Jan 31, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I have to take a moment to scream, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!" to one of my dearest girl friends in the world, Rochelle Spears.


*Confessions*

1. I don't have a bunch of friends. Let me explain. There are people who come into your life, stick around for a while, make an impression and leave. These people are amazing and I don't discount them at all. They are my friends. Knowing each of them has added a small sliver to the pie of me. But ... they haven't been there through EVERYTHING. Those are the girls I'm talking about.

2. Girl friends frighten me. It's a Post Traumatic High School Disorder, but girls ... they kind of freak me out. I have four brothers, three sons, and six nephews. I may physically emit a hormone that repels other estrogen driven life forms away from me. I am an estrogen island surrounded by an ocean of testosterone.

3. Giggles and Drama. I can write a mean giggle attached to a sassy, spunky, dramatic YA heroine! In my non-fiction life, I don't do drama and when I giggle, it's often turns into snorts and that's just not pretty.

Given all of the above, you can see how SHOCKING it is that Rochelle has been in my life for fifteen years! We've been through dating, engagements, weddings, divorces, babies, cancer, more babies, mid-life crises (I had mine at 28), moves and movies. She is the closest thing to a sister I have AND she is my cheerleader. When writer's self doubt starts surfacing, Rochelle is one of the people I can count on to smack me between the eyes with reality, usually with her published scrapbooking book.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the fiercest friend/sister/scrapper I know!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROCHELLE!!!!

Jan 28, 2011

Critique Partners, Fairy Godmothers & Glass Slippers

It's true.

I have critique partners that are Fairy Godmothers. They whip out their magic wands masquerading around as Word Comments and take my manuscript from "pretty good" to "HOLY FREAKING COW!" This transformation is usually with a tweak here or what if there.
No mice, well, none that I know of.
No pumpkins.
Just amazing pixie dust thoughts sprinkled in the margins of my Word Doc.
When I first started studying the craft of writing, I desperately wanted to find a core group of people to chat with.  People who made me laugh, knew how to write, would push me to tears and then hold the tissue as I blew my nose.
The only problem was I had NO idea where to find these people. I tried boards, read where other authors found their magic CP’s (that’s critique partner, took me a couple jaunts on google to find that out). I may have placed a Craigslist ad, but I swear I won't admit to it if you ask me in person.

I really was a bit on the desperate side.
So where did I find my girls?
Twitter.

What????

Come here. 
Yes, closer to the monitor.

Twitter.
I really wish there was a magic link to give you, but it took about eight months for me to get to know, laugh, chat, and finally, find my fairy godmothers.
Your book is your baby, right?
All the mom’s in the house, how long did it take you to find your babysitter?
When you left the first night, you worried the whole evening. It’s the same with critique partners. You have to build a trust to expose yourself and then be in a place where you respect their opinions and can apply them to your WIP.
I love my fairy godmothers and I hope one day you are as lucky to find a set as well.
Don’t give up.
Be patient.
And one day, Bibdidi-Bobbidi-Boo you too, will have a group of fairy godmothers!

In the meantime, another great resources that may help you meet possible FGM’s
YALitChat
You can follow them on Twitter as well search #YALITCHAT


given the last two posts, I think it's time to take the kids to Disneyland

Jan 15, 2011

It's Official...I'm a Writer.

It took a day to sink in...I'm a writer.
I started the current WIP last year, but I wasn't a writer.
I study and cried and revised and cried and revised with my teacher, CJ Redwine, but I wasn't a writer.
I lined up the beta's for the first half of critiques for WIP, but I wasn't a writer.
I built the website, made friends and "connections" on twitter and Facebook, but I wasn't a writer.
I launched the blog, had business cards made up (mom wanted proof I was working), but I wasn't a writer.
I quit the day job in September, but I wasn't a writer.
I donated a bunch of old work clothes to a local charity, but I wasn't a writer.
I set up my office, installed plot boards, time lines, strategies, but I wasn't a writer.
There's a massive excel file that even my left brain husband is afraid to open with the year of my writing life carefully outlined for him, but I wasn't a writer.
All these things and I wasn't a writer until Friday. 
WHAT!!!
Yep, Fridays I volunteer at my 1st grader's library as their class librarian.  Budget cuts to the fine arts program translated to a roaming school librarian that is shared among the several elementary schools in the district.  A note was sent home at the beginning of the year that the kids were not going to be able to check out books from this amazing school library because there was no librarian available. 
I know!!!
Don't get me started on the stupidity of budget cuts and then the confusion that our world "ranking" is sinking like a scuttled ship.
The parents joined together and every classroom now has a parent/librarian.  But that's not how I knew I was a writer.
On Friday, Jacob and his friends were discussing what their parents did for a living.  There were accountants, doctors, firefighters, businessmen etc.  Then it was Jacob's turn. 
"What's your dad do Jacob?"
"He's a Realtor."
"And you're mom?"
"She's a writer."

My heart burst at the seams. I was a writer, my 7 year old said so!!!
My delight pulled at the corners of my lips, but I kept it under wraps. I didn't want to embarass him or make a scene by squealing or spinning around the library like a goof ball. A deep breath, a giddy hand and I just checked out another book for another child.  So many things were racing through my head:
Would I disappoint Jacob?
What if I never sold anything?
Doubt tumbled over What if and....
As I put the little girl's book in the classroom crate I looked at the the author... it was Judy Blume's TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING.  It was like Judy Blume was standing in that library with me, smaking me up aside the head herself!!! I was holding in my hand one of the first books I read that made me think maybe, just maybe... I could be a writer too!

Jan 10, 2011

Take 2 Mistakes + a Resolution and I'll call you in the morning.

It didn't take very long.  Ten days into the New Year and there it is! *sniff, sniff* Yep, that's the stench of doubt emanating from my computer.
I know!
I thought it was the rotting Christmas tree I had the husband haul out last week, but the smell just lingered and then grew! It wasn't until the 7 year old mini-me asked to play a computer game on my office computer that I realized the source of that awful odor.  My WIP progress was on the screen with the flashing little line begging me to start writing again.  I told told the 7yo that he had to go play on daddy's computer; mommy had some unfinished business to handle.  A very cautious 7yo crept backwards out the door, never taking his eyes off my fingers --they've been outlawed as deadly weapons in three states-- and then scrambled down the stairs when he hit the office threshold. 
For the next couple of hours me and that blinking little light did battle.  I chased the line all over the screen. Words upon words flew from my fingers. REMEMBER: outlawed in 3 states :)  When the sun went down, one brave mini-me tip toed up to the divide, keeping his toes on the sane mommy side of the door, he courageously asked when dinner was going to be ready.  I leaned back in my Walmart task chair and triumphantly put my hands behind my head and said, "Baby, right now!"
Crazy writing mommy, reentered sane mommy's body and went down stairs to cook dinner.
MISTAKE #1: Do not leave that stupid little cursor with your Work In Progress. 
Why????
Three hours later with all the mini-me's tucked in their bed dreaming dreams of a cookie baking, fort building mega mommy.  I went back into my office and looked at my WIP.  (At this point please refer back to MISTAKE #1). 
I re read through the words cursor and I had created and then...well, I'm not proud, but I cursed at that stupid little cursor for going back and editing with out me.  Ok, I know it didn't, but I needed someone to blame and it just couldn't be me. 
Slumped in my Walmart task chair I scrolled thru page after page of *insert your favorite expletive* and wondered what the heck had happened?????
MISTAKE #2: Never edit on a stomach full of doubt and wine.
I cut 90% of the words.  After staring at the cursor for a few more moments before banging my head on the keyboard, certain that the words would translate better from my forehead than they were from my fingers....I clicked SAVE and slouched off to bed, stopping by the bathroom for tums.  You choose why: words or wine, it didn't matter.
I tossed and turned all night.  You know that scene from Disney's Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice where the possessed brooms are spilling buckets and buckets of water around Sorcerer Mickey.  My dreams were kind of like that, only possessed cursors spilled buckets of buckets of putrefied prose on me and my Mickey Eared hat. 
In the morning, before my husband and all the mini-me's woke up, I tiptoed back into my office and pulled up my WIP.  The cursor and I had a bit of stare down.  I won't admit who but one of us cried for mercy.  That's when I saw it...
RESOLUTION: Never cut your words with out saving them to an outtake document.
Really, how bad could they have been.  I opened the document titled: Work In Progress Crap and read through the pages and pages of cut words.  Cocking my head in a triumphant 45 degree angle, I copied 85% of the words from the WIP Crap doc and reintroduced them to the WIP. 
The youngest mini-me climbed into my lap and said, "Pretty mommy."
"I know, baby." I squeezed him tightly and clicked save.  "Those words are very pretty."

Jan 7, 2011

I'm Baaaaaack!!!

I know!  You all are sitting there with your jaws on the floor asking, "What the heck is Mindy Ruiz doing here?" 
It's a real simple answer.....
I miiiiised you!!!!
So here's yet another New Year's resolution to add to the mounting stack of sticky note declarations...
I decided that I would do double duty!
MindyRuiz.com is still up and active, but I thought that I would make that a bit more fan based.  Here at MindyRuiz.org, I thought I would keep this blog more dedicated to my fellow writing and reviewing friends.  This blog will be more a place where I can let my hair down, talk craft and trends. We can chat, over coffee, tea or margarita's about what the heck is going on in the publishing world!  Where is everyone on their quest to print or represent. 
Let me start....
Hi, My name is Mindy Ruiz and I'm a Young Adult author.  I am currently in my 9th month of book pregnancy and about to push out a beautiful bouncing baby "THE END" on my first draft of my urban fantasy titled WILD CARD. 
It's taken me about a year from concept to completion for this first draft.  They say your first one is your hardest, and I'd like to say this was my first novel ever penned, but it wasn't.  The first novel was penned in three months, when I was home recovering from experimental chemotherapy, kid less and waited on virtually hand and foot.  Fast forward 10 years, I'm cured of cancer, have 4 boys and am now the waiter instead of the waitee.  Don't worry, I wouldn't change a thing! 
So much has changed in the world!  We have indie publishing and traditional publishing sitting side by side on the eReader book shelves.  Twitter has made the ivory towers of the big houses scalable.  The people in the publishing world are just like you and me.  Blogs and websites and Fan sites and Facebook have taken marketing and flipped it on its head. 
Needless to say, I'm excited!

How 'bout you???
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