Monday, December 31, 2012

No Kiss Blogfest

I just signed up for the No Kiss Blogfest! Here are the rules: You must write a scene from your favorite books, movies, TV shows, or your own WIP showing the almost kiss. Yup, I'm a slow burn kind of reader so I love reading those not-quite-but-oh-so-close kissing scenes.

For more deets  Click Here and head over to Frankie Diane Mallis' page for the linky list.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tis The Season

I can't believe Christmas is four days away!!!! Sorry for the blog silence but things have been kind of hectic. And after the Connecticut tragedy last week I kind of just wanted to crawl under a rock with my family and hide-out. I'm taking a wee break from the blog (but not from the internet because I don't think I could survive) and focusing on being with my family and enjoying the Holidays and New Year. I hope all of you hold your loved ones especially close and remember all the good there is in the world (and there is good, despite the media portraying otherwise). I'm also working hard on more Fire and Ice revisions after getting some feedback from a beta, kind of excited but also freaking a bit. Oh well, such is life. Happy Holidays All!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finding Your Voice

Not every character is the same. Not every story is told the same way. There are books that seem light but have darker undercurrents. Books that uplift you, that are quirky and completely their own thing. Which is why it's so important to find the perfect tone for your story. Sometimes it can take a while to hit that perfect stride, but I promise, if you keep at it, you'll find just the right way to tell your story. The authors I admire most are great at conveying the mood of their book through various methods, the way a character speaks, the setting, the prose.

 Take the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins for example. It's a fun read, Sophie is a character full of hilarious inner dialogue and witty comebacks dealing with some seriously messed up stuff. If you look at the story just as 'fun', you'll miss the deeper issues taking place, such as the abandonment Sophie feels because of her father, not being able to trust the guy she loves, the secret her mother keeps from her, anger, fear- all those things are there. The setting is a perfect background for all the crazy that unfolds, but it doesn't overwhelm the reader or the story. Sophie never loses the thing that makes her her while she's at Hex Hall, because it's her voice that makes the story.

Then there's The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievfater, a book where the setting sets up the mood in a major way. It's a freaking island where angry, murderous horses wash up and try to eat you for crying out loud. It's the perfect place to establish the tone of the book. You know right away that this place is dark, that dreams die beside the harsh reality of the island's life. In this story it's not necessarily Puck or Sean showing us the bleakness of the island's history or the fear of what's ahead in the race, it's the island itself that carries the story, that molds how the story is told. Sean and Puck are just a way for us to be introduced to the island, the eyes that help us to experience Thisby.

It's important for the author to establish the tone and voice of the story within the first few sentences. It's also important that it continues throughout the book, consistency is key. And it can be hard to get the hang of it at times, but once you get into the groove of things, the story really takes off. It's also important to be honest and genuine with the story, don't force it to be something it's not meant to be. A lot of times a book will feel flat or fizzle because there's too much going on, the reader doesn't connect because they feel overwhelmed. Like I said, it can take time to figure out the perfect way to tell the story, but the end result is worth the trial and error. And the reader will thank you for taking your time to tell a story only you could have in the most authentic way possible. No forcing or pushing involved.

Monday, December 10, 2012

All I Want for Christmas

Last week I said I wanted snow, I needed snow. It's December and Christmas is around the corner, but it doesn't feel right without the cold, fluffy, white stuff. And guess what happened? It snowed this weekend. My kids woke me up on Saturday morning with "There's snow outside!" shouts coming from their bedrooms. It was exciting, but then I thought "Maybe I should have asked to win the lottery instead." But alas, I asked for snow, which is much more likely in December than winning the lottery at any time of the year. It also got me thinking about my Christmas list. I don't want a lot, I've finally reached the part of my life where receiving gifts isn't all that exciting anymore. But if I could have one thing, well, here's a list of things I want:

1. A gift card to Barnes and Noble that never runs out of funds. Can you imagine the kind of damage I could do that store? Not only for myself, but also for my kids and loved ones. Passion for books runs in the family.

2. A never ending supply of chocolate. My secret stash always seems to run out too fast so I would love it if my favorite chocolate would just magically refill itself without me having to step foot out my door.

3. A teleporter. Flying is just way too dang expensive. It would be nice just to pick a destination and press a button and voila! I can be there in minutes and drag as much luggage as I want without being charged an arm and a leg. On the plus side, my husband is getting more and more motion sickness as he gets older and we'd be able to avoid the puke-inducing turbulence.

4.. The Revisions Master. I would love a tool that had the ability to read my thoughts and all those revisions I want done and just took care of them for me. Wouldn't that be handy?

5.  A new microwave. Ha! Our over-the-stove one died a while back so we took our free standing microwave out of the garage and have been using that instead. I hate all the counter space it takes and want it gone. But we've been waiting for a rocking deal to buy a really nice one. Microwaves are one of those things you don't realize how much you depend on until its gone. And this is a totally doable gift.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Five for Friday

1. Sickness. Lots of it. You guys, I had the most epic puke session Wednesday evening. I know, TMI, but it was AWFUL. And its been going around for the last couple of weeks. Seriously, everyone is getting the bug. It sucks.

2. We're getting our Christmas Tree this weekend. The kids are excited and so am I. Can't wait to decorate that sucker. That sounded less than Holiday Spirit-y, but it was full of Christmas Joy.

3. I just started The Diviners by Libba Bray and am enjoying it, but it is a beast of a book clocking in at over 600 pages. It shouldn't be too much of an issue since I already like the direction the story is taking and since I'm a pretty fast reader anyway.

4. I really want some snow for Christmas. It just doesn't feel like the holiday season without white little flakes falling from the sky.

5. Who watched the mid-season finale of Once Upon A Time? I was really happy with the way they closed certain story lines while opening up new ones. I hate when shows drag out one thing for an entire season, which on network television is usually around 20+ episodes. Oh, and I can't forget The Walking Dead! Another awesome mid-season finale. February can't get here soon enough.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December Wha?!?!

It's hard to believe that the year is almost over. I'm a little bit sad and kind of disturbed that it went by so fast. This trend started once I had children and it seems to be taking place faster since my oldest started school. I am super excited about Christmas and New Year's (we have a mattress party on New Year's in our house where we pull all of our mattresses to the living room and stay up watching movies and eating junk food), but I'm not quite sure if I'm ready for 2013. Or for what 2013 may mean for me.

Despite my goal for starting the query process this year, it didn't happen. And boy am I glad it didn't, because holy crap, my story was NOT ready for agent eyes. But I made some serious revisions to Fire and Ice and I'm pretty happy with where it's at right now. I'll probably do another round once I hear back from betas and CPs, but I'm so close for it to finally be out there in queryland. The fear of the unknown is a big factor in my hesitance. I am fully aware and prepared for rejection (okay, maybe not FULLY prepared), it's a part of the biz, as they say. What I'm not prepared for are the close calls and silence. Agh! It doesn't sound fun, but if that's what it takes, then I'll hang in there.

In the meantime I'm going to continue my NaNo Pirate project (which is just over 35,000 words as of right now) and the contemporary I started this past summer. At the end of the day all we writers can do is continue writing, it's the only way to get closer to our dream of getting an agent and that publishing deal. And I'm happy to say that my love for writing will not be swayed by the fear of the unknown or the possibility of rejection.