Deana Barnhart

I am BEYOND excited!!! I've never taken part in anything like this.  And I am so excited to have discovered GUTGAA, or, "Gearing Up To Get An Agent".  How cool is it that they have something like this?!!

Ok, put on your imagination caps people, and just see it--A full month of awesomeness, where we blog hop and get to know fellow writers,  have the opportunity to learn from each other and those in "the biz", and *eeek* have some very cool and important people see our writing!  Can you say LOVE IT??!!! (said in that sing-song voice of course.)

*Drum roll please....just because it's quiet and I thought it might be fun....*
                             A gigantic thank you goes out to Deana Barnhart
                                   for organizing GUTGAA 2012 for all of us!!!!

Everyone involved in GUTGAA 2012 was asked to tell a little about ourselves and answer some Meet & Greet questions to get to know each other. (How fun, right?) Here is a bit about me...

My short bio: I'm pretty much a book whore, and have loved reading and writing  for as long as I can remember. Seriously. To do the brief background bit, I have my Bachelor's degree in English Education from Penn State and am still going to school part-time for my M.S.in Mental Health Counseling. I taught middle and high school for several years, then decided to go into mental health to pay the bills. I've written for a bunch of different web sites as both a freelancer as well as a contracted writer, and  published three E-books to date.  (One was a YA novel, two were Parenting/Family books). Right now, I'm working on a YA manuscript that is the second in a series. By the way, I just made this blog for GUTGAA, so no, you won't find much else on it yet. I usually use my facebook page and website, but now seeing everyone else's neat-o blogs, I am motivated to roll with it too! I am officially going to join the blog-universe. (Do we get a t-shirt for that?) I have two children, I rarely sleep, and I love desserts.  Oh...and I think big, comfy blankets were one of the best inventions ever.

Questions for the Meet and Greet
-Where do you write? I usually write on my laptop in my bedroom, although I'm not locked into any one space. So if anyone feels inclined to send me a plane ticket to somewhere tropical, or to Italy, I'm sure I can write there just as well. In fact, I'm pretty darn sure I might even be able to write better!

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? A lamp and a bottle of flavored water. (Mixed berry to be precise.)

-Favorite time to write? I don't have a specific favorite time...it's whenever something hits me, though generally that seems to occur early in the day and later in the evening.

-Drink of choice while writing? Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. So it's kind of odd that when you had me look to my left just now I found flavored water, although there is an empty coffee cup a little bit behind it.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I need silence. My characters get annoyed if I don't give them my complete attention. They tend to be moody like that.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? My main character in "Summer of Secrets" was a secondary character in my last novel, "Summer of Hope". She was one of those characters most people loved to hate. And I decided to unravel her a little more to discover more about why she might be like that. I have a background in mental health and had worked in Crisis for a while. I'd worked with pretty many teens that were going through different crisis situations in their lives. I pulled in some of what I'd seen during my time doing that work for my main character in this manuscript. There were some in particular that had really grabbed at my heart; and I had seen a lot of teens dealing with big issues in secret, thus my title.

-What's your most valuable writing tip? Believe in yourself., and don't  give up. Show your readers what you want them to see...don't tell them. Oh, and scan over your page...now get rid of 1/2 of the times you just used the words "(s)he said." And did I mention don't give up? =)

I can't wait to blog-hop all over and meet you all! If you haven't already signed up, make sure you do! You can also find a link to all the other people involved in the blog hop here.

**This has seriously motivated and encouraged me already more than I can say. I didn't realize there was such an amazing network of support out there...and I am blown away by all I am already seeing. So, just after one day...thank you. To Deanna, to the judges, to the agents, and to each of the writers who show such support to each other.


  1. Love the advice. I remind myself all the time--believe in yourself.
    I know what you mean with the distractions. I can't have any!
    Great to meet you! :D

    1. Hi Pk! Thanks for stopping by! It's like the cheesy Journey song that has apparently come back in vogue, since my 13 y/o daughter claims it is a smash hit at all of her school dances "Don't Stop Believin'" LoL

      Nice meeting you too!!


  2. Amen to that-- don't give up! We love our characters and they DESERVE proper care and love. How could we give up on them? So nice to meet you and best of luck!

    1. AG--I still giggled seeing that photo. Happy to see you stop by. Thanks for visiting. =)


  3. I like that you have layered characters with real issues to explain how they have become the "people" they are. I think that's the key to making the real.

    1. Hi Angie,
      You know, I think you are absolutely right. I'm actually finding this one easier to write so far...parts of it are just flowing so much easier than even the first one did. Maybe because it's almost as if even I believe more that the character is going through everything. It's funny..the feedback I got on my first work was positive..and I felt good about it when I wrote it, yet I somehow think this one is going to be even stronger. But maybe that is just me. lol

  4. Great advice!
    And this: I have two children, I rarely sleep, and I love desserts. Oh...and I think big, comfy blankets were one of the best inventions ever.
    Switch out two for four and this could be me! :)
    Nice meeting you!

    1. Hey, I don't see a 'follow' button! What's the deal?

  5. Hi Rachel,
    I just added a follow button now! LOL I have it on the bottom, I have to move it over on the side. I didn't have a blog before, just my website (which I didn't really blog on)...but seeing all these blog is making me want to do it too! Huh....typing that I feel like a 15 y/o at a party watching kids smoke pot and thinking he'd like to try it for the first time to see what all the fuss is about. Wait til Deana sees this. The other day I didn't even know what GUTGAA was and asked Daniel if I asked about what it was if I'd be embarrassed because it was something sexual and Deana told me I made her day.."GUTGAA...every writers sexual fantasy"..hahaha. Now me wanting to blog is equated with getting high. Oh...I think I should probably stop while I'm (sort of) ahead. =)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Alo, alo! Good to see you joining ALL THE THINGS!! Contests are such a great way to meet people and learn things in the publishing industry! Best of luck!

    1. Rachel,
      I'm learning that already..that contests are a wonderful way to meet so many fantastic people. I honestly think that more than anything has helped motivate and encourage me as a writer. Best of luck to you as well!

  7. Your inspiration for Summer of Secrets sounds fascinating. A background in mental health must give you a wonderful insight into your characters.

    Great to meet you, and see you around the blogfest.

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for stopping by! I think my background definitely helped with my character in this one especially, given the storyline. It's very nice to meet you as well, and I look forward to seeing more of you throughout the coming weeks!

  8. Nice to meet you. I'm interested in your story, so I'll keep an eye out for your work. Good luck!

  9. Hi, I am making my meet and greet rounds. Your advice is perfect. Distraction are my biggest downfall. I look forward to reading your work.

  10. Jodie - so great to meet you -- I love getting to know other writers! You've got a great web site! Cheers! :0)

  11. Your background is very inspiring, and it's great to see how it plays into your writing. And YES with the believe in yourself advice. Now if I could just get that tattooed on my brain...

    Nice to get to know you more!

  12. Hi,
    Still making my rounds for Gutgaa! It's so nice to meet you.