Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Dual POV

I'm reading through my NA retelling right now. It's only a first draft, and pretty bare at 55,000 words. One thing I decided might work really well with this story is doing dual POV- the one from my female MC Maggie which is already there, and one from the love interest Jay.

I haven't started yet. I want to read through the entire story first, and I'm taking notes of each chapter on note cards so that I can see where Jay's POV chapters might fit in, or which ones can be switched from hers to his.

But here's the thing.

I'm scared.

I've never really written dual POV before. Okay, I sorta have. My YA Mystery JAR OF HEARTS has a second POV sprinkled throughout, and it's the POV of the antagonist. Those chapters were actually easy to write, mainly because I was trying to channel the creepiest possible person. And they're short chapters, all inner thoughts.

Now that I'm about to start a real second POV, and from a man's perspective, it has me trembling in my boots just a little. Why? I don't know how a guy really thinks. (There are some ways where I do know how they think, but they're not the kind of thoughts I want to put on the page, but I'm probably gonna have to anyway.) Also, I want the two voices to sound different. I don't want Jay to sound like me, like any girl, and especially not like Maggie. I need to find HIS voice somehow, and I'm not sure how to do that. My biggest issue with most dual POV books I read is that both POVs sound exactly the same to me. I don't want to do that.

This is something I've been thinking a lot about as I read through what I've got so far. Maybe this is something I should do a little research on- see what the experts say, see if there's a method to bring out a character's voice.

Do you know a good way to do this? Any advice for a dual POV first-timer?

Monday, September 28, 2015


It's been a while since I've read two books in one week- which is almost sad to say for some reason, but there it is.

Anyway, first I read BLACK DOVE WHITE RAVEN by Elizabeth Wein, author of CODE NAME VERITY and ROSE UNDER FIRE. So... so. I loved CNV like crazy. RUF was also good but not as- I think it had something to do with knowing how the book would end right from the start. Unfortunately, I liked BDWR the least of the three.

Here's what I did like: the setting, ie: the Ethiopian setting (because some of it takes place in the US too). It's a place I'd never read anything about. To go along with that, the book is set in the 1920s and 1930s and I loved the history. The best thing about the book was the characters. Elizabeth Wein has a gift of making vibrant, full-of-life, relatable characters. I loved Em and Teo and Rhoda. Even Delia, although she was in such a short amount of the book, really jumped off the page.

Here's what I didn't like. Nothing happened. At least, that's what it felt like to me. We see Em and Teo as kids, we learn about their time in the States, we learn about their time in Ethiopia. But nothing really happens. Which isn't true- stuff does, every once in awhile. But to me this could have been such an epic story and it just... wasn't. :( This really makes me sad because I wanted so badly to love it.

After BDWR I read THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner.


The book sort of starts out like Titanic in space, but then the two MCs Tarver and Lilac end up stranded alone on a deserted planet. I just... I don't even know what to say. I don't even really know why I loved it so much I just did.
This is the book I've been waiting for- the kind that keeps me up reading late into the night. No book has done that for me in awhile. Funny enough, it's sci-fi which is one of my least favorite genres. But this book was page-turning, tear-dropping, read-on-the-floor-of-the-movie-theatre-while-waiting good. Yes, I really did that- I was so near the end I couldn't help myself. Definitely a must read.

What have you been reading lately?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Loves: THE PARADISE

One of my extremely awesome CP's, Michelle Merrill, and I have pretty much the same taste in TV, namely period dramas. She recommended to me a show called THE PARADISE and I'm so glad she did because I love it!
*The trailer makes it seem a lot more racy than it actually is*

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this show, or what it was even about. I pretty much just saw the costumes and was like, SOLD. Ohmygosh, the costumes. The FASHION. Seriously, major SWOON. Especially Katherine Glendenning's entire wardrobe. Oh to get to wear those clothes! *dies*
 Katherine Glendenning played by Elaine Cassidy

Anyway, here's what Wikipedia says about the show since they sum it up better than I could (which I should be able to do being a writer and all, but whatever).

Series 1 begins in 1875, and portrays the lives and loves of the people who work, shop and trade, in and around the first English department store. The owner of The Paradise department store is widower John Moray. Moray was once a draper's boy in Emersons, the small shop that grew under his managership into The Paradise, which has come to dominate the high street to the detriment of small shopkeepers nearby.

Into this world comes Denise Lovett, from the small town of Peebles in Scotland, whose uncle Edmund is one of the shopkeepers struggling to survive. Denise takes a job at The Paradise and is soon seen by Moray as a rising star, to the annoyance of Miss Audrey, the head of ladies' fashion, and of Clara, a fellow shopgirl. Moray is financially dependent on Lord Glendenning, whose daughter Katherine is determined to marry Moray and sees Denise as a direct threat to her ambitions.

Denise is such a great example of a female character who is strong yet doesn't overstep her bounds (usually). At first I wasn't quite sure about Moray- sometimes he seemed a little sinister and sometimes totally sweet- but he became clearer as the season went on. The show took little twists that I didn't see coming and I thoroughly enjoyed all eight episodes of season 1. I've just started season two and am already bummed that they cancelled the show after just 2 seasons. *sad face*

Anyway, if you like period dramas, check this show out. It's a winner!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Fingers Crossed

I had a whole one paragraph post ready for last week about how I was still plugging away at JAR OF HEARTS revisions. I decided not to post it cuz who needs even one paragraph to say what I just did in one sentence?

Anyway, I finished those revisions last week. It wasn't anything major- just going through beta notes and a major change on one scene. Now it's done and query ready (which I've already started) and I can set it aside for a bit to focus on my NA retelling. So that's what I'm doing now. I started reading through this NA story during the summer but I had to put it aside to do SWAY edits. I'm hoping now I'll have time to focus on it, read it through, make edit notes, and get started on adding a second POV through the story. Lots to do with this one but I've got high hopes for it.

What have you been writing?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Reads: DANGEROUS

Last week I read DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale. I love Shannon Hale's AUSTENLAND, and MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND, but those are the only books I've read by her. I've never tried her GOOSE GIRL or PRINCESS ACADEMY books before. I wasn't sure what to expect with DANGEROUS but I loved the premise and thought I'd give it a try.

Here's what I loved: the characters- Maisie and Wilder especially. Maisie was a fun MC who, despite being a home-school kid with one arm (so I was expecting her to be a bit shy and reserved) was totally witty and strong. She could kick butt mentally (and later physically), but I liked how she still had a girly uncertain side when it came to Wilder. I heard some criticism about that, but I liked it- I think it made her a more well-rounded character. Wilder was of course charming, snappy, and there was a lot to him. I loved how fast-paced the book was. I loved how you couldn't ever be sure who was good and who was bad, and even if you were sure- it wasn't a clear line between the two. I also loved the humor- Shannon Hale is so good at humor and there was lots of laugh out loud moments here.

Here's what I didn't love: my main criticism is although I did like the fast pace, sometimes it was TOO fast. The book barely took a breath, and sometimes it skipped things or didn't delve deep enough into things I would've liked to hear more about. She really could have made this a two-book or even three-book series and the story would have been better for it.

If you like a fast-paced Sci-Fi, check this one out.

Friday, September 18, 2015


I was thinking earlier about what I was going to talk about for my Friday Loves post. And then it came to me so obviously when I was revising JAR OF HEARTS. In this manuscript, my MC Trevi wants to land the role of Christine in her high school's production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. This book is by no means a retelling, but PHANTOM plays a pretty big part, and I loved drawing parallels between it's characters and my own. I also loved writing about the rehearsals, the acting, the songs. Most definitely the songs. Even revising, I'll listen to certain songs from the musical because I'm either talking about them in that moment, or they just work with the story.

PHANTOM was one of the first musicals I ever saw (LES MIS was the other but I can't remember which I saw first and which second) and it'll always hold a special place in my heart. The music is gorgeous. I love the drama. I love the costumes. I love the movie they made with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson. I could listen to "All I Ask of You" on repeat (with my eyes closed and my head back while I do, because that's just how you need to listen to it). I saw it again as an early adult and I can't wait for the day when I can take my kids to it and they can learn to love it as I do.

Until then, I've got JAR OF HEARTS, and the movie to rewatch. Like now.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Reads: Magonia

Last week I read MAGONIA by Maria Dahvana Headley. I have mixed feelings about this book. When I finished it, and went to rate it on Goodreads, I went back and forth between giving it 3 stars and 4. Even now I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.

Here's what I loved: the premise, the world, the setting. I've said before that a book is something I haven't read before, but this one was truly UNIQUE. I loved the alternate world in the sky, I loved the bird people, I loved the fantasy of it all mixed with the world as we know it. I also loved the main characters, Aza, and Jason especially. Even Aza's family were interesting and well developed. There were chapters where I was feverishly turning the pages, chapters where I cried, and chapters that had just beautiful writing.

Here's what I didn't love: the first few chapters. I had a really hard time with them. It wasn't Aza's voice- I was fine with that- I just felt like she was telling the reader backstory almost the entire time. That's all it was- Aza talking at me and I got sick of it. I wanted things to happen. Which they did. But if I was a less patient reader, I might have DNF'd it after the first chapter or two. Also, once she made it to Magonia, again a lot didn't happen. She trained. She missed her family. She learned stuff. Great. I think she could have done all that with more stuff actually going on. And the end. Again, it felt a little... small. SPOILER COMING. Even though it was technically the end of the world, I didn't get the intensity of it. I wasn't scared or worried for her or Jason or anything. I missed those emotions in the end.

I ended up giving the book 4 stars because it really was a beautiful read, and I'm sure I'll pick up the next one because I'm interested to see what happens with Aza next. I've heard of a couple of people who DNF'd it, but for the most part people LOVE this book, so definitely check it out if you haven't already.

Right now I'm reading DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale- a fast-paced and funny sci-fi. What are you reading this week?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Loves: Back to School!

It's BACK TO SCHOOL time!!! Not for me, of course, but for my kids. This year is extra special because ALL FOUR of my kids are in all day school (Grades 1, 3, 5, and 7)!!!

At first, I was bummed about back to school. I wanted more summer and more mornings to sleep in. It seemed like the weather went bad as soon as school hit (although today is pretty nice so I'm not complaining). I wanted more time to hang out with the kids and do fun stuff.

Now that they're at the tail end of their second week back, I'm getting into the swing of things and enjoying being back on my schedule. (If you can't tell, I schedule myself like a drill sergeant). It's crazy having most of the day to myself. Last week I did a lot of shopping (and pedicure-ing). This week has been all about getting back to exercising, and lots and lots of revisions. It's been pretty awesome. I'm so so lucky right now that I don't have to go find a job and work all day while the kids are at school. SO LUCKY. That may change, but for now I'm enjoying this TIME I have where I can get everything done in a day that I need to without being in a rush. It's AWESOME.

So what do I love? BACK TO SCHOOL! Why do I love it? BECAUSE IT ROCKS!*

*clearly I was never a cheerleader

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Back in the Saddle

Like I said on Monday, I've finally gotten back in the swing of my normal routine, and it feels GREAT. Yesterday, I was so productive I almost passed out. ;)

One of the things I'm back on track with is my writing. I didn't ignore it all summer (as evidenced by my RSW posts), but it's nice to be back to my regularly scheduled "writing time" every day. This week I've been working on JAR OF HEARTS, my YA mystery. I tweaked the query, wrote up some Twitter pitches for #Pitmad on Thursday, and did some revisions. I received edits from a beta reader a bit ago and I'm making my way through those. Hopefully I'll be done in a week or two, MAX. Crossing my fingers that I get some faves at Pitmad too since this will be JofH's first time out in the world. Eeek!

Monday, September 7, 2015


Happy Labour Day!
Even though it's a holiday, I'm trying to get back on track with, well, EVERYTHING. Starting with my regularly scheduled blog posts: Monday Reads (which I kept up with during RSW), Wednesday Writes, and Friday Loves.
So what did I read last week? JANE AUSTEN RUINED MY LIFE by Beth Patillo. I rarely buy books I've never read before, especially by authors I'm not familiary with, but this book had me at the title. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to what I wanted it to be. It was okay, I enjoyed the story and it was a fast read, but the ending was a little unsatisfying and I found myself annoyed at the MC at times. I wanted a lot more fun and a lot more romance. I DID, however, love all the Jane Austen related stops the MC makes through the book. Places I'd love to visit one day but may never get the chance, so it was cool to read about them and experience them through the MCs eyes. 
Now I'm reading MAGONIA and it's an interesting read.
What are you reading this week?