Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's Up Wednesday and the Glimmer of Hope 7/22/2014





What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime and, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. ***Please remember to link to their blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons provided.***

WHAT I'M READING

I finally finished reading Shadow and Bone, and I can't believe I waited so long! It's so much of what I love in a book--magic, travel, adventure, the heroine's discovery of her own strengths, love triangles (I admit it, I love them. I do)...I think I lumped this book in with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone in my head (which was not everything I love in a book) and that's why it took me so long to get to it. Now I'm anxiously awaiting Seige and Storm from the library. Yay!

My kids and I are reading Mr. Lemoncello's Library together. We aren't very far into it, but so far it has been great. It's kind of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets the 21st century. 

I have several books I could be reading on my own, but none of them sound super appealing at the moment. I've got More Than This, Ophelia, The Wishing Spell and The Eye of Minds. It probably wouldn't hurt me to take a break, or to read some nonfiction, so we'll see what happens.

WHAT I'M WRITING

We're working on the edits for Pyromancy. It's slow going right now, but the pace is going to pick up considerably very soon. Our biggest problem is that we had so much fun with the romance that we didn't start the actual plot until way too late in the story. So we're fixing that, and amping up the stakes, and then hopefully trimming it back to a manageable size. 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

My coauthors, again. I wrote them a long sad note about how I just couldn't get my head back in the story, and their responses were such pure silliness that I found myself talking storyline with them almost against my will. I kept doing that weird thing where I almost had an opinion and then reminded myself that I couldn't have an opinion because I didn't care anymore. And then they would make me laugh and suddenly it was OK to have an opinion. So I don't want to jinx anything, but I think we might be OK. (Knock on wood.)

With apologies to my coauthors, who probably never actually meant for this to see the light of day... If you take out all our witty banter, this is what they created last night: 

Sam: Hey look! This thing takes pictures.
Ana: Sam did you just text me a picture of your abs?
Sam: Um…no, that was some other handsome gentleman with really defined abs. Hey Juliette, come see this guy’s really defined abs.
Juliette: (death scowl)
Sam's text to Juliette: Jules, I’m sorry.
Juliette's POV: I couldn’t help but soften a little at that. Maybe he hadn’t meant the joke to go so far, to hurt me so much. My phone beeped again. “Sorry for my insanely defined abs, that is.” I was going to freaking kill him.

Oh my gosh, it is still hilarious. Thank you for making me laugh so hard, Sheena and Sabrina

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Still waiting for that job interview. The longer I wait, the more certain I am that I WANT THAT JOB. It's custom made for me, so wish me luck!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ready, Set, Write! Week #7




Ready. Set. Write! is a summer blog hop set up by  Jaime Morrow, Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, and Erin Funk. If you want to participate, you can link up at one of their blogs.

1. How I did on last week’s goals:

More progress! My coauthors and I have read the comments from our fantastic beta readers and have come to enough of a consensus about what to do about them that I have real things to edit. I'm pretty excited that I'm going to have some measurable goals for this week finally!

2. My goal(s) for this week

A. Rewrite chapter 8,
B. Fix the ripples this rewrite will cause
C. Write some Seb...just to vocalize my opinions for Sheena and Sabrina's sake. (especially my chapter 13 opinions)
D. Have a meeting with Sheena and Sabrina where we finalize who needs to rewrite what, and in what order.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Progress has been as slow as a snail--but it has been progress.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write, the siren song of SNIs)

The area of my brain that I access to write is shut down for repairs. I wish I could see what was going on in there, but I can't get to it at all. Cross your fingers that it is some sort of an upgrade, not a demolition.

5. Something I love about my WIP

All my love is locked up in that unaccessable part of my brain. I'll let you know next week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday--The French Version





Bonjour!
What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime and, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. ***Please remember to link to their blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons provided.***

WHAT I'M READING

I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was really beautiful, and I think it fulfilled my adult-book quota for the next 6 months. I learned so much about Afghanistan, things I'd heard, but had never really understood before. When the Taliban took over, the rules for women changed overnight. Suddenly they weren't allowed to leave their homes unless they were in the company of a male family member, they weren't allowed to attend school, they had separate and very underfunded hospitals...and the most incredible thing was that this happened in the '90s. So it happened to women my age 

I started reading Mr. Lemoncello's Library, and I'd only gotten a few pages in before I realized that I wanted to read it out loud to my kids. I think, instead, that I will start Shadow and Bone, although its not quite what I'm in the mood for. We shall see...

WHAT I'M WRITING

I've been going through all the critiques and ideas for Pyromancy. I've had a few ideas of my own, and hope to really solidify them before next week.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Either teenagers or alone time. I'm not sure which. It's been fun to have all these French teenagers woven into my life for the past couple of weeks. And it's been inspiring to watch my kids forging relationships with them. But there was also that moment on Monday afternoon when I walked down a hiking trail all by myself while they were all playing in the water, and there was about 30 seconds there when I was truly alone in the woods, and I think I'd like to do that again someday--be alone, I mean. That might be fun.

**After reading Kitty Murry's post this week, I am reminded that I was VERY inspired by this video:


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

#1: Watching Axelle integrate into our family. We're going to miss her when she goes back to France on Saturday. She fits into our family so well. 

#2: I applied for a job! Ack!!! I haven't heard if I'm getting an interview or not yet, but I think I'll get at least that far. It's a half-time teaching position, so I would be earning a steady income for the first time in...a lot of years, but I would still have time to write while my kids are in school. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Ready, Set, Write! Week 6 and Soulless

If you are here for Ready, Set, Write! you can find it right beneath this gorgeous cover reveal for Soulless, by Crystal Collier.

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


COMING October 13, 2014



PREORDER your print copy
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Ready. Set. Write! is a summer blog hop set up by  Jaime Morrow, Alison MillerKaty Upperman, and Erin Funk. If you want to participate, you can link up at one of their blogs.

Wowza. Is it already week 6?

1. How I did on last week’s goals: 

Finally! A little progress. I've read everything our beta readers have sent us AND I've nearly made it through Sheena's 2600 word outline of what she thinks we need to change. 

2. My goal(s) for this week

Next week will be my week to get super productive. That seems like such a fantasy...we'll see. In preparation, my goal for this week is to finish reading Sheena's outline and write both my own opinions (should there be any) and my responses to her opinions and my own opinions.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

My favorite part of Sheena's outline of changes was when she called a certain section of the manuscript "Melanie's monsterly long chapter." 

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write, the siren song of SNIs)

I'm doing better about not feeling guilty that I'm not doing everything I wish I was doing. Sheena's working on 3 books right now, and planning a camp for girls, and she still got more done on our book than I did. See how the guilt keeps creeping back? It's a tricky little bugger. Anyway, not having much time to write meant that finding time to write this blog post was tricky. 

5. Something I love about my WIP

I'm at a space in my life where writing would feel superfluous if I wasn't both contractually obligated and honor bound to finish this trilogy.  I don't want to give up writing, but I'm a flitter, so I love that I have coauthors to keep me going.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday--Super Worms!





What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime and, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. ***Please remember to link to their blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons provided.***

WHAT I'M READING

I hardly ever read a book that wasn't meant for young adults, and when I do, it is almost always high fantasy. I'm taking a departure from that to read A Thousand Splendid Suns (by the same guy that wrote The Kite Runner). I'm really enjoying it, and I don't really see what the big fuss is. It isn't taxing my brain to read ATSS any more than a young adult book would, and the themes are different, but don't capture the human experience any better than the books I usually read. 

I finished reading We Were Liars while I ought to have been visiting with my husband's family. We were spending the weekend at a cabin together and I couldn't put it down. I HAD to know what had happened to Cadence. Every time I thought I knew, the next few pages would prove me wrong. After it ended I bawled like a baby. My daughter took it from me and finished it the next morning. Though she felt the same urgency to read it, she didn't have the same emotional response to the ending. She was kind of angry, actually. 

WHAT I'M WRITING

I didn't even write a post for RSW this week, because my writing was nil. See below.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Inspiration is in short supply lately. I'm always inspired by time I spend at the cabin, so I walked out into the lake and said to the world at large "Inspire me!" and waited. It didn't happen, at least not all at once. I started feeling glimmers of inspiration while I was doing the dishes. It's so different doing the dishes at the cabin. There is usually company, and yet it feels solitary and quiet. So different from my typical mad rush of trying to do at least 5 things at once, while I'm late to something else. Plus with music. I think I'm too tightly wound to be inspired right now. But now that I've identified the problem, maybe I can find a solution.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

#1: We had the unexpected opportunity to have a foreign exchange student from France in our home for a couple of weeks. It's a 3 week program, but the home Axelle had originally been assigned to didn't work out, and so the representative in charge of the program emailed us. We've been asked before, but have always said no, for various reasons, but this time it just felt right. It's been wonderful for my family, but it has entailed giving up a lot of my originally scheduled programming for the next couple of weeks. 

#2: A short list of interesting things about our cabin trip
     1. I'm not quite the natural on a paddleboard that I'd always dreamed I would be. 
     2. The fishing worms escaped from their container in the fridge. (!!!!) Ew. Luckily everything in the fridge was in a sealed container, but it was still a disgusting experience. We even found one that had somehow crawled out of the fridge, through the kitchen, through the family room and had nearly made it to the door. This leads me to suspect that some of truths I've always known about worms are really myths. A. They are not stupid. B. They do not necessarily go into a state of hibernation just because they are cold.
     3. I sleep better when there is a hurricane raging outside than I do in the silence right before it. (It was a tropical storm by the time it got to us, but it was still noisy.)

**So, I've been to a whole bunch of blogs this morning, and left a whole bunch of comments, and most of those comments seem to have vanished into the nether...Hopefully you're getting them, even if I can't see them. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What's Up Wednesday--Strawberry Jam!



What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime and, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. ***Please remember to link to their blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons provided.***

WHAT I'M READING

I just finished reading Killing Ruby Rose, and you can find my review here. Finding great books like that is just one of the many reasons I'm enjoying this weekly blog hop! I'm not sure what I'm going to read next, but A Thousand Splendid Suns and We Were Liars are both waiting for me at the library. Oh, who am I kidding...I'm not going to be able to resist We Were Liars. It's next.

WHAT I'M WRITING

You can see my thoughts about writing here. The only thing I really have to add to that is that I had a great idea for one of the early scenes in Pyromancy: Crash. This is a wonderful development, because I haven't had ideas for a few weeks now. Ideas are pretty important if you're a writer.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Lists. Why is it so hard for me to make one when they make me so productive? Possibly because I prefer being lazy to being productive. But on days like today, when productivity is an absolute necessity, I realize what a wonder woman I would be if I enjoyed lists more.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

We got up early to go strawberry picking yesterday. We picked over 30 pounds, and my husband wants to go again tomorrow. Sigh. Then I took my kids to the ocean with some friends. We hurried home to watch the end of the USA soccer game. At the 85th minute, we had to leave for my son's soccer game, and the score was still 0-0. By the time we got to the game and asked people what the score was, it was 2-1. That was a brutal few minutes, I think. Glad I missed it. My son's team won, and then we went home and made strawberry jam. I'm hoping that by this point your jaw has dropped in amazement because I fit so much into my day yesterday, because I can hardly believe it myself, and I was there. :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ready, Set, WRITE! Week 4



Ready. Set. Write! is a summer blog hop set up by  Jaime Morrow, Alison MillerKaty Upperman, and Erin Funk. If you want to participate, you can link up at one of their blogs.

1. How I did on last week’s goals: 

Well, it depends on how you look at it. One of my coauthors, Sheena, told me I HAD to watch the TV show Twisted on netflix. The actor who plays Danny Desai is who she would pick to play Sam Ryan if our books were movies.


In a funny twist, the actor who plays Jo Masterson could easily be Ana:

Anyway, watching the show has given me SO many ideas! (That's kind of odd, because the storylines aren't remotely similar. But seeing Sam's beautiful hair up on the screen like that.... Anyway, since Goal #1 was to flesh out my ideas for the next book, this can be construed as working, right???

No? Darn. I knew it would be a tough sell.

One of our amazing beta readers also finished critiquing our manuscript, so I've been reviewing that. Not a super productive week, all in all.


2. My goal(s) for this week

Continue rereading and retro-outlining Pyromancy: Burn. 


3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I don't know that this is an all-time favorite line. but it is my favorite line on the page my manuscript happens to be opened to:


His eyes lost some of their laziness. "Most people avoid Valentine's Day dances right after a bad breakup," he said, leaning toward me so he didn't have to shout.

I laughed out loud at how far off base he was.  "I'm not most people."



4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write, the siren song of SNIs)

The projects I feel like I ought to be working on require other people (for one I need my coauthors, who are off doing summer things, and for the other I need the betas) and this week I realized that starting another project would be a very bad idea at this point in my life. I'm really glad I made that decision, but it still leaves me trying to convince everyone that watching TV is writing. Blurg.


5. Something I love about my WIP

It's pretty funny how Twisted has so many characters that are similar to characters in our story. Overprotected Jo could almost be Ana, sexy Danny could kind of be Sam, Rico could definitely be Seb. But Lacey IS NOT Juliette. Not even a little bit, and I'm so glad. When Sabrina created Juliette, I didn't think I would like her, since her defining characteristic is grumpiness. But I love her, and I love Sam, who is also a character I would never have created. It's awesome.