WUW: GIVEAWAY!!

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

I finished The Book Thief last week and FELT ALL THE FEELINGS!! So wonderful. So brilliant. If you haven’t yet read that book, fix that immediately! Now I’m re-reading Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and it is as beautiful the second time. Another book you need to read it you haven’t yet.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’ve now revised 20 chapters, leaving 15 more. I’ve been hovering just below 60k the past few days since I’ve done a lot of cutting, but today I’ll add enough that I’ll finally hit that milestone. The first version of this story, SPARKS, was 57k when I finished the first draft. (I never revised, instead choosing to re-imagine and change the whole story–and that’s how FRACTURED RADIANCE was born.) So I’ve never written a book that was 60k and it feels really good. I’ve also hit that point where I want to do nothing but work on my book. I love that feeling!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Kpop! I’ve been listening to it constantly and I love it. But I’m not going to share any this week, because I want to keep this post short. Next week, promise!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

I’m hosting a giveaway of Kate Scott’s new book Counting to D! I actually started it last week and it was supposed to end last night at midnight but for some reason hardly anyone entered. I’m guessing I didn’t do a good job of promoting it. I’ve extended it for another week. So go enter!

How is your week? Wait, don’t answer that. JUST ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!! ;)

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WUW: Real Quick!

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

I’m still making my way through The Book Thief. I LOVE this book, and the writing is gorgeous, but it doesn’t make for quick reading. I could rip through it, but I want to savor the words. Zusak is a master with them. But I need to finish it. Then I get to read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman again! Mmm, I love that book.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m really clipping along with my revisions! When I finished the first draft, I had 47k words. Now, without touching the end which is basically summarized scenes, I’ve already 55k! I’ve been filling out the story and things are really coming to life. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as excited about a story as I am now. It’s a fantastic feeling.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

So many things, but right now I’m loving the guest post from Kate Scott that just went up. Aaaaaand, I may or may not be giving away a copy of her book.* So go read it and enter the giveaway!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Trying to stay warm! It’s almost 9 AM and it’s only -5 degrees (Fahrenheit). Brrrrr!!! I have a play date for Turbo/sewing date for me this morning and of course it had to fall on the coldest day of the week. I’m not looking forward to braving the cold.

Okay, now go check out Kate’s guest post! And have a lovely week after that!

*SPOILER ALERT: I am.

WUW: 100 Words is Saving My Life 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

So, I took last week off because I was bad blogger and I was behind on my commenting. Y’all saw comments from me because I visited your blogs, but yeah, no blogging. It’s a new enforcement technique to help me be a good community citizen. I do like reading y’all’s blogs, but sometimes I look at the sheer number and feel very overwhelmed. There are too many good writers to befriend out there! :)

And speaking of writer friends, I read my CP Kate Scott‘s book Counting to D this weekend! I loved it! I received an arc from her publicist, and here’s what I wrote about it on Goodreads:

counting

Click the picture to pre-order it from Amazon!

“We’re different people, and that’s okay. Different doesn’t have to mean worse. But it also doesn’t have to mean better. Different only means different.”
That is, I think, the crux of this story. The characters all find different ways to feel superior to each other–whether it’s through brains, brawn, or beauty–when they’re all aching to be “normal” and accepted. But, as dyslexic Sam discovers, there’s really no such thing as normal–and that’s a blessing.
You won’t find lyrical writing or lush imagery, but that’s not Kate Scott’s style. You will find snappy dialogue and three-dimensional characters that are interesting and familiar. Not because you’ve read about them in a dozen books, but because you could’ve gone to high school with any of them. I love how the author showed that everyone can be nice and mean. Nerds can be jerks and popular kids can be sweet and sincere, and vice versa. Sam’s struggle is about dyslexia, but anyone who’s felt “weird” and “abnormal” will recognize themselves in her story–and that’s everyone because we all have something that we feel sets us apart, and not in the good way. This is a story with heart and soul, and I found myself thinking about the characters and missing them only a half hour after closing the back cover.

Next Wednesday Kate will be guest posting on here, and then the Tuesday after that (the 11th), her book will go on sale. Yay!

WHAT I’M WRITING

My first order of revisions-business was to add a whole sequence. I finished that last week and it turned out to be so awesome. Things happened and characters stepped into roles that I didn’t anticipate. Don’t you just love when that happens in your writing? The next order of business was to do a chapter-by-chapter outline of my book, taking note of certain types of events, and just really getting a good feel for how everything flows. I finished that yesterday, then had a nice chat with my SIL about the pacing, flow, and character arc. Today, I will start my chapter-by-chapter revisions. This is where the real work begins! Time to smooth it all out, plump what needs plumping, and help my characters really come to life.  Last night I had a little panic–some of that silly fear of how much work this is going to be. Then I thought of this quote:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” -Earl Nightingale

That’s my new go-to for shooting down that silly writerly-fear I’m prone to.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Well, the quote above, obviously. Also, the alumni from my MFA have a private group on Facebook where we chat about whatever we like. Someone read a book (or a story/article? something like that) about an author who vowed to write 100 words every day, and ended up writing much, much more than that. My friend started another FB group for those of us who were interested in participating in the 100 Words a Day Challenge. We all post on there every day that we get at least 100 words down. This has changed my whole life. Okay, maybe not, but it has helped me tremendously. So, I’ve devoted nap times to writing, yes? Well, there have still been days when I don’t feel like writing, for whatever reason. On those days, I said to myself, “Just get 100 words. That’s it.” So I start writing with just that goal in mind, and every. single. time. I’ve ended up getting at least several hundred words written, sometimes even over a thousand. It really is a mental block and nothing more, but 100 words is so easily attained, that even on days with the worst mental block, I can talk myself into getting my butt in the chair.

Give it a try. You won’t regret it.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Not a whole lot. Life’s pretty quiet–which is nice. Things were too crazy last fall and during the holidays. Time for a break!

Oh! I did finally get a synopsis up for my MFA thesis and literary YA contemporary novel, RED SKY:

Two years after being raped, 17-year-old Audrey Winters feels like her life is finally stabilizing. Then her best friend Graham declares his supposed love, her mother announces her engagement, and her new lifeguarding job becomes almost too much to handle. Somehow she finds the courage to keep it all together, but when she runs into her attacker at work—as a fellow employee—Audrey must decide just how brave she is.

*Edit: Oh, I forgot that I now have to wear glasses all the time! (But I’m not a good candidate for contacts.) I’ve been glasses wearer for years, starting in 4th grade, and when I got to like 8th grade I refused to wear them except for studying, etc. Then in college I got a new prescription and was admonished to wear them only when reading, on the computer, driving, etc. Well, I went in a few weeks ago for the first time in five years and I’ve been upgraded to a certified Four-Eyed Geek. I don’t mind though. I really like my frames, and I’ve kinda always wanted to be someone who wore their glasses all the time anyway. :)

Here’s my new look!

me

How’s your week going? I hope fabulously.

WUW: Chugging Along

winter wuwWHAT I’M READING

I’m still working on The Book Thief, and it is still wonderful, but my weekend was unexpectedly busy (aren’t they all like that?) and I didn’t get a lot of writing time in. ALSO, I got this gem in the mail the other day:

2014-01-14 12.10.51

That’s the ARC for my CP Kate Scott’s new book, Counting to D! I’m so excited to read it I think I’ll put Zusak on hold so I can devour this gem. I’ve critiqued two other books for Kate and I have high expectations for this book. Here’s the Goodreads summary:

“The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.”

Sounds awesome, right? I’ll read it this week and report back next Wednesday.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who read my incredibly long post last week and then offered encouraging and/or commiserating comments. I appreciate y’all’s support so much! My revisions are coming along steadily, if not always smoothly. I’m so rusty! But I’ve been adding about a scene a day–I have a whole sequence to add. Then I’ll start going chapter by chapter. Some big things that need fixing: the MC’s character arc (it’s all over the place–evidence that I took 2 years to write this first draft), add more side characters, and flesh out the end (which I’ve already mentioned). Dudes, I ended a scene with the line, “Because obviously.” ^_^

And I got my marked up manuscript back from my SIL this week. I’d given her my own semi-marked up version, so she got to read my notations as she made her own. I was skimming through to see her comments, and when I saw this I could not stop laughing:

2014-01-13 22.41.31 new

The purple is my note, and the penciled “Yes” is hers. Is this hilarious to anyone else? It was really late, so maybe it’s just me.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Not a whole lot. Trying to figure out what my new exercise solution will be when my gym contract expires next month. I love working out at the gym, but it’s so difficult to get there these with a small one–and it’s only going to get harder–so I think I’m going to get some free weights, bands, and DVDs and just work out at home. Also, I think I’m going to go no ‘poo on my hair, but either the honey water or aloe vera gel/coconut milk route. Anyone done this?

You know, just TONS of super exciting stuff. :D

WHAT INSPIRES ME

These two songs came on Pandora while I was working out last night and they spoke to my soul:

The Mumford and Sons one isn’t like my life at all, but the emotions in his voice, the lyrics, and the music really touched me. It’s going on the playlist for my next planned WIP.

How’s your week going, you fabulous people you?

What’s Up Wednesday: It’s 2014, Baby!

Hello hello my friends! Long time, no blog, eh? Let’s see, the last time I posted, what was I up to … *checks* I was saying goodbye to October and getting ready for NaNoRevMo … which didn’t happen. I will be honest, the fall was rough for me. It always is–it’s the hardest part of the year for me, when I get an annual, prolonged stay from the depression fairy. And last fall was a particularly dark one. But something changed on January First and I’m feeling tons better. Oh wait … I forgot about What’s Up Wednesday!

What’s Up Wednesday is a super easy, totes fun meme and you should join us!

winter wuwWHAT I’M READING

I know, I know, I’m really behind on this one, but I’m (finally) reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and it is as wonderful as everyone says. Going through it pretty slowly, but part of that is on purpose because I’m just savoring it. The writing! Oh, it makes me melt. So exquisite. Zusak has perfectly captured the voice of Death, one to whom time is completely relative and sometimes unimportant, and one who is fascinated by humans. Love it.

WHAT I’M WRITING

So … I’m finally getting into my revisions on FRACTURED RADIANCE. Here’s the story: I started November with all kinds of hopes, but waffled on how to get into my revisions. First I was going to read the book, then I was going to jump into edits, then finally around the second week of November, I decided I should actually read through it first. So I did. And promptly became very depressed. What a hot mess it is! I made a list of all the major changes to be done. Spoiler alert: it’s a long list. I hmphed and pschawed and dragged my feet all the day long. And then, when our Thanksgiving trip to St. Louis arrived, I thought, “I’ll read in the car!” But let me tell you, 12 hours overnight in a car with a one year old is not the ideal place to write … especially when that one year old doesn’t sleep well in the car for more than 3 hours at a time. While in St. Louis (visiting my brother and his family), I discussed my book with my brother and his wife. And my sister-in-law said, “I’ll read it!” So I gave her my copy and returned to Denver happy to have an unexpected beta reader, but also happy to have an excuse not to work on my book. (I’m so terrible.) See, my SIL is a talented writer herself, and she was a writing tutor in college, so I knew she’d give me all kinds of valuable feedback and I didn’t want to start revising stuff when I’d have to go back through it again and maybe change things I’d just changed. Plus Christmas was coming up, which involved a 9-day trip to visit the Mister’s family, and yadda yadda, you get the picture.

WELL! My SIL has finished the book, though she hasn’t had a chance to mail it back yet (arctic vortex and all that), but we’ve had a couple of really good chats about the major problems in my book. But see! The exciting thing is I asked her to be brutally honest and tell me if I should trash this book or if it was worth continuing. And she thinks it is! So that in itself gives me hope. Then I had a, Where do I start?? moment yesterday, but then today I outlined a plan of attack, and BAM. I’m motivated. Now, my writing today was just a bit rusty (just a smidge … which is to say, actually really very rusty), but that’s okay. I just got to get my mind grapes going.

ALSO. This fall was hard because Turbo has taken over my life and I was just surviving day-to-day, unsure how to fit in anything for myself. I thought of the solution on New Year’s Day, and my goodness it’s so simple I’m amazed I didn’t think of it before! I mean, seriously y’all, it’s pretty sad it took me until he was 14 months old to realize this: nap time = writing time. DUH. So here was my dilemma: due to health concerns, I cannot be on the computer or exercise past 8ish or else I can’t sleep. Not, it’s hard to fall asleep, or I sleep fitfully. I. CANNOT. SLEEP. Insomnia pays me a not-so-kind visit. And Turbo is a ton of fun and super cute, but when I’m on the computer he wants to be held to see what’s on the screen. He loves playing by himself … until I’m on the computer. Then he’s screaming at my leg, demanding to be picked up, and y’all … it’s not fun. I’m sure I could break that cycle, but it would be so painful … Anyhow. Until Monday, I would usually spend nap time showering and doing chores that I can’t do while he’s awake, like anything involving the dishwasher being open. Then at night I’d read or watch TV with the Mister.

Enter my grand idea! See, I can easily clean at night without fear of insomnia kicking in. (It has to do with the harsh lighting of the computer screen. It’s a thing, I promise.) So now, when Turbo’s awake I spend time with him, accomplish that which can be accomplished with him running around (sorting laundry is one of those things), and leave the house, then when he goes to bed I exercise (before 8!), then do chores, read, and/or spend time with the Mister. And nap time! Oh, nap time is all about writing. And it’s glorious.

Okay, that was a super long section … next!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Being excited about the new year. :) I feel very optimistic about this year. I don’t know if I’ll get FR to query-quality in the next 12 months (it’s got a loooong way to go), but I have a plan on how to get it there, 1-2 hours a day to spend on it, and if I want to be published, I have to make it happen. This is an empowering feeling. (Okay, sometimes also exhausting, but mostly empowering.)

WHAT INSPIRES ME

My goals for the year! Yay! Here they are:

-Live with purpose — no more dallying on Facebook for hours because I’ve got nothing better to do. Be purposeful about how I spend every minute of every day. Get up at 6 every morning and spend a few quiet minutes alone before the kiddo joins me with all his chatterbox fun.

-Put God first — I know, I’m getting religious on you here for a second, but this is something I really need to do. Put Him first, and all things will fall into place. I’ve already seen it in action.

-Devote nap time strictly to writing — I’ve already touched on this (err, rambled on and on).

-Exercise daily — this is absolutely crucial to my health, physical but especially mental. Even if it’s just a walk with Turbo and the dogs, or a handful of crunches. It’s gotta be done.

-Comment on blogs whenever I post — I’m not going to make any goals about weekly posting or anything, but I definitely need to be better about visiting y’all’s blogs and commenting on them. So you’ll see comments from me tonight!

-One big project or multiple little projects a month–no more, no less — I’m going to be strict about this, even the “no less” part because I have a ton of projects that are half done and have been for over a year. Like the fact that all of my kitchen windows have a valance except one … and it’s been that way since I was pregnant. And it’s due to sheer laziness.

-Coupon — I got into this late last summer and, without a ton of effort, saved 40% on my grocery bill. This year will be expensive, so we’ve gotta tighten the belt some.

-Post-Turbo evenings dedicated to exercising, reading, cleaning, house projects (when possible–can’t really bust out the table saw at nine PM), and spending time with the Mister.

-Spend less time on phone/computer — this goes hand-in-hand with living more purposefully.

Even though it’s thrown my personal time for a loop, being a mother has been the best thing for my writing. I’ve had to really look at life, choose the things that are the most important to me, and become more organized so I can give them the time they deserve/I want. Even though I spent the majority of last year treading water, I still knew what I wanted to save my energy for, and what fat needed to be shed.

Here’s to 2014!

WUW: Goodbye October, Hello NaNoRevMo!

What’s Up Wednesday is a fun blog hop and you should join us! Jooooooiiiiiin uuuuuussssss. 

WUWAutumn60WHAT I’M READING

I’m currently making my way through Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. I’m not sure what I think about it so far, but I’m only 82 pages in. I mean, it’s really, really well written and intriguing, but I don’t know what my emotional reaction is just yet. Which actually, I think, is the author’s intent. Intellectually, I’m extremely intrigued, but emotionally I’m all over the board but that’s kinda how this book is so far. What I can say is that I like it so far, but on a mental level. I don’t know if I’m making any sense, but … yeah. :D

WHAT I’M WRITING

I start revisions on Friday and I’m so excited! I think taking the last 6 weeks off from writing has actually been good for me. I’ve gotten a lot done around the house, and in true absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder fashion, I’ve really been missing writing and my story/characters the last two weeks, so I’m raring to go. And I declare November NaNoRevMo, where Rev stands for Revising. I’m going to revise all of FRACTURED RADIANCE in November and pass it off to betas in December. I have to add a significant number of words (remember how the first draft is only 47k? yeah, that … ) and just do lots of general house keeping things. But it feels soooo good to be working on the second draft. Or, at least, it will. ^_^

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Mostly I’m in shock that October is almost over, but I’m not sad. I’m actually glad to see it go. Which sounds lame, I guess, but it’s been a long, not-my-favorite month. November will bring revising, trips to see family, and my birthday. So yay!

Last week I hosted this month’s book club meeting and we discussed Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Normally, I clean the house, make some goodies, and call it good, but I decided to get into the decorating a little more this time:

2013-10-24 19.37.14

Nothing super fancy (there were only 5 of us, after all), just a little Daughter inspired fun. (I already had the flowers and just kept them on the table because, duh, flowers. :) And Michael’s didn’t have gold feathers (Akiva’s burning wings), so I chose the blue and white ones because the blue matches the cover and they have gold dots all over.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

The love interest/second main character of FRACTURED RADIANCE is Korean, so I’ve been watching the Kdrama Shut Up and Let’s Go for research. I love it. Great writing, good acting, and music! Love the music. And it’s really fun to learn about another culture, not just how it relates to Jin (my character), but also seeing the differences between American and Korean TV and storytelling techniques. I highly suggest checking it out!

And, while this may not be inspiring, per se, it’s very entertaining! 18 Weird That Things Authors Do

How’s your week so far?

WUW: Renewed Excitement Edition!

What’s Up Wednesday is a fun blog hop and you should join us! Jooooooiiiiiin uuuuuussssss. 

WUWAutumn60WHAT I’M READING

I read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi over the weekend. It was my first experience with graphic novels and, while I don’t love the genre so far, it was a really interesting book to read. I loved learning more about the Iran Islamic Revolution (of which I knew very little), but had a hard time really connecting with the characters emotionally. But it was still a page turner and took me a little over an hour to read (over a few different reading sessions).

For book club this month, I chose Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’m having a hard time reading it quickly because I just want to savor the language and drink all the words. I’ll read a paragraph at my normal speed, then go back and re-read it slower, so I fully enjoy the beauty of her writing. And the first time I read the book I whipped through it, so that’s also why I’m allowing myself to revel in her brilliance this go-round. ^_^

WHAT I’M WRITING

So … sorry about my poo fest last week and feeling all down here on the blog. It was good to rant and I really appreciate all of your suggestions and encouragement! (But I promise I wasn’t begging for attention. Then again, this is a blog so that’s kinda the point, right? Hah!) Well, a few hours after posting I realized that if I was second guessing my idea but still cared about the story and the characters, it meant it needed a bit more work. Something or somethings else to make it really unique. And yesterday, while listening to moody music (the playlist for this SNI, actually, and the exact song was “Cover Your Tracks” by A Boy and His Kite) and enjoying the moody soft snowiness of the day, I thought of it! And this idea … I’m so excited about it. I already decided I want to be ambitious with this book, taking risks and really delving deep into an uncomfortable subject material. And this idea just adds to that. I even ran it past my brother to make sure it makes sense (“would this work? or would it be too much?”) and he was like, Yeah dog! Okay, not so much, but he does think it’s a great idea. So yay!

Alas, though, I still won’t NaNo. I still haven’t touched FRACTURED RADIANCE and this new idea for my SNI will take a lot more planning to get it just right. So, I’m going to do NaNoReMo (national novel revising month) on FR and then hopefully have this new idea worked out enough to start writing my SNI in December when I pass off FR to my betas. I’m not outlining the story, per se, but it will take more planning than I did for FR.

So yay! My fire’s back!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Umm … I’m not sure? Hah! This week went by really fast in a blur of … stuff. Turbo’s FIRST BIRTHDAY is on Saturday and we’re throwing a party and my MIL is coming into town, so that’s been dominating my thought. (Seriously, how is he a year old already??) And the weather hasn’t worked in my favor to paint my mirror. But I really really really want to have it up in time for Turbo’s party on Saturday. Oh! We took family pictures on Saturday. That’s right. And Friday night the Mister and I actually went on a date. We got delicious, super messy burgers at one joint then went to a waffle place (like, a legit, independent waffle place–NOT Waffle House, etc.) for a waffle with marshmallow cream cheese and Nutella. YEAH. It was a night of gastronomical abandon and it was awesome.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Well, obviously the playlist for my SNI! It’s full of mellow moody music, with a few outliers thrown in. I don’t want to share the whole thing yet, but here are a few songs: “Cover Your Tracks” by A Boy and His Kite, “Seven Devils” by Florence + The Machine, “Kingdom Come” by The Civil Wars, “No Way” by The Naked and Famous, and “The Kiss” from Last of The Mohicans soundtrack. ^_^

How’s your week going? I hope it’s awesome.