Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Waiting is the Hardest Part (What I will do for a Lola ARC)

I know time flies, but when you're eagerly waiting for something specific, it just inches along. You all know how IN LURVE I am with Anna and the French Kiss by the lovely Stephanie Perkins, and the ARC buzz for Lola and the Boy Next Door is extremely positive. Apparently the ARCs were at ALA last week, and I'm SO JEALOUS of those of you that snagged yourself an early copy (especially because I was THIS close to going, and didn't).

Lola and the Boy Next Door

I will TRADE you when you're done reading it. PLEASE SOMEONE! Don't make me beg (Okay, so maybe I just did)! I'm sure I have something around here worth your while. An ARC of Jeff Hirsch's The Eleventh Plague, perhaps?? Releases in September.

The Eleventh Plague 

AND I JUST FOUND OUT that I WON the ARC to Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver!!! Thank you Claire from Builder of Worlds! This baby won't be out until October!

Liesl & Po

I will be more than willing to pass this along after I've read it... IN EXCHANGE for a Lola ARC. :) 

Or perhaps you are in need of sprucing up your blog? I can make you a custom header or button!! 

What say you?! Any takers?!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Author Signings! And the Zero Draft

This week has been filled with author signings!

Tuesday, my local B&N hosted an author event with the lovely ladies that wrote these books:

Firelight Angelfire (Angelfire - Trilogy) A Touch Mortal Personal Demons

They each read pages from their work, and had us rolling with their witty answers to questions. I had a lovely chat with local author Sophie Jordan, and also met Courtney Allison Moulton who is quite hilarious. All four of them are promoting their trilogies and it was interesting to hear how difficult the third book is/was for them to write. As readers we take for granted that the last book in a series will tie up all the loose ends, but I for one rarely think about how difficult it might have been for the author to tie them. I find myself thankful there are no series ideas in my head as of right now!

Last night, I ventured into Houston to Blue Willow Bookshop for the Ally Carter event. She's promoting the second book in her Heist Society series, Uncommon Criminals. I flew through Heist Society, and I'm positive it's sequel will prove to be just as fun. 

Uncommon Criminals (A Heist Society Novel) 

Houston is so fortunate to have a rockin' indie bookstore like Blue Willow. They always put on such fab events, authors come back year after year. I was able to meet Ally Carter last year, and last night when I approached her table to get UC signed, she looked at me and said, "We've met before!" Open mouthed and red faced like the fangirl I am at these things, I said, "A YEAR AGO!" Seriously. Incredible.  

Ally is a pro at these events. She answers questions quick as a whip, keeping things upbeat and hilarious.  As far as writing advice I soaked up from her, there were several things I'd like to share. 
  • She doesn't outline in the traditional way. Her initial draft is called the ZERO draft because it's unworthy of being called a first! It's the bare bare bones that she works out from beginning to end, making sure she knows everything that's going to happen. From there, she starts back at the beginning and revises, adding in all the pretties, then it becomes the first draft. 
  • She reminds us not to get frustrated with our zeros and firsts. And especially don't compare them to a finished work!! You know that favorite book of yours? It's far far far from what their first draft was. Fear not! Keep going!
Author events are also a great time to meet up with fellow bloggers and other local authors! I enjoyed chatting and having dinner with the ladies behind the blogs Stephanie, a History, Cari's Book Blogs, Windowpane Memiors, Between the Covers, I Read Banned Books, and local author of Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted, Joy Preble. Also finally met Sarah from Sarah's Books and Life!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Over and Over and Over

This week, I've taken to putting in movies while getting some things done around the house (another round of Spring cleaning), and I've had a problem. I have a stack of movies I like to watch over and over and over, and I end up staring at them all, unable to pick which one to put in next.

Do you have favorite movies that you could watch over and over again? Here are some of mine:

Emma (2009) 
The 2009 BBC version of Emma with Romola Garai and Michael Gambon (Dumbledore!). I love everything about this miniseries. The acting, the story, the Knightley. I recently purchased the soundtrack to write along to, and every time I hear it, I want to pop the DVD in and watch it again!
Favorite quotes: "I suppose you've come to tell me off about the Chinese." -Emma
"Badly done, Emma." -Mr. Knightley

Lost in Austen

Lost in Austen. What a hilarious swapping of Elizabeth Bennet and modern day Amanda Price. She throws off the whole storyline of Pride and Prejudice, confusing Bingley, Darcy and Wickham. Watch this one with the subtitles--they talk SO fast! Still waiting for the soundtrack to be released!
Favorite quotes: "Are you very angry about my fishy tales?" -Wickham
Amanda: "I can't dance this sort of dance."
Darcy: "Nor I. Together we shall make a shambles. But we shall do it with such authority that everyone will stare at us to learn the step."
--
Amanda: "You're so relentlessly unpleasant! I just can't get at the real you!
Darcy: "Madam! Behold, Fitzwilliam Darcy. I am what I am. If you find yourself unable to get at an alternative version, I must own to being glad. I despise the intrusions of a woman so singularly dedicated to mendacity, disorder and lewdness. They repel me. You repel me. You are an abomination, Madam. Good afternoon to you."
Amanda, after Darcy leaves: If I dream about him tonight, I shall be really angry! ...I'm going to dream about him. Well, I hope in my dream you choke! Hateful man!"

Pride & Prejudice

This is my favorite version of Pride and Prejudice, probably because it was the first one I saw, and it kind of started the madness of my love for these types of movies.
Darcy: "Are you rejecting me?"
Elizabeth: "I'm sure that the feelings which, as you've told me, have hindered your regard, will help you in overcoming it."
Darcy: "Might I ask why, with so little endeavor at civility, I am thus repulsed?"
Elizabeth: "And I might as well enquire why, with so evident a design of insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your better judgment!"

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (+ Digital Copy)

I grew up watching the Back to the Future trilogy, and I never get tired of it. It's SO well done. The twists of the story, the acting, the effects. The whole thing is brilliant. Sadly though, we may be more than four years from hover-boards (the "future" portion takes place in 2015. I'm sure back then it seemed very far away!).
"There's that word again; 'heavy'. Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull?" -Doc
"The justice system works swiftly in the future now that they've abolished all lawyers." -Doc
"Crazy drunk pedestrians!" -Red

The Holiday

I don't know what it is about this movie exactly, but I watch it all year, not just at Christmas time. I've always been a fan of Kate Winslet, but she does fantastic with her character in The Holiday, and I want to be friends! I also have the soundtrack to this one!
"You look like my barbie." -Olivia
"You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend." -Arthur

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. There are so many little moments in this gem that could pass you right by without notice. Jimmy Stewart is a comedic genius. 
"This whole place is really lousy with birds." -Mr. Hobbs
Mr. Turner: "You haven't done much walking, have you, Hobbs?"
Mr. Hobbs: "Only since I was about four years old." 

Desk Set

If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a big fan of the old movies (thanks, Mom, for introducing them to me at an early age). Desk Set is so witty, and I've seen it dozens of time, but I still find new bits to laugh at. In this movie, the ladies in the reference department of a TV network are fearful for their jobs when a computer is brought in to help them work faster. And yes, the computer takes up half the room!
"More power to you! You may be lonely, but more power to you!" -Bunny
"It has usually been my experience, when a car cruises around the block, slowly, it has usually been my experience, that they are mostly just looking for a place to park." -Bunny

Some Like It Hot

One of my favorite Monroe movies ever. HILARIOUS seeing the beautiful Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon try to pass themselves off as women to avoid mobsters.
Joe: "Forget about the whole thing, will ya? Just keep telling yourself you're a boy."
Jerry: "I'm a boy. I'm a boy. I wish I were dead. I'm a boy. Boy, oh boy, am I a boy. Now what am I gonna do about my engagement present?"
Joe: "What engagement present?"
Jerry: "Osgood gave me a bracelet."
Joe: "Hey, these are real diamonds!"
Jerry: "Of course they're real! What do you think, my fiance is a bum?" 
--
Jerry: "Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex!"
Joe: "What are you afraid of? No one's asking you to have a baby!"
--
Joe: "But you're not a girl, you're a guy. And why would a guy want to marry a guy?"
Jerry: "Security!"
--
Jerry: "Now you've done it! Now you have done it!"
Joe: "Don't what?"
Jerry: "You tore off one of my chests!"

So there are seriously way more movies I could watch nearly daily, but I'll have to share them another time! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TITLE REVEAL! and The First Chapter Denial

We've all heard it before. The first chapter will probably get erased or at least really really really revised before it's all said and done. For my WIP, I was in denial.

The evolution of my first chapter attachment: "But my first chapter is necessary! It starts exactly where I want it to start. I'm not changing it, at least not yet. I'll go back to it after the first draft is done. Okay, maybe it's a little lame. Wow, this is actually pretty boring. I think there's a lot of unnecessary stuff in here. Maybe 70% of it could go. Eh, I'm starting over and just pulling bits I want to keep from the original."

Yep. That all happened mostly yesterday. I realized that I'm not thinking outside of the box enough for my first chapter... I make to many familiar choices, and who wants to read something they feel like they've read before?  

And I'm finally ready to reveal my working title for this project set here


and here....


And my title is...  If Only You Were Italian

I'm still working on a blurb, but there's just enough reveal in this title, I think. :) 

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Creepy Word Count

So... the word count on my WIP is 22,222.

FREAKY!!

When Blogging Buddies Meet Part II - And Dark Days of Supernatural Author Tour!

Last Thursday, I went out to Austin for the Dark Days of Supernatural author tour to see Veronica Roth (Divergent), Tara Hudson (Hereafter), Amy Plum (Die For Me), Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses series), and Aprilynne Pike (Wings series). They were all fab, and per my usual, I rode the inspiration high all weekend and cranked out nearly 4,000 words!

Here is a picture of me with Veronica Roth and Tara Hudson.


I also met Amy Plum, who was super sweet, and she brought chocolate with sea salt all the way from France to share with all of us. 

I also got to meet Stephanie of Stephanie, A History 


as well as Cari of Cari's Book Blogs (far left) and Lena of Addicted 2 Novels (far right).


The third smiling face in the picture is my good friend (and fabulous writer) Mari. She is blogless. One of these days, she'll crack, and when she does, you'll be the first to know!

I also got to meet Jen from I Read Banned Books!

It was a great mini-road trip, and I look forward to seeing my blogging friends at future events :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Five years ago, I could have, no problem

I love going to see authors on book tours. LOVE it. I leave with a new wave of inspiration after hearing about their publishing story, their writing process, what they're working on now. And while I feel like I can't wait to get to that point, to be on my own author tour one day and meet readers face to face, I realized something. I never ask questions at author events.

It's not that I don't come up with anything to ask, it's that I know as soon as I open my mouth to speak and all eyes are on me, my face becomes a tomato. My face will turn red if I even just THINK about the idea for too long. And I used to be in a band! I SANG in front of people every weekend for YEARS. I've done weddings! Summer camps! Even a funeral.

Another fear I have about being an author one day and making appearances, is that I don't feel smart enough. Why does having an overactive brain that likes to make up stories qualify me as an authority on anything? I don't feel like I'm very deep. I always got lost in that part of literature class... digging out the deeper meaning. You mean, it's not just a story about kids stranded on an island killing each other?? What does an animal farm have to do with the government?? Not my kinds of stories.

If there's some major philosophical message that someone picks out of one of my stories, chances are that I didn't put it in there on purpose. So don't ask me questions about it, because I will turn red. haha. And I realize this is a VERY premature fear, seeing as how I'm not even done with the first draft of my WIP and there is always a very real possibility that it won't ever go anywhere. But I can't help asking the what ifs.

What about you? Worried about that possible author signing one day? Worried that they'll expect too much from you?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Outlined

I'm usually a pantser, but for this WIP, I'm trying something out of my norm. I opened a blank sheet in Scrivener (my writing program that rocks my face off and even lets me block out EVERYTHING on my computer except for the chapter I'm working on) and made a bulleted list of chapters. I'd already written chapters 1-9, so I started with 10 and typed up a list of little descriptions and snippets of dialogue I don't trust myself to remember by the time I actually write the chapter for real.

I outlined all the way to chapter 34 (my goal is 45, considering the word count average of my chapters--this should also give me room to add/take away as I'm actually writing) and it's already serving as a fantastic guide as I continue writing forward. It's nothing fancy, and half of the sentences are incomplete. It's just for me to know (remember) where I'm headed.

I plan to finish the outline but I'm at a bit of a crossroads and I haven't decided which route to go yet. Maybe I'll turn it into one of those books with alternate endings. "If you choose to wrestle the alligator, turn to page 57. If you turn and run, screaming like a child, turn to page 73."

And I think I'm closer to revealing my working title for this project with y'all. I might need another day or two to keep turning it over on my tongue, maybe write it down on my binder with little squiggles and hearts... but so far it's been met with very positive reactions from my critique gals, so it just might be a keeper. :)

Do you outline? What's your outlining process like? Is it a mess/rough guideline like mine, or a work of art in itself?

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Wee Bit More Professional

Yes I changed my blog once again! This makes what, the third time just in 2011?? As long as I don't get bored of it too quickly, this should stay for a while. I wanted something a bit more pro looking, and less bloggy. There are even tabs along the top!

I made the background and header, and Kim helped me with all the technical layout stuff cause she ROCKS!! And she just redesigned her blog as well, so you'll have to pop over and take a look.

The downside... the switch over erased by blog roll widgets, so I have to manually add them back in. I've added some of the authors and agents I follow, but I had around 100 other blogging friends listed, so it's going to take me a while to get them back up. o_O

 Back to work!

Lunedi felice :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Great Posts about the WSJ Thing...

Divergent author Veronica Roth posted a statement addressing the article released by The Wall Street Journal that's been met with swinging axes by YA authors and fans alike. Read what she had to say HERE.

I also enjoyed this post at Nothing Cannot Happen Today. She discusses the wide range of ages young adult books are labeled for. Perhaps YA books need a rating system? Obviously a twelve year old and an eighteen year old are going to have a different maturity level and therefore what they can handle/should be reading about are likely to be on different pages (or in different books... ;).

Something needs to change or young adult books will continue to get slammed. Sure, there are some books that may surprise me, but I won't complain about them and start some kind of fight, criticizing the author. I will simply own up to the fact that the book isn't for me (as a twenty-eight year old adult, even), and guess what? I don't read it. The end. It was written, and it was probably written for a reason, and that reason does not apply to me. But it no doubt applies to someone.

All this to say, I'm all for age recommendations on books, especially if some parents still aren't monitoring what their children (especially the younger, possibly more sensitive set) read. Like Veronica Roth mentioned in her article, I was also a pretty sensitive child. I could see a television special on forest fires and have nightmares for weeks that my house was burning down. I didn't grow out of truly being affected and sometimes scared by what I saw/read about until I was near high school age. Every child grows at a different pace, and it's the parent's responsibility to know what their child can and can't handle.

I made the mistake of skimming through some of the comments to the WSJ article. Wow. If you want your blood to boil.... There is a lot of ignorance in the world. I don't know why this continually surprises me, but it does.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Tisket, a Title

After hours upon hours spent trying to come up with a title for my Italy WIP, even just a place-holder working title, one finally came to me when I wasn't even thinking about it.

I'm not sure I'm ready to share yet... it might be lame. I need time to process. You know how sometimes you come up with something you think is SO cool, then you tell someone about it and you don't get the reaction you were expecting... and a week later--when your bruises heal--you finally say, "MAN that was DUMB! WHAT WAS I THINKING?" Yes. I'd like to avoid that. hahaha.

Hopefully this will inspire me to just keep typing away, full speed ahead. Fingers crossed I don't get distracted by anything else!

Happy weekend!! I've got a photo shoot today and a wedding reception for Handy's aunt tomorrow (I may even let myself eat a slice of cake!). How about you? Anything fun lined up??

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I sat down to write, but then...

I got distracted. Does this happen to anyone else? I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm at a good place in my WIP... I actually feel like I know where I'm going with this chapter. Why can't I just do it?!

Instead, I started looking for agents to query. Hello. I'm only on chapter ten. LONG ways from the query. Nevertheless, I got up, flipped through a handful of my favorite books, and took down agent names. I figure, if I've heard of the book enough to buy it, the agent must have a pretty darn good idea how to get books into the right hands. Good place to start... eventually. I'm stopping myself there, with my handwritten list of agents to research LATER when I'm READY.

I don't even have a TITLE. Let me tell you how much time I spent trying to come up with one of THOSE. I usually have the title so early on in my writing process (it's often one of the first things about the story I know), so I'm very miffed about this one. I'm letting it bother me to the point that coming up with a title is keeping me from writing the actual story, and NON MI PIACE (peeah-chay, in case you looked at that and went, huh?! It means, I DON'T LIKE IT!).

What kinds of things distract you? Anyone else cruising along on their stories but have yet to be inspired with a title? Any ideas how to come up with one?? :)