Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Loves: Boys Like Girls

Boys Like Girls: Be Your Everything

I know I've recently shared my love for this band, and this song, but hey- they're so awesome, I just can't help myself. Anyway, this is their new single and the song is just beautiful and I love love love the post-apoc feel to the video. Also, Martin Johnson (the lead singer). Watch the video and I think you'll understand. *grins*

When I posted BLG as my summer soundtrack, I was shocked that a lot of people hadn't heard of them. SHOCKED I TELL YOU. They had a few songs that were well-known a couple years back, unfortunately, they took a hiatus and so have kind of disappeared off the music-map for awhile. I still haven't heard the exact release date of their third album, but I'm practically counting down the days (I know it's fall sometime).

Anyway, they're BACK and I'm PSYCHED. And majorly hoping they'll stop in Calgary (or at least Edmonton) on their new tour with the All-American Rejects.

Okay, I'll stop gushing like a fangirl. What's your Friday Love?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Best Book of August

Today's Road Trip Wednesday asks:

What was the best book you read in August?

Here's what I read this month:

Wolfsbane was a great sequel. Spellbound ended the Hex Hall Trilogy PERFECTLY, and I've raved over and over about the MC's voice. The Name of the Star was a tense read with great characters. All awesome books.

Coming a close runner-up is Incarnate. It was beautifully written, I loved the world, music played a big part which is also a plus for me, and SAM. (I'm still swooning over Sam.)

BUT... my fave book this month? For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. It's almost obvious that I would pick this one, given my love of Persuasion and the fact that I wrote my own redux. But this book, oh my gosh, this book! It was the kind of book that made me feel like the CRAPPIEST author in the world because it was just SO WELL DONE. I don't even like sci-fi that much but I LOVED this book. Diana Peterfreund just did the best job in capturing the feel of Austen but bringing her own spin to the entire thing. I go gaga over this book. And over Kai. And over their letters.

What was the best book you read this month?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Death Comes To Pemberley

I'm taking a break from YA right now and reading a book my mom lent me which she really liked. It's called Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James. Here's the Goodreads blurb:

 It is 1803, six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their peaceful, orderly world seems almost unassailable. Elizabeth has found her footing as the chatelaine of the great house. They have two fine sons, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; her father visits often; there is optimistic talk about the prospects of marriage for Darcy’s sister Georgiana. And preparations are under way for their much-anticipated annual autumn ball.

Then, on the eve of the ball, the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister, who with her husband, the very dubious Wickham, has been banned from Pemberley. She stumbles out of the carriage, hysterical, shrieking that Wickham has been murdered. With shocking suddenness, Pemberley is plunged into a frightening mystery.

I'm a little over 50 pages in and the mystery hasn't happened yet. Obviously, I'm anxious for all that to get going. Here's my teaser for Teaser Tuesday hosted by Miz B. at Should Be Reading:

"The matter may come to head after the ball, but I own that it is an anxiety to me. I have grown to love Georgiana dearly. But let us put it aside for now. We have the family dinner to look forward to. I must not spoil it for either of us or our guests by worries which may be groundless."

What are you reading right now?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Linky Link

Because I have a stupid summer cold, which equals no sleep for the past couple of nights because I can't breathe, which equals no brains at all this morning, which equals...

A link!

Go to Nathan Bransford's blog because he is a super-funny-genius. He's put the whole publishing process into GIF form. I laughed my freaking head off. (Just wish I could've laughed the cold out of my nose. Wait, that sounds gross.)

Check out the link and have a happy Monday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Loves

During WriteOnCon, agent Meredith Barnes gave a piece of advice that I found very surprising. She advised writers to blog- but NOT ABOUT WRITING!

Well shoot.

After thinking about it for awhile, I decided to follow her advice a teeny bit. She told writers to blog about something they love (NOT WRITING), and so I decided that every FRIDAY I would do that. Friday will be my day dedicated to something I love (NOT WRITING).

I think you get the point and I can stop all-caps-ing it.

For my first every Friday Loves post, I'm going to share my love of... GLEE!

Okay, I know I'm a little late to the Glee-bandwagon. In fact, I've heard around the internetverse that many people are willingly getting OFF that bandwagon because they've become sick of the show. NOT I! said the pie. That's because I haven't even finished season one yet! I've still got stars in my eyes (and ears) over all the awesome singing/dancing numbers, the relationship drama, and the unexpected tender moments that bring tears to my wide eyes. I still laugh over Sue's over-the-top bad behavior. And I've fallen in love with songs that I've previously despised. (Go figure.)

What's funny is, when the show first came out, I watched one episode and decided I wasn't going to watch any more. Now I LOVE it! Strange.

Anyway, I'm having a major Glee-affair right now and nobody can stop it, not even the up-to-date haters. If, like me, you've ignored the show all this time or didn't give it a chance, here's a little taste. Basically it's the song I get stuck in my head every time I even think the word Glee.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Love List

I LOVE today's Road Trip Wednesday question because it's all about... LOVE!

Inspired by Stephanie Perkins' post on Natalie Whipple's blog, what is your novel's "Love List"?

Isn't Stephanie Perkins the best! Of course she is, she wrote Anna and Lola. (And where is Isla, where is she???) Since I'm in the middle of a major revision on Sway, I thought I'd do my love list about that. So here it is:

second chances
music notes
ocean blue eyes
long flowy gown
Bellagio fountain show
ivory piano keys
best friend
smooth baritone
jalapeno peppers
At This Moment
And because I'm watching Glee right now and this guy would make the BEST Gage (not the love interest, I might add), he's the last item on my love list:

What would your novel's love list be? Check out the post above to see what a love list is all about.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Name Of The Star

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B. of Should Be Reading. Today, I'm getting my teaser from The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

I am LOVING this book so far. Here's my teaser:

She got up alongside the figure, a smallish person dressed entirely in motorcycle leathers, wearing a helmet. She reached up to the neck to feel for a pulse.

Where the neck was supposed to be, there was a space. (page 3)

What are you reading this week?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Step Away From The Manuscript

This makes me want to crack open all my Calvin and Hobbes books

Step away from the manuscript.

We've all heard that advice, right? When you've finished, put it aside, work on something else, read, hone your craft, heck just live your life, and then come back to the manuscript later. Why? Because you'll have fresh eyes.

Here's something else I've learned that happens when you step away from the manuscript.

I wrote Sway last fall, and then put it aside like a good little author for max a month maybe. Then I did a revision on it before I sent it off to my first reader. When she sent it back, I did another round of revisions and then sent it off to four new readers around January. I wasn't in a rush with Sway and told them so. I've now gotten back all four rounds of notes, and realize I've got some major changes to make, so right now, I'm just reading through the MS and jotting down notes without making through-the-MS changes yet.

So here's what I've learned (I'm getting to it, I swear): When I finish a first draft, there's this high that comes. Like, "I'm awesome, I finished another MS, look at me go, oh yeah, oh yeah." I also get this feeling of, "this MS is AWESOME!" When I revised Sway after only a month, I was still on that high. Still amazed with my own awesomeness. Still feeling like the MS was near-perfect.

I know, I know, don't laugh, but it's true. I get blinded by the fact that I've finished another MS, and I mistakenly think that the manuscript itself is genius.

Six months later I'm painfully aware that IT'S NOT.

That feeling of awesomeness is a great thing, and I wouldn't take it away- it doesn't last long. But it's important for me to step away from the manuscript long enough so not only do I have fresh eyes, but I no longer have blind manuscript-infatuation. Long enough that just finishing isn't enough anymore, but making it the BEST it can be is what matters.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Highlights from WriteOnCon

Did you go to WriteOnCon? Did you??? If not, WHY?

Seriously, this is one of the best writer's conferences ever. Especially for someone like me who would have to travel long distances to get to a real conference. And pay tons 'o the cash. You can participate in this conference in your jammies, eating boxes of cheetos, with crisco greasy hair, and NO ONE will judge you. Except maybe yourself. (I might have only done two out of those three things.)

If you missed it, you can still go here to catch up. Read the articles and chats, watch the vlogs, go critique something in the forums.

Some of the highlights according to Melanie:

They did this whole Revision Toolbox thing, with authors giving different tips on how to revise. I won't implement all of them, but I learned a few ways that I think will work well for me and will help with my revisions (something I NEED right now). I especially loved Katherine Longshore's colorful note cards, and Talia Vance's Revision Checklist.

There were multiple chats with agents and editors who all said what they're looking for right now. (MG, MG, MG. Too bad I don't write MG!) And what they're sick of seeing. (Sorry Paranormal people.) It's such a great way to find out what's hot, and what's not, and to maybe find an agent who wants what you've got. (Did that just rhyme?)

The 5 biggest pet peeves of book bloggers. Oh my word, do I do three of them??? (I do one for sure and am dangerously close to two others.)

Molly O'Neill did a beautiful post on the importance of craft. I can't even describe it, you have to go read it.

Meredith Barnes did a vlog on social media. One thing I found VERY interesting was that she said we should blog, but NOT about writing. Huh? Isn't that what we all do? Anyway, it got me to thinking, and I decided to dedicate one post a week to something that I love besides writing.

There was so much great stuff, these are the only things I remember off the top of my (very-full) head. What did you love about WriteOnCon this year?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sports Books? Really?

Today's Road Trip Wednesday question is...

In honor of the end of the Olympics, share your favorite sports book!

Does Hunger Games count? No, it doesn't? What about Harry Potter and the whole Quidditch bits? No? Okay, hmmm... I've searched my shelves and I don't see one book about any sport. NOT. ONE.

Looking back on the books I've read, there is only one in the past year and a half that had a sports theme. ONE. Clearly, I'm not into sports books, which is kinda weird because I'm a sucker for movies about sports- even the ones with the cheesy endings where the underdog pulls ahead and wins the championship game. Especially those ones! I cry ugly tears every time.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. The female protag is the quarterback of the (very male) football team. I LOVED this book! I breezed through it because it was such a great read. Jordan was totally identifiable as a female football player, how she's just one of the guys and yet she starts crushing on the guy who's threatening to take over her position. What I loved most about it though, was that Miranda didn't take the book in the obvious route. She throws a twist in there that you sort of see coming while reading, but you don't know it's there just based on the book blurb. I loved the ending and I'm definitely looking forward to her next book.

So, since I'm not exactly a wealth of info on sports books, anyone have any recs?

Monday, August 13, 2012


WriteOnCon is back!!!!!!!!!

Just posting to say that I'll be MIA for the next few days because, well for one I'm out of town, and for two, any sec I can get on the computer, I'm gonna be WriteOnCon-ning it up!!!

Seriously, it's the best online writers conference EV-AH, so if you've never "attended," then you should head over here to check it out.

Maybe I'll "see" you there. Okay, enough with the quotations.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thoughts On Reduxes

I have a brother-in-law who hates the fact that old movies keep being remade. Never mind the fact that we all went to the new Total Recall last weekend. He thinks people should come up with their own brand new ideas instead of redoing old ones.

The thing is... nothing is a new idea, not really. I can't remember which author said, there are no new stories, just new ways of spinning old stories (obviously not a direct quote). No matter what, the thing you're writing or reading has already been done. Say you're writing a spy story. Maybe you have a rogue agent. Or a double agent. Maybe one of your characters appears good but turns out bad or the other way around. Your spy probably has some amazing gadgets. The setting is most likely amazing locations around the world.

Think these spies are the same?

Sound familiar? I've described every spy movie or book I've ever read. But they are all different. I wouldn't compare The Gallagher Girls with Mission Impossible. I wouldn't compare Spooks with Get Smart. Even though their bare bones are the SAME, the stories are different, the characters are different, the feel is different.

Of course, then there's the people who actually redo old stories. Like me. Why do we do this? When I first had the idea to do a Persuasion redux I balked. Not just because I was worried if I could pull it off (too close to the story? too way out there away from the original?). I remember thinking to myself that I should write something my own. Like, can't I come up with my own ideas?

I think we redo old favorites because they are just that- favorites. They are stories we LOVE. Stories that evoke major emotions within us. Stories we feel close to, like an old friend. For me, I was fascinated by putting Persuasion into the modern world. How would it change? How would it stay the same? Would the story really be much different nowadays than in Jane Austen's time?
Maybe I just feel the need to defend myself. Especially since my WIP is also a redux, although I'm going much further afield from the original. But I don't see the problem in remaking movies or reduxing books. (Provided the author has already passed on. Don't get me started on publishing fanfic.) When I hear of a redux of a book I loved, guess what? I'm first in line to buy it. Because I know that I will feel a connection to it at the very least, and at most, I will LOVE it like I LOVED the original.

What are your thoughts on reduxes?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Soundtrack of My Summer

Be Your Everything

It's Road Trip Wednesday Time again, hosted by the awesome YA Highway. This week's topic:

What music has been your summer soundtrack?

Music! One of my favorite things, ev-ah. Seriously, couldn't live without it. I'm gonna have to restrain myself from sharing too many songs.

This summer, it's been all about my fave band who are finally putting out a new album. That's right, Boys Like Girls. Said new album doesn't come out till the fall, but they released three songs on an EP that I've been gulping up like crazy. My fave is the one up top (can't wait for the release of the actual music video for this song but the lyric video is pretty awesome too), and the other two are here below performed live and acoustic.

Life of the Party

The First Time
Another new singer I just discovered this summer is Ed Sheeran. He has got some amazing music, very honest lyrics, and his voice sounds like butter in my ears. His song, The A-Team is on the radio right now, but a song of his that I've been replaying over and over is called Kiss Me. If you need inspiration for a kissing scene in your writing, or heck just some background music- this is THE song.

What songs have you loved this summer?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Right now I'm reading Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. Here's my teaser:

Shivers crawled up my spine when he said my name. And what a name. When I'd gotten the nerve to ask Li why they chose that, she said it was part of an old word that meant "alone" or "empty." It was also part of Ciana's name, symbolizing what I'd taken from her. It meant I was a nosoul. (page 26)

What are you reading right now?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Why Twitter Can Be Awesome

I'm a newbie Tweeter. I joined up in May and I still feel like I'm new to the whole Twitter party. And I definitely think Twitter can be a major time waster, like anything else online.


Here's why I think Twitter can actually be pretty awesome for writers:

1. You meet and interact with a whole new set of writers. I've met a ton of great writers through blogging, but there are even more in the Twitterverse. Some just want to spam you with mentions of their book every two seconds, but others are in the same boat you are: querying, writing, on sub, revising, whatever. It's always nice to hear of other people who are going through the exact same things you are.

2. You can interact with authors. This is one of the coolest things ever. I've had tweets back from Myra McEntire (author of Hourglass and Timepiece), Simone Elkeles (author of the Perfect Chemistry trilogy), Miranda Kenneally (author of Catching Jordan), and Julie Kagawa (author of The Immortal Rules and The Iron Fey books). And those are just the ones I can remember right now. Yes, it's usually just a, "thanks for reading," or "I'm glad you enjoyed the book," but STILL. It's AWESOME. It's like being tweeted back by somebody famous. I get all fangirly and have to restrain  myself from tweeting back, I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE AWESOME, I LOVE YOU!!!

3. You can interact with agents. Oh yes, the Gods of the Twitterverse (to us writers, anyway). The ones you want to tweet but you don't want to seem stalkerish, or suck-uppy, or idiotic. It gives you an inside view on what they like and don't like, and what they're like as a person. Sometimes they tweet about how busy they are, or that they've gone through their slush pile, or that they're loving an MS, so if you've queried them... well, let's be honest, it kinda just makes you all twitchy, but it still helps to know if they're busy or at a conference and so probably haven't gotten around to your query or MS yet.

4. Regularly on twitter are different chats, like kidlitchat, yalitchat, chicklitchat. Agents also hold "ask agent" sessions where you can get an answer straight from an agents mouth (or, er, keyboard). You also hear about contests, pitch sessions, cover reveals, book release dates, etc. And agents and editors often post tips on writing and querying.

5. *lowers voice to whisper*   There are rumors, Twitter legends if you will, of agents actually requesting manuscripts from writers based on something they've seen on Twitter. Not just from Twitter pitches either. This hasn't happened to me, but I've heard that it's true...

I write this post because I, myself balked at joining Twitter. I really only did it because of The Writers Voice competition. But since then, I've learned the value of being a writer on Twitter. If you haven't joined, think about it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Best Book of July

Today's Road Trip Wednesday question asks:

What was the best book you read in July?
I've read some great books this month. Wait, do I start every best book of the month with that same phrase? (I bet I do.) Anyway, I really have read some great books:

There was a werewolf book (Nightshade), a contemp (Catching Jordan), a contemp/timeslip (Timepiece), a paranormal with witches/demons/werewolves/faeries (Hex Hall and Demonglass), and a vampire/zombie/post-apoc book (The Immortal Rules).

I don't think I can pick. Nightshade was incredibly sexy. I loved the story in Catching Jordan about a girl quarterback falling for the boy who threatens to take over her position. I also loved how it didn't go the way you thought it would at first. The Immortal Rules captured me from the start and I couldn't put it down, even though post-apoc and zombies aren't my cup of tea. In Timepiece I loved Kaleb's voice, the southern setting, and all things time travel. The book was exciting and funny and romantic all in one- everything I look for in a book.

And then there's Hex Hall and Demonglass. Okay, I'll say it. They're my faves for the month. Why? The VOICE. I feel there are some similarities between the MC's voice and my own MC Jessica. So naturally I feel an attachment. There were little bits on every page that made me laugh. The books are filled with mystery, there are twists at the end of both, and the characters really stick. I loved these books and I can't wait to get my hands on the third.

What was the best book you read this month?