Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Book Superlative

Everyone's doing it, why not me?

Want to know how many books I read this year? A whopping 100. I have no clue how it happened, but it has been a tremendous reading year. And I have to say I did some pretty great writing this year as well. Are the two related? Maybe. I definitely believe reading, and reading widely, can strengthen your own work. Anyway, without any further ado, here are my superlatives. I would definitely like to give a shout out to my local library for stacking so many amazing books, and to Kindle for having some great sales. Without them I would be nowhere.

Favorite Sophomore Release: This has got to be a tie between Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller and The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Both these books blew me away. This is the second book by both authors and I didn't notice a slump in the writing in any way, if anything I think they got stronger. Honorable mention to Days of Blood and Starlight and The Dream Thieves.

Favorite New Series: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. This book was creepy, haunted in a beautiful sort of way, with an original premise. I'm so excited to read the follow up and see where Violet and River are since the events that took place in the first book.

Favorite Debut: There were SO MANY tremendous debuts this year. Honestly, I still have dozens of books to make it through. But I have to say I had a lot of fun reading The Collector by Victoria Scott. Dante was funny, snarky, obnoxious at times, but the story kept me on the edge of my seat and I found myself rooting for him despite his faults.

Favorite Contemporary: Okay, wow. I've read a ton of contemporaries, this was the year of the contemporary.. Picking just one is SOOOO hard. But I have to say The Sea of Tranquility hit me right in the feels. I couldn't put it down. It made me laugh, smile, cry. I loved this book with so much of my heart.

Favorite Under The Radar Book: Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross. This book had tragedy, romance, gymnastics, and was subtle about the issues it dealt with, and I highly recommend it.

Favorite Late To The Party Book: The Sky Is Everywhere, The Girl Who Chased The Moon, both had family drama and swoony romances, and are very different from each other, but the writing in both makes me envious.

Favorite Scifi Fantasy: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi and Crown of Midnight by Sara J. Maas. Perry and Choal are my favorites for many reasons. I CANNOT wait to read Into The Still Blue.

Favorite Closing To A Series: Quintana of Charyn. This book put every other end to a trilogy to shame. It raised the bar so high I'm not sure any book will ever be able to reach it. This series as a whole is so wonderful, raw, heartbreaking, beautiful, I can't say enough about it. Honorable mention to The Clockwork Princess and Beautiful Redemption.

There are so many more amazing books I want to write about, but I'm afraid of how long this post would get if I got into it. If any of you want recommendations, don't hesitate to ask. I love sharing my faves with other readers! Hope 2014 is as book filled as 2013 was. I'm so excited to see what the new year holds!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!


What I'm Reading:
I finished The Girl Who Chased the Moon, which was in a word: magical. The writing was elegant, engaging, and thoughtful. The story really stuck with me, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. And I can't quite put my finger on why, maybe it was cast of character from Emily and Win to Julia and Sawyer, or perhaps the mystery surrounding Emily's mom and Win's uncle, it could have been the changing wallpaper room Emily stayed in, or it might just be the town of Mullaby itself. I really fell in love with all, I think.

I also read Golden by Jessi Kirby and found it be a delightful, at times somber, sort of contemporary novel with a mystery twist. I guess I'm really enjoying the whole mystery aspect of the books I've read lately. It really captured that need teens have to experience more. I know I felt it when I was younger. And sometimes I still feel it. The plot was more complex than just a love story.

What I'm Writing:
I'm on a break, but I can't stop the horde of ideas pushing to make room in my head. I've started several projects, only a few hundred words each, only to abandon them. I have no idea what to work on next. There are so many choices! And they're all pulling me in different directions. Hopefully by January I'll know how to proceed.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
These two munchkins:
I've been thinking a lot about writing a book with a strong mother/daughter or sister/sister dynamic. I love my gals and they inspire me daily with their hilarious antics, love for me and each other as well as their big brothers, their general awesomeness. Someday I would like to write a story just for them.

What Else I've Been Up To:
I'm taking the oath and becoming an official citizen of the United States on January 9th! I can't wait! My husband and kids will be here, and maybe also my mother-in-law, but it also sounds like my older sister might also take the oath the exact same day! We put in our papers around the same time hoping it would work out that way. I can't wait!

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Lots of wonderfulness. First off: Rainbow Rowell. I read Fangirl and Attachments recently and they were both delightful, wonderfully written, supremely rich in humor and awesome.

What I'm Writing:
Since NaNo ended? Not much. I think I'm giving my brain a break and just relaxing a bit. And with Christmas just around the corner, I don't have much time to do much other than find gifts and prepare for the festivities. I love Christmas!

What Inspires Me Right Now:
PitchWars! Even though I didn't make it in :( I'm still so inspired by the other writers who were picked. And it gives me hope that my turn will come some day. This isn't the end by any means! No way am I throwing in the towel this early on! I love the idea of authors helping other authors. People like Brenda Drake that hold these amazing contests are so inspiring. WHEN I reach my goal I would love to give back as well.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Getting through a cold. My throat is so soar it feels like I'm trying to swallow shards of glass. Kind of sucks. But I'm taking the time to relax, recuperate, and catch up on some shows on Netflix.  I love me some White Collar!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Honesty

I've been blogging and less and less. And it has nothing to do with not caring. I still like to sneak in and read your guys' posts, but lately I've been running a blank. That's why I like doing weekly bloghops like What's Up Wednesday because I can post statuses on various things going on in my life. But I didn't start blogging just to give you guys weekly updates. I started because I wanted to discuss my journey in this writing game. I wanted to share positive thoughts, constructive thoughts. I wanted to make connections, and I've done those things. However, I've become increasingly...how do I say... private (more like crazy scared) to share certain details of my life. More specifically, when it comes to my writing.

Querying my Urban Fantasy was hard. REALLY HARD. Rejection was harder. I took some comfort in knowing I wasn't the only one who's dealt with the bitter stab of another form R. It doesn't erase it completely, but it helped. I've put away Fire and Ice, even though I still heart it like crazy, and moved onto my contemporary Restoring Casey, which I also love.

I'm going to be honest with you, I had very little luck with F&I, and I sort of expected it, but it still sucked the big one. Trying to query anything paranormal at the moment is sort of asking for soul crushing heartbreak, but if your story is awesome enough it will rise to the top. Mine obviously wasn't that awesome. And as I recently reread my former love, I realized it still needs work. But I've moved on. Do I think RC is 'the one'? I don't know. What I do know is the writing is stronger, the emotions higher, the journey scarier. Because writing and preparing to query is always scary. Putting yourself out there is always scary.

I would love to land an agent with this manuscript. Every writer dreams of the moment when their work finally pays off, when someone else wants to champion their story. I'm not giving up on that dream. I'm still striving for it. RC isn't quite ready to query. I still need betas before heading into another round of revisions. As I've mentioned before, patience is not my strong suit, but guess what?!?! I'm much more patient when it comes to my journey than I used to be. I'm happier and more comfortable with my words. That's what matters, right? I've also decided to be more upfront with you guys when it comes to my story. I'll tell you how querying is going. I'll let you know if I get another rejection or request (while remaining professional).

So to kick this thing off I'm going to let you know I recently entered Pitchwars! Which is an awesome contest set up by the amazing Brenda Drake. I don't know if I'll make it in, but I'm not going to let the fear of rejection keep on the sidelines. I hope you guys put yourselves out there, too.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pushing Your Limits

There's less than one week left in NaNo and I have to say...I don't know if I can do it. Last week I KNEW I couldn't. This week I'm on the fence. I'm giving myself some credit. I think I can (repeat that three times), but there are times when it just feels like I'm pressing the buttons and random words and messy sentences are showing up.

Sometimes that's what you have to do in order to get through the infamous 'block'. What I've learned this year from NaNo that I didn't during NaNo's past is I can push my limits. The past two years I set easier goals. Rather than the whole 50k I decided to go for 30k. Before I didn't think it would ever be possible for me to get past that number. This year I felt different, stronger (writer strong), and I did get past the 30k hump. I'm proud of myself for achieving that goal, it's pretty impressive for a slow writer like myself, but I'm going to keep going.

You never know how strong you are until you've pushed yourself harder than you ever thought possible. As a writer we have to constantly evolve in order to get better at what we're doing, and a part of my evolution includes writing at a faster rate. I'm not sure what's going to happen next month (especially with my brain, it might be a puddle of jumbled words), but I do know right now I have a choice. I can either choose to be happy achieving a new goal, or I can choose to go even further and achieve one I didn't think I'd ever be able to. What are you guys going to choose?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's Up Wednesday



What I'm Reading:
Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross, a historical fiction that takes place in Paris during the late 1800s. It's fascinating. The descriptions  transport you to the Parisian streets and the bustle of Aristocratic life. The premise is original and I'm curious as to whether it's true or not. The only issue I have is with the MC Maude. She's a bit...boring? There's no pep in her step, no spunk. I'm hoping she grows a personality as the book progresses. Either way I'm enjoying myself.

What I'm Writing:
17,000+ words into NaNo! Way ahead of where I was last year. I've gotten to the good, meaty stuff and it's helping quite a bit in the inspiration department.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Pandora. I have it on the majority of the day and it makes writing and cleaning go by much faster. Right now I'm obsessed with the Lorde channel. LOVE her stuff and the other artists that it plays. I've discovered a few new bands to fall in love with.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Surviving. Life can get a bit overwhelming, stressful, exhausting at times and right now I'm just trying to get through a patch where it seems to be everything at once. Writing is helping, so is reading. Oh well, c'est la vie!

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!


What I'm Reading:
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. I'm halfway through and I have to say I'm really enjoying it. Not totally in love, but it's a great, well written story. I'm curious to find out why Bev changed her mind about traveling the world with Colby and how things will end (or begin) for Colby. One thing I do love is reading about the obscure towns they visit on their tour, and the characters they meet in passing that have a more significant impact on them than people they've known their whole lives. I also finished Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas yesterday and really liked that as well (not love, yet again). It's a great fantasy, which I needed after a string of contemporaries (nothing against contemporaries, i love them, but I need to switch it up every now and then). I have to say I enjoyed the sequel more than Throne of Glass, not only was the writing stronger, but the plot twists had my head spinning.

What I'm Writing:
NaNoWriMo! I'm just over 8,000 words in. I'm kind of not feeling the story right now. There are scenes I can't wait to get to, but I have to figure out the beginning first, and the writing is really 'meh', even for a first draft. I'm not giving up, though, because I'm really excited about the stuff that's going to come up, I just have to start it with a bang as well. I guess that's what revisions are for.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
NaNoWriMo. I love knowing I"m not the only one trying to get words on paper (or computers) especially SO MANY of them in such a short amount of time. Makes me feel less crazy and more motivated.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Reading. I have so many great books from the library right now and trying to read and NaNo together is near impossible. Not to mention taking care of a family and house. But I love all those things (minus housework) so I make sure to find time to fit everything in. I don't always succeed, but when I do, man does it feel good.

What Have You Been Up To?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Up Wednesday



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Dream Thieves! Dream Thieves! Dream Thieves! Finally! So far I'm loving getting reacquainted with all these FEELINGS inducing characters. I also read The Sea of Tranquility and wow. Just wow. I don't even know where to begin with that one. It was beautiful, heart breaking, and emotionally draining. Loved it. I'm getting lucky with my books lately, it seems.

What I'm Writing:
Currently drafting my NaNo project while letting Restoring Casey sit for a bit. I think I know which project I want to focus on during NaNo, but I might go in a completely different direction by next week and start something brand new. You never know.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Just about everything. My kids, life, writing, reading, music. I'm finding inspiration in many things, which makes writing a bit easier (or as easy as writing can get).

What Else I've Been Up To:
I've lived in the US for most of my life. My family moved here from India when I was six. And now, after twenty one years, I'm finally getting my citizenship! I've had my green card for many years, but it's about to expire and I realized I couldn't make excuses anymore. The main being the cost. My husband told me it was worth it for me to finally became a citizen, so we saved up and now I'm just waiting for them to let me know when I need to come in to take the test! I got fingerprinted a few weeks ago, which was a very exciting and unique experience. Did you know they don't use ink anymore? It's all electronic. Pretty futuristic, people. Anyway, once I take the oath my family will be throwing me a US themed party, so I have lots of cheeseburgers and wings to look forward to :)

What have you been up to?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rising To The Occasion

Ever feel really inadequate in this writing gig? Yeah, I think insecurity is sort of a must-have on a check list of characteristics that pertain to writers. There are days I feel like giving up and focusing on something else. Reading is one of my favorite pass time and I've thought, "well, there are more than enough stories being written, and I like quite a lot of them, why not just leave it to the professionals?" Because those professionals weren't always professionals. They were just like me, and you (if you're a writer and you're reading this) and they had the exact same thought go through their head, but instead of listening to it, they rose to the occasion and finished that kick-butt manuscript, went through the grueling query process, so you could reap the benefits. And the truth is, not anyone can write just any story. I'm the only one who can share the words of the character in my head. Sure I could make a list of traits and hand it to any writer out there, but the product from one to another would all be vastly different. That's why I don't quit., because honestly, I don't trust anyone else to give justice to my character and plots. I'm the only one who can do it. And you're the only one who can do the same for your characters and plots. So you just have to suck it up and get writing, otherwise you'll always search for that one story on the bookshelves, the one that will make you laugh, or cry, or smile, or make your heart pound with suspense, and you'll keep searching because you'll never find it. You want to know why? Because it's the story inside of you and no one else.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Currently rereading The Raven Boys. Almost ready for The Dream Thieves. Loving it so far. I'm also reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I wanted to change things up a bit and read modern classic, see what all the hoopla is about. So far it's fascinating and has its moments of humor, though it deals with some pretty heavy issues.  13 Reasons Why is coming upon the list, along with The Sea of Tranquility.

What I'm Writing:
So many things. I can't make up my mind over what project I want to focus on the most. It's a good problem to have, I guess. On top of that I just brainstormed up some ideas for revising another project I thought would shelved for some time to come. My brain won't shut up.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Naps. Really, guys, I am worn out and napping seriously helps my fuzzy brain to not...be fuzzy. We've all been battling colds and sleeping is a luxury. I've taken a nap pretty much every day the last week, not counting the weekend, which is very unlike me. I only napped when I was pregnant or with a newborn. I guess it doesn't matter because a 15 minute break can do wonders for my writing and energy levels.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Cleaning like an 8 month pregnant woman. I'm not (pregnant) I swear, but I've had these relentless urges to ORGANIZE. If you know me you know that's highly unusual behavior. I guess I'm growing up. And it is nice to be able to locate various tools and important papers when the need arises. The only downside is now every little mess drives me bonkers.

What's Up With You Guys?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!


What I'm Reading:
The Book Thief. I am once again way behind on this one. With the movie releasing I figured I should pick the book up. This book packs an emotional punch. It's heart wrenching, beautiful, honest...there aren't enough words to describe what I feel when I'm reading it. I've teared up more than once. Truly an incredible story that transports you to the horrific events taking place.

What I'm Writing:
I'm pretty much done with revisions. Just in that stage of reading through one more time to make sure I didn't miss anything crucial. It's almost ready for beta readers. Exciting yet also terrifying. I mean, I really want to share this story and get honest and helpful feedback to make it stronger, but at the same time it's my baby and I always get nervous when receiving crits, whether they're positive or negative. I've also been working on two other projects at the same time. Yeah, I'm one of those ADD writers that needs several projects in order to not get bored. So far I'm loving both. They're both outside of my comfort zone and totally different from each other. One is a magical realism, the other a fantasy. With NaNo coming up I need to decide which one I want to focus on. I've decided I'm going to participate! Either way both these stories are for fun. I want to work on something that makes me stronger as a writer and isn't necessarily for others to read.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Halloween! The pumpkins! The Costumes! The smell of burning wood in the air! Super excited to get things rolling by watching Hocus Pocus. (Fun fact Hocus Pocus was the first movie I ever saw in theaters and the first movie I ever saw in the US).

What Else I've Been Up To:
Packing. The kids are out of school on Thursday and Friday so we decided to tag along with the husband on one of his work trips. It's also convenient since he's going to be traveling near his parents and we'll able to see some family.

What have all of you been up to?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Walk the Walk

I have a hard time saying I'm a writer. Maybe it's because I've never been published, and I'm afraid people will start asking those questions you don't feel like answering because they're just not going to get it unless they are a writer as well. Most of the time it's because I feel like an imposter, or unworthy of the title. But when I get right down to it, the truth is I do consider myself a writer.

 Sure there are things that take precedent over writing such as my children, but behind being a mom and wife, writing is my thing. I don't garden, I'm pretty sure I'd kill everything if I ever did. I've tried knitting and even though I got good at it, it wasn't able to hold my attention for more than a couple of weeks. I enjoy cooking, but I do not have the ability to come up delicious new meals that are of my own making. I could be a businesswoman, but I hate being told what to do and don't enjoy holding power over others. I did enjoy working as a barista, but that ship has long since passed.

Writing is it. It's my passion. I love it. Even with all the uncertainty involved in this gig, I won't be able to give it up. It helps to balance out my life, the one I chose and love, but revolves around me taking care of everyone else. It's MY thing, just for me and no one else. So I guess I have to stop hesitating, stop being afraid, and own up to the fact that I am indeed a writer.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Screw It: A Post About Characters

I read so many reviews, tweets, etc about 'likable' characters. You know how they say publishing is so subjective. well, so is reading. And with that said, liking characters is too. There are characters I adore that others hate, there are characters others hate that others adore. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if people don't like your characters as long as you wrote them true to themselves. Not every character I like is the same, some are quiet, some are loud, some are tall, some are short. They're just like people, we don't like everyone we meet right away, it can take time. Or maybe we won't ever like them, but as long as they're real, that's what matters.

The one thing characters I like have in common? They survive. A character who is strong doesn't necessarily go out there and kick someone's butt. Sometimes they even stand back and are quiet in the face of adversity, but along the way they grow and become themselves. That's what I love about reading, watching the journey of someone I may not like as they evolve. Make sure your character is learning, is growing, is true.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I've only seen the movie and wanted desperately to read the book because I loved it so much. Verdict? The book is just as good if not better. Obviously, like most movies, it left out certain details that I appreciate very much in imagining the world created.  Sometimes I don't get why movie people leave out certain plot lines that only serve to make the story stronger. I like Sophie, she's a sympathetic character that doesn't put up with any of Howl's nonsense. I love how she comes to her own once the spell is put on her and stops caring about what others think. It's a really fun book and makes me feel like a kid again. It's one I can't wait to share with my kids.

What I'm Writing:
I haven't gotten as much writing done as I would have liked. We had family in town this weekend and I prepping for them most of last week. My husband was also in Colorado when the floods hit and barely made it out before things got really bad. Thankfully he's back safe and I know not everyone over there is that lucky. I'm setting a goal for next week to have the next major revisions done. There aren't that many, just one that really is kicking my butt at the moment.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Sweaters, jeans, boots, hot chocolate, pumpkins....I see a pattern forming here. I love fall and it's cooling down over here. I can't wait to finally stop using our sprinklers and stop mowing our lawn every weekend. Of course there's all those leaves to round up, but I enjoy raking, it's good exercise and I love the smell of fallen leaves.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Trying to catch up on my sleep. It's my favorite pass time. And potty training. I won't go into the nitty gritty details, but it's been quite the adventure. I've already potty trained two boys so a girl kind of threw me for a loop, but it's going well. So I'm pretty much up to the mommy things in life, not that it's a bad thing, but I'm so ready to dive back into my writing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!
What I'm Reading:
Or rereading. I finished The Scorpio Races last night for the second and was once again struck by the beauty of the story. Even though in my head I know Thisby is not a real island, in my heart it is. Can you imagine a world where water horses rose from the sea once a year, not just any horses, but wild creatures with a thirst for blood and unprecedented speed and strength? The prose landed me straight on that island, I could picture everything perfectly and I fell in love with Puck and Sean once again.

What I'm Writing:
Still working on Restoring Casey. I got more feedback and am tweaking the first fifty to help pick the pace up and bring the inciting incident forward. I'm excited, even though it's going to take a little bit of time and work. I also might have started a new project...maybe...possibly. Or definitely. I love it thus far and can't wait to see where the story takes me. As a pantser I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning, I just had a voice nagging in my head and I knew I had to write it down. I love the process of writing.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Maggie Stiefvater. After reading the Scorpio Races again and also starting The Raven Boys in preparation for Dream Thieves, I can't but help be inspired by her writing. I don't know if I'll be as good as her, but I truly enjoy reaping the benefits of all her hard work.

What Else I've Been Up To:
So the football season has started...I'm not sure if you've noticed and I'm trying to survive. I don't hate football at all, but it's not all that interesting to me. My husband, on the other hand, is like a walking sports caster with his vast knowledge of all things sports and football is his favorite so there's lots of it in our house. We live in a college town and football season is BIG. I get into every so often, it is fun to attend the games and eat all that fattening food, but it wears me out. I grew up in a house where sporting events were limited to ice skating and gymnastics so marrying a sports nut has taken some time to get used to. All in all I hope everyone has fun with the season and maybe even I can learn to more than tolerate it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Never Ending Process of Writing

I don't know about you, but for me it feels like writing is a never ending process. I'm always revising projects, thinking of ways to make the story stronger, tighter, ways to get rid of those plot holes. Even with books I shelved long ago, I can't help it. As a writer I strive to make my story the best it can be, a story that will touch many, a story others can fall in love with. And it seems like there's always something that can be better.

This got me thinking. Do you ever wonder if it's the same with published authors? Do they stay up late at nights running over all the different possibilities and directions they could have taken that story already out on shelves? Or do they FINALLY get to that point where the story is exactly how they want it to be? No one has written a perfect book, as writers we have our strengths and weaknesses and we always want to make sure we're making our weaknesses our strengths, but no book will ever be a clear picture of what we had in our heads. It'll always lack in some way. I've made peace with the fact that my story will not always match the idea in my head, but that doesn't mean I don't work hard to get it as close to it as possible. I know all writers, published and not, feel the same way. But I wonder if being published means you get it to the closest version of what you wanted versus non-pubbed. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's Up Wednesday!


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading: 
I got lots of reading done this past week, but I have to say my fave was Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross. You guys, wow! I love gymnastics, it's my favorite Olympic event EVER, so this book was so interesting and kept my attention. I wanted to know all about elite gymnasts. And the romance. Yeah, swooning! It was real, it was sweet, and I loved every minute of it. Highly recommend. 

What I'm Writing:

It's the last week of Ready. Set. Write. Super sads. Being involved has helped motivate me through the whole summer and then some. I don't know how far I would have come if I hadn't participated. Having said that, I'm so close to being done with this round of revisions and I'm making a goal to be done by next week! Then I'll probably need some beta readers. Crazy how fast this summer has gone!

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Nothing in particular just life in general. Anything that helps me to get off my butt and do something. I do have to say I'm craving fall weather, which is very inspiring for me as a writer. Leaves changing colors, sweaters, and boots seem to get me in the mood to write I guess. That and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

What Else I've Been Up To:
School started yesterday. Both my boys are now officially in school so it's just me and my girls at home by ourselves. Also, my mom is in town and I'm enjoying some delicious home cooked Indian food. I gotta say, it's a good beginning to the school year. I look forward to what is in store for me and my family. Seems to me that times to speed by during the school year, and now that the kids are getting older (and so am I) it's getting even faster. 

What have you been up to?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Changes In Taste: Getting Old

I recently reread an old favorite from high school, a book that I thought was innovative, unique, fun, with a strong female protag, a romance that kept me on the edge of my seat, and a story that made me want to immerse myself in the world. Only, I didn't feel that way about it anymore. While I was reading I couldn't stop getting annoyed by the MC. I thought she was incredibly selfish and full of herself. Now there's nothing wrong with being confident in who you are, Rose Hathaway from The Vampire Academy is one of my favorite characters and she has more than enough confidence in herself, but the protag in this book was almost too confident, in such a way that I had to roll my eyes every now and then. And the romance, well, it was kind of twisted. I remember it making my heart swoon when I was younger, now I think it's a bit creepy and dysfunctional. The writing was still great, but the story had lost it's appeal. I felt old.

Back when I worked at Borders I remember my boss approaching me and asking whether or not I had read Catcher in the Rye. I had not, and I still haven't (hides from all the shoes). I don't really have a desire to ever read it. I have no issues with JD Salinger, in fact I loved, Franny and Zooey, another one of his books. Holden Caulfield's particular story just didn't sound interesting. Anyway, my manager told me she loved it in high school and decided to reread it and found that it did nothing for her anymore. She couldn't figure out whether it was the story itself or just her age, maybe she was beyond the angst and no longer related. Either way, she didn't care for it.

Is there something wrong with you as a person or a reader if you no longer love a book you used to? I don't think so. As we grow and mature (that's debatable) our tastes vary and change, we overcome hardships and trials and maybe, just maybe, we NEEDED those books we loved so much when we were younger (and even now) to help us to survive and understand the world. Yes, they shape us and our views, but that doesn't mean they'll always open our eyes to things we hadn't known before as we get older. The particular book I'm talking about (and, no, I won't tell you the title) helped to open MY reading world to all sorts of other books I might not have given a chance otherwise. So I still love it for opening that door, even if I don't relate to it anymore. And I know this isn't true for every story I've loved from when I was younger. There are plenty that I still enjoy in my old age, just this particular book had lost its luster. Has this ever happened to you as a reader?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Currently, The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan. I'm really enjoying it. And Gargoyles! I was obsessed with the cartoon  when I was younger and have been waiting for a book to come along that would reignite that obsession. I love the historical aspect of the story and the characters are engaging. So far so good.

What I'm Writing

Still revising! I'm actually really happy with where the revisions are taking me. Deleting scenes is hard, but I know my story is better for it. I did revise the first fifty pages. I want to do another twenty by next week. My inciting incident has moved up with the revisions, but I think I still need it to come a bit sooner.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
WriteOn Con! It's my first year participating and I've loved it so far. There's so much great information out there and the agent forums are a time sucking zone because I can't stop reading other queries and 250s and pages. I posted my query letter on there to be critiqued and got such great feedback on it and I'm really happy with where it's at right now. If you're interested, here it is: http://writeoncon.com/forum/showthread.php?11605-YA-Contemporary-Restoring-Casey&highlight=restoring+casey

What Else I've Been Up To:
Gearing up for school to start. I can't believe it. Less than two weeks until both my boys start! It's exciting yet a little bit sad. My 5 yo can't wait to go, he's more than ready, but it also means my babies are getting older and they're getting closer to the point at which they won't think I'm awesome anymore. I can practically hear the slamming doors already.

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Up Wednesday!

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!
What I'm Reading:
Sarah Fine did an excellent job with this urban fantasy. I haven't read a good paranormal/urban fantasy in a while and found this to be a pleasant surprise. I loved her idea of the afterlife. Lela's devotion to Nadia was inspiring and I was rooting for her throughout the entire book. Malachi was a perfect guardian/love interest, I felt their chemistry come off the pages. The glimpses into a person suffering with depression was enlightening. I myself have been lucky to have never experienced such a debilitating disease, but I have friends and loved ones who have and Sarah Fine approached it in a way that was sympathetic and real. There were definitely some creepy moments that made my skin crawl. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

What I'm Writing:

I got my pages done. In fact I got about 25 pages into it. I was really happy with that progress, but want to make sure I didn't miss anything by going through them fairly quickly so my goal for next week is to have 10 more pages done and to back through the other 30 pages I already finished.


What Inspires Me Right Now:
Dreaming. Almost every morning I can remember my dreams and I know I'm really lucky. There are so many inspiring ideas that somehow fall through my messed up mind. It's fun and I love waking up in the morning trying to remember them as I lay there in bed. The only thing that sucks is at times they seem so real that I wake up with my heart beating and sweat poring on my body, and that can be a bit scary.

What Else I've Been Up To:
The hubby and I celebrated our eight year anniversary yesterday! Woohoo! We have family in town with us so they watched the kids while we had a night out. Nothing too exciting, just a delicious meal and a great movie, Pacific Rim. Have you guys seen it? I thought it was a really fun action packed, fun-filled, alien killing adventure. We're going to have a whole day later on this month when his mom comes to stay with us.

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's Up Wednesday!


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
I only brought one book on our camping trip because The Husband would not allow reading time or any sort of technology on our trip. In all honesty there was no way he could have stopped me from piling on five or more books, but I knew it meant a lot to him that I focus on just being with the family. The book I chose was Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I have to say, and I know this does NOT happen often, but I preferred the sequel to Shadow and Bone. Though I enjoyed the first book in the Grisha series, it didn't completely win me over. So I went in with low expectations with S&S and was blown away. My main issues with both books was Alina, she was a bit too passive for me. There were times I wanted to shake her, that didn't change from the first book to the second. One of my reader pet peeves is when the MC can't stop whining over how unattractive he/she is and Alina is guilty of doing just that, often. What I did appreciate was Bardugo creating a more villainess Darkling. I didn't buy him as evil in the first. Shady, sure, but downright bad, black to the core no conscience evil? Not so much. With the sequel I got a better glimpse at his darkness and manipulation tactics. And for those girls falling all over themselves because of the Darkling. Really? The guy killed thousands of innocent lives in his hunt for power. Yeah, not so attractive. He is not misunderstood, someone who kills without a care for others has no soul. And you know how they say you can tell a lot about a guy by the way he treats his mother? Yup, very true in this instance. I also felt more of a connection in the love department between Mal and Alina. Again, in the first there was no real development, but it was more fleshed out in book two and I look forward to reading the last in the series. Also, I totally fell for Sturmhond, by far my favorite character. 

What I'm Writing:
Man, writing did not get done as much as I wanted it to this week. With the whole camping thing, it was near impossible. But I did get my five pages. I was hoping to get in more, but alas, I guess I'll settle. One of the main things that was holding me back was the beginning. After getting several critiques I knew I had to up the ante and take out all the info dumping I was doing. Thankfully I got it figured out and feel really good about the edits. My goal is to get another 5-10 pages done by next week. It's going to be slow goings because I have A LOT of revisions to make to the first quarter or so of my manuscript. 

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Too many things. Sitting around a campfire while roasting marshmallows and laughing with family, reading a book that keeps you turning the pages in anticipation, writing a scene that takes your breath away. There's a lot of inspiration out there and I'm taking it all in. 

What Else I've Been Up To:

We found these baby pheasants stuck in our window well upon our return from the camping trip. I was getting all the kids cleaned up in the bathroom downstairs when I heard a sound that resembled that of a squeaking wheel. My first thought was "great, now our air conditioning is breaking down on us". Then my oldest said, "That sounds like birds chirping." I thought 'yeah right' but the sound kept bothering me, so I did some investigating and found that it got louder the closer I got to the window. The same window which is painted over so you can't see the outside. Imagine my surprise when I slid it open and came face to face with all these little chicks chirping for help. They were so freaking cute and my kids were super excited. The mom and dad were nearby and weren't going anywhere. I got my husband who got a box and we took all the kids outside and one-by-one got them out. Which was tricky given their ninja escaping skills. Every time my husband got close enough to catch one it would shoot away, they were adorably fast. Eventually we set them free, while their parents waited patiently for them, and they waddled-ran in the cutest way after them. So that myth about adult birds abandoning their young after they come in contact with humans is absolutely false. In fact, we've seen the same family running in our yard a few times since then. 

So, What's Up With You?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's Up Wednesday



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Just finished a really unique YA fantasy City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. I have to say that the world building was excellent and the premise unexpected. The city itself and the way the society is set up was clear cut and a bit frightening at first. But as you dug deeper into the mystery of the city you realize that maybe it's not as scary as it may seem. The MC Nisha was an interesting narrator. I thought she was bit...I don't know, bland at times, but I didn't dislike her. It was an enjoyable read and I appreciated the thought and care that went into building such a different setting. The funniest part was when I was checking the book out. The librarian immediately got excited and started fangirling about the book. I guess she knows the author. I thought it was awesome to see the support she had for her friend.

What I'm Writing:

Finished this round of revisions! Woohoo! *Lets out a sigh of relief* Now I have to get back in for another round. I finally got back my critique letters from the other participants in Crit Camp and their thoughts and insights were really spot-on and made me realize I still have quite a bit of work to do before this manuscript is ready for beta-reading. I'm excited though because I have a much clearer picture of what's working and what's not. Can't stress enough how important critiques are. Since I'm going to be gone until Sunday I'm not sure what kind of goal I want to set up for next week. Probably something a wee bit more realistic. So maybe fix up the first five pages by next Wednesday? I think I can manage that.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Have you guys heard this song? It's been out forever and I highly recommend the whole album. My ipod was on shuffle the other day when it came on and it brought back so many memories. I listened to it a lot back when I was working on another manuscript, one of my very first attempts. It made me miss the story, but also helped me to realize how far I've come.

What Else I've Been Up To:
We're going camping! Ah! I'm so freaking excited. We haven't been in so long and I could definitely use the R&R. Although it does seem like as soon as you get back it's all business, getting the kids cleaned up, doing the laundry, getting back into the routine. But I think it's worth it when it comes to stuff like this. It's a tradition that my kids always look forward to and have the fondest of memories. I also think getting away from writing for a while will help. Kind of need to shut my brain off. And since I'll be MIA, I probably won't be able to comment on any blogs or comments until my return, so forgive me in advance!

What have you been up to.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's Up Wednesday







What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols. I've had in my Kindle for a while, but had so much other reading material to get through that it's just been sitting there. Thoughts of it so far: Cute, romantic, the two MCs definitely have great chemistry. But I have to say the MC, Lori, kind of gets on my nerves at times. All her scheming, I mean, really, how often do teenagers come up with such idiotic ways to get what they want? That's my only complaint. Going Too Far is still, by far, my favorite Jennifer Echols novel. 

What I'm Writing:

I got about twenty pages through revisions. Mostly I've been dealing with my disaster house and getting stuff done for crit camp and so I haven't put as much effort into it as I should. My goal is to get through the last 80 or so pages and be done by next week. 

What Inspires Me Right Now:

We're going on our annual Pickett Family camping trip (the picture above is of the river we float down on our awesome raft). I love being up there in the wild, cooking over a campfire, roasting marshmallows, smelling like the great outdoors. And the great thing about this location is that there's indoor plumbing! I had a very traumatizing outhouse experience as a teenager and would rather use the woods than ever step into one of those again. 

What Else I've Been Up To:
Yes, that would be my feet on my new carpet that got installed just yesterday! I was so excited I did cartwheels all over our new basement floor (I haven't done cartwheels since high school. In other words, I haven't done them since I had 4 freaking kids. Pretty proud of myself for not falling on my butt or spraining my wrist). Almost all of the house is back in order. The only room we haven't finished setting back up is my daughter's, which we will get to later on today. I am so relieved this whole process is over and we can roll over our very soft and plush new carpet.

What have you been up to?


Friday, July 12, 2013

Getting To Know You Blog Hop LV 13

So Rhiann and Kristina, the hosts of the Like A Virgin contest put together this Blog Hop for the participants (whether you got in or not) to get know each other. They posted a few questions about firsts and I thought I would share mine!

How Do You Remember Your First Kiss:
Fondly. Rather fondly. It was pretty magical. Why? Because my first kiss was my husband. I know, very rare. We were sitting there watching George of the Jungle, I believe, and he reached over and started writing on the palm of my hand with his finger and asked if he could hold it. I said yes. One thing lead to another and before I knew it we were kissing. I remember thinking, "No way does he like me back, that does not happen to someone like me!" But I guess he did sort of like me. Well, enough to marry me three years later.

What Was Your First Favorite Love Song:
Ugh. I don't even remember. I tried googling some songs from when I was younger, but the only thing that comes to mind is 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion. And mainly because of Titanic, and mainly because of Leo DiCaprio.

What's The First Thing You Do When You Start Your Writing Day:
Run. And eat. In that order. I have to get in a good run to clear my head. I know, I'm one of those weird people that functions better after exercise. And food is one of my favorite things in the world so I have to eat a breakfast before I can put together somewhat coherent thoughts.

Who's The First Writer To Truly Inspire You To Become A Writer:
Sarah Dessen. I remember reading a few of her books in High School and thinking "wow, I wish I could do that". I'd written stuff before then, but after reading her work I realized I REALLY wanted to write. Even though I sucked at it. For a while.

Did The Final Revision Of Your First Book Have The Same First Chapter It Started With?
Hah! Yeah right! I'm not sure, but I think I had about thirty or so versions of the first chapter. The whole inciting incident was the same, but the way it occurred changed quite a bit. I think that's normal, though, so I guess I shouldn't feel like a total loser when it comes to my inability to settle on a beginning. They're the hardest part for me.

For Your First Book Which Came First: major characters, plot, or setting?
For me it was the characters. I could picture Kale and Shelly (the two MCs) perfectly, their smiles, their awkward blushes after their initial meeting. I knew right away that they were totally head-over-heels for each other, I just had to figure out why? And how did they even end up together in the first place? Thinking about them makes me nostalgic, almost as if I'm remembering the first time one of my kids walked. I guess in a way they are like my children. Although that would be super gross and weird if they were in fact related.

What's The First Word You Want To Roll Off The Tip Of Someone's Tongue When They Think Of Your Writing?
Hmmm...honest. I want my writing to be honest, for the story to be true to the characters, and for their trials and hardships to be something everyone can relate to. I want to create stories and characters that make people shout and cry. I want my readers invested. I hope I'm always honest with both my characters and readers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Up Wednesday



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
I have to say since last week I haven't read as much as I would like. I did, however, reread an old favorite The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It brought back so many memories. I first read it in the sixth grade and fell in love with the setting, with Kit, Hannah, and Nat. It is such a sweet story that reminded me of a much simpler time even though the characters are going through some not so simple trials.

What I'm Writing:


I got my fifty pages done! 99 percent of it was yesterday when I finally found time after a very long Fourth of July weekend. There was one scene in particular that I had breakthrough with. I had two versions of this scene, which is also a catalyst for the story, so it was pretty important to get it right. I'd been putting it off for some time because of that very reason and I honestly didn't think I'd get to it until the end. There were things I loved about both versions and combining the two was a harder than I  anticipated. I've been thinking about sharing an excerpt and thought now might be a good time. So here goes nothing:
The man and woman in front of me gasped in disbelief, staring at Dad and I in horror and shame. I was sure our delicate use of the English language was the cause.
            “Watch your tongue!” The man stepped forward and tried to cover my ears. I managed to scramble away, brows furrowed in confusion. “Is this what you have been teaching my granddaughter all these years?”  The man waved a finger at Dad. His voice was deep and thick with his accent, giving away his origins. Well, that and the fact his skin tinged darker than mine.
            But that didn’t erase the fact that I now appeared to have stepped into a Bollywood movie. Standing in front of me were an older couple, gray hair and small wrinkles edging around their faces. The woman was wearing a traditional deep green sari with a red bindi in the middle of her forehead, her dark gray hair pulled back in a bun. The man wore some khaki pants and a white dress shirt tucked in tightly above his waist, much less traditional. Then there were the flip-flops.
            At the bottom of the steps, surrounding their feet were more bags. This was not happening. My mouth parted and then shut again. I never before had a chance to use the word flabbergasted to describe an event in my life, but this was one occasion where it seemed appropriate. I was so shocked I even ignored Dad’s cursing. I hadn’t heard him slip up once in almost six years.

            My Mom’s parents, my Naani and Naana, were standing in front of me, and I was starting to think I had hit my head during the fall. I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hands, but when they came away, the two strangers were still there.

It still needs some work, but this scene sets everything in motion when it comes to Casey's relationship with her father and her unresolved feelings from her mother's death. 

What Inspires Me Right Now:
Did you guys notice all the amazing contests going on right now? There's PitchMas, Xmas in July, and Like A Virgin contest to name just a few. It's amazing how we all gather together and support each other in this way, that writers who have achieved their goals are willing to help those of us who are still on that journey. Truly awesome.

What Else I've Been Up To:
I'm taking part in Natalie Parker's crit camp (if you want to learn more about it click on the link) and I've already learned so much about the art of critiquing. I have the opportunity to critique the first 10,000 words of the other participants manuscripts and I am in awe of, not only their skills, but their concepts. All I have to say is that future readers have nothing to worry about, there are still amazing stories coming from the twisted imaginations of writers around the world. I look forward to reading them myself. 
What have you been up to?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Living In Disaster

There should be a policeman directing traffic inside my house right now. Stuff is everywhere, the house smells like paint, and my three oldest are sharing a bedroom which is just asking for one of them end up with a broken bone (they get rather daring when together). It's starting to feel endless even though it's only been a week. In case you were wondering, we ripped out all our carpet to install the new stuff, which won't be here until NEXT week. Over half of our house is carpeted, so...yeah, lots of messes. Then we decided to paint all the rooms while we were at it. But as I sat grumbling about the idiocy involved in me agreeing to all of these things, and in June/July when the weather has been over 100 degrees since last week, and having open windows is like opening the door to the sauna, I remembered that these are the exact conditions (and far worse) that my character lives in in my WIP and it will only help me to understand her that much more. So, I guess at the end of the day it's not ALL bad. (Silver Lining.) I just wish I could get over having two humongous baskets of laundry in my living room since my kids dressers are in the garage and there's nowhere else I can really keep them. What about you guys, how far have you gone to get into you character's head? I feel like there are several ways, music being the first and foremost that comes to mind. I know not all of us want to start taking drugs because our MC is a junkie, or date bad boys/girls, but what steps do you take?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's Up Wednesday



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Writing:


Still editing. I didn't meet my revisions goal this week. Life sort of got in the way. I had my mother-in-law in town all last week helping us rip out our old carpet so we could install the new stuff, which made it difficult to find time. But on top of that last Thursday I got into a bit of a fender bender and that drained any of my ambition to do anything, especially because I spent all weekend on the phone with our insurance company, and then had to go to the police station to file an accident report. Thankfully no one was hurt and it was a minor accident, but still, it makes me sick just thinking about all the woulda coulda shouldas. My goal for this upcoming week is to get 50 pages done.

What I'm Reading:

I finished Quintana of Charyn the other night, the last in the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta and all I have to say is WOW. I've loved every single one of the books and was continually impressed with the world-building, intricate plot lines, and character arcs. You want kick-ass leading ladies? You got them- Isaboe, Quintana, Phaedra, just to name a few. These women were warriors, they experienced grief, pain, joy, hardships, and they weren't perfect. In fact there were times all those ladies drove me nuts with their stubbornness, but they felt real and authentic and my heart broke for each one of them. If you haven't read this fantasy series, what are you waiting for? Get.On.It. The writing is fabulous and I was constantly amazed by how much thought and love went into creating these stories. There were several times I found myself teary eyed because of how much the characters suffered and loved and lost, and the words made me feel those things. By the end there wasn't one plot line left loose, she covered them all. Thanks to Melina Marchetta I don't think I'll ever be able to find another series that quite lives up to this one.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Writers. I lay there last night, going over all the edits I need to make to my manuscript,  and I was struck by how incredible it is that we, as writers, can create whole new worlds. Our imaginations open portals to places others couldn't even begin to imagine. Places like Narnia, the Shire, Hogwarts. Not only that, but we fall in love with the cast of characters, we get invested in their lives, we feel their pain.  Can you believe that? I think it's incredible, and very humbling as a writer. Honestly, writers are awesome.

What Else I've Been Up To:

The Fourth is tomorrow! Woohoo! I love fireworks and I love having delicious food, and combining the two makes me very happy. I'm looking forward to spending some time with family and watching my kids as they stare up at the sky when the display sparks in front of their eyes. I love all the wonderment of life when you're a kid, and I really miss it. But I think it's awesome that I get to relive those moments and see them through my kids.

What have you been up to?