Friday, December 30, 2011

Into a New Year

I wouldn't say 2011 has been a particularly great year for me, when I look back on it I see the difficulties I've faced in just about every aspect of my life, and can definitely say this is one year I wouldn't want to live over. But it's also been a growing year in many ways, and it has set me up to look forward to bigger and better things in the new year.

With my writing, while I'm still on that rollercoaster of writing/revising/querying, I definitely feel stronger and more confident in those three aspects. I may not yet have an agent, but the fact that my last few novels all got partial requests make me feel as though I'm at least on the right track. I've been plenty discouraged and disheartened, but I've always picked up and kept going, and for the new year I hope that motivation stays with me. Statistics wise, I wrote three books and did two serious bouts of querying this year, and participated on NaNoWriMo for the first time, which was fun, frustrating, and enlightening. I'm hoping for more growth and more success in the new year; I've been cruising the rest of the year out, but once the new year dawns I'll be getting right back into the trenches.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just in time for fun?

On Saturday I finished my NaNo novel, which was a goal I was happy to meet. This novel was a lot of fun to write but was also frustrating, but that's to be expected, books hardly ever just write themselves without complications. I also learned a lot about myself as a writer, specifically that I can just take an idea and run with it as long as the idea is strong enough. That doesn't mean I've turned my back on plotting, but writing a book without one sure was interesting. It's also nice that I finished in time to focus on the holidays and having some fun, since my best friend and I will be getting our vaca on in FL on Thursday, heading to Orlando and Daytona Beach. Hopefully it's warm enough that I can reclaim five days of summer weather. I've been so writing focused for the past few months that I think I'll take a little break and start up again in the new year....editing, querying, and all that fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guess my character's age

Update: She's 25

Brenda Drake is hosting a cool blogfest where we have to post the first 250 words of our novel and others have to try to guess our character's age based on the voice. So here's mine:

After a three month leave I was looking forward to going back to work, even though for me that involved dealing with demon politics that made being stuck between a rock and a hard place look like a cozy place to take a nap. When I turned onto the sidewalk from the parking lot though, I had a nice reality check waiting for me in the form of people marching and chanting up and down the sidewalk and street. They were hardly my welcome back committee. I sighed as I headed into the throng of Humans Against Demons protestors, preparing for an uphill battle to make it to my building. It was my fault anyway, for not remembering that the Offices for Demon Control was one of HAD’s favorite places to put on their song and dance.

As I struggled through the crowd, I wondered at the sheer volume of people that were here; there seemed to be three times more protestors than usual, which meant the stench of BO was three times worse. It was like these people weighed the time it’d take to shower against the ten minutes of protesting they’d lose, and showering always lost. Suddenly, my attention was caught by the celebratory shouts coming from a group of people clustered in the middle of the street. Wary, I hauled myself onto the roof of a parked car to have a look. When I saw what they were gathered around, I pulled my gun out and fired a few shots into the air.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNo Success

Yesterday I hit the 50k word count for Nano and it was pretty satisfying considering there was a short time whenI thought I wasn't going to continue. In my opinion things were against me from the start, I'm a plotter and I had no outline, only a short description, and I had just finished a book and it's usually a few months before I start another. But I went in anyway, and somehow overcame a three day roadblock where I didn't write at all, and here I am, more than halfway through the book and an outline never really materialized. Writing this book has been fun and I'm looking forward to finishing it and happy to have been successful with my first Nano. Then again I think I would have been disappointed if I hadn't won considering I cranked out a book in 12 days once and in general my books take about a month to write. I guess I set the bar high for myself, uh oh! Anyway, to those of you still in the Nano trenches, good luck! Only 9 days left!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Warm Fuzzies blogfest - week 4

For the final week of the Warm Fuzzies blogfest we're supposed to write about what makes writing worth it for us and share something from our WIP.

Man, this is a question I could easily go on and on about, but when it comes down to it, I write because I love it, because when the urge to get stories out of my head and build worlds around different characters come I can't ignore it. When I first started writing it was mostly for escape, to find myself in a reality other than my own where I had all the control. Nowadays, even though I get frustrated sometimes by my efforts to get published, I still remember that basic reason I started writing and it makes all the frustration worth it. It's fun, and it's rewarding, I love having a finished product that I can be proud of. Writing is who I am and what I do, and I can't imagine not doing it.

I settled on sharing a steamy scene...the first close encounter with the MC and her love interest, who she knows she has to resist for very good reasons, but of course he's just so irresistible.

He took a step closer to me and I wanted to back up, but when I moved I stumbled, and ended up with my back pressed against the window. He moved in, and braced his arms against the glass on either side of my head. I craned my neck away and squeezed my eyes shut, but that did nothing to break the connection between us, and my exposed neck was left vulnerable to his lips, which he was slowly trailing up my skin. The soft touch of his lips combined with the warmth of his breath tickling my skin, and his heady, seductive aura, tore a gasp from my lips. Without thinking, I reached out and grabbed a handful of his shirt, pulling him in to my body so he was pressed up against me and I could feel our heartbeats echoing against each other. Somehow I had gotten the rest of his shirt unbuttoned, and while he continued to play his lips against my skin, trailing up to my chin and very dangerously close to my lips, I was slowly moving my hands down his hard chest, following the planes of his body down to his slim hips. I wanted to stop, but I was already in a very dangerous place, and I felt like I wasn’t even in control of myself, I wasn’t thinking, I was just feeling, and if I kept going I knew that what should never happen would.

(overall 15 pts)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Warm Fuzzies Blogfest - week 3

This week for the Warm Fuzzies blogfest hosted by Juliana Brandt, our challenge is to:

Take a moment to look at the trouble you get your MC into. How do you kick them while they’re down? Without revealing too many secrets about your WIP- take us through your MC’s arch.

The challenge for this week is to visit as many blogs as you can and based on their exert/summary, come up with a title for their WIP. Your title can be funny or serious, whatever you’d like. (The winner will receive one of Juliana's hand-made journals).

In my WIP's arch, my MC, the human who is "irrevocably linked to another," who I will say is one of the demons, has to try and stop a country wide worth of demons who are being controlled to slaughter each other and humans. Helping her is the witch and the other demon, her "linked" demon got lost in the fighting fray, so there is the added complication of him getting himself killed, which would kill the MC. They've figured out a way to stop the fighting in the area they are in (NYC), which would draw out the ones orchestrating the fighting, so that way they could try to stop them. Their method is a unique power MC gained from her linked demon, and they use a special Tower to channel her power and target the fighting demons. The idea is to use her power to drain them of energy which would in essence not kill them but make them pass out, but in return MC has to take all of that energy into herself and when she does it almost rips her apart. The plan seems to work though, they draw out the bad guys, but an important oversight causes MC's allies to be blasted through a window to their supposed deaths (they are at the top of the Tower), and MC to be taken by the bad guys to be used as a tool in their destructive plan. It doesn't look too good for MC after that, but in the ninth hour she comes out on top.

When I thought about what I put her through in this part of the story I realized what a harsh, harsh life she would have if she was a real person, and she would most likely never survive what I put her through! It's fun to write those hard scenes where your MC suffers though, because when they come out on top it's all the more better.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warm Fuzzies Blogfest - week 2

I'm participating in the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest hosted by Juliana Brandt. I wasn't able to jump in week one, but for week two:

This week, we’ll cater to those of us who are completely possessive over our WIPs and don’t want to give anything too telling away. Instead of posting something intimate about our writing, post a picture or piece of music that describes your WIP.

What do you look to when you write? What inspires you? How else do you use your creativity? Music? Pictures? Art?

Oddly enough, this falls in line with the post I did for the Casting Call bloghop, so I hope a bit of recycling is okay. This picture of my four main characters is what I'd like to share:

We have one human, one witch, and two demons. And here are some other vague facts:
  • One of them discovers something about them that irrevocably links them to another one.
  • One of them betrays another in a big way.
  • One of them makes an ultimate sacrifice to save another.
  • One of them is definitely not what they seem in a major way.
Maybe you can guess who is who?

Once my idea materializes in my head, it's usually a few days or weeks of making notes, getting frustrated, then going back in and making sense of the notes before an outline appears and I can start writing. I'm always at ease once I have my outline going. My latest novel was a particularly difficult one for me, I came up against a wall more than I'm used to, which I didn't enjoy. When I was done though, and had the opportunity to do something artistic in relation to the book, I had a lot of fun doing this drawing, looking at it definitely inspires me to keep working with these characters until I get things as perfect as I can. This isn't the first time I've done character art and I've always enjoyed it. To be corny, it's kind of like the icing on the cake.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book I'm Most Thankful For

Nano is upon us and I've already started typing away, I don't have a full plot outline to work with so I hope I don't run up against a wall, but we'll see. Good luck to anyone out there doing NaNo!

Author Beth Revis (Across the Universe) is hosting a cool 19 book (all signed) giveaway on her blog, and to qualify you have to do a post about the book you're most thankful for, so here's mine. Find out more info on the giveaway: Here.

I'd have to say the book I'm most thankful for is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I don't tend to re-read books, but The Secret Garden is on the very short list of books I've read over and over, from my childhood well into my teenage years. If I had time nowadays I'd probably still pick it up from time and time. With some books that you read, there is always something about them that instills certain feelings in you that you may or may not be able to explain, and this book is one of them for me. I think what I took away most from this novel is the belief that things can get better once you have faith and perseverance. I loved the innocence the characters had, Mary, Colin and Dickon. Their world was a very small one, but to them it was vast and full of things for them to discover. I love the idea of just finding one small thing in life, no matter what it is, and what it may mean to anyone else, and holding on to it because you find something special about it, and that's what Mary did with the garden. She didn't look at it and see ten years of neglect, see what an overwhelming task it would be to bring the garden back to life again, she started with just one small seed, and eventually the garden blossomed again. I think the feeling the book gave me that the garden was it's own little world, an escape from everything else, where anything could happen (like Colin realizing he could walk) is something I still carry with me today, something that helps me look for the small things in life to find joy in no matter how bleak everything else is.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog Giveaways!

Happy Halloween all. I wanted to throw out that I've just joined Twitter, so please follow me and I'll follow right back!

Looks like a few blogs out there are starting off the week with giveaways so I just wanted to shout out a few:

Steph Sinkhorn at Maybe Genius is giving away several SIGNED books including Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. Check out her blog for a chance to win some books as well as critiques.

Theresa Milstein is hosting a Halloween Haunting where you can advertise yourself a little and maybe pickup critique partners/blog followers. You can also win a copy of the Fangtales anthology.

And lastly, Shelli at Market my Words is also giving away books and giving bloggers and opportunity to network so be sure to check it out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Casting Call bloghop: Meet the Characters

First up, since I had two books to give away I decided to split them, so using a random number generator, the winner of the signed copy of Dearly, Departed is: Shanella! And the winner of Across the Universe (unsigned) is Saavylistener! I'll be sure to get your books out to you. Hopefully in the future I'll have more signed books to offer.

Today also kicks off the Casting Call bloghop where we get to visually introduce our characters. I did a group image of the main characters of my last novel, so here goes:

I wanted to have a colored, finished piece but I lacked the time, so if I do get around to it this week I'll post it. (UPDATE: Managed to get the coloring done, I thought it'd be cool to have them all wear the same color, so I chose shades of red.)

I don't want to give away too much info on my characters, but I will say that we have one human, one witch, and two demons. And here are some other vague facts:
  • One of them discovers something about them that irrevocably links them to another one.
  • One of them betrays another in a big way.
  • One of them makes an ultimate sacrifice to save another.
  • One of them is definitely not what they seem in a major way.

Maybe you can figure out who is who =) Looking forward to seeing everyone else's character visions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Writing Week & an Award

This has been a crazy week for me so I did not get much done in the ways of editing my latest book. I did however enter a few writing contests, and am gearing up for a blogfest or two, so the busy-ness will continue. Still toying with the idea of doing NaNo this year, but it all comes down to whether or not I can churn out an outline in time.

Anyway, I received an award from Elizabeth Varadan (thanks a lot!), which is very cool, be sure to check her blog out.

The rules are to thank the person who gave you the award and pass it on to fifteen recently discovered blogs. I've decided to pass it on to my most recent followers:
1. Something to Write About
2. Reading, Writing, and Lovin' it!
3. Cheryl Reif
4. Jenny Kaczorowski
5. Mind Writer
6. KT Hanna
7. Can't Fight the Write

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3rd Campainger Challenge

For our third challenge from Rach Writes, we have to write a blog post, any format, in 300 words or less, showing a man or woman on the beach, bored, with something that stinks behind them, and that at the end something surprising happens. For fun we could try to include all the senses and use the made up words wastopaneer, synbatec, and tacise. Here's my piece, entry 64:

Bitter Paradise

The horizon belched up the morning sun like it was a candy that had suddenly become bitter. As it made its slow ascent to the sky, I envied the monotonous cycle the sun followed; it seemed better than having to figure out where to lay my next footstep, or what shape the words out my mouth should take. I sighed, wishing my head wasn’t full of thoughts of him, and my eyes caught sight of a tacise crab that was doing its sideways dance in front of me, carrying bits of bark and broken shells and leaving them near a coconut tree. Maybe it was building a love nest to seduce a lady crab; I’d heard there was a species of bird, the Wastopaneer, that did that. Maybe the crab was trying to seduce me; it almost seemed like he put an extra swing in his claws when he passed by. Laughter tried to rise at the thought, but it died before ever reaching my lips.

Behind me, I felt like the synbatec poison of an abandoned life was trying to seep into my soul. It was a rotten, putrid thing that I refused to ever face again. What reason did I have to be a functioning part of this world when I was just the smallest, most forgettable part of it?

A wind that didn’t yet know if it wanted to be cool or warm picked up, tickling my bare legs. When I looked down though, it wasn’t the wind that had touched me. The tiny crab had crawled onto my knee and seemed to be staring straight into my eyes as it held up a small, white, perfectly whole seashell that glinted in the sunlight. I stared at it for a long, long time. Then, I smiled.

Reminder: you can win a singed copy of Lia Habel's debut novel, Dearly, Departed, as well as a copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis by commenting on my blog post here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comic Con wrap up & Book Giveaway (incl. author autographed copy)

Comic Con was fun and exhausting, so exhausting that I only went Friday and Saturday and let myself recover on Sunday. I had no idea that going to a convention could be so tiring! My body was literally aching...which was due to the fact that both days I lugged around a heavy swag bag. Saturday I went to dinner with friends after and had no choice but to bring the bag and it of course decided to the handles no less, so I had to hug it like a baby to take it home. And it was rainy. Which was fun. But I digress. Overall it was a fun experience. Massive crowds of self proclaimed geeks, lots of booths on the showroom floor, lots of interesting panels. I attended a panel on the new NBC show Once Upon a Time where they screened the first episode and I thought it was really good, definitely looking forward to adding that show to my roster.

There were also a lot of book stalls, publishers like Penguin and Carina press were there, and it was actually the books that weighed my swag bag down and subsequently broke my shoulder. I got a signed ARC of Lia Habel's debut novel Dearly, Departed, and I also got C.E. Murphey's autograph. I wanted badly to get Tamora Pierce's but her signing clashed with a panel for one of my favorite shows, Nikita, so I had to make a tough choice there. The Nikita panel was also a highlight, the stars Shane West and Maggie Q were there. Another highlight was getting to chat briefly with James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). And of course there were tons of great, not so great, and kooky costumes around. Here's an example of not so great:

(one of many)

Anyhow, I'd like to share a bit of the wealth I scored, so I am doing a Book Giveaway! I have a signed copy of Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, as well as a copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis (this is not signed), that I will give to a random commenter. Comment by the end of the week if you'd like these books! (if you want to share the giveaway info please do, but only followers will be eligible). I will ship anywhere in the U.S.