Monday, January 17, 2011

The Title Says It All

I'm sure each of you have bought or read a book based solely off the Title, only to be disappointed. Well, that is exactly what I'm trying to prevent with my novel. How in the world do you come up with a fresh title that not only captures your readers attention, but reveals the essence of your novel? As soon as someone figures that out, let me know, because I'm bordering on the edge of psychosis here in an attempt to choose the perfect title.

Originally, the name for my novel was 'Awaken', but my mother was quick to point out that she thought the book was going to be about a coma patient that woke up years later. Now, I've been using the title 'Redemption', but a popular blog site pointed out that not only was 'Redemption' a popular title amongst Amazon, but that two other novels were submitted through the blog titled the same thing.

What's a girl to do? My novel is a first in a trilogy which all leads to the MC's redemption. So what better name, right? Wrong! I need something more original, something that when you type it into Google, all that pulls up is my novel. Is that possible? Who knows. Am I going to try? You bet your ass, I am.

Wish me luck!

If you think your the self proclaimed "Title Queen or King", then feel free to read the summary of my novel to the right, and then post any title suggestions in the comments. If I pick yours, maybe when I'm published I'll give you a shout out. LOL-of course I said "Maybe".

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Writer' All Nighter

Here it is 4:25am Monday July 26th, 2010. After putting my little girl down for bed at 9pm, I found that I had more than enough things to do writing related to keep me busy until now.
1. Check the blogs first that I'm following for any new author's postings.
2. Checked the comment section on Evil Editor to see if there were any new comments to the query I posted. There was one.
3. Log on'd at Critique Circle to see if my chapter or synopsis received any additional critiques. There was one.
4. Critiqued a few stories, so not to break my cardinal rule of 'tit for tat'.
5. Worked relentlessly on revising my query.
6. Posted my revised query on Evil Editor. (hoping to be tore to shreds again).
7. Edited Chapter 8 a little, according to some critiques based off other chapters.
8. Checked out Phoenix Sullivan blog and added it to my follow list.
10. Created this post (for my own enjoyment, since I have no followers)!

Intersession with my husband at 4:28am when he woke for work. His words to me were, "Really Babe? I mean Really?" He doesn't understand that once you find the time to write, or learn about writing, you have to take advantage of it-even if it means sacrificing sleep!

Well, now I must go to bed. It's exactly 4:30am, and I all I can think about now, is that my little one will be up at 9:30am. Today is her 2nd birthday, and I'm hoping that the five hours of sleep I get will help me maintain somewhat of a happy attitude so that I can show her a good time today. So it's off to bed, so I can play at McDonald's tomorrow and go to the park, and all that other cool stuff (I'm on vacation). I'll be returning (as I'm sure you all guessed) tonight at 9pm once my daughter goes to sleep once again.
Oh, the good news is-I get to start another book I'm working on where I journal day for day my life as the mother of a two year old. Titles I'm considering;
1. The Year of Hell
2. 365 Days of Hell
3. Toddlers Guide to Creating an Insane Mother
4. The Year of Divorce
5. Xnax Anyone?

Good night All!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Here Comes the POO!

Everyone's heard the myths about swimming pool chemicals that turn a different color if urine is detected. However, today I learned that you don't need such a chemical for poo! While I'm sitting on my raft in the water, my daughter floats up (with her little pink floaties) and climbs into my float with me. She's sitting there being a great little girl, and then to "My Daily Surprise", I notice that there is brown water floating all around me. It instantly clicks! OH MY GOD, IT'S POO! What can you do? I jump up, and force my daughter to the side of the pool. My husband takes her inside to change her, and comes out and says that's the worse poo ever! He even says that our changing table is no more. Apparently the water mixed in with the poo and diluted it drastically, so it was like pouring out a great big cup of poo water. All I can say is, There's no point in Lil Swimmers! Save your money, they provide nothing by false reassurance, as they do nothing!

Getting Old is a Bitch!

This evening, I learned how old I really am. My sister and her family came over this evening to swim. The guys were all doing flips off the diving board, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I hadn't tried doing flips since the summer before I was pregnant, which was in 2007. So I made a couple attempts, and failed both times miserably, even losing an earring during one attempt. Then I thought I'd stick to what I know best, cartwheels! So I do one cartwheel, and my sister happily points out that my husbands cartwheel off the diving board was better than mine. She said, "Come on you can't let him beat you, you were a cheerleader!" So I agree, no construction rough handed male is going to beat me at a cartwheel. I was a cheerleader! So I climb back up to the diving board. I raise my hands perfectly above my head, point my right foot, and hurl myself onto my hands, throwing my legs up perfectly straight and falling over into the water in an outstanding round off. The only problem was, is that I focused so much on form, I forgot to worry about projecting myself (when your old, you don't multi-task as well). Which means, I didn't end up in front of the diving board, as much as I did right below it and off to the side. So when I hit the water, my feet were perfectly together, and straight. Then to "My Daily Surprise", it happened. I learned how old I was, and that I no longer have an ounce of high school cheerleader left in a single bone in my body. My body proved it by my left foot hitting the slope against the wall, and bending my ankle sideways as far as it would go. I instantly thought it was broken. It would have been better if it was, because then I would have had a reason for acting like such a baby. At least then, I would have been to the ER, got a cast, had great meds, and an awesome pair of crutches that showed the world that I was legitimately injured. As it stands now, I've got a pink bandanna wrapped tightly around my swollen ankle, a zip lock bag of ice on it, I've settled for crawling through the house on my knees in an attempt to keep from walking on it, and I've bribed my two year old with candy to bring me a throw pillow to prop it up on. All I can think is, "Getting Old is a Bitch!"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Amy's Ten Steps to Teach Anything.

Many people have jobs in which they never learn from. I am not one of those people. While working with individuals with developmental disabilities, I've learned many things that I've incorporated into my own daily life. One of the simplest things that has helped me the most, was realizing that the method in which I help teach my clients new skills, actually works with anyone.
Sooooo, I incorporated it into my daughters process of learning how to use the potty. She's not yet two, and she's doing really great. I believe she will be potty trained before she turns two in July. This is what I've done so far;

1. Introduction to the change I'm seeking. I introduced a potty chair to my daughter at a very young age. At 16 months, I put a potty chair in the bathroom and had her start going to the bathroom with me. I didn't insist that she try to use it or anything, I just made it accessible to her. She then got use to it. She then would sit on it, with her clothes and diapers on. I always explained to her what I was doing, and what the benefits were. (Yes, I know that sounds silly because she was so young, but toddlers are very smart.)

2.Progression into the desired learned behavior. I started taking her diaper off, and had her sit on the potty. I didn't expect anything from her at this time, she was in control.

3. Take advantage of a presenting opportunity to teach. On Christmas Eve, (she was 17 months old) we woke up early, and she still had a dry diaper. I took her into the bathroom with me, and had her sit on the potty. Low and behold, she went pee pee in the potty.

4.We learn through fun. Make pee peeing in the potty a big deal. Which basically means, I danced, I acted stupid, I cheered for her.

5. Positive reinforcement for therapeutic behavior. Which basically means the next time she pee pee'd, I was prepared. I gave her a Hershey kiss, and she loved it. Tip: Only give her the reward if she pee pee's (even if she cries). If you reward her when she doesn't pee pee, then you are rewarding non-therapeutic behavior. You just taught her that she gets candy for doing nothing, so then you will never get pee pee in the potty.

6. Consistency. Individuals learn best with consistency and reminders. I prompted her to go to the bathroom every two hours.

7. Help them help themselves. Sure she can pee pee when I take her every two hours, but mommy will not always be there to take her every two hours, and not everyone will be as good as mommy. So teach them a way to help themselves. My little one now grabs at her diapers and/or pull up when she wants to tell others it's time to go potty.

8. Acknowledge growth and/or accomplishment. Once she was pee pee'ing in the potty consistently, we needed another type of reward. Once I was giving her Hershey kisses in the morning before breakfast and before she brushed her teeth, I knew I needed something else. So I bought pink pull ups (which we call panties). This helped to recognize the growth she's making, and encourage her to continue. She's getting a reward for therapeutic behavior, which is called positive reinforcements. She loves it, and at times actually demands a pull up over a diaper (like when we go to sleep.)
I've also recently added another mile stone in the pee pee accomplishment process. I've started allowing her to flush the toilet once I empty her potty chair. She loves this as well. She waves bye bye to the pee pee and tissue. :)

9. Reasonable Expectations. We all get excited when someone is learning a new skill. Just remember, that they are learning the skill because they realize the skill is beneficial to them. So once she knows that she has more benefits in life by using the potty, such as swimming without lil swimmers, wearing big girl panties, sleeping at a friends house,or going to head start, she will become more independent in the skill she has learned. Until that time, let them progress at their own pace. You can't force a realization on someone. You can help them see and/or learn the benefits, but you can't make them understand it.

10. Skill Stabilization. Learning is the easy part, it's maintaining a skill that is difficult. Sometimes it's easy for the teacher to forget that. So always remember to help your little one remember the skills you've helped them to learn by doing memory checks. This could be as simple as asking, "What do we do when we have to go potty?" Then hopefully, she will grab at her diaper and/or run to the potty.

There you go, there are my ten steps to teach anything. I know many of you won't care about pee pee'ing in the potty, but these same methods can be used in every aspect of life. There is only one necessary skill required from the individual who is trying to teach the skill though:

Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great Writing Resource

I stumbled across a wonderful writing resource that I can't get enough of. It's called Critique Circle. You can actually post your writing and other writers can critique it. Every time you critique another writer, you earn points. Then you spend those points by posting your own writing. I love it. I actually found someone who writes in the same genre, and were reading and critiquing for each other. I would gladly suggest this site to anyone. They also have forums where you can post your query letters, and get feedback on them. Another great perk, is that some of the members actually work in the publishing business. Happy Writing!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ask a stupid question, get the obvious answer!

As mentioned in my profile, I work with individuals with developmental disabilities. Now I typically have control over my reactions, because I'm always foreseeing what an individuals next move might be. You never want to be taken off guard because you might say or do something you'll regret.

However, you can't always know what they will do or say at any given moment; thus the reason I've been hit, flashed, cursed, chased with a wheelchair, hit with a bat-mobile, and much more. So you're always on guard, and contemplating their next move in an attempt to be better prepared for anything they might say or do.

Rewardingly; I did not do a good job of foreseeing on Wednesday.

One of the young ladies that we serve was in our office. She was listening to some music on the computer with another young lady, and she was having a great time. She was singing, dancing, and really proud of herself for a reason unbeknownst to me as of yet.

As I was walking by her she looked at me and said, "I know who sings this."

I was pretty excited for her, because she was undoubtedly happy with herself for knowing. So I looked at her and said, "You do? That's great. So who sings it?"

She laughed with her entire face and said, "The people that sing it."

Typically I would not have laughed at what she said, because I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings. She wasn't trying to be funny, she was answering the question truthfully. However, I was sooooo not expecting that answer. I assumed she might either get the band correct, tell me the wrong band, or even say that she forgot. So when she said the most obvious clear cut answer, I couldn't help but bust up laughing. I even had to go into the other office and tell my two co-workers. It was so funny.

It just went to show me that we all look at this world differently. I mean amazingly, she wasn't wrong. It was the simplest of answers, but sometimes that's all you need.