Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge

It’s time for another challenge! I’m a huge fan of the mystery genre, and this challenge will be a great way for me to make room in my reading schedule to enjoy some of my favorite authors.

This challenge is hosted by Book Chick City, and involves reading 12 mystery or suspense novels in 2011. All participants receive a free ARC of The Survivor by Sean Slater, courtesy of Simon & Schuster. How awesome is that?

Click the button to sign up! Sounds like fun to me.

To see my list of books I plan to read for this challenge, check out my Challenge Index page.

Writing Wednesday (5) and Giveaway Winner!

Writing Wednesday 2

Grab the button and join in:
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Welcome to Writing Wednesday, my weekly feature where I discuss my works in progress, project ideas, editing struggles, or anything else related to the world of writing. Feel free to grab my button and post your own thoughts on writing! Leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll stop by.

I’ve mentioned here before that I take writing classes from time to time with a local organization, StoryStudio Chicago. Last Tuesday, I started a new term, repeating a Writing for Children and Young Adults class. I loved this class so much last term that I had to take it again. The instructor is about my age, about to be published, and absolutely amazing. She’s very knowledgeable about the kidlit industry, and hilarious to boot, so her classes are functional and entertaining all at the same time.

In this term, we are able to workshop 2-3 times, which is a great opportunity to get feedback and critiques from our classmates and our instructor. Since I had an entire crappy NaNoWriMo novel to pull from, I decided to go ahead and sign up to get critiqued first. Bite the bullet, so to speak. It wasn’t until I got home and started actually reading through the manuscript for the first time since writing it that I realized it was just as crappy as I had feared.

It’s always scary sending art out into the world and asking for feedback, but in this case I’m extra scared. I ended up pulling two sections of the book for critique that seemed the most developed. All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope for the best. I can’t help but think that perhaps getting work critiqued that hasn’t been polished to death is not so bad after all. I’ll certainly be more open to change at this point (since, quite frankly, I could change the whole damn thing and be fine with it), and I may get a suggestion that sends me off on a brilliant new path with the story.

Though it is nerve-wracking, I’m really looking forward to the comments. To me, there’s nothing worse than doing art in a vacuum. Does art have value if nobody experiences it? Does a tree falling in a forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it? (Etc., etc., ad nauseum.) When I danced, acted, sang, and even now, when I write, I have to share it. Isn’t that why we do it in the first place?

Okay, enough lollygagging. I know why you’re really here – to find out the WINNERS of my first giveaway! So without further ado, the winners (chosen through are:

Lacey @ Lacey in the Sky with Books (U.S.)


Aylee @ Recovering Potter Addict (International)

Congratulations Lacey and Aylee!!! Winners have been notified by email. Thank you to everyone who entered and I promise another giveaway soon!