WUW: My Character Bloghop!

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

whatsupyoWHAT I’M READING

So, the day after I said I was enjoying The Devil’s Highway I stopped reading it. On page 55. Why? Well, it was technically written very well and the topic was interesting and I know next to nothing about it (illegal immigration through the Sonoran Desert) but it was So. Stinking. Dry. I was reading while making rice pudding and had to put it down to finish the pudding, and when it came time to pick it back up, I just couldn’t. I literally cringed thinking about reading on. And then I had an epiphany about why I love YA so much–it’s all about the feels, and I am allll about the feels, man. So if something has no emotion in it, I’m done.

So now I’m reading Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I’m really excited about this one–it’s been on my TBR since it came out. High fantasy? Yes please. YA high fantasy? Mos def! YA high fantasy that’s not Medieval Western European based? Hells yes! I’m halfway through and loving the Russian-ness.

WHAT I’M WRITING

Jaime did the My Character Bloghop and tagged whoever wants to do it, so I considered myself tagged! Iwill now share 5 things about my main character.

1. She has had three names through the life of this story. Violet/Vi then Melia/Lia and now Elitsa/Elle. I’m so in love with Elitsa. It fits her beautifully. I needed something that sounded ancient but not too exotic. Bonus points for it lending well to a nickname because Elle is a nickname type of girl.

2. Elle has an eye on a career in public service and is active in model United Nations. In fact, during the book she’s in a prestigious model UN workshop at NYU.

3. She thinks she’s losing her mind at the beginning of the book when she starts having memories of the past, but not her past if you know what I mean. Think WWII, the French Revolution, and even ancient Egypt.

4. She’s modeled partly after Leslie Knope–I was very inspired by Leslie’s optimism and steam rolling. ^_^

5. She recently dated her brother’s best friend, unbeknownst to said brother. She also just might date him in the future … tsk tsk!

I love this girl, and good thing since I’ve been living with her for 5 years now.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Reading YA! It’s become such a fuel to my fire for publication. Especially since I’ve had several moments of Maybe I should give up on this book since this draft will be another big one. But I know it has a good shot and reading other YA novels keeps me hungry.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

On Thursday Turbo tripped at the park and chipped and cracked his tooth. So badly, in fact, they had to pull it. The top front left one, so it’s really noticeable. It was a sad day and his smile won’t be the same for several years, but I think I’m getting used to it. He got over it pretty fast–he’s such a trooper!

We’ve made more progress on the backyard! The Mister put in French doors onto our new patio while I was gone, and he finished up the last of the trim work last night. It looks awesome and I love all the light the doors let in (there was a window there before). I love being married to such a handy man.

Tomorrow we head up to the mountains–Breckenridge, CO–for the Fourth! I’m so excited for this little vacay with my little family and some of our closest friends. We’re going to swim, and hike, and play lots of games, and just enjoy ourselves. The Mister and his friend are doing a mountain bike race on the Fourth so we’ll cheer them on. And it will be much cooler up there–almost 20 degrees cooler. Yessssss.

For the Character Bloghop, I tag Kitty, Bridgid, and Angelica, but anyone feel free to participate.

Have a Happy Independence Day!! And if you’re Canadian or English, have a happy normal fourth of July anyway! :)

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WUW: Vacation killed my productivity

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

So I finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters several weeks ago and oh my goodness, so good. I loved it. Yes, there were some pacing issues, and a few other flaws, but I didn’t care. It was so beautifully written and so literary! I cried when I finished it because it was so beautiful and I was sad it was over and there were just so many emotions coursing through me. I want to read the whole series all over again, but that will have to wait. Then I critiqued an awesome book for one of my friends. I’m currently reading The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea for my book club. It’s a non-fiction book about illegal immigration over the Mexican border, so it’s a far cry from my normal reading habits. But the writing is fantastic and I’m enjoying it so far.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m finally getting into revisions again! So, Turbo and I spent 3 weeks in Charleston, SC, visiting my family. The first week, I stayed with my productivity, using nap time for “writing” time (aka brainstorming) since my parents both work. But then my little sister flew in for the last two weeks and that ended all that, although we did have some helpful book chats. Then I flew home and read my friend’s book. Then I decided to take a last minute trip to Utah to see my family out there, and of course, no writing was done. But my sister was out there and we had more helpful chats. I’ve been in a real mental block with rearranging my plot. I returned home on Friday and all weekend have been reading and re-reading my betas’ feedback, as well as studying up on structure over at Helping Writers Become Authors. Yesterday I did some brainstorming via hand written notes, and felt very close to figuring it out. A quick chat with my sister last night, and Eureka! I finally know what needs to be done.

In case you’re wondering, I do not believe in writer’s block. :) You can figure anything out with enough time and efforts, and different methods of “attack.” I’m a big proponent of talking it out and handwritten brainstorming. They always come through for me.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

See above. ^_^

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

So yes, I went to South Carolina for 3 weeks and Utah for 5 days. It was so much fun! I ate out several times, went to the beach twice, rode on bikes downtown and around my old neighborhood, and just enjoyed life. I also went to the Alumni Weekend for my MFA program at Converse College. It was so wonderful to be physically in the writing world, and specifically the literary writing world. I attended multi-genre workshops (loved the feedback from the poets), lectures, and readings, and it all helped me remember how much I love literary writing and reaffirmed my resolve to be a literary YA fantasy writer.

In my last post, I promised I was working on something, but that something will have to wait until I finish this draft. Hopefully I’ll be done by the end of July, or not much after. We have lots of people coming to visit in the next month, but I’m not slipping back to my procrastinator ways again.

How’s your summer going? It’s good to be back!

WUW: Just snow … in May

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

I’m 130ish pages into Dreams of Gods and Monsters and it is divine. I know a lot of people have commented on the slow pace of this book, but so far it doesn’t bother me. That’s actually pretty common–others feel like a book is sluggish, when it doesn’t bother me much. The reason is this: PLOT is the not very high on my list of WHY I READ. CHARACTER, WRITING, and EMOTIONS/INTROSPECTION (which, I know, are totally a part of character) are, though. So when one or both of those are on point, I forgive a lot. And not even consciously, like I’m making excuses for them. I just get so wrapped up in those that I don’t notice pacing issues until I finished the book (and even then I’m like, meh whatever). I think it’s also due to my mom only allowing me to read the classics for much of my childhood, and then my MFA/literary training. So I’m pretty biased. But this is why I enjoyed Mockingjay and Ignite Me much more than others. (Although the Adam thing still irks me to no end.)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I read through the latest draft of FR and yep, my beta readers were right. Definitely pacing issues. So, my next step is to write a one-line summary of each scene onto one notecard each, then start moving things around to see what will work. I have a basic idea of what things should go where, but I need to know where each scene will go. I considered doing this on Scrivener, but I think handling the cards will aid in the process. Plus, it’ll be easier to move them. Sometimes the electronic version doesn’t beat the physical one, you know?

Also, pleasant surprise: I still love this book. I was worried I’d be somewhat resentful towards it, since I’m putting the book of my heart on hold to do this draft, but I quickly fell back in love as I read it. So yay!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Bought some flowers today for my front stoop and they are so beautiful and vibrant I couldn’t help but smile and feel inspired. Also, my book. Reading it made me excited to make it better. Aaaand I’ve been doing research on literary agents, which is exciting and inspiring. One step closer!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

2014-05-12 07.58.18

So, it snowed on Sunday and Monday. SNOWED. IN MAY. And not just a skiff–serious accumulation. Mother’s Day was actually lovely because after church we had absolutely nowhere to be so we donned our jammies, napped, ate on the couch, watched TV, and generally vegged. It was wonderful. And I don’t mind snow in May that much, because it’s better that unseasonably hot weather. (I’d rather have just perfect weather, but given the choice … ) And, as I knew would be the case, it was all gone by yesterday afternoon. That’s Denver for you.

I’ve got something up my sleeve that I hope to show y’all next week. I’m very excited and very nervous about it. Eeeep!

How’s your week, lovelies?

WUW: I’m baaaack!

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

I’m actually writing this on Tuesday afternoon, and as of this moment nothing. But! By Wednesday, I hope to have my copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters back in my grubby little paws. See, when it arrived, I was woefully behind on book club and beta reading, so I lent it out to a friend. And then to another. But now I’m all caught up, and they’ve all read it, and it’s coming back home tonight or tomorrow morning. Yay! I’m sure I won’t get any sleep on Wednesday night. :)

That reminds me, I need to remind the Mister that I’d like a book light for Mother’s Day…

WHAT I’M WRITING

Well, my break from FR (now ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT, but I’ll still refer to it as FR because … I want to) officially ended yesterday. Technically, it was supposed to end on May 1st, but I just wasn’t ready to part with THROUGH CLOUDED EYES yet. I still really wasn’t yesterday (I’m in the middle of a scene!) but I’m staying disciplined and focused. TCE is turning into the book of my heart, y’all. I love that story so much, and I’m bummed I didn’t get as far in it as I’d hoped. (More on that below.) But I want to query by the end of the year, and I have a really good chance of getting FR into query-able shape by then.

So! I have all my feedback in from my readers, and I discovered two important things: 1) I still have structure and pacing issues to work out. (I wish I’d read K. M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel three months sooner!!) 2) While I loved the positive things my readers had to say, the happiness they gave me in no way compares to the sheer euphoria I feel when I finish a book.

And isn’t that wonderful?

I was so so so happy when I realized that. I write not for praise, but for the love of it. I’d wondered whether that was the case, and I’m so happy it is. Because it means I’m doing it for the right reason. So yay!

Monday I used Weiland’s advice to identify the key events and plot points in my novel, which showed me that some of them were happening way too late. Tuesday I wrote my query (that was so hard!!). Wednesday, I’ll start my read-through, and hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be tackling this bad boy. Laying out the structure of my novel makes it seem like it will be easy to fix, but I know it won’t. Time for scene juggling! But it gives me a very clear road map, and that is priceless.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

I officially switched from TCE’s playlist to FR’s on Monday, which was kind of jarring (SO different in tone) but also fun. I forgot what an awesome playlist this is. Also, my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. I’d announced to the Mister a few weeks ago that I was ready to give up caffeine (they make a decaf variety, bless their sweet little hearts), but Turbo is on week two of waking up at 5 am, so I need that caffeine!

WHAT I’M UP TO

Okay, y’all. Babysitting a 16 month old when you have an 18 month old is like having twins. And it very nearly drove me insane. The little girl I watched (she and her family have moved to Texas now) was sweet as can be, and nowhere near as destructive as Turbo. But chasing after two toddlers was … kinda crazy. And very exhausting. Not to mention the fact that the first two weeks they didn’t nap at the same time, which not only nipped nap time writing in the bud, but it also made for one frazzled and exhausted Kris. By the time I got Turbo in bed, I’d have enough energy to clean the kitchen and straighten the toys, and sometimes not even that. There were many early bedtimes for me, and not much writing done. Which also added to my mounting insanity. I need to write. Really and truly need it. (Which is so, so wonderful.)

So mothers of twins, I salute you.

Also, during the last week of watching Little Girl, my MIL flew into town and we sodded our yard. Ourselves. It was a completely nuts weekend. The patio is poured, the dog run is in, the yard is leveled, and the sod is … installed? (Does one install grass?) And the result … is beautiful:

2014-04-28 11.27.16 2014-04-28 11.27.45

For reference, here’s what it’s looked like for the past 5 years:

2014-03-22 12.16.11 2014-03-22 12.16.29

The two week Stay-Off window ends Saturday and I can’t wait to get my feet on that lush organic carpet. There’s obviously stuff left to do in the backyard (resetting and moving the flagstone patio, landscape rock around the sheds, finishing touches on fence of dog run, install French doors onto concrete patio, and put roof over concrete patio (that one not until the fall), but this is a HUGE step forward.

How’s your week going? Have you read Dreams of Gods and Monsters yet? (Probably. I’m sure I’m the last one.)

WUW: Time for a little break

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw treeWHAT I’M READING

I finished up Throne of Glass last night and I ended up really, really enjoying it. Okay, to be fair, around the halfway mark I said to my husband, “I don’t know if I hate this book or love it.” There were definitely things that drove me kinda crazy, but I couldn’t put it down. And I’m glad I stuck with it. I have to say, this is the first ever love triangle that has me completely torn between the two guys, even though I saw it coming from page 10. Chaol and Dorian are both terrific characters while still distinct individuals. Also, Celaena’s character arc was nicely done. So, yes, I will continue through the series. Not right now though, because I have a manuscript to critique, and another one coming soon, and I have to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for book club (soooo excited for this one) AND I got a shipment notice for my signed copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters yesterday! Ahhh! SOOOOO excited! Laini Taylor is my spirit animal, y’all. Her and The Naked and Famous. :)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I submitted the first 5k of the Book of Eire to my writing group last week. I was quite nervous, since I was going to find out if I’m the only one who loves this story, but they did too! Yay! The muse hasn’t been my friend this week, but I’ve kept up with my 100 words a day challenge and even managed 500 words yesterday. Also, I have a title! Doo doo doo doo! THROUGH CLOUDED EYESI love it and it feels so perfect because this story is all about fate, death, and mental illness. Sounds happy, right? Hah! It’s also about love though, so there you go. :)

Also, I’m set on a new title for FR also: ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT. Feels good to have that settled.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

As I said, the muse has been noticeably absent this week, but I’m finding inspiration in pushing through despite that. I used to balk at the idea of writing every day–it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t the type of person who could keep that up, etc. etc. etc.–but it really makes all the difference. I wasn’t able to write on Sunday and I noticed a difference on Monday. Even taking one day off sets me back a bit! So, even when the writing isn’t glamorous, and each word is another tooth pulled, I continue on. And it’s worth it every. single. time.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

I’ve taken on babysitting for a friend’s daughter for the next 2 weeks. She’s just a few months younger than Lincoln, but she’s not a consistent afternoon napper which means my writing time is taking a huge blow. (Yesterday their naps only overlapped by 10 minutes :/) I’m still dedicated to writing every day, but it means writing at night some days, and it means some other things are going to slide for the next couple of weeks. And one of those things is blogging. So I’m going to peace out for a bit, but I’ll be back!

I hope y’all have a fabulous week, next, and the week after! (But I should be back to blogging then.) How’s this week going so far?

WUW: Donezo!!!

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop that’s easy and fun. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

winter wuwWHAT I’M READING

Ahhhh! Ignite Me!! I finished it yesterday and I’m very happy with it. Juliette’s character arc ROCKS. Seriously. And Warner has quite a nice character arc as well. Such a great character. Mafi did a fantastic job with him. There were some pacing issues, as well as major Adam issues, but that’s all I can say without getting into spoiler territory. If you haven’t read the Shatter Me series, I highly recommend it. I didn’t love Shatter Me, in fact I was kinda disappointed in it, but I loved Mafi’s writing style and voice so much I decided to give it another try. So I read the first novella, Destroy Me, and I was hooked. I didn’t read Fracture Me, the second novella, and after reading Ignite Me, I’m glad I didn’t. But I’m so so glad I stuck through to the end of the series.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I finished the second draft of FRACTURED RADIANCE!!!! Confetti! Streamers! Ticker tape! I finished it on Friday afternoon, then bundled it up and shipped it off to betas that night. I’ve already heard back from one of them(!), which was a very unexpected and very pleasant surprise. Still, no matter how quickly all feedback comes in, I’m taking at least 6 weeks off my book, probably even two months. I really need some space from the manuscript so I can look at it with fresh eyes. In the meantime, today I decided I’m going to start another paranormal book during the week, and on the weekends I’m going to world build for my high fantasy series. Eeee! These are two projects I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. I made the decision today, and tomorrow I’ll start on the new paranormal story. I’ll let you know when I have a title, which may be a while because I’m terrible at titles. Oh, and have I mentioned that FR needs a new title? And it was so perfect. Oh well.*

WHAT INSPIRES ME

We’ve been having lots of gorgeous weather here in Denver lately (and lots of ungorgeous weather, like the chilly weekend that just passed), and Turbo and I have been spending lots of time outside. I love being outside, playing with my kiddo and soaking up much needed vitamin D. It’s been lovely.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Getting my house back in shape! Good grief, did I ever have tunnel vision last week! I promised the Mister I would clean up last week, and I did clean the kitchen one or two nights and I did wash and dry our clothes, but that’s it. So, this week I’m trying to make my house habitable, at the very least. Most of the laundry (that I did Monday) is still on the couches, but I folded some of it last night and I should finish it up tonight. I’ve also vacuumed, swept, and even mopped(!). That happens like … once every 6 weeks or so. So, yay for a clean home!

Have a fabulous week!

*I sound so “ho hum pig’s bum” but actually it was more like “WHAAAAAAT?! I HAVE TO THINK OF ANOTHER TITLE WTF! #$$@*!%^!@$%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

WUW: Kpop Edition!

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop that’s easy and fun. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

winter wuwWHAT I’M READING

Almost done with my re-read of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, and it’s just as lovely as I remember it. I picked it for book club, and my friends are reporting that they love it. Of course! Why wouldn’t they? I’ll see what the rest of book club says next week. :) At the suggestion of Bridgid Gallagher, I picked up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas from the library. She sold me as soon as she said it’s about an assassin. I’m excited to start it when I finish Seraphina. Anyone else read it? What did you think?

WHAT I’M WRITING

Still click-clacking away on my revisions! This weekend I got sick and while I continued to hack away at the manuscript, I was feeling pretty uninspired. But now I’m feeling better and the muse is back. I have NINE chapters left! Ahhhhh! Home stretch, y’all! Of course, these chapters are largely summarized or dialogue-only, so I have a lot of work still left to do. But still. I’m also done with this round of revisions! What!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Are y’all ready for some Kpop overload? Hah! I’ll try to avoid that, but there’s just so much good stuff out there. I’ll keep it to my favorites.

T.O.P’s song “Doom Dada” is my go-to for getting into the creative mindset. The video’s kinda cracked out, but that’s the point. (Check this video out if you’d like an explanation, starting at the 5:23 mark. Pretty brilliant stuff.)

Next up is T.O.P’s AWESOME hip hop song with his BigBang band mate G-Dragon. This was the song that solidified my love for Kpop. And Turbo loves dancing to this song. As soon as he hears it, he starts doing the diaper bump. So freaking cute.

Third is the song that got me interested in Kpop in the first place! Junhyung, the rapper for the group Beast, is the star of the second Kdrama I watched, Monstar. This boy is a quadruple threat! He can act, dance, sing, and rap. I love love love this song, and the whole album is reminiscent of late 90s R&B. Good stuff, y’all.

Can’t forget the ladies! 2ne1 is kinda crazy and that’s why I love them. This video features guns, straight jackets, and fierce clothing, and it’s called “I Am the Best.” Nuff said!

EXO are new and taking the Asian music scene by storm! “Growl” is my second favorite by them (“Machine” usurped it as #1 last night. THE DANCING!!! Kai is a beast.) and their most famous. This video was filmed in one-shot and its simplicity combined with the choreography make it genius.

And last goes to my new favorites, the band Led apple. Rock bands are pretty rare in the Korean music industry, so this indie rock loving girl was delighted to stumble upon these guys. (Thanks to a member of my Kpop facebook group! Yes, I’m in a group devoted solely to discussing Kpop. ^_^) The lead singer, Hanbyul, has some serious pipes. They’re doing this Music Note series where they cover a famous pop song every week, and his version of Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” is simply incredible. This is their newest single and it infuses my entire body with joy. These guys also preform with a lot of heart which I love and appreciate.

(If you want to skip all the intro, start at 0:45.)

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

My giveaway ended last night! And the winner is …

winner

Lucky number 5, who is Stephanie Scott. Congrats Stephanie! I’ll mail you my copy as soon as it arrives. (Seriously, Amazon? Don’t you know what the point of pre-ordering is??)

I finally found the Girl Scouts on Monday, and have adopted two boxes of Thin Mints. I promise to give them a good home–in my freezer, and later in my belly. Om nom nom.

How is your week? I hope fabulous!