. Another character of mine in a different book can see ghosts, and so has the name Enid, which means, 'spirit'. I love the naming process, if you can't tell. ;)

And finally we have the Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1. The song 'America' by Deuce. Heard it first on the radio a month and a half ago, but only watched the music video this week. It's sung by an ex-member of the band Hollywood Undead, and I really like it. Which is weird, considering I usually don't like songs that drop the f-bomb constantly like America does. Either way, I like it because of the beat and the lyrics (minus the swear words) and it just sounds so good. I'm sure we all have those random finds of music; when we end up loving a song that is so not like what we usually listen to. Those are always exciting.
What's funny to me at least is when I first heard this song, I thought it would be great background music in a preview for a zombie movie with lots of fighting. Then I see the music video, and IT has zombies in it.

Like 2. Voting. My mom talked to me about registering to vote. She thinks I should do it. I'm not too sure. I don't like either of the candidates (Obama is Obama, and Romney is an idiot who doesn't know when to shut up) and I really don't think much is going to change despite who wins. One thing I hate about the government? They take so DAMN LONG to do things, and it never seems to be in the best interest for the entire people; the bad outweighs whatever good they do. On the other side of things, I am glad we can choose our leader when so many countries can't; I'm not that ungrateful and I know how lucky we are to live here. Sigh...this decision would be so easier to make if Ron Paul was in the running; he was the only politician I liked because he seemed honest and didn't say anything stupid as far as I know of. (And please respect my political views. I'm not making fun of yours, so don't make fun of mine.)

Like 3. Hairspray, the musical. Not the beauty product. A nearby restaurant theater that my grandmother has season tickets to was doing the show, and I went with my mom and two of my dearest friends. First time seeing it live, and it was wonderfully done. The actors were talented, the singing was great, and it was just plain awesome. The best part, however, was seeing my friends and getting to talk to them, since we've been off to college and haven't really been able to contact each other.

And we have our first dislike:

Dislike 1. The Aurora shooting. I'm sure we've all heard about this by now. They're saying its the worst shooting to happen in Colorado since Columbine. It was 10 miles south of Denver. My sister lives there most of the year to attend college. Granted, she wasn't there since it's summer, but still! More than 50 wounded and 12 dead, including a six year old! There was a four-month old in the theater when it happened! What if he got killed?!
I want to know why, like everyone else. But I also want to know why people can do this with no problem. No matter what anyone tells me, though, I think that's something I'll never understand. In the paper today was an article about how my generation is becoming desensitized to violence like this because we basically grew up with it, being 9/11 kids. I also don't like that idea. Are we becoming an unfeeling nation? I know I'm not; I stay hopeful, and I don't brace myself waiting for each attack. But what of everyone else? Bad stuff happens all the time, but that doesn't mean we should get used to it. We should try to prevent it so it's at least not as bad as what happened in that theater.
I just hope we get some better gun control laws out of this. And where's the real Batman when you need him?

My prayers are with the victims and their families. 

See you next week,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

News and Writers Tips #3

Hello readers!

Not much on the book front except for Rich sending me his first couple of points to discuss. Apparently Rylan can sound a bit girly at times, and the ex best friend thing should be expanded on. And I agree! I guess writing in the opposite sex's point of view is harder than I thought. I probably made him girly because his dad was absent for the most part and was basically raised by his grandma. But Rich and I will look into it and make it better! (Sorry if you have no clue what I'm talking about; you'll find out when you read the book.)

So, since there's no other news, it's time for a writer's tip! Number three is ... write in your favorite genre!

Obvious again. But it clearly makes sense. I mean, if you want to write for a living, you want to do so by writing about what interests you, right? You wouldn't want to do it if you're, like, stuck writing non fiction (my least favorite genre) when you don't like non fiction. Write what you like to read, and it'll be fun! For instance, I like reading romance, fantasy, science fiction, and realistic fiction, so that's what I write. Why I like these is because it allows so much manipulation and imagination; you can create a whole world from scratch! How is that not fun? (And yes, realistic fiction counts because you can at least make the people and the situations they're in. Not like non fiction, which is nothing but facts about this boring reality. No room for creation whatsoever).

My point is, people are always saying that you should have a job you love and can have fun with. And part of that as a writer is to write something you would read as well. Of course, that doesn't mean other genres are off limits. If you want to try writing something you've never written before, go ahead. You may find it to be not so bad in the first place and have a new favorite in the end.

That's all for today. But before I end, I introduce to you a new section that will be included in each blog. It's called Weekly Likes, and it's basically where I list the awesome things I discover during the week. Here's our first list:

1. Wreck-It Ralph. It's a Disney movie coming out in November, and it looks amazing. It's like Disney's earlier TRON, but with a video game twist, including legendary video game characters like Browser from MARIO! Check out preview here:
2. All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium! Didn't actually get to go to the real game, but I did go to the Home Run Derby, and that was lots of fun. Man, baseball is awesome. It's like the only sport I like to watch besides the Olympics (can't wait for that either! Go USA!)
3. This Saturday morning's FYI section in the Kansas City Star. They wrote about FANFICTION!!! For a page and a half! They had a picture of a female Harry Potter on the front page! Granted they didn't write about the great purge happening on (did you sign that petition like I asked?), but still so informative! So amazing! ONE OF THE BEST PAPER ARTICLES EVER!

Eh, can't think of anything else. Smell ya later!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Slow Day

Another late blog. My apologies, folks!

Then again, in the wake of revealing my cover idea, nothing much has happened. Rich Storrs is still on vacation, so no editing as of yet. No real news from Spencer Hill either, although they accepted all the biography stuff I sent them. The cover is up to debate; they WILL use it as a springboard, but they think Rylan, being the main character, should be on the cover, and I agree with them. Can't figure out how, but hey, it's a work in progress.

What's also in progress is that I sent Leticia two of my other book manuscripts. She's reading them right now, and eventually she'll start handing them out to publishers to read. What are these manuscripts? I'll tell you once Leticia sends word back on their fates. ; )

'Til the earth quakes,

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Cover and Paycheck

Three big things to tel y'all!

First, I finally got my mitts on a camera and now have a digital picture of TSA's book cover, drawn by me. Tada!

Imagine it as a real girl with photo manipulation, and you got it. Rick the editor likes it for the most part, and we'll be using it as a springboard for other ideas.

Second, I finally have my first assignment for Spencer Hill done. I sent in this cover, an author's bio, a book jacket description, and my lovely author's photo in. No we can start the editing process. Rick's going on vacation for a week or so, but he'll have a lot of critiques/edits to tell me about once he gets back so we can get the ball rolling.

Third, guess what I got in the mail today: my first advanced paycheck! WOOT! Yes people, I received my payment from Spencer Hill for buying TSA. My first payment for my writing, the job I want to do for the rest of my life! Sure, it's only $170, but Leticia and I are sure once the book is published, there will be more where that comes from!

Doing mental cartwheels with joy,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meet The Editor

Late night post! Let's get this rolling, 'cause I got a lot of news to share.

First off, I got to meet my editor! His name is Rich Storrs, and when he's not editing books for Spencer Press, he's a middle school teacher. He asked if I've made any changes to the TSA manuscript since I first sent it in, and if I hadn't, we could get to work with perfecting the story by setting up a Dropbox account we can share and rewrite on. I haven't change the story (and told him so), so any day he's going to write back, we'll make the account and start revising! I already know I'm going to like working with him; he actually asked if the "flamingred" part of my Gmail address meant I was a redhead. Apparently his wife happens to be a redhead as well. (Have I mentioned how much I love my hair?)

Second, I got a prize pack from Spencer Hill. There were bookmarks advertising their books, a magnet, a guitar pick, a bag, and other little goodies. It was all very nice, and was a great welcome to Spencer Hill!

Finally, I received an email from Leticia the agent. She told me that Spencer Hill has gotten my contracts. The deal is finalized, and I'll be getting my advanced payment soon! She also asked for me to send her any other book manuscripts I have (I got two!) that she can work with. But the best news is that the release date is now for December 2012, not for Winter 2013. Talk about the greatest Christmas gift ever! ^_^


Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Contact

No, I'm not talking about contacting any alien race (though that would be so cool!). I'm talking about how this week, a couple of days ago, I got my first email from Spencer Hill Press!

The woman who wrote to me is named Katie Kaynak, and she's an editor. Though she's not my editor: she wrote that Rich Storrs and Marie Romero are going to be my editors! Along with that little tidbit, I also received my first assignment from them. Well, more like five, actually. Check it:

1. An author bio.
2. An author photo. 
3. A draft of the jacket copy.
4. Your ideas for the cover design.
5. Release data, which the editors will put together
So now we have an idea of a release date, which the email says should be in October 2013. What a lovely birthday present that would be (since my birthday is October 23rd)!
I've already drawn up my idea for the book cover. Still haven't managed to get ahold of a camera to take a picture of and post, but I promise I'll get it up eventually. Along with that, I've written up the author bio and jacket copy: 

Jacket copy draft: 
Something's out there.
Rylan Forester isn't one to believe in the fantastical. Not when there are so many real frustrations in his life. Like the land-snatching mayor trying to by the swampland on his family's property. Like his distant father who won't stop avoiding him. Like his best friend's sister crushing on him. Like his ex-friend turned bully. And like the crazy dream that's been haunting him for the past month.
But then, maybe it's not so crazy. Not when he feels something watching him from the swamp. And especially not when someone-something-saves him from an accident that seems all too familiar. Something with bright green eyes and pointy teeth. Something that will pull Rylan into a world of mystery, magic, and beauty. Something that will cherish him dearly ... and make him face the ugly truths of his past and present.
Because no matter how muddy the swamp is, it can't always hide what's lurking under the surface.

Author bio:
Colleen Boyd was born in Burwyn, Illinois, and can't always remember that fact. When she's not attending Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois to earn an English degree for Creative Writing, she lives in Overland Park, Kansas with her mother, father, her two sisters, and Mollie the schnoodle. This is her first (but definitely not her last) book. You can visit her blog at, or go to her Facebook page.

Comments are welcomed and liked.

As for my picture, Mom has a friend, Seth, who can take care of it, and she's emailed him to ask if he wants the job. Am now waiting for reply.

And that does it. I'm excited! Are you?


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Writers Tips #2

Yay, only one day late this time!

Work is going well. My boss is actually thinking about letting ME write the newsletter every month. More vacation money for me! And by vacation, I mean my study abroad in Scotland this fall. Can't wait!

As for the petition, it's over 25,000 signatures and growing. Thank you to all who signed, and if you haven't signed please consider doing so!

Not much news on the book front (other than that I've almost completed the first chapter of my next book), so I guess I'll give another writing tip. Like number one, this is kind of obvious, but still important! So......

write a lot!

Again, obvious. But writing is like any sport out there; the more you practice, the better you get. So even if you write something horrible, know that's it's building up to something better. And it's not like you can't go back and rewrite once you get better. So keep writing!

Ta ta,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Updates and a Petition

Again, I'm late with posting. Curse you lazy summer days that make me lazy and summer jobs that keep me busy! Yes, I do have some summer jobs. My grandmother recently had hip surgery (it went well) and now I get to be her chauffeur. I love my grandmother dearly, so I'm happy with the arrangement.

My second job is editing a newsletter my mother's friend is in charge of. If it goes well enough, I'll move up to moving data from websites for a client of his. It's my first freelance writing job!

Enough on the personal life. Let's get to the book/writing news. A couple days ago I had to print out three more copies of the contract to sign and send (Spencer Hill emailed they needed three for some reason). But I've been alerted that Leticia's received them and is sending them to the publisher, so hopefully I can start doing publishing work soon.

I've also started writing my fourth novel. No spoilers here, but I will say it's for an older audience, it's complex, it's big, and it's going to be post apocalyptic/science fiction with robots and holograms and stuff. Did I mention this is big? Thankfully I have the whole plot lined out so I know where I'm going.

Finally, I have a favor to ask you, my loyal readers. Most of you don't know, but I'm a loyal reader/patron at This is a site where anyone can go and write/post stories about their favorite books, movies, video games, etc. while using the characters as their own. It's a place of great creativity, and some of the stories I've read their are true masterpieces, some even better than real books.
However, as of June 4th, and I quote,
"... has decided to go through a massive upheaval and remove thousands of stories from its library, some of the best fanfics ever written, gone, never to be read again. They are removing anything involving sexual situations, or violence, or inspired by a song. The list goes on. And we as readers see this as a gross waste of talent and incredible material."
Apparently's M rating is for stories with foul language and THEMES of violence/sex, not actual violence/sex. As a result, the proctors are going deleting stories WITHOUT PRIOR WARNING. Some of these people don't have second copies of their stories saved somewhere, so a story that took YEARS to write can be gone, along with all the hard work the author put into their tale.
This is an outrage! Are they trying to make their writers leave the site? Don't they know about freedom of expression and the 1st Amendment? Why can't they just create a MA rating, or a sister site for MA stories, or create adult filters and age restrictions? The technology to do so is available!

Thankfully, we can do something about this. Go to to sign a petition to stop this pointless deletion of stories and look for other options. It'll only take a couple of minutes to register and sign. If you want to know more, check out this forum at

Cheers, Colleen
"We're not gonna take it!
No, we ain't gonna take it!
We're not gonna take it, ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Contract Update and Summer Plans

After the big news about signing and sending in the contract, everything else has been a little mundane. However, I did get an email from Leticia today saying she's received the contract and will ship it off to Spencer Hill after she looks over it. I wonder what happens next after they get it. Does anyone reading this have a clue?

Summer vacation is almost upon me! Other than looking for a summer job, I'm going to be writing my 5th book manuscript (yes, I already have three other completed ones besides SA, though only two I consider good enough for print). Don't want to give too many details away on what this story is about, but it's going to be sci-fi, post post apocalyptic with science and romance and all that good stuff. It's probably gonna be the biggest big I've written so far, and perhaps the biggest challenge. But it's time to try and prove once again that not only men can write sci-fi. Hooray for gender equality!

Cheerio (and not the cereal),

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making The Deal: A Dream Come True

Yes, I know I didn't post anything on Saturday, but that was because I was waiting for a VERY important contract to be emailed to me from Leticia. What contract, you say?

(I'm aware the pictures are backwards, but the only camera I have is the one on my laptop, and we all know how good those are.) :P


After four years, dozens of turn downs, and a crapload of editing and rewriting, it is done. I, Colleen Elizabeth Boyd, have officially sold my first book, The Swamp Angel, to Spencer Hill Press. The contract is signed and has been mailed. By Leticia's predictions, TSA should be out in stores by the end of 2013.

What am I feeling? Amazed. Wonderful. Glorious. You probably couldn't tell if you talked to me, but I've never really been the squealy, bouncy, jump-for-joy-at-good-news type (just ask the parents). But that doesn't change that I feel so proud, so awed, at how far I've come to this point. I have a feeling greater writing and greater days are to come.

Now if only I can survive my math final. :P

Later days,
Colleen (now a writer) Boyd

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wrapping It Up: Choosing the Publisher

So on May 10th, I got an email from my agent Leticia, telling me that (gasp) another publishing agency wants to work with TSA! To quote:

"I have received another offer for Swamp Angel and would like to speak to you about it. The offer comes from an independent e-publisher who is soon going to become a traditional print publisher as well. Attached is their publishing agreement for you to review prior to us speaking on the phone. As you know, the offer from Spencer Hill Press is still on the table so what I would like to do is go offer both offers and compare. Since we have now received a good number of rejections from the larger more established publishing houses, I thought now would be a good time to really evaluate the offers already on the table, just in case."
Trestle Press/ Helping Hands Press in the name of this other press. That makes two publishing offers to choose from. Since we've heard back from most of the presses Leticia has written to, I've decided that next week I'll be making the final choice on which company to go with and talk it out with Leticia.

Truth be told, I'm leaning more towards Spencer Hill than TP/HHP. My mom and dad looked over the contract the latter sent (when in doubt, contact your parents), and they said their press doesn't sound nearly as good as Spencer Hill. And TP/HHP says that they're an e-publisher that's switching to traditional print soon, but how do I know TSA won't end up a e-book that can easily be passed over? I'll have to talk with Leticia about it and see what she has to say.

Colleen Boyd

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Writer Tips #1

Nothing really grand to report this week except that no other publishing companies made any offers (I'm looking at you, Harper Collins!). They did give feedback and praise, however, and that's always good to hear and to reenforce my belief that I CAN write, and that's not just something the family says to make me feel good!

All jokes aside (because that is a joke), I figure that as long as I have this blog, I might as well post some tips/tricks for all the writers out there reading this. I'm no expert, but I know I would've loved some beginning novelist looking over my shoulder telling me how to improve my writing and whatnot. And even if you aren't planning to become a professional writer, it never hurts to improve this important skill. :)

SO TIP NUMBER ONE IS (insert drumroll) ...

Read more books!

Yes, I know this might be obvious. Yes, I know it may seem like it has nothing to do with writing. But it does! Reading more books gives you different types of writing styles to examine and practice to see if it fits you. Reading also increases your vocabulary, thus giving you more words to work with. You experience different characters, learn proper grammar (which I have found many do not know of), learn how to make good dialogue and plot, etc. The list can go on and on.

I know I wouldn't be the writer I am today if I hadn't read and dreamed over so many books in my youth. Heck, I might've not even wanted to be a writer (oh the humanity!)! I owe a lot to books; paper or digital (I prefer paper), they are a treasure that everyone, writer or not, should expose themselves to.

Signing off,

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Publisher Seeking Part 1

Warning! Unless you like listening/reading rants, click the BACK button, 'cause do I have one!

Okay, maybe I'm being over-dramatic, but the reasons I'm getting back from publishers for not accepting my book are ... well, weird. I mean sure, maybe the language is a little formal in some places, but one of the two main characters is a mystical creature that learned how to speak from old books. Of course she's going to sound not so modern. And yeah, the main character is a dude, which apparently is rare in YA fiction and small on the market. But isn't 'rare' what people look for in books? Something different?

And speaking of different, perhaps the weirdest (and stupidest) reason why publishers are turning down TSA is because they already are working with plenty of books about 'angels' and 'the angel genre is too popular at the moment, so why work with another book on the things'.


Sorry, but while I can accept other reasons for being turned down, this one DOES NOT make me a happy camper. THE SWAMP ANGEL is not a book involving angels. There are none! The closest thing to any divine being in the whole novel is a monster whose species just happens to be named 'angel'. Trust me when I say a swamp angel doesn't look/act like a real angel (and here comes a spoiler); if anything, they look more like demons, with claws and horns and green hair/skin and wings that look like bat wings with no skin. Not to mention they aren't perfect like angels are thought to be. Seriously!

The good news, at least, is that one small publisher, Spencer Hill Press, like TSA and is willing to wait until November for me to decide if I want to work with them. I'm grateful for their offer, I am, but I can't help but hope a bigger publisher likes my work. And all the turn-downs haven't been bad: many say I got talent and my work is good, just not for them.

Keeping fingers crossed,

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Birth of A Book

Believe me when I say that inspiration can be found ANYWHERE, as long as you're looking. I'm telling you this because the idea for The Swamp Angel came from, of all things, a song title.

I remember it. It was October 16th, 2008, a week before my 17th birthday. I was in my room, listening to a CD I'd bought at the mall the same day: The Black Swan by the band Story of the Year (which I recommend to everyone; they're very good). I fell in love with their song "Angel in the Swamp". And I got to thinking, "What if there was an actual creature like a swamp angel?". And after thinking it over, I pulled out my school laptop and started typing.

Nine months later, my first 'book baby' was born. And I've been trying to get it published ever since. :)


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cover News and Basic Plotline

Hello readers!

First I've decided that I'm going to try and update at least once a week with news and stuff. That's about as much as I can spare right now, but when summer comes there'll be more!

Second, I've finished my design for TSA's cover. Turned out great, but since I drew it by hand, and I don't have a scanner or a digital camera on me right now, it might take a while to get it upload. I promise it's totally worth it, though.

Finally, I figure since some people are wondering what this book is about, I'd give you a tidbit of a summary:

            Rylan Forester likes to think himself as a normal boy. He has good friends, a doting grandmother, makes good grades in school, and has a crush on a great girl. Sure, he could do without the land-snatching mayor trying to buy the swampland on his family’s property. Yeah, he wishes his distant father wouldn’t avoid him. And certainly the odd dreams haunting him for the past month could go away. But all in all, life is good.

            At least until that one day Rylan almost died.

            Saved by the most unlikely of saviors, Rylan steps headfirst into a world of mystery and magic, all circling around the very same heroine, a swamp angel; a sentient creature with a heart as big as the bayou. What starts as a nervous friendship blooms into something more as Rylan’s life takes a turn for the complicated. But can the lessons he learns from her – true courage, devotion, kindness, and sacrifice – be enough when both the past and present rear their ugly heads?

            And how long can he keep this all a secret?

Hope you like how it sounds! More news later!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

1st Post Info

Okay. Since I made this blog, I might as well put it to use.

The name is Colleen Boyd, and if you didn't read my profile, I'm a second year college student and first time author. The book in question?


It's a young adult fantasy book about a boy who befriends a monster known as a swamp angel who lives in the bayou in his backyard. It's currently being looked over by multiple publishers thanks to my awesome agent Leticia Gomez. This blog is to record my progress and share it with everyone else!

That's all I really got now. I don't know if I'll be able to update quickly (being a busy college student), but I'll try as soon as I can.

(And if anyone reading this knows how to work, mind giving a noob some hints?)