Thursday, August 27, 2009


I have been a bad, bad blogger lately. I usually post once, or twice a week, but I've paid less and less attention to my dear blog in the last few weeks.

I've been furiously polishing my finished MS, which was something that I didn't think would have to be done for a while. But thanks to my crit partners (Suzanne and Michael) as well as Mary, Elana and Suzette, I was able to crank out what I feel is my best work ever. I've sent the MS to the requesting agent, and now the waiting game begins.

Also, volleyball season started two weeks ago. I'm the varsity coach and therefore in charge of the program so I've been in the trenches, preparing for our season and the school year. It's taking a lot of my time.

School starts Monday, and the pace will finally slow. Then I can take a deep breath, dive into a new project and finally blog again! Yay!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blog Chain - Words of Wisdom

It's blog chain time again, and Cole chose a topic that's a game as well! She asked her fellow bloggers to pretend that we are adressing a crowd of aspiring authors eager to soak up our words of knowledge. But the catch is this: we only have one sentence (no more than twenty words) to share and we are only allowed to elaborate or address questions in the comments section of our blogs. Take a look at Kate's advice before mine, and Terri's tomorrow! Here are my words of wisdom for aspiring authors:

"Edit, edit, edit, and when you're sure your manuscript is polished, edit one more time."

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Thanks to B.J. Anderson, blogger extraordinaire for passing on the Kreativ Blogger Award! I'm so lucky to be a part of such a great community of writers! The rules for this award are pretty simple:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. (see below)
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Let's see... I'm pretty open about all of the crazy things that make up Mandy, but I'll try to think of something new...

1. My family has owned the property my house sits on for over 100 years. In fact, my house sits on an old barn site where my great-grandfather boarded horses for a local Native American tribe.

2. I rolled my mom's car down an embankment when I was 15. My boyfriend (now husband) was in the car with me. Nothing solidifies a relationship like matching neck braces!

3. I am a high-school volleyball coach. I spend three months a year, knee-deep in teenage girls and the rest of the year recuperating.

4. I've lived ten miles from a ski resort my entire life, but didn't learn how to ski until I was in my twenties. I learned with my daughter. She went on to be a junior ski racer, I went on to watch!

5. My favorite physical activity is swimming. We have a cabin by the lake and I've been swimming since I was about five. I could swim all day.

6. I don't drive in the city. Period. Unless I'm by myself with no other alternative. I'm a small-town girl all the way and if I'm headed to a city, I hand over the wheel.

7. I tried to write my first novel at eighteen. It was a historical romance and I still have it. I got about half way through before I talked myself out of finishing it. But I like to look at it every now and then to remind myself that writing is all I've ever wanted to do.

There you have it, seven interesting (or not so interesting) things about Amanda Bonilla. Check out my fellow bloggers who I've passed this award on to and learn some interesting things about them! Abby Annis, Annie Louden, Lynnette Labelle, Cole Gibsen, Windy Aphayrath, Christine Fonseca and Melissa Ann Long. Check out these fantastic bloggers and learn something interesting about each of them!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blog Chain - Multitasking

First of all, I’d like to thank the other blog chain members for inviting me to their group. I’m so excited to be a part of this!!

I’m the last writer in the chain this round, but be sure to check out Kate’s post before mine.

Terri asked the question,

Do you focus on one project at a time, or do you have many irons in the fire at any given moment?

I am obsessive in my single-mindedness. I’m a hobby freak and when I find something new I usually throw myself into said project head first. I’ve made jewelry, soaps and lotions; I’ve even knitted beanies (skull caps). And when I was involved in those projects, that’s pretty much all I did.

Writing was the only on and off hobby I’ve ever had. That is until last April. When I finally sat down, determined to write an entire novel, my previous obsessions were left in the dust. Laundry stayed dirty, dishes piled up in the sink, the world dissolved around me and my laptop became my universe. It’s a little better now than it was, but I have to work at peeling myself away.

The same goes with a writing project. Once I’ve committed to the story, that’s all I work on. New ideas don’t even occur to me while I’m focused on a WIP. It tends to leave me with a bit of downtime between novels, but if an idea were to grip me mid-project, I’d probably spontaneously combust. I don’t even sleep well while I’m working because I wake up in the middle of the night with entire character conversations playing out in my mind. Multi-tasking writing projects present me with the possibility that I might confuse the narrative voice, causing characters from different stories to bleed into one another. It’s hard enough to assign personality traits to each character in a book, let alone divide my creative energy between more than one story.

I wish I was a better multi-tasker, and I KNOW that my family wishes I was. I’ve written a couple of short stories and then there’s the occasional blog entry, but even those are things I have to force myself to do while I’m actively engrossed in a WIP. I’m taking baby steps toward allowing my mind to wander. The benefit would be less down-time between projects or at the very least a new one would be queued up by the time I finish a current one. But I have faced the fact that I am OCD about writing, and I’m okay with it!

How about you? Do you see a single story through to the end, or is your WIP folder packed to overflowing with the beginnings of your new obsession? Let me know.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Confessions of an Addict

"Hi, my name's Mandy, and I'm an addict."

This was basically my husband's tag line for me this past weekend. It's not that funny. Not even mildly amusing. But since he only talked that way around our friends, I'll forgive him.

His twenty year high school reunion was held Friday and Saturday. We met up with some close friends who we see outside of the every ten years required by reunion law and the first thing his good buddy's wife said when she saw me was, "I heard you're on the internet.... writing books or something?"

Ouch. Thanks, dear. You're a champ. "I'm not on the internet...." I said, a little put out, "but I am writing books."

Face red, check. Pulse quickening, check. Heart pounding, oh yeah. Embarrassment kicking in, you betcha.

For some reason, he tells EVERYONE that I'm writing. I tell NO ONE. I don't know if it's because he's secretly proud of me, or that he's looking for a segue to complain about the fact that I'm having a love-affair with my computer (because that's what seems to be at the top of his gripe list). And at the same time, I don't know why I'm so embarrassed to shout to the world, "Yeah--that's right--I'm writing, so what?!?!"

I really dreaded that aspect of this reunion. People asking what I was up to and me trying to decide if I wanted to blow them off.... "I'm still coaching, blah, blah, blah". Or if I really wanted to spill the beans..."Well, I'm glad you asked. I've been writing for the last year and a half." I decided to go with conversation number one.

It's not that I'm not happy with what I'm doing as a writer. I am. I feel like I've finally, really followed through with something and found my true calling. But I guess it's my lack of success that keeps my mouth clamped shut. I know that I'm not doing too bad. I've had a few requests for partials in the last year, and a request for a full or two. That's further than a lot of people get. I guess its my nagging self doubt, rearing its ugly head yet again.

Two things happened, though to really snap me out of it. First, said wife answered me with, "I tried to sit down and write a book once, I got to page five and quit." That sentence led to a conversation about writing and she knew her stuff! Face, back to normal. Pulse, slowing. Heart, no longer pounding. Embarrassment, gone. The second thing that happened occurred while I was talking with one of my few "local" friends who knows all about my writing. We were catching up on the phone and she told me that she was going to have a stab at finally writing on her blog, and not just updating her family's goings on. "I'm so proud of you," she said. "It's really brave to put your stuff out there to let people read it."

Wow, I guess it is. I usually kind of pooh-pooh that comment off when someone says it, but this time, I really considered it. It is very, very hard to expose your soul like that. And writers put their souls into every word they write. Writing is so personal, so solitary, a little lonely at times, and by showing others our work, we give them a glimpse of what that loneliness produces. I'm glad that I can plunk that secret part of me down on the computer screen and have the guts to hit send over and over as I share my work with agents in the hope that someday I'll get to share my work on a much larger scale. I guess it is a little brave, and when I hit "send", I'm certainly not embarrassed or ashamed.

I think everyone decided that ten years was too long to get together and so the next reunion is slated for five. My own twenty year reunion is in three and I can't wait for people to ask me what I'm up to. "My name's Mandy, and I'm a writer."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shakespeare and a Picnic Dinner

After nineteen years of jewelry, trips and whatnot, my husband gave me the perfect anniversary present. On Saturday we drove to Boise to see the Idaho Shakespeare Festival's performance of Twelfth Night.

I have been a die-hard fan of Shakespeare since I was a little kid. As I look back on it now, I find it a little strange. But, I grew up on old movies, elaborate musicals and so on, so I suppose it stands to reason that Shakespeare's plays would appeal to me. The Festival has been in business for about 20 or so years give or take. I remember being twelve years old and reading the fliers advertising Romeo and Juliet and wishing I could go more than anything.

Well, twenty three years isn't too long to wait... ;)

The company has a permanent home with a lovely and simple outdoor stage nestled among trees and green grass. We had great seats in the third row, lawn seats, and we bought a picnic dinner and lounged in our low-backed chairs. When the play started I was like a kid again, smiling through the entire play, surely looking like an idiot!

The actors were wonderful, the costumes beautiful, the comedy perfectly timed. I glanced to my husband out of the corner of my eye once or twice and noticed that he was smiling, but not laughing himself to tears like I was. I kept asking him, "are you having a good time?" and he would say, "Yes!" Then I asked him, "do you like the play?" and he would answer, "uh-huh." Okay, I know there were a million other things he'd rather be doing, but I was happy as a clam and he gets serious brownie points for thinking of me.

When Feste closed the show, singing, "But that's all one, our play is done, and we'll strive to please you every day..." tears spang to my eyes. It's over?!?! So soon?!?! The lights went dark and the crickets sang and I smiled so big I thought my face would break. Curtain call came with the return of the stage lights and I stood and clapped so long and hard that my hands hurt. WOW. What a great experience. Better than going to the ballet last Christmas, better than any concert I've ever been too... it was the best night ever!

And hubby.... if you want to give me the same thing next year, (wink, wink) that would be fine with me!