Author: ccfordwords

I started this blog to document the process of developing a story, writing, editing, learning, editing again, re- writing and trying to get published! I am in no way a polished writer but merely a student of the craft. I make A LOT of mistakes so look out. This is my writing in the most raw form, and if anything I hope you become inspired! I am 80,000 deep in my YA fantasy fiction novel and can't wait to share it with the world!

My Life Lately

So I’ve been missing from my blog for some time but I promise not without good reason. I’m stuck in the world of editing –– “Serenity Now!”

I’m not going to lie, it’s rough. Like I want to cry, throw my computer at the wall or sometimes even hit “select all” and click “delete” kind of rough! Okay so I am a little dramatic but I guess that’s one thing that drives my passion for writing –– emotion.

It is not my favorite part of the writing process but it is necessary to create a “polished manuscript” as they say. When I first started writing I believed a polished MS to be something that you wrote, revised, sent off to be checked for grammar and spelling errors (compliments of my friend Erin) and you were as good as gold,     right? . . . Ha! Not even close!

Thanks to my Twitter writer friends, I have learned there is so much more . . . By the way, Twitter is another thing to blame for my absence from this blog. It’s like a drug (the information drug) and you can never get enough. Between all of the support between writers and links to click on and learn from –– the addiction is endless.

So my MS is currently in the hands of the great author S.A. Jeffery and once I get it back from her, I will send it off to the next Beta . . . and so on. Until then the only thing left to be said about it is, “I loved it and can’t wait to see it in print!”

I must continue to slave away until it is in the best possible condition to be sent out to agents. That’s a whole other beast to tackle but I’m just trying to stay focused on polishing it right now. It’s stressful, but whenever I’m stuck or frustrated and need a break –– I read!

If you are need of some killer book recommendations you should head on over to:

The Mad Hatters Book Party or on twitter @AimiJeffrey

Aimi reads more books than anyone I know, so I live vicariously through her ‘goodreads’ list, which is insane.

 

-C.C. Ford

“Dear Lucky Agent” Contest

Another great YA fiction contest to enter is put on by Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest.

What a great way to possibly gain feedback and exposure!

Their Agent judge this year is Andrea Somberg from the Harvey Klinger agency.

For more information on the contest click here: “Dear Lucky Agent”

Good luck to all!!

Live In The Moment

 

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My Darlings

 

I truly believe the I have exhausted the word “hurry” in my house. I am always in a rush. I wake up feeling immediately panicked because I need to feed my kids and get them to school.

“Hurry up or we are going to be late!” Is just part of my morning routine.

Then, I’m running as many errands as I can before they get out of school. On days I work it’s even worse! Trying to rush out of the house halfway decent is even more stressful. I never allow enough time for ANYTHING! I cram as many thing into 5-minute windows as I can possibly fit, including my writing lately (which is why I have been missing for a couple of weeks). It is exhausting but I am determined to find a middle ground. The land of collected and calm – where time stands still. I need to get here somehow.

I was attending MOPS recently (Mothers of Preschoolers) and our speaker was talking about her mom’s favorite thing to say to her whenever she was stressed or upset…

“This too shall pass.” In the moment it was hard for her to accept because it couldn’t pass quick enough for her. Her mother would say this, not to irritate her but to remind her of how quickly time passes. She said she always felt like she was rushing off to the next stage, hoping it would be easier and less stressful. She realized that whenever she looked back on the hard/difficult stages she was so focused on trying to move past it, she never truly enjoyed the happier parts of those times.

I could instantly relate to this. I am always franticly pushing along. If I had a stressful week I just quickly push through to the next. If my kids are driving me insane – I might put them to bed just a little earlier than normal. In Doing this, I was missing all of the small sparks of memories that I would eventually be sad were gone.

I know we hear this all the time but it’s so true…“Live in the moment”.

As cliched as it sounds, I think this will be something that I am going to have to remind myself of quite often. You blink and a minute, an hour, a year passes by and you might regret focusing on the things that seemed so important at that time but in the end are so insignificant.

 

-C.C. Ford

 

 

The True Windfall of #PitchMadness

Hashtag This

Last week I stumbled upon Brenda Drake’s Pitch Madness contest on Twitter. In being so new to Twitter, I didn’t even realize something like this existed. Although I shot my pitch somewhat prematurely – I didn’t regret it one bit. If I hadn’t submitted my pitch I wouldn’t have obsessively followed the #pitchmadness Twitter feed religiously; refreshing by the second as many other contestants openly admitted to. Every single tweet could pertain to my pitch in one way or another. The good and the bad. It was pure insanity, as I’m sure many pitchmadness contestants would agree. What followed the tweets was a #meetandgreet. It was so amazing to meet all the people involved and learn what they write about and what they do for a living #clarkkentjob. As we hung onto every word the slush pile readers would tweet, we took something away from it to make our pitch and MS (manuscript) stronger and better. I have had a few people read my manuscript and they all loved it – of course! What friend would tell you your writing sucked and you have the mind of a lunatic, or tell you that the entire beginning is a cliche and Fantasy/Paranormal is played out in the eyes of the publishing world? They wouldn’t because if they weren’t an author or an agent they wouldn’t have any idea what that means. What I am hoping to gain from this experience is a better understanding of the agents and publishers market. Maybe a few critique partners and keeping in touch with the many amazing authors I have meet in the pits of #pitchmadness!

Next up #PitMad. You get to tweet your “well constructed” pitch in 140 characters or less. It also must contain #PitMad in it so there you just blew 7! I thought constructing a 35-word pitch was daunting, well I was so naive. This is enough to make you want to rip your hair out and question everything about your MS. But again the writers unite and help one another in constructing the pitches by critiquing along with #Pitchpractice. I am absolutely blown away by the generosity of time spent and constructive criticism given here.

Before any of this I absolutely DESPISED the #hashtag. I don’t know why, maybe it was more the mundane usage of it that bothered me. #MyLifeIsAmazing #selfie #IAteABurritoForBreakfast… Facebook was more to blame for the excessive use of #hashtags. I blame them because there are no restrictions on how long your post can be. There are too many #hashtag opportunities. Now I actually have respect for it, after all, it opened my eyes to so many amazing people!

Special thanks to L.L. McKinney Check out her blog @ tangynt.wix.com

Want to learn more about #PitMad and #Pitchmadness, or meet all the amazing people involved?

Check it out @ www.brenda-drake.com

Best #Hashtag Parody Jimmy&Justin

A Glimpse Of Chapter 49 – LOST

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I carefully stepped in front of one in particular. It stood out from all the rest. Where most tombs were topped with a crumbling stone cross, this one had a once gold, but now rusted star sitting on top. The moment I stood before it, I felt the necklace flare up – this was it. She was in there, sitting in complete darkness, alone and scared, and had probably lost all hope of being rescued.

                                                                                      – C.C. Ford

Unlocking A Secret

She was always guarded. Or… at the least she was guarding something. Leslie could never really tell what it was but the tattered string around her grandmother’s neck always reminded her that something was there. Anytime she would ask what was on the mysterious string her grandmother would simply hold up her finger to her pierced lips and whisper, “shhh.” It was like she was hiding a secret. A secret she couldn’t share. The more she hid it the more Leslie wanted to see it, touch it, examine it – it seemed magical.

As the years passed on, her grandmother never told her what was on the tattered string. Eventually the curiosity had worn itself away, until it finally had escaped from Leslie’s mind all together.

Soon after her grandmother had passed on, Leslie’s mother gave her a big cardboard box filled with trinkets and old books that her grandmother wanted her to have. Even though it had been years since she had given any hint of a thought about that mysterious necklace. She immediately grabbed the box from her mother’s hands, dropped to the ground and started ripping through it as quickly as she could. The musky smell that rose from the box made her smile. It was her grandmother’s scent left behind. She sighed; she was going to miss her.

After pulling out all the old costume jewelry, her Danielle Steele book collection, and an old wooden box there was a small ivory envelope sitting at the bottom. She ran her finger across her grandmother’s raised initials and then turned it over.“For my Leslie” was written in black ink. Her grandma always had the most perfect handwriting.

She didn’t even need to see inside, she knew what it was.

As she opened the envelope she pulled out that tattered old string and at the end was a tiny, antique bronze – key.

“A key?” she thought confused. A key to what? 

Just as she started to get upset she pulled out a note. It read:

Dear Leslie,

Since you have always been the only person in my life to pay such close attention to this, I had always known I was going to leave it for you. Oh I wish I could be there with you, and I hope you find it as special and enchanting as I always did. You see it is the key to my heart, in a sense.

Your grandfather was an amazing poet and writer. He always spoke from the heart. The key unlocks the wooden box I gave you, and that box holds every love letter and poem he had ever written me. They are so intimate I always felt it important to keep them locked away. After all, they were his own, personal thoughts. I hope you enjoy reading them. You will look at him in an entirely different light. I loved him so much. Always keep the key close to your heart.

Love you always,

Grandma

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Photo Link:Kaboodle

DPWriting Challenge: Object

Your Writer’s Desk

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Before I began writing I would have envisioned an author working on their novels while sitting behind an antique oversized mahogany desk… settling down into their obscenely overpriced Hermes leather office chair that surpasses all ergonomic standards… sipping on their extra hot cappuccino while surrounded by a vast library filled with books written by their favorite authors as well as instructional books that pertain to writing.

Well… that all sounds absolutely amazing – It is not at all how I write.

I live in a teeny, tiny, two-bedroom house, and we are busting at the seams. My two children share a room and between all the toys and necessary furniture there is no room for my “writer’s desk” I had once dreamed of, at least not yet anyway. Once I became an obsessive reader, my one and only bookshelf filled up quite fast {post Kindle}.

So I have found my favorite place to write – in my bed.

I prop up my pillows, {leather chair} and open up my laptop tray, {mahogany desk} and either do my necessary research online or on my Kindle, {Vast Library}.

This process is only successful at night. During the day if I actually have a childless moment to write, I have to do it somewhere else. If I don’t, either the dirty laundry calls to me from down the hall or the kitchen is begging for a good cleaning.

So I head down to the local Starbucks in the circle. Luckily it isn’t just your ordinary wood and slate Starbucks. It is located in an old 1930’s bank building. The ceilings are vaulted and there are lath and plaster columns surround the seating area. It is an extraordinary building. I am a sucker for anything old and historic.

I recently stumbled upon this magical place called Ink&Bean – a coffee saloon and wordshop. It is located in downtown Anaheim.

( 155 W Ctr St Promenade Anaheim, CA 92805)

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I cannot tell you how excited I am that I found this little gem! From the moment you walk in you are inspired to write. The walls are lined with antique typewriters, and there are book light strings from the celling. At the register there is a chandelier of books with a light through the middle {which I was mentally dissecting and figuring out how to make!} I can’t wait to get in there and write!

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Last night on Twitter I found an article the author Andrew Flynn had tweeted about: How Amtrak is testing a “writer’s residency” program. It seems they want to offer free rides to writers so they can well… write! It sounds amazing and inspiring to sit on a train and write. Just think of all the characters that board the train and what inspiration you could draw from them! I hope this actually happens but if not I will hop on a train one day and try it – why not?!

I would love to hear where your favorite places to write are. Maybe you will inspire other writers who are in a slump and need something fresh and new for their writing.

Tell me, where is your writer’s desk?

Amtrak Article

Ink & Bean

Life Is A Great Balancing Act – Dr. Seuss

ImagePrincess Victoria c.1919

  A quote from one of my favorite children’s books that I read to my kids quite often. It is full of advice that I have to remind myself of on a daily basis. I find it hilarious how such a simple children’s book can be used as inspiration through your adult years. Everyone should take the time to re-read Oh The Places You Go. I promise it will validate all those feelings you have been having or the things you are going through right now.

My friends and clients always ask me, “How do you do it? Do you ever sleep?” I just laugh a little and say, “There are 24 usable hours in a day.” (Seriously though, who really needs sleep?) Not only do I work full-time and have two children, I am also creatively driven. By creatively driven I mean I am either sewing a new dress for my daughter, making some sort of shower/party decor, shooting family photos, or reading and/or writing a novel. They all have one thing in common: They are driven by passion.

Recently a client of mine made me realize that my crazy life was the result of being passionate about everything I do. I must say I never really thought about it that way, but she was right. Whether I am obligated to it or just doing it for fun, I take the time to dedicate, follow through and finish it. I have the passion to create, the passion to do the best I can do, and the passion to learn.

The truth is I have absolutely no clue how I balance it all! (Although I’m sure being a woman might have a little something to do with it). At any given moment I could have a nervous breakdown and lock myself away in a closet – but I don’t. At least I know the closet is there if I need it! It doesn’t help that my mind frequently takes off into the unknown; that I can’t control. I am always off in “great idea” land. My husband always laughs at my neurotic thoughts or entrepreneurial ideas but I know he loves and supports all of them. After all, it is what makes me – me.

“The bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you…”

In life we all know a thing or two about bang-ups and hang-ups, I’m sure. It is unavoidable. In writing, “The bang-ups” (AKA rejection) are part of the process. Today I received my first, of many I’m sure, rejection letters to come. I think since I prepared myself for it, it wasn’t such a hard hit. When I began writing my book, I was really just trying to see if I could do it. I soon realized I had found another creative outlet that I became strongly passionate about. One more thing to balance!Ha! I’m sure I will hit many more bumps in the learning process but that’s life.

I will continue on {rejections or not} and do what I love to do. Be creative!

So always remember this quote when you need something to keep going…

“And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4percent guaranteed)” – Dr. Seuss

In Tune With Your Inspiration

How do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is something that helps ignite your creativity from within. Inspiration can strike at any moment and can come from everything that surrounds you in life; books, art, people, music, travel, etc. I always find that when something inspires you, you will always have that to lean on when you fall into obstacles that stifle your creativity.

For me music is always my go to for inspiration. When I started writing I originally did it to tune out any surrounding distractions {aka my husbands obsession with the history channel} but now I can’t seem to write without it. What I listen to all depends on what I’m writing, although right now I seem to be on a Florence and the Machine kick.

When I work my way through a novel I always listen to music that will reflect on my character’s mood or if I need help setting a scene.

A piece of my book takes place in New Orleans but I was having a hard time setting the scene since I had never been there. So after subjecting myself to a million You Tube videos that portrayed the streets of New Orleans through other people’s eyes, I just wasn’t getting what I needed.I couldn’t quite place myself there.

So instead I turned on some New Orleans jazz and created my own New Orleans.

Have you ever watched a movie with no music in it? Of course not!

A movie without music would be dull and dreary. Obviously when people read my book there is no soundtrack that comes along with it {although that would be rad – maybe I should add that to my marketing plan}. It is my job as the writer to try my best to set a memorable scene. One that you will want to read over and over again. With music the beautiful words and sounds pour into our ears and help shape the story we are trying to tell.

Because let’s face it, life without music is just mundane!

Listen up – and get inspired!

Here is just a few of the many bands that inspire me…

Florence and the Machine

Lana Del Ray

Paramore

One Republic

Birdy

The xx

Billie Holiday

Muse

Matt Costa

The Beatles

Death Cab for Cutie

Ellie Goulding

Lorde

Of Monsters and Men