Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh Bobby.

Jammi, let's discuss Supernatural. I'm all caught up. I feel like this last episode was a proper send off, which Cas never got. I'm not sure how I feel about the cliffhanger ending though.

In other news, I'm still moving forward with editing and writing, only slowly. I need to find a good rhythm, but it's escaping me at the moment. I'll figure it out eventually. It was easy to write the first novel because I was unemployed. Now I have a full-time job. I just need to carve out  a few hours a day. Seems like an easy task--not sure why I'm finding it so hard.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moving Forward

Outlining is fun!
Even though I'm not completely done with SURRENDER (as explained in my last post), I've started outlining book 2 of the Fallen Guardian Series, which is currently untitled. Although, I've been playing around with a few ideas for titles, but since I'm only 85% married to SURRENDER, there's a lot of wiggle room at this point. I think I might have had a breakthrough regarding something major: the point of the series. Ha! Even though book one is done, I still didn't know where I was headed for books two and three. I didn't know what everyone was fighting for and I might have figured that out today. Things always change as I start writing, so everything is still up in the air.

I feel like I'm making progress and at least moving forward. I always have a hard time transitioning between big steps. For example, after I finished writing the novel it took me a while to get into editing. I don't like the down time (even though I should enjoy it). So, my goal is to start writing in the next few days. Once I start it'll be easier to continue until book two is done.

I've also started to read KILLING MEMORIES in preparation to edit it. I've been on a roller coaster with this one in the last few days. I compiled all of the edited chapters and started reading and thought "Ehhhhhh, this needs a lot of work." Then I started reading it on my NOOK and thought, "Hey, this isn't so bad after all! I just need to make her sound a little more mature." I felt dizzy. I don't plan on making major changes to the novel, a few added scenes here and there. I know that the arch of the novel needs a little work, mostly because I wrote the first half with absolutely no purpose in mind (sound familiar?!). But, overall, I'm excited to start working on this. I'm hesitant to make any promises about when it might be ready, but I'm hoping for Summer 2012.

Book 2 in the Game of Thrones series.
In other news, I'm on to reading something non-YA. I recently watched season one of GAME OF THRONES, which was awesome. So I'm reading the second book in the series (since the TV show covered the first book to a T, or so my sister says). It's like 999 pages, or something crazy like that. Sometimes, when I'm holding it in my hand, I wonder if I'll ever finish it. Makes me feel bad for writing a 510 page novel. But... length is my forte, so... yeah.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boop boooo boop booooooo (trumpet sounds)

I've finished editing SURRENDER!

Well, almost. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the very last line, but that's just a matter of minor tweaking. In fact, the whole thing could use a few tweaks here and there but I am refraining from that at this point. My focus has diverted to writing the synopsis, which is currently at five pages. I'm considering this my long sample and I'll have to write a short 1-pager. I also have to write a paragraph-long blurb, and somehow--God willing--a 1 sentence hook. These final steps are definitely much more difficult than writing 168,000+ words. It really is. I've always been a person who likes having the space to move around on the page. Don't even ask me to write a poem!

So, I'm happy to report that this is the final draft (at this point). I do think that it's ready to be seen by agents (fingers crossed). In reality most of the people I send to will only read my query letter, a few sample pages, and the synopsis. I'll be really lucky if any one wants to read the whole manuscript.

I'm pretty much on target, I think, for my goal to have it out to agents by the first of 2012. More research to come and then I'll start writing book 2. Things are really winding down now!

@Jammi: If you're still interested, hit me up by email (on profile).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

41 pages left

I really haven't made much progress since my last post. I think I'm on the third draft of my synopsis--it's probably too long (5 pages). Hopefully I'll be able to cut it down some. I'm trying to think of what else to write about. Here are a few updates:
  • I just finished THE FAERIE RING (decent, definitely the dark of a series) and I'm now reading Meg Cabot's INSATIABLE. So far, so good... I've always liked her books. Next up THE PLEDGE, THE REPLACEMENT, and THE SPACE BETWEEN (maybe on the last one). I've also ordered the first four books in the GAME OF THRONES series. My sister got me into the HBO series and now I really want to read the books. Good stuff.
  • I've been thinking about my old stories lately... particularly THE JADE BRACELET and the KM series. I need to get serious about editing (and finishing) these stories. I feel like I have no time now that I work full-time. Things are just slower now... I guess that something I'll have to get used to.
  • Chapter 12 of HOSTILE KISSES was recovered (thanks to a reader) and has been re-posted on Fiction Press. I'm pretty sure that I'll be taking that story down in January and putting up CHEMICAL GAMES.  
  • One thing I dislike is not remembering what happens in the first two books in a series when the third book comes out. I had that problem with the HUSH, HUSH series. I have no idea what happened in the first two so... I'm probably not going to read the third. I need to find a way to prevent that from happening with my novels, because it's so disheartening.... 
And basically, that's all she wrote... for now anyway.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

66 Pages

I'm still plugging away on this novel and I've started the synopsis, which is going to be a HUGE undertaking. It's difficult to tell a 500 page story to 3-5 pages, but I think I've got a good outline to start with. I'm looking forward to coming to the end of this edit. I'm even more excited to start writing new stuff again. I could probably edit and write at the same time if I just reorganized my brain so that I focus on a few hours of editing and a few hours of writing. Maybe one day. What I really need to do is read more--I don't read enough.

In other news, I saw "The Muppets" yesterday. I am a huge Muppet fan, so I really enjoyed the movie (there were 1-2 things that I didn't like). If you're a fan, I recommend it highly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

144 Pages To Go

So, I'm nearing the finish line, yet again. I have 144 pages left to edit. I've stopped reading a loud at time point, mostly because it's easier and I get more done when I don't sit in a quite room and listen to myself talk. I still think I need to print out the whole thing and do one more edit, but I'm going to try to hold back on that for now. And when all is said and done--I haven't cut much more out of this draft. Mostly I take things out and put them back, hopefully in a better way. My focus is about to shift to the synopsis/summary. I'll only be sending the first 5 pages and 1-2 pages of synopsis to the agents--so both of these samples need to kick ass.

I feel a sense of desperation. I worry that just around the corner some novel is going to come out that mirrors mine--and then suddenly I'm not so original. I freaked out a little bit after looking at the new releases at B&N where I found a book called SPACE IN BETWEEN. The plot is nothing like my novel, but the main character is the daughter of Lilith and the Devil, which is somewhat similar to one of my characters. Curses!! I'm going to try not to worry about it because (1) I'm pretty sure my plot is original and out there and (2) if I fail at finding an agent for this book there's always the online e-book market to try.... What I'm most desperate for is to hold my own novel. There's something about holding a big thick book and feeling impressed with how much the author wrote (from a writer's POV). I want that for myself. The e-book craze scares me a little. Library's are starting to offer e-books. I'm a little appauled by this, but I suppose it makes sense considering most libraries carry multiple forms of mass media (CDs, DVDs, etc.) Still... e-books in a library? Soon we'll have e-libraries. I feel like this craze is a few years from murdering my ultimate dream.

I just finished NAME OF THE STAR, which is a story that takes place in London (modern time) where someone has been killing people a la Jack the Ripper. It was a good read with an interesting paranormal twist. I recommend it, but THIS DARK ENDEAVOR was still off the charts good.

In more personal news: I started working out. One step toward self revolution, in a way. The only downside is that I'm starving all the time now. It's been two weeks, shouldn't some of that have gone away by now? Ugh. It's just frustrating because it feels counterproductive. We'll see--maybe it will get better soon. Maybe I just need bigger meals during the day.

Current editing goals: Finish up this last edit by the end of this month. Have a solid synopsis drafted by Christmas. Complete the query letter by the end of this year. January = submission time!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: This Dark Endeavor

So, I'm about 20 pages from the end of this book but I thought I'd blog about it now. THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel is a prequel (of sorts) to the life of Victor Frankenstein (based off Mary Shelley's character in FRANKENSTEIN). In this novel we get to follow the young sixteen year old, his twin brother, a family friend, and a cousin through an adventure to find three ingredient to the elixir of life (to save his brother's life). Victor is passionate (in a scary way), jealous, selfish, competitive, and loyal. An all around great character (I both like him and dislike him). The supporting cast is pretty amazing too. I love Oppel's writing style and can't wait to read more of his work, including: HALF BROTHER. (I think I blogged about it being on my reading list, but I had to return it to the library before I got a chance to read much). I was easily pulled into THIS DARK ENDEAVOR and can't wait to finish it. It's definitely one that I got lost in (something I was craving). I do recommend it. It may be a part of a series, which I'll definitely follow. I'm now a Kenneth Oppel fan and can't wait to read his other work (he's pretty prolific). I actually want to read Mary Shelley's novel now. I suppose it's one of those that I should have read already... and might have in high school. I really can't remember much of those assigned books from English. I should make a reading list to go back and reread all that "boring" stuff (as I saw it back in the day).

In the past few days I've been on vacation (at home in Nebraska) and bought LES MISERABLES... now that is a LONG novel. I hope to read it, but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. I haven't made much editing progress since I finished up with my nook editing. I have to find my rhythm again and I already know that sitting on the couch with my lap top, while watching TV, isn't going to work.

Update: Finished the book! It really is excellent in my opinion. The ending is fitting to how the whole story plays out. I feel inspired by this book. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I have Halloween fever!

I really can't wait for Halloween. And this video was pretty damn amazing and funny! Enjoy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finished with Nook editing!!

Today I finished putting my Nook edits into the computer! That's one big hurdle jumped. I'll have to go back to the halfway point and start reading out loud, but at least that's nearing the final stage. Now I have about 290 pages to read out loud and edit (hopefully trimming down excess words too). For my Nook edits I cut 4,200 words (rounding up a bit) and I think that's around 10 pages. [However, I just realized that I've actually cut 100 pages total from the first draft. I forgot that I reorganized it to end in a different spot. So, that's actually tons of progress.] I'm trying to remind myself not worry too much about length. I just want a tight story. So, yay! I'm one step closer now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm on a roll so far...

I just reached chapter 29 (of 40) on my Nook. And a lot of that happened in the past few days [this new computer rocks!] I'm entering these edits like a crazy woman, let me tell you. Unfortunately I still need to go back to chapter 16 where I stopped reading aloud (which is often my final round of editing for most stories). After that, I feel like it's be pretty close to being done. I'm still a bit worried about a few large-level things, but I don't think there will be any plot-crushing gaps. We'll see, I suppose. I've "killed most of my babies" as writing advisers say--but one still remains. I do not want to kill him at this stage. Sure he plays a bigger role in book 2 and 3, but I feel that it's important to introduce him here. My worry is that he doesn't show up enough for people to care. Oh, Colin. *sigh*

Sadly, I know that this novel will have more edits to come in the future. The important thing right now is to get it down and to move on to something new. It's really time for me to start writing book 2. It'll be good to start something new I think. My mind needs a bit of a break--I feel like I've got a bit of cabin fever going on. Too bad I can't multitask and write and edit at the same time. It just doesn't work for me.

MODEL LAND update: I'm on page 73 (I think) and I'm pretty positive I'm going to set the book aside for now (maybe forever). I mean it took me 10 days to read 73 pages! Some of the craziness is thinning out, but there's still a lot of.... I don't even know what to call it. It's just too much at times. Too Tyra. I don't think it's poorly written. I'd say it's about down the middle in regard to most YA writers that I read. It's taking me too long to get into it. I'll try again tonight, but if something doesn't grab me about this main character then I'm likely done with the book. I guess I'm just not really into modeling culture. At this point, I'm not sure if Tyra really deserves some of the negative comments I've seen from people.

I'm not sure what to read next, although THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is calling to me. I'm not sure what it is about this book that's draws me. The cover is pretty nice. It may have something to do with how the main character wakes up in the hospital with no memories. Anyway, this book may be my first Nook purchase over .99 cents. All I know is that I'm ready to be lost in something. I need a page turner. Maybe it's finally time to read HUNGER GAMES. I don't know why I've waited so long to read that series. I hear nothing but amazing things about it. I'm sure I'll love it. Still, I feel like I want to wait a little longer. Maybe until I'm done with SURRENDER. I'm not worried that they're the same, only that I'll feel discouraged with my own writing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Computer!!!

I'm typing this post from my brand new laptop! I've been in the market for one for about a month (with a lot of disappointments along the way). I'm writing this post from my bed. (Gosh, I've missed the portability!) The best thing about this is that I'll be able to write from wherever now. AND I'VE GOT SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED! I'm hoping that this means an increase in productivity in regard to my novel(s). We'll see though. Now it's a lot like playing with a new toy.

In other news, my copy of Tyra Banks' MODEL LAND (it's supposed to be one word, but the double L makes me crazy for some reason) came in to the library today. I placed a hold on this book not because I was excited for it to come out; no, this is more about curiosity. There seems to be an onslaught of celebrities jumping into the YA field. Starting with that girl from The Hills (her clothing line at Kohl's is nice), then Hilary Duff, and now Tyra. Hilary supposedly had "assistance" and Tyra's claiming to have done it on her own (says that it took five years from conception to final draft; and that it was initially 1000 pages. I guess I need to stop worrying about my page length for SURRENDER). She's been getting slammed in reviews (both Barnes and Noble and Goodreads) and I'm curious in how much of it comes from haters (who are put out that she probably used her celebrity to get published. I'll admit that I've got my toe in this pool of thought.) and how much of it is legitimate gripes about poor storytelling/writing. I'm scared of what I'll find in the pages of this book. I secretly want to love it and cheer her on (cause it's gotta be hard to be taken seriously), but I'm already finding things to dislike. And then....... the main character is named Tookie de la Creme (not lying) and the first seven pages is told from some unseen narrator who says "dahling" a lot. It could be good and it could be very bad. I'll try to make it through the first chapter at least and will report back. I have my doubts... and I'm a little bothered that she has six pages of acknowledgements in the back of the book (it's in small font so it could be more). I always read the ackloweledgments to learn a little more about the authors (and to see if they drop agent names!). Six pages seems a bit self involved (especially since she's thanking Greece at one point). Sigh.

Oh well, I still love Top Model. I don't watch it for Tyra... the girls are always interesting.

@Jammi: What did you think of Supernatural this week? Let's discuss!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh geeez

Since I'm done with the Nook editing, I decided to take the first four chapters (including the prologue) to work with me today. These are the pages that I need to tighten up because they'll be the first ones any agent/publisher reads and should be the strongest. I started editing and BOOM... look what happens! (And this is edit number 6 or something). I'm not feeling discouraged--well, maybe a tad. I just have to wonder if it'll ever be perfect to me. At some point I'm going to have to stop picking at it and be satisfied. I refuse to believe that it might not happen. After work I went to Target to read the first paragraphs of some of the YA books on the shelf and there are a mix of openings: dramatic, action-packed, detailed. It didn't really help me very much. At any rate, I've decided that this edit I'm working on (about 50 pages away from the middle) will be the last one. I really need to start writing something else and too much editing can destroy a story. I want to pick up the speed of the first four chapters, so I may look at trimming some of it out, and I may re-post here for some feedback (if anyone's willing to give it).

All right, let me get back to entering another chapter of Nook edits. Sixteen chapters down, twenty-four to go. My page count is still under 500 pages, but it slips back up a little. So far I've cut out 2,000 words (give or take). An old tip for final drafts is to trim about 10%. That means I'll need to cut 16,000 words. I'm really note sure if that's going to be possible, but my goal is to cut the fat (and a lot of the fat may be in the beginning). We'll see. Tyra Bank's book was well over 500 pages, but then she's a celebrity and I'm sure publishing houses were willing to gamble a bit more. Has anyone read that book yet? I've got it on hold at the library--I'm curious, but my expectations are somewhat low. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I like updating my blog, but I'm not sure if I'm feeling this background. Thoughts?

In the past two days I've probably edited about 25-30 pages of SURRENDER. Yay! I need to start thinking of a new titles because this one worked well when I still had the original ending. But since I removed the last 100 pages, it kinda fails. Just something else I need to work on/think about. It feels good to be back in a groove. I just hope that I can keep it up!

Friday, September 23, 2011

And then a year passes...

Today is the year mark of when I began SURRENDER. I'm not finished, sadly. I did finish my Nook edits today though, but now I just have to put them in to the computer. I'm having a hard time finding a rhythm to my editing. I used to come home and set up shop on the downstairs computer for a few hours. Now I can't really do that because the computer I was using belonged to my brother-in-law and my personal computer sucks... it takes about 20 minutes for it to really get going and I don't have the patience for that. I'm looking into a new laptop, but that's taking forever too. Ugh. The stupid hurricane really threw me off and that was like a month ago. There's no excuse. Wait... can I blame the new fall TV?! :)

I never did finish MISFIT. I didn't even read beyond what I wrote about last time. In fact, I haven't read much of anything lately. This isn't much of a blog post, but there you have it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

After the earthquake (oh, and hurricane)

So, the past two weeks have been a little bonkers for me. First we were hit with an earthquake (well, we felt the tremors of an earthquake that hit some place in Virginia) at the beginning of the week and ended the week with Hurricane Irene, which knocked out our power for 5.5 days. I'm used to blackouts like this (I used to live in New Hampshire where one winter we had an ice storm and lost power for at least 4 days, and the next winter we had a wind storm that knocked out power for 3 days), but by the end of the week I was ready to pull my hair out. Reading by candlelight is very 1800s, but it can get extremely boring. No wonder they sat around and sang to each other! And besides, I can only go so long with out a full hot shower (instead I had the equivalent of cold sponge baths. NOT fun)... not to mention I was running out of clean clothes.

So, I spent the long Labor Day weekend enjoying the splendors of electricity. The most exciting thing I did was watch the 8 episodes of Vampire Diaries that I had saved to our DVR. I don't know why I held off so long! This was a great season (lots of death, betrayal, and cliffhangers). Actually, I'm glad that I saved them up because there's nothing worse than waiting an entire week for the next episode. I'm also glad I stuck with the series because at first I didn't like the actress who plays Elena (I'm used to her now and she's getting better). I'll never get enough of Ian Somerhalder (drooooool!). But here's my question to all VD fans out there. Are the books similar to the show? Are they worth reading? I started with the show and now I'm worried that if I read the books I'll be disappointed one way or the other. Ooo, I just saw that the new season of VD starts next week (even better!).

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been horrible for my editing. I've managed to edit on my Nook (which is progress), but I really need to get these edits into the computer. I need to find a rhythm again. What I really need is a laptop. I did start hand-writing ARABELLE WILD (the short novella that I was working on earlier this year) while the power was out. I may try to finish that one by hand and then type it all up later (again, it's progress). I also read several books: THE SEASON (a YA, regency England novel; it was decent), DIE FOR ME (a YA, zombie/dead immortals novel; it was decent too), and THE GODDESS TEST (a YA, Greek mythology retelling; it was good). I have not finished SUPERNATURALLY and I might not. I made it halfway through and I feel like nothing's really happening--there's not really a plot that I can see. I gave it to my sister to read and she finished it and basically said that it didn't get much better. This is kind of a let down since I liked PARANORMALCY so much. I may give it a chance... I don't know (I'll still read Kirsten White's stuff, but I might have to get it from the library).

I'm currently reading: MISFIT by Jon Skovron. I almost stopped reading this one because the story is told in present tense (Janie says this. Janie takes her socks off) and feels a little awkward. I'm so rooted in past tense writing/reading that I actually really don't like it. But then I skimmed ahead and saw that there are some past tense sections, which is weird, and now, looking at it from a writer's POV, I want to see if Skovron can pull it off. Still... the present tense really bothers me. (Here's one reviewer who thought the same thing about the tense switches). We'll see how far I get in this one. There are a few books (I found them while browsing at Barnes and Noble) that I need to get my hands on: POSSESS and WILDEFIRE. I need to wait until the library has them (or until I have enough money to buy random books). I did buy THE FALLEN: END OF DAYS by Sniegoski. He's one of my favorite authors in the "fallen angels" genre. Side note: the actor who plays "Stefan" on VD also played the lead role in "The Fallen" TV miniseries.

That's all the news from me for now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So much for blogging twice a week...

I'm not sure what to blame my lack of posting on. I like to think that it's because I have nothing new to say, but that's not a good thing to admit. I could blame it on the full time job, but then I spend a good chunk of time after work surfing the internet. I guess maybe it's a mixture of a lot of things. And sadly, the biggest one is that I just don't have anything to write about. I should think up some more craft notes. Sigh.

I've been reading a steady amount of good fiction lately. I'm currently reading the second book in the PARANORMALCY series by Kiersten White. I was really into the characters she introduced in the first book. I'm about halfway through SUPERNATURALLY and I'm still a fan, but at this point I like the first book better. I do love the cover art for these books, very pretty. I also finished STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini (at Sammy's recommendation). Another pretty cover (but is that another model-y blond I see?!) and a really unique and fun story. I definitely kept turning the pages, which is always a good thing. And I have to admit that I like a good Greek mythology retelling. I don't know enough about Greek mythology though (even the PERCY JACKSON series by Rick Riordan makes me feel dumb). I should probably put Edith Hamilton back on my to-read list (and take a little trip back through time to sophomore year, or was it junior year... who knows).

I often wonder what might be the next "new" thing in the fiction world? The next new trend in writing? Here are the subcategories (applied to YA and general fiction) that I can think of:
  1. Certainly angels and demons have had their time (and better be a space on the shelf for my novel SURRENDER... I'm all about thinking positively).
  2. Vamps and werewolves are doing well.
  3. Witches and wizards, naturally, have a great showing.
  4. Popular/mean/rich/A-list/wannabe socialites have a space (the Gossip Girl-like books are definitely not my thing).
  5. Faeries have a good showing (my favorite authors here are Holly Black and Aprilynne Pike).
  6. Ghosts? (I haven't read any).
  7. Apocalyptical and futuristic!!! Can't forget these stories. You know: HUNGER GAMES and UGLIES and MATCHED.
Let's see... so what hasn't been done (or at least not done well or often)? Fairytale re-tellings? Aliens? I don't think we'll ever run out of things to write about, but the novelty may end one day. And then what? It's kinda like the TV show Bones or CSI. I bet those writers have to constantly think up new ways to disgust the audience. I will admit that there were a few episodes of both of these shows this past season that left me cringing, so they're obviously doing their job. I guess there's still some glimmer of hope.

And what would a post be without an update on my editing. I've taken to reading chapters out loud. Ever done this fellow writers out there? It's a great way to catch things that your eyes have become used to (especially after 4-5 read through-edits). I hope that in reading out loud I'm making the sentences stronger and reaching the final stages. I know for sure that this is going to be the last edit I do on this novel (at least until an agent or editor tells me otherwise). I'm growing sick of it, which may be a good sign that I'm nearing the end. Plus, I'm super excited to start on new things and to finish my novella so I can share that with you guys. And maybe even edit Es and Moo. I should turn those into Ebooks for my Nook and maybe I'll get more editing done that way. Here's hoping.

Oh Es and Moo... I have such big plans for you.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Agents and Blurbs

So, it's been a busy weekend for me. I spent most of Saturday reading bios for about 50 possible agents who represent YA writers. It was a completely overwhelming process because it just reminds me that so many people out there are trying to do what I'm doing. It's almost like going into a bookstore and seeing rows and rows and rows of paranormal/fantasy/supernatural YA. I wonder to myself "will I fit in here?" or "can I make the team?" or "will I be picked last (if at all)?" Plus, I have to look at agents who represent other things. I won't always write YA. My Es and Moo series isn't YA, so I need to make sure that any agent that I work with also represents adult fiction, chick lit, etc. This is all too overwhelming, which is why I'm taking this whole process one step at a time. I created my agent list yesterday now I'll let that simmer while I start on the fourth edit of "Surrender." This should be the final edit before I start sending letters out. Right now I'm trying to tighten up sentences and reduce the word count.

I also woke up with a possible "hook," which I scribbled down on the pad that I keep by my bed. I've never had much use for this pad, but I was glad to have it 'cause I'm not entirely sure what triggered this idea. I suppose in a way it's not really a hook (I think it's too long). It's probably better to call it a summary or a book jacket blurb (there's a technical name there that I can't remember). Anyway, here it is (with a little tweaking since my early-morning brain likes to think in incomplete sentence):


"Within a few months of returning to Falls, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Black is “awakened” to a supernatural world where those who know what she will become hold onto a mysterious, and irritating, silence. Left to discover the truth with time, Evelyn’s dysfunctional life tailspins into complete chaos. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, finding normalcy is impossible. Her body starts to change and her best friend’s mom tries to kill her. Evelyn has never felt more alone in her life, but she has friends from very high and dangerously low places. Friends who guide and protect her, ignoring the consequences of their actions, and remain at her side when she is reborn and tasked to be a guardian of the Fallen.

I think it could have strong potential, but like the agent thing I'm going to let it simmer. It's probably a bit stronger than what I've shared in the past (part of a query letter draft). As always, feel free to make suggestions or comments about the blurb/hook.

I'm also not entirely sure if the title still works with the changes that I've made in this last edit. Basically, I still have a lot to do before this thing is ready to be sent out, including making the first 10 pages shine, writing a synopsis (not even sure where to start there!), and finalizing the query letter. I'd love to have a letter out by September 1st, but we'll see. I don't want to rush any more than I already am. So this is where I am at the moment. I should be editing now, but I like to waste a good 45mins-1hour of time messing around on the internet. Procrastination is my friend.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Freakout Moment

A few nights ago, I started reading the third book to the "Fallen" series by Lauren Kate ("Passion") and I had to put it down after 10 pages. Not because it was bad (I like the series so far) but because I had a few "oh my god, this is like mine!" moments. Of course, "Passion" is nothing like the series I'm writing, but since they're both in the supernatural fallen angel/angel/demon realm, the undertones feel similar to me. And, to be really honest, if it was becoming more like my novel, I didn't want to find out. The last thing I want after the last nine months of hardcore editing is to learn that my story's "been done." Ugh... that would be devastating. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but I'd become less unique and maybe get a few "hey you copied this!" to which I would punch that person in the face because plagiarism is no joke and to be accused of it is like blasphemy for a writer (a REAL writer). So yeah, I won't be finishing Lauren Kate's series until I've got mine done. This has never happened to me before, and it makes me sad because I love a good paranormal/fantasy novel.

Luckily I've got some backup books to read. Right now I'm on "My Jane Austen Summer" by Cindy Jones. I love anything Jane Austen-y and I really would love to go to England and see the country manors and everything else a uber-Jane Austen fan would want to do. So, I'm charmed by stories with characters who go overseas for a summer and play dress up and fall in love, etc. This story follows "Mansfield Park," which is probably my second favorite Austen story. After that I'm going to start "Starcrossed" by Josephine Angelini (I got it Sammy!). I have one more library book waiting, which at the moment I can't remember the name of. Something about a girl who dies and starts going to dead school and thinks about killing her still-living boyfriend so he can join her. Eh. That one was a random library grab, so I may toss it out. I feel like I haven't been reading very much lately. Editing really is all consuming for me (luckily I only have about 50 pages left, plus another quick edit). In other reading news, I finished "Graveminder." I thought it was a good read (I wished there was a little less focus on her fear of commitment and more on the mystery of her future and of the dead). I'm curious about her "Wicked Lovely" series, but not enough to grab it now. I'll put it on my waiting list.

Summer movies have been a little disappointing so far, with the exception of "Harry Potter." I saw "Captain America" and wasn't that blown away. I can't wait to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (the previews look awesome), "The Help," and maybe "Friends with Benefits" and "Crazy Stupid Love." Honestly though, where are all the major action movies? Is December (Mission Impossible and Sherlock Holmes) becoming the new summer?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Editing Galore!

Yikes... it's been too long since my last post. And I was doing so good for a while there. I will blame it on my new job. I started on June 6th... it's a full time medical editing gig. Going well so far and will be even better when I'm not in training. Sometimes I'm very impatient when it comes to learning new things. I feel like I get a handle on tasks quickly and then grow bored when I do the same thing 20,000 times. Anyway, because of the job, it's been really difficult to find a writing/editing rhythm. I manage to hand-edit about 4 pages during my 30 minute lunch break and then I edit on my Nook in the evenings. So, I'm getting a lot of editing done, but very little is going into the computer which is the most important part. I've got about 100 pages to edit by hand and this is very exciting! I feel like I'm in the homestretch. The only scary thing is passing it on to another reader who might say "nope, not good yet" and then I might just die. I've never worked so hard on a novel before.

In the past, let's say with my Killing Memories series. I wrote the first draft quickly (in about three months) and then moved right on to the next story. Readers who followed me on FP when I was actively posting those novels know that the turn around was pretty fast, and would probably be surprised when I say that I really don't remember what happens in each story. I know the general idea, but I have no memories of all the little steps and scenes that I wrote. It's kinda sad. I can't believe I don't remember my own writing, but then I never gave those stories the attention that they really deserved. Another reason why I'm not re-posting them to FP. Yes, I've made the decision that Estela and Moo will not show their faces on that website again. I have bigger, better plans for them. I'm thinking self-publishing or cheap ebooks on Amazon. But before any of that can happen I have to get in there and make them REALLY good. The first novel needs the most work--the ones that came after that were better written (they too need work though).

So, I've got so much going on in my head right now regarding my writing career and life. I feel like "Surrender" [I've already re-edited these sample chapters, by the way, but you'll get the general idea of what the story is about] has a good chance. At least I hope it does. It's a massive project for me. I realized while editing this first one that I need to know where I wanted things to end by book 3; how the characters grow and change; and the biggest question: What the hell the whole story is about anyway!?!?!? Realizing that I had so many plot holes and unanswered questions was overwhelming and a bit disheartening. I just want to be done with this book so I can move on to the next one. Writing/editing is a never ending process it seems.

So, that's where I'm at in regard to my writing. In other news, I finished a book called "The Magnolia League" by Katie Crouch. It was a good read! Lately, I've been really into books that are set in the south (this one's Georgia), places like New Orleans, for example. There's something sticky about them... I can't explain it. I'm currently reading "The Graveminder" by Melissa Marr. I'm only on page 7 so I can't really comment too much, but the opening grabbed me. I'm excited about it at this point.

I also saw "Transformers: The Dark of the Moon" last weekend. I give it a B. I thought the story was interesting this time, but with these movies it really comes down to the action scenes and I thought they were pretty awesome. I did read that they're thinking about replacing Shia's character with the guy from "The Transporter." Don't get me wrong, that guy is hot, but Shia brings a quirky humor to the movie. I don't think I'd be down the the switch. I didn't really care that Megan Fox wasn't in the movie and didn't like the girl they replaced her with. I think the "hot girl" character is pointless. I mean honestly--yes she's beautiful and has a great body according to society's standards, but I really could care less about that. She added nothing to the movie (Megan Fox didn't add anything either) and I felt really irritated with every ass and boob shot in this movie. Come on Michael Bay... sex sells sometimes, but you've got amazing Transformers that blow shit up!! Let them sell the movie. Okay, rant over.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: Abandon

I really enjoy Meg Cabot's books (especially the Heather Wells series). Not only is she prolific (writes a TON), but her stories are fun escapes. This weekend I finished the first book in a her new series: "Abandon." It's a "dark re-imagining of the story of Hades and Persephone." (From Greek mythology, where the god of the Underworld kidnaps Persephone.) I only know the basics of the Hades/Persephone story, but from what I do know, Cabot's re-telling is definitely new--and, eventually, I think it'll be fun. This first book was a little all over the place, giving us the background of Pierce (her death and her escape from the Underworld) and the mysterious John Hayden. The book was good, but it had a lot of back and forth jumps in time. I'm all for flashbacks and whatnot, but in some cases (most cases actually), I just want to get from Point A to Point B. I prefer telling stories that way, so I think I like reading them that way as well. Regardless, the strange of structure of this novel didn't make me dislike the book. Quite the opposite. I give it a B+. I do recommend it and would love to hear from anyone who's read it too. Did you like it?

In other news. Editing is drrrrraging. I have managed about 5 pages a day (I edit by-hand during my lunch break), but I haven't been able to put those edits into the computer. I guess I'm still making progress, right? I'd hoped to have it finished by now, but that's just not happening. Oh well, I guess you can't really rush these things. I did start the outline for book two (I haven't decided if it'll be just a sequel kind of thing or a trilogy). PLUS... I need to rename it: "Surrender" just doesn't really work 100%. My initial title (when I started writing this novel when I was in high school) was "A Fallen Gift." It still works, but I wanted to veer away from "fallen" in the title because it seems like most angel/demon books dealing with fallen angels has "fallen" in the title. So, I searched my brain for something different, but maybe I just wasted time. Another idea: "The Fallen Guardian." *Sigh* I don't want it to seem like I'm just "going along with the trends in publishing." I didn't write this novel because paranormal YA is so hot at the moment. I just love it.... who knows what will happen with this. I can only hope good things. If you're interested in reading, check it out here.

I have so much work to do. My new goal is to be done with edits by September 1 and have the manuscript out to agents a few weeks after that. Who knows if this will happen. I've got a lot of life things going on in the next few months. First, I have to find myself a cheap apartment. Second, I need to figure out if I can survive on one job or if I'll need to keep a part-time evening job, which will totally cut into my writing/editing time. I'm so depressed by that thought.

Another thing I'm depressed about is this missing chapter in "Hostile Kisses." For the life of me, I can't understand what must have happened to it, or how it disappeared. I did look through a lot of my back-up disks, but it looks all the same. Sad thing is that I can't remember what computer I used to write that story. A mix of computers, I think. I really hope that I can track it down, but I'm afraid that it might be lost forever. I may have to rewrite something later on after I take "Hostile Kisses" down from FP. I think the next one I'll post is "Chemical Games." After that.... I'm just not sure. I don't think I'll be re-posting the KM series on FP. I know this will make a lot of people unhappy, but I'm so proud of that series (and excited to work on it again), that I think I'd rather pursue self publishing (either through hard copy or ebook).

Anyway, that's all the news I have at the moment. Read "Abandon" it's worth it. Next on my list: "Just Like Heaven" by Julia Quinn (my favorite author for Victorian England romance novels, think Jane Austen, but with kinky scenes). :c) She's my inspiration for stories like "My Darling Bunny" and the still unfinished "Arabelle Wild."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hostile Kisses Re-Posted!

I've re-posted "Hostile Kisses" to FictionPress for a short amount of time (probably six months or so).

Things have slowed down with both writing and editing lately. Tomorrow I start a full-time job and that will really limit how much work I can do on my novel and on other things. It's kinda sad and I think I'm actually a bit depressed about it. I'm not at all excited to start this new position. I hope that eventually I will love the job, but right now it's making me blue.

In other news: "X-Men: First Class" was a great movie! I always leave the theater wanting my own powers or with the desire to write something about mutants, but then I stop myself because it's kinda been done already, and been done successfully. At any rate, it was a great revamp and anything with James McAvoy is awesome. I love him in "Penelope." So, there we have it folks, a few little updates for the blog.

Friday, May 27, 2011


So, in lieu of signing up for Twitter (as I pondered in an earlier post below)... I've made myself an account on Facebook instead (I like it better). Add me as a friend today. I think I might have set up an author page as well, but I'm not sure.

I'm pretty sure if you look me up by my email or by name "Tatiana Moore" you'll find me.

Progress Report

I am almost halfway through my third (? I can't even remember anymore) round of edits for "Surrender." I may change the title before this is all said and done, but I'm not completely decided on that yet. I have a feeling things are going to get much slower for me. After nine months of looking, I've finally found a full-time job, which means that my editing (and eventual writing) will take place in the evenings and weekends. My goal is to finish this project before my birthday in September. At that point I'll have been working on it for a year.

The editing is going well, I think. I was concerned at first because I was still adding things, but the last few days I've slowly reduced my word count. I'm trying not to worry too much about it at this point. I think I'm making it better, over all (fingers crossed), but it's so hard for me to judge this as the writer. I'm so close to everything. I am definitely the type of writer who only works on one project at a time. I really should be writing as well as editing, but I get consumed with one project and then it takes over my life. I wish I was a bit better with my time.

I'm also wondering if I should sign up for Twitter? I know nothing about that site, but it seems like it could be a good venue to use to connect with readers. Thoughts? Anyone out there addicted to Twitter?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Moving Right Along

First, let me just say that I'm beyond excited for the new Muppet movie, due out November 2011. I've always loved the Muppets, even know as I approach ultimate spinsterhood, I still feel a child-like joy when I see Kermit or Rizzo. I have a feeling that this movie is going to be off the hook. They've got a lot of good comedic talent participating (as actors and writers) so honestly, they can't lose. And it's far past time for a new Muppet movie. So... just wanted to get that off my chest.

Second, I've finally hit the 200 page mark on this third edit of my novel. Too bad I've got like 395 pages to go. The novel is too long. I'm very optimistic that I will be able to cut some of it as I get closer to the middle and end, but I've done a lot of adding so far. My biggest reason for wanting it cut down a little is because I feel like it's on the longer side (especially for a debut novel). It's probably 150 pages over the majority of YA novels out right now. I haven't done any research into this though, just going by sight and what I've read. I'm not going to sacrifice the story in order to get it to an acceptable range, but it is a worry that I have. I've done no new writing in the last month (I think), unless you count all the new/revised stuff that's going into the novel. I really need to start on something new, but I just have a hard time working on multiple projects at one time. Something always takes priority.

As a reminder, I will be taking down "A Stater Boyfriend" from FP on June 1. So, still a couple more weeks to read it if you feel like it. I'm not sure if I'm going to put up something in it's place. I know so many people want the "Killing Memories" series back up. Maybe I'll upload book 1? Or maybe "Chemical Games"? I don't know.

I hope everyone's well!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I will be removing "A Starter Boyfriend" from Fiction Press on June 1, 2010. Read or re-read while you can.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Random Bits of Fact

So, it's been a little over a week since I last posted. Not a whole lot is going on. My schedule is all thrown off in regard to writing/editing. Things have come to a halt with "Arabelle Wild." I'm not giving up on that story by any means, I just haven't written anything new in over two weeks. Editing of "Surrender" is also going pretty slowly. I think I'm on chapter seven right now and still have over 500 pages to edit. It's so unbelievably daunting at times, but I've decided to set a goal for at least two chapters each week, hopefully more. I just need to find a rhythm.

Currently I'm reading "City of Fallen Angels" by Cassandra Clare. I'm a fan of her novels, but I'm not that far into this new one yet so I don't know how I feel about it. I'm always wary of authors who continue a series after "the third and final installation." It makes me wonder if the story really should continue or if a new spin-off series should be created. In this case, "City of Fallen Angels" is book 4 in the Mortal Instruments series. Ehhhh.... we'll see.

I also recently finished "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and that was SUPER good. I can't wait for the movie to come out this summer. Speaking of summer movies what is everyone looking forward to? I know "Thor" is out right now and I'm a fan of the superhero movies, but I haven't seen it yet. I'm also looking forward to "Captain America" and many others. Yay for summer blockbusters, although I can't really understand why summer blockbusters can't happen year round.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Craft Note: Editing

So, I'm back in the swing of editing "Surrender." Lots of work to do still. I tend to follow the "write with your heart, edit with your head" motto. My first drafts are wordy, clunky, and and a bit rushed, from time to time. I love, love, love writing, but I'm also a huge fan of revision. For some people it's the most tedious (and time consuming part), and it is for me too. However, I still love it. I love being able to step back and look at things with a fresh eye. About 1.5 months passed between my first edit (for storyline gaps and plot as a whole) to this edit (tearing apart and rebuilding sentences/scenes). I'm sure having more time in between would be good, but I feel like I'm at a place where I can look at things objectively: some of the glory and excitement for having finished a first draft is gone. Now, it's about getting down to business.

At this point I'm still hand editing and then taking those edits to the computer. In later drafts, I'll stick with digital editing (because the idea is that the story won't need huge edits anymore and it's easy to scan through and make tiny changes). I feel a bit bad about hand-editing sometimes because I'm using tons of paper (about 580 pages, which I'll recycle in the end). But I feel like I see the words differently when they're on a piece of paper versus the computer monitor. I also like that you can still see what you cross out and then maybe change your mind later. When you edit on a computer the words vanish (unless you're using track changes, but I never do with my own work). Hand editing gives me a chance to reconsider changes once I bring them to the computer.

Sometimes editing is really hard. As a writer, it can be difficult to identify places where the story lags or if characters are completely uninteresting. I think you can get into the mode of "I love all of this!" (at least in the beginning) and that can be detrimental. I think readers come in at this point and give you a new set of eyes. It's then up to you to decide whether to take their advice or leave it on the curb. This can be a difficult thing to do to. When I get feedback, I try my hardest not to jump on immediate changes that are suggested to me. Oftentimes, especially if they are negative comments or things that someone really didn't like, it takes me a few days to process everything. I have this moment where I feel like I've been shot in the heart (initially), then I die a slow death on the sofa, and then my brain is like "get over it, heart, we've got work to do."

The following link is from The Adams Zone and are basically in-line with what I look for when I edit: Editing Tips for Fiction. I definitely have favorite phrases (and sometimes I'm not sure what they are until people point out that I've used "little" ten thousand times), and my first drafts are full of "she walked, she saw, she looked," which I try to remove whenever I can. One thing that I'd like to do, but it's not really working at this point, is trimming 20% of the story out (to make things tighter). At this point, I'm still adding to my novel (grrrr). This is probably because I'm still in love with it all and am not ready to part with scenes or characters.

So, what's your process? Do you write it all out first and then tear it apart or do you write-edit-write-edit-write-edit (a slower process, in my opinion, but a cleaner draft at the end)?

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Chapter of Surrender

I've posted Chapter Four of "Surrender" to FictionPress. This is the final chapter that I'll be posted (it comes out to the first 62 pages of the novel). Please leave comments if you feel like it. I'm going to post here on the blog as well.

I'll be taking the chapters down from FictionPress in a few weeks, since I probably shouldn't have any of it up when I start submitting.

My schedule's been pushed back a little, but that's probably for the best--there's still a lot of work to be done, I've realized. Lots of sentences to tighten up and a few little organization things. So, my hope is to send out query letters in June (maybe before if I can get back into a rhythm of writing/editing). Bleh, query letters... it's almost like writing a poem, which I find incredibly hard to do (if not impossible). How can you really get 500+ pages down to three paragraphs? Well, by the end of editing I hope to shave off at least 50 pages, but we'll see if I can manage that. It's a hard thing to do when everything feels important to the story and the growth of the characters, and of course some things will be left open-ended for other stories. Anyway... lots more work to do.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Chapter Posted

I've posted Chapter Three of "Surrender" on FictionPress. I look forward to any comments.

Query, Query, Query

Wowzer... I decided to start a draft of a query letter for "Surrender" today. This is going to be REALLY hard. It's difficult making something sound interesting and fun, you know? I'm using a few sample query letters in the October 2010 issue of "Writer's Digest" as guidelines, but I still don't know if I have something solid. I wish I had an agent friend to read it over for me. At any rate, I just have to hope that it's the best and keep looking for other examples.

So, I'm seeking help (yet again) with my summary. I feel like I need to get it down to 1-3 sentences (as a hook). I know it's hard to help when you haven't read the entire novel, but hopefully you smart readers/writers out there could offer a little bit of help?

First question, if you read the following HOOK, would you be at all interested in the story?:
"Sixteen-year-old Evelyn is a biracial girl who learns that she was created by angels to be a vessel, a weapon for an approaching angelic war."

Or how about this:

"Evelyn has just learned that she was created by angels to be a vessel, a weapon to use in the approaching angelic war. However, she has to first decide which side--angels or demons--she wants to fight for."

Ahhh, please help! I can't believe how difficult this is.

Okay, and here's what I have for the summary for an agent. (I'm worried that it might give away too much of the story, thoughts?)

For the last six years, Evelyn and her father have hopped from state to state, hiding in big cities while running from something or someone from the past. As the last place she felt happy and secure, Evelyn returns to Falls, New Hampshire with her tiny and dysfunctional family. However, if she'd known that she was safer outside town, she wouldn't have moved back. Falls is not what it once was.

As a new student at Stonegrove High School, Evelyn discovers that she may never be a normal, happy girl. Her former best friend has vanished, she's followed by a young man who she is strangely drawn to, and a cute boy's attention is both confusing and exciting. And jsut when she has a handle on her new surroundings, her best friend Lucas Starr and Lillian, his mother, return and Evelyn's world tailspins. Lucas has changed and his mother has taken a peculiar interest in Evelyn.

On her seventeenth birthday, Evelyn dies and is reborn as an angel, a vessel full of life. She barely has time to readjust to her new self when she learns that she was created using the essence of the first Eve, matriarch of all humans, and that Lillian Starr is actually Lilith, Adam's first wife, an outcast of Eden, and mother to all demons. Focused on Lilith's need for revenge, the war above is just barely stirring, and Evelyn is uncertain of where her focus should be. She tries to lean on her friends only to realize that they can't, and shouldn't, interfere. Evelyn is forced to realize that she may always be alone.

I know ya'll are probably sick of these posts, but I'd love to hear a few opinions. This is hard. :(

Side note: I will be publishing the next chapter of "Surrender" (new material that none of my blog followers will have read yet) on FictionPress hopefully by the end of the night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review: "Darkness Becomes Her"

Finished a new book last night. "Darkness Becomes Her" is by Kelly Keaton (she writes adult novels under then name Kelly Gay). This was another random library grab as I'd never heard of this book or the author. I read it through in a few hours and enjoyed it overall. It's definitely interesting and unique: a little vampire-witchiness thrown together with Greek mythology. The story is about a young girl in search of her birth mother. Her search takes her into New 2 (New Orleans after a few horrible hurricanes) and into a band of interesting little friends. At first I thought this was a post Hurricane Katrina setting, but then the main character is 17 (if I remember correctly) and was born in 2009, so this is definitely a futuristic setting.

Anyway, this novel is something new out there right now in paranormal/supernatural YA. I think it'll be an interesting series to follow.

Updated Chapters of "Surrender" on FP

Hi everyone!

I've decided to post the first 60 pages of "Surrender" on Fiction Press (the prologue and chapter 1 are now up). I really hope to get some good feedback on these first few chapters. We all know how important the beginning of a story is to keep the readers interest piqued. Please stop by and let me know your thoughts (if you feel up to it).

I've also re-posted the prologue and chapter one here on the blog (under my fish). I decided to break up chapter one so that it was a little shorter (so you actually have chapter 1 and 2). I just finished editing chapter 3 so I'll post that soon.

As always, I hope everyone enjoys.

PS. What's up with Fiction Press? It was really hard to get in and edit the documents once I uploaded them. :(

Friday, April 15, 2011

Exciting Day!

So, I just purchased my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I)! I had a bit of a freak out moment, but not a "jump around the store with my copy" freak out. They've been running commercials on TV about the DVD/Blueray release (which is the one with all the special features). Remember when we talked about needing book in the same series to all look the same? Well, I have the same requirement when it comes to my Harry Potter DVDs: they all need to be double-disk, special edition copies. Blueray boxes are all short and throw everything off, so I was worried that I was going to be disappointed this year. Luckily, Walmart is carrying the special edition DVD that I needed for my collection. I hope that they do the same thing with Part 2. This might be all silly, but it was very exciting for me today. Can't wait to watch it.

I managed to edit the first chapter of "Surrender" (second round). I hope to make those corrections and re-post it. I'd love to get more feedback, even if you've read the first go-round. I'll probably post chapter two as well, after I've edited it again. My goal is to get the first three chapters as solid as possible. Then I'll be looking for agents (still have not started this process).

And the last bit of exciting news: A new episode of "Supernatural" is on tonight!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: "Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage"

I think I've found another favorite writer (when it comes to Victorian-era, Jane Austen-y) romance novels. Jennifer Ashley is right up there with Julia Quinn, who I have mentioned frequently on this blog. Last night I finished "Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage," the book after "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" (which I bought on a whim at Walmart). It was such a good read. I'm sure that I would probably be a fan of anything that J. Ashley writes and I kinda want to find out! Honestly, good stuff. Good story-line, lots of naughty parts, and great characters. I'm looking forward to her next book, out in August 2011 "The Many Sins of Lord Cameron." I know that not everyone is into this stuff, but it's a great escape.

I'm halfway through "Last Sacrifice" which is the final book (I think/hope) in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. So far it's good, but I thought she should have ended things with book 4. That's just me though... things seemed to be winding down in book 4 and then things tailspun into something different. And since I'm such a huge fan of the TV show "Vampire Diaries" I decided to check out the book from the library. I'm curious how alike/different they are.

Things are going slowly with both writing my novella and editing my novel. I blame my at-home part-time job, which will be over by the end of this weekend. I'll have more time after that and hopefully will make some good progress.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy April!

I can't believe it's spring already. It was like 75 degrees out today, which normally would be a great day, but it feels super hot when you've had 45-50 degree days for the last two months. Still, hello spring. This month I'll start the second round of edits on my novel and begin researching agents. I have a feeling that these next few steps are going to be incredibly time consuming. But I'm determined to start submitting "Surrender" to agents by the end of May. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just A Little Taste:

Since I'm all out of craft notes at the moment, I thought I'd include a snippet of the novella I'm working on, "Arabelle Wild." I'm not that great at summaries, so I won't include one here.

What you need to know:
It has been several years since Lady Arabelle Westmore has seen her family. The majority of the Westmores (except her late uncle and brother) only care about their standing in society and that they maintain their reputations as the most beautiful people in London. So when Arabelle was born with a deformity of her leg and foot (both are twisted unnaturally) she is abandoned to the care of her uncle. Her uncle died several years before the story begins leaving her Kilmridge Manor and a great fortune in his will. The story begins with Arabelle receiving a letter from Henry, her older brother. He's coming to the country estate to take Arabelle to London at their father's request.

Arabelle and Henry have been exchanging letters since he left for University, but he has not seen her since she was seven. Henry arrives in the company of his mysterious friend, Sir Ian Rittmore. This snippet is from Ian's point of view and it is the first time he's seeing Lady Arabelle. She and her companion Pita are returning home after Celebration, a festival held by the Romani (gypsies) who live in the woods outside Kilmridge. Arabelle feels that the Romani are her true family now that her uncle has passed.

The two women are drunk and it is around 3am.

Snippet from Chapter One:

"They clung to each other in the corridor near the stairs; their laughter now silent. Ian's eyes were drawn down to their feet again. Both were covered in globs of mud and dirt, which had likely been tracked into the house. Despite the mud, Ian could see that there was something wrong with the taller one's foot. It seemed twisted and turned-in, her toes curled. He hurriedly stepped away from the door. This was Lady Arabelle, Henry's little sister. He knew the consequences of her birth, but he hadn't been expecting such a sight. In truth, any time Henry talked about his sister's condition he made it seem grotesque, something worthy of the circus, should anyone of decent standing happen to see it. A person such as Ian. These were the words that Henry alluded to but never spoke. In Ian's opinion, now that he'd seen her with his own eyes, she was not at all frightening. He stepped back to the door and peered through the crack. No, not frightening, he decided as Lady Arabelle let her head fall back with laughter. Her black hair fell loose around her shoulders and her green eyes sparkled under heavy lids. She was lovely, and it took all of his resolve as a gentlemen of good breeding to no fling open the library doors and take her into his arms."

So, there's just a little taste. I'm probably about halfway done with the novella. I didn't get to write much this week because I had family in town. Tomorrow I start a part-time job (I got the offer this past week) and then on Friday I start another part-time job (but it's only a few hours each day). I hope that I can keep writing this novella in the meantime--No, let me revise that statement. I WILL keep writing this novella. I just don't know how long it might take me now. When I finish, I plan to start new edits on "Surrender" and start researching agents/publishers and working on drafts of my query letter. Lots of stuff coming up, that's for sure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Reccomendations!!!

So, I know this is normally "craft note Monday" but I just finished the sequel of a series of books that I want to mention here as must reads: Kimberly Derting's "The Body Finder" and "Desires of the Dead." Both are in the YA supernatural category and are about a girl named Violet, who is able to locate dead bodies (both humans and animals). The stories are well written and engaging. I finish them pretty quickly and haven't been disappointed. Derting's a pretty new author as she's only got these two books out right now. I checked out Derting's website and saw that she's going to be in an anthology called "Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions" with a bunch of other paranormal/supernatural authors. I'm not usually excited about anthologies or compilation novels (you know the books with three authors in one), but I'm interested in this one because they are short stories.

I am currently reading "I Am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore (a pen name for Jobie Hughes (ghost writer) and James Frey). I saw the movie first while I waited for the book to arrive at the library. So far the opening chapters are like the movie, but we'll see how it turns out. I stopped reading it when "Desires of the Dead" came in, but I'm back to it now. I'm not really sure what to think of James Frey (check out this story about the book's origins), but I'm going to read it anyway. If the accusations against Frey are true then I hope that Jobie Hughes gets her/his recognition for other works. Up next: "Last Sacrifice" the final book in the Vampire Academy series (hopefully the last, she should have ended with book 5), and "War Dances" by Sherman Alexie.

I'll probably think of a Craft Note for later this week. I guess it's okay to change things up, as long as I'm posting more often. The writing of my short story/novella "Arabelle Wild" is going well. I think I'm up to like 18 pages. My brother is in town this week which may make writing difficult, but my goal is to keep working on it and start posting on FP in a few weeks. I'm looking forward to that and hopefully everyone else too!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Story in the Works

I have decided to use the rest of this month wisely, by writing a new short story/novella (probably more the length of a novella). It'll be like "My Darling Bunny" in regard to the setting, but new characters. And... I will be posting it on FictionPress. I feel like I need to get back into active use of that site, at least for smaller projects like this. Novel wise, I'm still on the fence. I'm thinking of more lucrative options in regard to my KM series. There are so many projects that I want to complete and I feel overwhelmed by the amount. But, I've found that I tend to work well if I set deadlines/goals for myself.

So far, here's the list of projects that I have:

1. Write novella, tentatively titled "Arabelle Wild" (to be finished by April)
2. Round 2 edits for "Surrender" (to be finished by May)
3. Submit "Surrender" to agents/publishers
4. Start writing sequel to "Surrender" (by April
5. Edit/revise KM1 (no set date)
6. Remove "Starter Boyfriend" from FP (and hopefully start editing - no set date)
7. Edit/revise KM2 (no set date)
8. Start writing literary novel "The Dead Shall Rise" (no set date, though I'd like to get started on this before the Christmas).

... and so on. Oh... I should probably add "find a job" between all of those steps.

My goal is to finish the novella entirely before I start posting chapters on FP. I wrote about 9 pages yesterday and I'm about to start writing more. It'll be a fun, light-hearted, not at all accurate story set in Victorian England. I am a HUGE sucker for books in this period (hence my love for Jane Austen and 21st century novelist, Julia Quinn).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Craft Note: Outlining

It's Craft Note Monday! (These may be harder and harder to do in the future, so give me some ideas if you feel game.)

I have heard two schools of thought in regard to writing and planning/outlining.

First, some authors believe in absolutely no planning and just write as it comes to their head (write it organically). To outline is to kill that creative side: You're no longer just going with the flow because your mind has already come to conclusions and climaxes.

Second, some authors believe in planning and outlining everything about their project down to the very last scene.

I subscribe to the second school of thought, but I didn't always.

When I first started writing stories (I've been writing since I was nine, but really got serious about it all at 13 when I was starting high school), I would just sit down and write what came to me. Outlining was a foreign concept. I would write and write and write letting the characters do whatever they wanted--which often included a lot of kissing and maybe a few nude scenes... what can I say, I was a bit naughty back in the day. I had no clear purpose or ending in view when I wrote, just two characters interacting. Making out or shooting guns and riding horses. (I was big into Westerns for a short amount of time. I blame the movie "Bad Girls".) I've been told that "just going with the flow" can produce the best kind of story (you'll often find that literary stories do this, focusing more on character than plot), but I quickly became bored out of my mind and ready to start the next great idea. I probably finished maybe one full project from the time I was 13 until my early 20s. I have dozens and dozens of 20-75 page stories that just kinda end, and maybe a handful that actually made it to "the end."

It wasn't until "Killing Memories" (the first Es and Moo novel on FictionPress) that I decided I needed to know where things were going. I credit my change into outlining/planning to the readers of KM1 who reviewed and showed their excitement for story. I didn't want to let anyone down. I needed to take KM some where and actually have an ending. So, halfway through that novel, I grabbed a piece of paper and outlined what needed to happen to get to the end. From that moment on, I've been a planner. I LOVE OUTLINES.

I tend to imagine my stories having around 20 chapters in them and list 1-20 on a page and start filling in the numbers (several will end up blank because I don't know everything that will happen). I have key areas that I know I need to hit and try to work my way to that spot. So, it might look something like this:

1. Beginning, introduce characters and problem
2. Build characters and story line
3. Introduce villain or main obstacle
6. Big Party at XXX's house leads to first kiss.
7. Aftermath of party
12. Villain starts to make things difficult for YYY.
15. Build up to main conflict.
16. Main conflict occurs (what is it?)
18. Conclusion - YYY and XXX break up and go to college.

This isn't any real story that I'm working on, just an illustration of what I usually end up doing. Sometimes I'm able to fill in all the blanks. And sometimes, even though I've planned for things to happen, as I write stuff will shift and change and I have to reorder the chapters or add new ones. A lot of things change in the writing process. Last week I worked out plot ideas for books 2 and 3 of my Fallen Guardian novels, just so I know what I'm working toward. I need to know how I want that final book to end. Outlines become loose guidelines that help me know that I'm working toward something, even if all the stuff in the middle flip flops, erases, or changes all together.

Here are a few links on outlining:
Fiction Factor - I tend to follow the chapter-by-chapter guide idea.
Pro Writing Tips - Just some interesting perspectives.
Advice on Novel Writing - Check out the "Ten Points on Plotting"

So, what school of thought to you follow in regard to outlining/planning?

Side Note: My heart goes out to all of Japan. So scary!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movies and Books: Rango & The Lost Hero

I guess Thursdays might be review/what I'm reading at the moment days. I'm not sure, I might switch things up until they feel comfortable and natural.

So, last weekend, my sister and I went to see "Rango" the new animated Johnny Depp movie. It's getting decent reviews out there in critic-world and I love LOVE LOVE animation. I guess I'm still a kid though I'm way beyond kid years. I have a milestone birthday coming up in September... I think I get better with age, but I'm no kid. Still, my love for animation will never die. Case and point: "How to Train Your Dragon" is one of my all time favorite animation movies. It's just so cute. I could list more, but let me dedicate a few minutes to "Rango." I didn't realize that this was rated "PG" until one of the characters, a big scary rattle snake yells "Sign the damn paper woman!" Rango is a lizard (chameleon) who was once a pet but ends up in the Nevada desert. He moseys into a small, rough, cowboy town called "Dirt" and becomes the sheriff using his keen acting skills. Overall the movie was cute, but a bit slow in some sections (shocking for a animation in my point), and funny. And this movie was filmed differently than other animation movies. Check it out:

My rating: B. My recommendation: Maybe wait for it to come out on video.

I'm currently reading "The Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan, who wrote the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This new book is a spin-off to the Percy franchise. (Did anyone see the movie? It was pretty good, but I was irritated that they aged the characters by a few years to put them in high school.) These books are classified as "middle grade" young adult (I believe that means 7-12?) although the main characters are 15 years old. "The Lost Hero" is a straight-up action/adventure story set around the ancient Greek/Roman gods. I find myself really drawn into the books and the characters. Riordan is a great writer and puts a lot of research into his stories. I like them because I remember nothing from having to read "Mythology" by Edith Hamilton in high school and feel like I'm learning something when I read (too bad I fail to remember anything). Riordan has hit upon a gold mine in a way. The books are original in there aren't many other books focusing on the Greek gods when the first Percy Jackson came out (there were a few other authors who came out with things after, I believe). I'm reminded of what J.K. Rowling did with Harry Potter. She is the queen of magical kids right now and nothing will probably ever beat out HP. I'm not saying that Riordan is at J.K.'s level of fame or anything like that, but he plugged into a niche and is very successful.

It makes me wonder what else out there hasn't been done (or done well)? Angel/Demon stories have been very popular lately. There are a lot out good stories out there, but how can an author make the genre his/her own? This is something I thought about a lot when I wrote "Surrender": How do I make mine different from the rest? I feel like I have a very original idea (and an untapped villain). As writers, we should all struggle with this. To find a unique ideas and try to be successful with it before anyone else. It's so hard though. I remember reading one fallen angel novel recently and became so upset because the author had given the angels lavender eyes, an idea that I had come up with. It forced me to change the eye color because I didn't want to be perceived as copying someone's idea. But I do feel like I was forced to think out of the box to find a new and memorable eye color.... Hopefully this new detail will remain mine, but who knows. That's the crazy thing about being artistic or being a writer--how often our ideas overlap with other authors. I almost feel like all writers are connected at some deep cellular level and we tap into one another through ESP. Crazy? Probably.

* * *

Side Note: I love Barbara Kingsolver's writing and just received an email from a writing company (I guess that's what it's called) that included three tips on writing by Kingsolver. One really stood out to me as something I need to remember when writing and I wanted to share it here:

Question: What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
Answer: "Your first sentence should make a promise that the rest of the story will keep." - Francine Prose (another good writer).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Craft Note: Writing Places You've Never Seen Before

So, I've decided that Monday's will be "craft note" days. I have yet to decide how many posts I'll plan for each week, at least two, I think.

Craft Note: Visualization

I have never created a world in my writing. Meaning: I've never created a place that is 100% different from Earth. A place called Borg, for example, where little blue people dwell and shoot lasers out of their eyes. I think that if I were to write science fiction a lot of world-planning would be involved. I like to stick with what I know and see and then expand upon that. But what do you do for fictionalized/make believe places set in "reality" but aren't a part of reality? Let's take my new novel "Surrender" for example. There is no such place as Falls, New Hampshire. It's actually based off two places in New Hampshire: Portsmouth, for it's quaint New England-y feel and Lincoln, a place that I only drove through, that's nestled in the White Mountains. I suppose when I really think about it, Falls is more Lincoln (because of the mountains) than Portsmouth (which is on the coast). At any rate, I merged the two places together to create something fictional. Another example is the school that my main character's go to: Stonegrove. I've never attended a private school before and had an image of my head (a cross between an English boarding school and a private school in Exeter, NH).

It can be incredibly difficult to create something from scratch and really "see" that place or have readers see it just as clearly. In order for me to do this, and be successful, I tend to sketch or draw. I make blueprints so I can see the layout as my character would see it. I've created whole towns like this. I don't know, there's something about visualization that helps me with the writing. And in order for these places to seem real, I have to believe they are real. Mapping them out helps with this, I think.

The top picture (click on all pictures to make them bigger) is the front of the school as I saw it. The most important feature to me was the large clock tower and the archway that the students walk through to get into the school. You'll also notice the cobblestone circular drive. The middle picture shows the basic region layout from the main town of Falls and up into the mountains where the school is. Lucas's house is also on the map, but not Cameron's. I'm surprised I didn't include the farmhouse, but on well. It's there. The bottom picture is another layout of the school (the entryway) that I wanted to put down. I accidentally cut off the big gate at the bottom of the school's "driveway." I really only describe the entryway once (Evelyn's first day of school), but it was important (not to mention fun) to get the image down on paper.

So, what about you? Do you just go on instinct and hope that all the details are right and believable, or do you get all crazy like me and start making maps and diagrams?

End of craft note.