Friday, April 29, 2011

But Prince William was Already Married... To Me...

I'll admit it, I had a slight crush on Prince William when I was about 16. He's only a year older than me, and what girl doesn't think about being a princess at least ONCE in her life?

But I managed to snag my own prince, and believe it or not, he actually looks quite a bit like William.

It's the hairline, it's the nose... and they have the same smile when they laugh. There are several photos I've seen of William plastered on magazines and book covers that actually made me do a double-take. One thing they definitely don't have in common though... the accent. Handy just canNOT fake an English accent for the life of him. It always comes out a mix between Australian and South African. 

His family and I have been talking about the resemblance for years. Besides the question of "When are y'all going to start having kids?" (neither of our sets of parents ask that, thank God--they know better--I'm talking about everyone else), "How do you feel about your husband marrying Kate?" has been something I've heard quite a bit lately. 

So, Prince William (the real one), I wish you a lifetime of happiness. It worked out for the best anyway. :::grins:::  

Happy Wedding Day! (can it be a holiday here in the states too, or what?! ;)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Year on Etsy

Well, it's been a slow start for me on Etsy. I've officially had my store up for a year now, and have only made two sales (better than none, I know). So, as fellow consumers of handmade products on Etsy, what are some things that you might be tempted to buy from a photographer? Here are some things I've been considering adding to the shop.

  • Prints (obviously... because that's all I have on there so far :)
  • Notecards (blank on the inside with a photo on the front)
  • Bookmarks (maybe a series of 4 in a pack?)
Any of these sound appealing? Any other ideas of things I could try to do with my images?

If you haven't been to my Etsy store in a while, check it out. I've recently added some new prints.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Ode to Nathan Fillion

When first our eyes did meet
Your attitude was huffy
You were oh so far from sweet
Working for The First to kill my Buffy

Then oh Captain, my Captain of Serenity
An honest thief with heart of gold
But viewers were fickle-y
Or so the story's told

Now a writer of mystery
Solving murders in a flash
I've never seen such chemistry
You and Beckett were meant to last

I recently finished season one of Castle on DVD. I should have started watching it when it began, but I'm so hesitant to get into new TV shows--the ones I fall for always seem to get cancelled about 8 episodes in and it breaks my heart. I am in LOVE with this show. Fillion is genius. BRILLY I SAY! The banter! The wit! The faces! 

There was a short film in the bonus features of the DVD. Most of it was just silly, but one point stuck with me. When writers are blocked, it could stem from the need for perfection

WHAT? Why didn't I think of that before?! That's SO my problem. I'm paranoid of the first draft. But it's not supposed to be perfect, it's a DRAFT for a reason. Get it WRITTEN. Share it with your critique buddies so they can inspire you and sing praises about what a great idea you have. They can point out flaws they see early on so you don't spend too much time writing down the wrong story path. The perfection can come later. 

To my critique gals, Kim and Kristi, and a special shout to newbie Heather, a BIG thank you for the encouragement, suggestions, "what were you thinking here?"s, and for pushing me through my struggles of self-doubt. I can only hope I'm as big of help to y'all as you are to me :)   

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wanna Swap? The Lying Game

Notice anything different about me? I spruced up the blog a little bit this morning--now it feels more like Spring!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter celebration this weekend. Handy and I spent a lot of time with family, and yesterday we went swimming for the first time this year. I couldn't believe the water was already warm enough (it's been hotter than hot here lately, so I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised).

It's time for another book swap! My bookshelves are seriously overcrowded, but I'm addicted to reading now more than ever, so instead of buying MORE, how about we swap books we realistically won't read again?

Up for swap today is a hardcover of The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game

 I've read it once (so it's in good shape), and while I enjoyed it, I don't plan to read it again. 

Other books (all paperbacks) still up for swap:

The Secret Life of Bees The Monsters of Templeton
SLoB-Trade Paperback; MoT-Trade pb size ARC

My Sister's Keeper: A Novel (Mass Market Paperback) Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #1) (True Blood) by Charlaine Harris
MSK-Mass Market Paperback; DUD-Mass Market

Leave a comment (or email me) and let me know what you're interested in and what you're willing to swap for it. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My New WIP Setting, Tilt-Shift Style!

What's tilt-shift? It's a type of photography that I haven't officially tried, but you can fake it in Photoshop. Basically, it makes the photo kind of look like you took a picture of miniatures or a model set.

It's probably not a surprise to most of you that the new story I'm working on is set in Italy. I've been going through all my travel photos for inspiration, and I've been playing with them in Photoshop to give them a fun twist--the tilt-shift twist! It works better on some than others, but either way, it brings a new life to the photos. Fresh and fun. Enjoy!

My MC starts out in Rome

And eventually she settles in Cinque Terre because, well, if you've ever been there, you know how hard it is to leave.

View from her window in Riomaggiore

 Makes me ache to go back. I told Handy I was working on a new story set in Italy and the first thing out of his mouth was, "And I suppose you have to go back for research now?" HA! I wish we could! I'll have to settle for sifting through all the photos and maps and travel guides I collected back when I was planning. Sigh. 

What about you? Do you use photos for inspiration? Ever set one of your stories in a place you went on vacation because you loved it so?! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why I Love Tuesdays


Glee: The Music presents The Warblers

This album can pretty much be summed up in two words:

Darren. Criss.

:::insert big breathy sigh here:::

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'd Rather Be... Kayaking?

I caved! Handy has wanted a Kayak for YEARS, and I finally said, "Oh, okay. Fine." And then what came out of my mouth next surprised both of us...

"But I want one too."

Say wha???

Here's what mine looks like! The Tarpon 100 in Lime :) And I have a pink and black life jacket!

Handy's is, of course, a little longer and camo colored.

We've been trying to go every other day or so at the lake down the street. It's quite the workout! At first I wasn't sure I could handle it, but it's not nearly as difficult (or as dangerous) as I'd thought. It's actually a little bit fun. THERE. I said it. My arms are getting stronger! My shoulders and abs are sore! It's a nice feeling.

It's peaceful too. A quiet chance to brainstorm--I stash a notebook in the cooler in case I'm suddenly struck with an idea that I have to write down.

What about you? Doing any fun outdoor activities now that the weather is warming? Do you find it a good time to brainstorm too?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Phenomenon of a Giveaway!

Liz at Cleverly Inked is hosting a seriously amazing giveaway for her birthday!

Head on over and CHECK IT OUT!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Can't Sleep... Stomach Hurts...

This is what it feels like when a new story idea won't leave you alone. And it's how I feel right now.

On Monday, still enjoying the high from my Teen Book Con experience, I was hit between the eyes with a new story idea. I'm not going to say much about it yet, except that there's a girl, there's a boy, there's another boy, and it's set in Italy. When I went to Italy in 2009, I kept thinking how I'd love to set a story there, but nothing ever came to me. Well, now that it has, it's not leaving. I've written a couple chapters already and I let a few of my homegirls read it to let me know what they think. I can't decide if that was a mistake, or a really good idea. Their overwhelming and unexpected enthusiasm for this new project is exciting, but it's also nerve wracking.

I need to keep reminding myself of WHY I love to write. (And thanks for the reminder, Kim :)
It's not for the sole purpose of getting published one day (though that would be flipping awesome), not to make money (well, it would be nice if it paid SOME bills), not to write a story I think everyone wants to hear. I need to write for ME--the story that I want to read. The kind of book I'd buy at the store after reading the book flap. That's the only way to KEEP enjoying what I'm doing, because I DO enjoy it. I love it.

I love creating! I love making friends (and frenemies) with the characters! I don't want to get so wrapped up in the "what if" (What if I get published! What if I dont...? What if I finish this in 3 weeks?! What if I don't finish it at all...?), because getting anxious about everything is just going to steal my joy.

How about you? Anything exciting in the works? Do you get anxious when your new characters won't leave you alone and let you sleep at night?  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Met lots of authors this weekend!! Here's what they had to say...

*This is a long post, but if you're a writer (or a fan of these authors), read on!!

Saturday, Heather and I went to Teen Book Con here in Houston.  We sat in three of the five available panels (and we may or may not have sat in one twice!), and while the event wasn't focused on giving writers advice and inspiration, since I am one, I took lots of notes, and I'm going to share the gold with you!

Please don't take these as direct quotes from the authors--I wrote as fast as I could while they were talking, but I'm sure some of it got paraphrased in translation.

Panel 1: Deb Caletti, Lindsey Leavitt, Stephanie Perkins (SQUEE!), Kristen Tracy 

-Quoted Nietzche, "Become who you are."
-On why she doesn't write series books: said she would get bored with it

-If I get a bad review, they aren't giving me the bad review. It's just a part of my job.
-A book is a snapshot of someone's life, and it's usually the part where the conflict is.
-Actually wrote Sean Griswold's Head first, but was rejected by 20 agents, so she wrote Princess for Hire, which was published first.

-Commented that she often doesn't realize she's writing herself into her stories until she reads back through.  Her second novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, deals with being creatively blocked, which just so happens to be what Perkins herself was going through when she was writing it. (that's a VERY rough version of what she said)
-Is a big fan of the happy ending, which is one reason she isn't currently writing a series.  The second book always messes up the happy ending the first one created--especially books that were turned into a series only because the public wanted it.
-Was fortunate enough to get her dream agent very quickly, and her dream editor.
-Has learned to treat writing like a job and not her "life".  Last year it became her "life" and it was a very bad time for her.  You have to keep time for yourself, for family, friends... and keep the time to work in it's designated space.  

-How I'm feeling can go into the book and the book can influence how I'm feeling.
-Once spent two weeks working on the first line of a book because she knew the rest of the story would flow after that.  It's what worked for her.

Panel 2: Gail Giles, Lauren Myracle, Elizabeth Scott, Ellen Hopkins

-eavesdrops and steals info--keep eyes and ears open to everything around you.
-Dead Girls Don't Write Letters was inspired by a conversation she overheard after making the wrong turn somewhere and her window happened to be down (talk about CHANCE).

-on writer's block: "If I'm blocked, I'm doing something wrong."  She writes a letter to herself from the POV of her character.
-quoted a former writing teacher: Take your character, put him in a tree, and throw rocks at him. (another author on the panel added: "You don't give him champagne!")

-on writer's block: Likes to do something physical, like take the dog for a walk.  It gets the energy flowing.
-Does quite a bit of research by asking her readers online about their personal experience (for example if people have recovered from drug abuse, etc, to learn how it feels so she can describe it authentically).

Panel 3 (which we sat in twice): Rachel Hawkins, Saundra Mitchell, Joy Preble, Stacey Kade, Andrea Cremer

Combo of Hawkins and Mitchell on what they think when they read a synopsis of someone's story and it sounds just like their story: There are a lot of similar story ideas, but every writer is different.  Give all five of us (on the panel) the same prompt, and in an hour you'll have five completely different stories.

-It's not writer's block, it's writer's laziness. (it's writer's wanting to watch tv, etc...)
-When the story screeches to a halt, something in the foundation is broken.

-on block and revision: Change the font.  It opens something up when you see it differently on the page.

-on why she started writing:  Had always been interested, but one summer she intended to practice riding horses (there was way more too it than that), and the very first day the horse she picked out stepped on her foot and she couldn't walk for 12 weeks.  She sat on the couch with her laptop and said if there was ever a time to do what she'd been talking about doing (writing), now was the time.
-on block: Makes a music playlist that fits with her story, and listens to it on walks. The music combined with physical activity is inspiring.

Here is a picture of me with Anna and the French Kiss author, Stephanie Perkins!

So... I figured this event was a good excuse to temporarily lift my book buying ban. Here are my new goodies, all signed too!

Perfect You Stay The Nature of Jade Sean Griswold's Head The Ghost and the Goth

And of course I brought along my copy of

Anna and the French Kiss

to get personalized. Stephanie is so sweet and down to earth.  She's incredibly surprised and thankful by the warm reception Anna has been getting (she had one of the longest signing lines at the event).  She looks you in the eye when you're talking to her, and really appreciated everything we had to say.  I told her how I bought it for myself on my birthday, and stayed up until 3am because I couldn't put it down until I came to a good stopping point.  I also shared that I made my mom read it, and she called me when she was done to ask me how long it takes to recover from such a good story being over. My answer was that I still haven't recovered, so good luck.

All the authors were fabulous, but there is definitely something to be said about personally connecting with them.  Elizabeth Scott got up from her table to give me a hug after she signed Perfect You for me.  Does this make me want to read all of her books now instead of just the one I bought? Absolutely. 

I already had these books signed previously,

Hex Hall Book One Demonglass (A Hex Hall Novel) Nightshade: Book 1

but we still chatted with the authors because they are fab (and because I hadn't actually MET Andrea Cremer before).

Check your local events and see if you have an author signing near you sometime soon.  There is no greater inspiration than rubbing elbows with people that have made it happen.  I went home and wrote 1700 words Saturday night, and I'm making writing a part of my daily schedule.  

I'm going to become who I am

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Which Came First, the Title or the Story?

First of all, thanks to all of you for commenting on my last post! Looks like #4 wins!  I'll let you know how it turns out (I'm not holding my breath though!).

Let's talk about titles today.  We all know that publishers often change the title of the stories they buy, but for me, it's hard to write without at least a working title.  For my current WIP, Anemone, I had the title before I even wrote one word.  The story was more born from the title rather than the title from the story.  But for Still Loving Ghosts, I had several chapters written before a song I had on repeat spoke the title to me.  I'm attached to both of these titles, obviously, and it hurts to even think that they might change one day, but I do understand that it's a possibility.

What about you? Title first? Story first? Are you so very lovingly attached to it and will fight to the death for it if it's threatened, or do you think it's lacking and can't wait for the pros to come up with a better one?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Help! I need your opinion!!

Okay blogging friends, I'm considering entering a photo into a photography contest (it's for a magazine cover), and while I'm certainly not expecting to win, I still want to have a great submission.  Here are a few of the ones I'm torn between.  Which one is your favorite?!





Friday, April 1, 2011

It's been a whole week?

I can't believe I haven't blogged in a week!  It's not that I've forgotten I have a blog (and a team blog which I DID forget to make a post for yesterday), I just couldn't really come up with anything.  And I certainly don't want to waste anyone's time with filler posts.  Although, come to think of it, this post is smelling suspiciously of filler.

What can I say to make this worthwhile for you??

I see I'm only NINE followers from 300, and I've decided that to celebrate my milestone with my very first BLOGFEST!!  I won't announce the date or theme until I reach 300, but it will be super fun (and easy!).

Have a great weekend!!  Anything exciting planned?