Thursday, July 29, 2010

Living with SNIS

SNIS or Shiny New Idea Syndrome
A disease that only infects writers causing them to periodically come up with new ideas, particularly at the most inconvenient moments for the writer.

  • Being a writer
  • A tendency to come up with new ideas
  • The urge to carry around a notebook and pencil "just in case"
  • An itch to work on a new idea despite the fact that you're neck-deep in revisions for another novel
There is no cure for SNIS, however there are several ways to manage this crisis. Always keep something around in which to write down ideas as they occur to you. I find writing down an idea when it comes to me decreases the urgent feeling to start plotting out/writing said idea. It makes me feel like I can always come back to it later. Tell yourself "I do not need another WIP, I do not need another WIP" until the desire to add another WIP to your list disappears. Go back to working on your current work in progress and remind yourself that you will never be a published author if you can't buckle down and finish one project without starting five more.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Clockwork Angel Review

ARC Review
Release date: August 31st

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform at will into another person. The Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She soon finds herself fascinated by -- and torn between -- two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and Will, whose volatile moods keep everyone at arm's length. As their search draws them deep into a plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I. Love. This. Book. I know some people are worried that the Infernal Devices series will be too much like the Mortal Instruments series. It's not.

When I started reading it took me a bit to get into the story but once I did I literally could not stop reading. When I got to the end I actually took the book into the kitchen with me and read it while I was making lunch. My mom laughed at me but there was no way I could put it down.

I actually liked Tessa way more than I liked Clary. I can't say exactly why (trying to keep this a spoiler-free review) but she was just so strong and clever. Her thinking at the end...GENIUS.

Now, for the record, I am currently Team Will but it's like picking my Hunger Games team. Both Will and Jem are both so awesome in their own way. Will's dark, mysterious, and sarcastic. He also reminds me of Jace which is probably one reason why I love him. Jem is sweet, adorable and plays the violin. I'd say Tessa can have Jem as long as I can have Will...Anyway. I wonder what would happen if you could put Jace, Will, Jem, and Tessa in the same room together. I bet the world would explode from that level of sarcasm and awesome.

Main character and love interests aside, I have a special fondness for Henry. Even though he's scatterbrained he's such a sweetheart. You can't help but like him.

I'm still in love with Clare's dialogue, especially Tessa's, Will's, and Jem's when they're together. It's just so clever and in character.

Overall: 10/10 Definitely worth the wait and did not disappoint. When's the next one??

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week in Short

I had a fantastic week this week. I started a new WiP on Monday, my birthday was on Wednesday, and I watched both A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel. Freaking AMAZING, I don't know why I didn't watch them before. I'm also taking this weekend off writing to spend time with family. I'm sure this will last five minutes. (There will definitely be a notebook and pencil in my bag.)

Song addiction of the week: You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi

Must Read:
How to revise and resubmit
The importance of having an alpha
One question you should NOT ask while reading

Emilia has awesome news!!!!! CONGRATS!

Soothing query and submission angst (and a query soundtrack!)

Rachelle Gardner:
What is voice?
Publishing myths

Suzie Townsend:

Keep it simple

My writing's going kind of slow lately. I've been busy with youth group stuff and the obligations for a girl going into high school as a senior in a little over a month.

ARML -- 3.7k. Going slowly since The Elite stole my attention. Hoping to get back to rewrites soon.

The Elite -- 4.2k. Going well. I'm about to introduce the love interest. Writing on an outline isn't so bad.

Everyone have an awesome and productive weekend!

Top Five Villains

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend! Mine was pretty good. I started ARML's rewrites, watched Devil May Care and Rachel Alexandra demolish their respective fields (YAY!), spent a lot of time relaxing (read: procrastinating), and got a new SNI that really needs to shut up inside that trunk I stuffed it in.

We spend a lot of time and blog posts on our favorite characters, but what about our favorite villains? Those people we love to hate. The ones we want to personally push off a cliff. So here are my top five villains in a particular order:

#5: Duke Rodger of Conte
Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
I still get chills thinking about his return. Very incredible and evil villain. He put up such a perfect facade that everyone loved him.

#4 Murtagh
Inheritance Cycle
Sorry I couldn't not include who is probably one of my favorite (still living) characters in the Inheritance Cycle. One minute you want to smack him across the face and the next you just want to hug him. Or it might just be the whole bad boy look, not really sure.

#3 President Snow
Hunger Games Trilogy

He's EVIILLL but yet oh so awesome as a villain. He's dark, mysterious, and seems impossible to beat. Also tell me you don't find the whole smelling like blood and roses thing intriguing and revolting.

#2 Voldemort
Harry Potter
It's everyone's favorite villain! He's sinister, dark, evil and he has every reason to be that way. He has a whole past and a whole reason for being evil. Come on, tell me you at least sympathize for him a little even as you're cheering for his demise.

And now the man who inspired this entire post because I was watching clips of Doctor Who again this morning and whose song is currently playing on repeat in my head...

#1 The Master

Who's your favorite villain?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Your Thoughts?

I'm home! I had an awesome time, but it's nice to be home. I didn't get any writing done while I was gone, though I did get several SNIs, none of which warranted the effort it took to remember them until we got back to camp to write them down. There were a lot of places up there that I just wanted to sit and write though.

Now I'd like to hear from you. What would you like to see more of here at Writers' Chasm? What would you like me to talk about? Week in Shorts will be continuing into the foreseeable future (meaning until I go back to school and then we'll see). Would you like to see more new releases? Less reviews? More interviews? Any questions about writing or publishing or me that you want me to answer?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Releases: I Am Number Four, Halo, Dangerous Neighbors

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.
But they know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next.
Halo by Alexandra Adornetta
[Every time I see this cover I just want to steal it away. So beautiful...]
Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces.
Is love a great enough power against evil?
Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident. One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finding Your Manuscript's Birthday

I can't do YA Highway this week because I didn't know the topic on Saturday when I wrote this post. :(

A year ago, I wanted to know when Destiny's birthday was so I could celebrate it. I remembered starting Destiny in November, but I didn't know exactly when. So I figured out a way to find out the exact date and time Destiny began.

Note: I have no clue when the idea of Destiny was born. Unfortunately I'm not psychic so I can't help you there. I can only tell you how to find out when you wrote those first words.

Note Take 2: This only works on Windows as far as I know. I've tried it with my mom's XP and my Vista and it works on both.

Step 1: Find the very first draft of the WIP. The one you wrote those first few words on.
Step 2: Right click on the icon.
Step 3: Click 'Properties.'
Step 4: Look down. It should say 'Created: (date and time).' This is the date you first created that file. If you don't see this, make sure the 'General' tab at the top is selected.

This can be very surprising sometimes! Though this doesn't work if you create the file, wait two weeks, and then start writing your WIP. It also might not be accurate if you've transferred the file from one computer to another.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hand Writing

A few months ago, if you'd asked me if I would ever consider hand writing something more than flash fiction, I would've answered with "Heck no!"

Guess what I did?

Hand wrote half a novel. Thanks/no thanks to creative writing class where I'm required to hand write everything, I hand wrote 65 pages to Fire.

Like everything, hand writing works for some people and doesn't work for others. But here are some advantages and disadvantages of hand writing.


  • You can hand write anywhere with a pencil and some notebook paper. You just can't carry a laptop everywhere you go and jot down a few words every few minutes. I wrote some in every class, including lunch. I couldn't have done that if it had been on my laptop.
  • Much easier to share a notebook with someone that a laptop.
  • You don't lose the entire draft if your computer crashes and you've failed to back it up.
  • You can doodle in the margins when writers' block strikes.
  • You can revise as you type up the draft.
  • No worries about the laptop battery running out in the middle of a writing spree if you don't carry the charger with you everywhere.
  • Hand cramps. I'm not used to hand writing so after a couple of pages my entire hand will start to ache. It's gotten better this year, but I still can't hand write for too long.
  • Risk of losing an entire draft if you leave it somewhere, misplace it, or spill that cup of coffee on it.
  • Always the chance of running out of pencil lead or notebook paper when there's still more to be written.
  • Harder to make corrections and add things or notes onto notebook paper than it is on a laptop. Especially if you single space.
  • If you're like me, you hand write slower than you can type. This can be a good or a bad thing depending.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Character Crushes

If you're reading this on Monday, at this moment I am either hanging out in a tent, tramping through the woods, or swimming in the ice-cold river. I thought this would be a fun post.

Team Edward. Team Gale. Team Peeta. Team Jace. Team George. Team Jonathan. Team Jacob.

We all pick teams of our favorite male MCs. We wait and hope that they end up with the guy we want them to because he's so clearly perfect for her. Today's question is: "Who is your character crush?"

I have a lot of them, but here are my main three.

  • Jace (Mortal Instruments trilogy) -- I'm a sucker for his sarcasm. Being hot doesn't hurt.
  • George (Tamora Pierce's Alana quartet) -- I don't think he really requires any explanation.
  • Cabel (Wake series) -- He's such a sweetheart even after everything that he's been through. The mysterious bad-boy thing helps.
Gale and Peeta aren't on this list because I haven't picked what team I'm on yet. They're both so awesome. This is the first time I haven't been able to pick a team. (I'm secretly leaning towards Gale.)

Spill. Who's your character crush? I look forward to hearing about them when I get back. =D

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week in Short

I'm going camping starting Sunday. Five days with no showers, no bathrooms, no internet, and most importantly, no writing. Though of course I'll be taking along a notebook and pencil. I'll schedule posts tomorrow before I leave but there will be no teaser or Week in Short.

Song of the week: I'll Make a Man Out of You from the movie Mulan. I'm addicted to it right now. I blame Mae for sharing an epic Doctor Who video set to the song. I swear the chorus could actually have been written for the Doctor.

Must read:
Distancing yourself from a manuscript
You might be a writer/agent/publisher if...
20 tips for attending SCBWI conferences

If literary agent, Natalie Fischer, gets 1,000 Twitter followers she'll start accepting email queries! Though, I don't know why you aren't following her already.

Eclipse in 15 minutes!
Enough said.

Jessica Faust is closing to queries until September (also shares her query recap)

Updated writers guide to Twitter

Blood-Red Pencil:
Self-editing tips
Connecting with your characters

Guide to Literary Agents:
Seven questions to ask yourself before starting a writers group

Johnson Literary:
June query stats

Pimp My Novel:
Comp titles

YA Highway:
Phoebe North on negative reviews


This is the part where I usually talk about how my writing is going. I'm going to skip that today and talk about it when I get back. Hopefully by then I'll have decided what's going where.

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

RTW -- Favorite Reading Memory

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
What's your favorite reading memory?

The first time I read Harry Potter. I was still living in the apartment with my mom at the time and it was probably third or fourth grade. My cousin -- who was a bit of reader himself at the time but unfortunately lost that when he came to high school -- wanted us to read this book. My mom promised to read it first and then, if she deemed it "appropriate" (I'm not really sure what possibly could happen in that book to make it inappropriate), then I would be allowed to read it.

So, I waited. She read it. She thought it was okay, but she didn't become the Harry Potter addict that I was to be. She told me I could read it.

That day it was sitting on the coffee table under the lamp looking a little worn from its various readers but beautiful and mysterious. The pages were folded up a little bit at the corners as paperback books are wont to do after several readings. I picked it up, curled up on the couch, and here I am today. The Harry Potter addicted nine years later counting down the days until she goes to the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows and getting ready to reread Chamber of Secrets to rediscover the magic she felt all those years ago.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Never Give Up

Sorry, no teaser this week or next week. This week I'm working on ARML's rewrites and next week I'm on vacation. I don't really want to tease something I'm not even working on so I'm going to wait and hopefully be back with new ARML teasers. =D

(I hope this makes sense. It was written at two this morning while I had Someone's Watching Over Me stuck in my head.)

So instead I'm going to blog about never giving up. In this business, perseverance is probably the most important trait after patience. You can write the greatest book in the world but no one's going to know unless you break through that last case of writers' block, polish that manuscript one last time, rewrite that query one more time, send out one more query.

It's not an easy road, this road to publication. It's more like the road to a certain nearby town that's filled with potholes and those weird continuous bumps that make you stop to check to make sure you don't have a flat tire. And these potholes never end.

You'll get writers' block.

You'll get stuck on a revision.

You'll get rejections from agents.

And more from editors.

You'll get bad reviews.

And there'll be readers that don't like your book.

And once that first book is out there? There's another one to start the process all over again.

And that's okay. Because there will always be bright spots on that road too. A finished novel, a finished revision, a request from an agent, an offer of representation, a three-book deal, a starred review, a reader emailing you to tell you they loved your book.

To quote Doctor Who: The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.

Not only is life a pile of good things and bad things, but so is the road to publication. Which is part of this author life. So never give up because someday that one person will say "Yes." And every "no" that came before it will be worth it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Forest of Hands and Teeth Review

Spain won the World Cup for the first time EVER! It was an extremely long, but great game. I'm still celebrating. Also, Gio Ponti broke a five-race losing streak when he won the same race for the second year in a row. Good weekend in sports for me. =D

Also, I watched Miss Congeniality and Confessions of a Shopaholic over the weekend. Both awesome movies if you haven't seen them.

Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could their be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

I finally finished this book last week and I still don't know how I feel about it. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. The first half kind of dragged and I had to force myself to read it. The second half was where it really picked up for me. I promised myself I'd just read a couple chapters at midnight before I went to bed. I ended up going to bed at 2:30 instead because I couldn't stop reading.

I'm still coming to terms with the ending, in a good way and a bad way. At first when I finished it I wanted Dead-Tossed Waves right away, but now I just kind of feel like I could wait.

I like the characters. I like Mary and her obsession to see the ocean feels real, but I didn't get that kind of connection until after she left the village. Travis and Harry were a little too similar until the end there. I could really only separate them by who they loved. Cass was a little whiny for me, half the time I just wanted to smack her. I mean I suppose after your home's destroyed and it seems you have nowhere else to go it would be human nature to want to return to whatever it is that is left of home, but SERIOUSLY. Not smart.

Overall: 8/10. Awesome premise, heart-pounding second half, but the first half just didn't do it for me.


I sobbed when Travis Returned. It was such a brilliant scene and it ripped my heart out. I was in too much shock to cry when Jed died. I LOVED Jed, despite his attitude in the beginning. After all the horrible things that had happened, I couldn't see how it could get any worse. And then it did.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Week in Short

It's Friday? Already? O.o Did someone speed up time on me again?

Song of the Week: Into the Night by Nickelback (which actually should have been the song two weeks ago, but I'm listening to Pandora so I don't really have a song of the week right now)

Must read:

Good guys or bad guys? How about neither? + Angelfire giveaway!
The process of a book: 16 steps to publication [I want to have this post made into a giant poster and put it on my wall. Seriously.]
The magic of setting
Q&A with Tina Wexler covering quitting querying, mentioning other works, magic realism, and much more

Rachelle Gardner is closed to queries for the month of July

MSFV July Secret Agent contest! Genres for this one are young adult and contemporary women's fiction. Begins July 12th.

Christina Baker Kline:
Five questions to ask yourself BEFORE querying

Pimp My Novel:
Book covers

Rachelle Gardner:
Style sheet

Scott Tracey:
Keep a stiff upper lip

Story Flip:


ARML -- Draft four is complete (yay!) and draft five is in progress. I'm a little nervous about character revisions because I've never done an entire draft focused entirely on them before, but it's a learning experience.

Summer Fling -- 42k! WHOOO! Still not halfway, I have a feeling this is going to be a longer one. Maybe about 70k all told.

I also had an SNI yesterday. A very nagging SNI. I'm trying to push it to the back of my mind to simmer while I work on SF, but it doesn't seem to want to go. I'd start writing it except I only have the MC and very little plot. I'll figure it out eventually.

Everyone have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Releases: Legacies, Siren, Blindsided, and X Isle

I'm addicted to Pandora radio. I tried it a couple years ago and didn't really like it. Came back yesterday because AOL radio annoys the crap out of me and haven't left since.

I realized this morning that I haven't done one of these in awhile so here are four new YA releases. (Usually I only do three but I couldn't narrow it down so I just decided to feature all four).

Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
First Book in the Shadow Grail series
In the wake of the accident that killed her family, Spirit White is spirited away to Oakhurst Academy, a combination school and orphanage in the middle of Montana. There she learns she is a legacy—not only to the school, which her parents also attended, but to magic.
All the students at Oakhurst have magical powers, and although Spirit’s hasn’t manifested itself yet, the administrators insist she has one. Spirit isn’t sure she cares. Devastated by the loss of her family, she finds comfort with a group of friends: Burke Hallows, Lachlann Spears, Muirin Shae, and Adelaide Lake.

But something strange is going on at Oakhurst. Students start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, and the school seems to be trying to cover it up. Spirit and her friends must find out what’s happening—before one of them becomes the next victim…

Siren by Tricia Rayburn
Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything--the dark, heights, the ocean--but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family's vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day. Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident. After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers. But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more. Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear. As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.

Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings
In many ways, Natalie O’Reilly is a typical fourteenyear- old girl. But a routine visit to the eye doctor produces devastating news: Natalie will lose her sight within a few short months.
Suddenly her world is turned upside down. Natalie is sent to a school for the blind to learn skills such as Braille and how to use a cane. Outwardly, she does as she’s told; inwardly, she hopes for a miracle that will free her from a dreaded life of blindness. But the miracle does not come, and Natalie ultimately must confront every blind person’s dilemma. Will she go home to live scared? Or will she embrace the skills she needs to make it in a world without sight?
X Isle by Steve Augarde
Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X-Isle, the island where life is rumored to be easier than on what's left of the mainland. Only young boys stand a chance of getting in, the smaller and lighter the better. Baz and Ray are two of the lucky few to be chosen, but they soon discover that X-Isle is a far cry from paradise. Ruled by Preacher John, a dangerous religious fanatic, it's a violent, unpredictable place, where terrible things can happen at any moment. The boys hatch an extraordinary plan in order to protect themselves-the construction of a mighty weapon of defense. But can they complete this weapon in time, and are they really prepared to use it to secure their freedom?

"Canned" E-mails

Note: this trick only works for Firefox users. Apologies to Internet Explorer and Safari users. There is a Chrome extension for WiseStamp as well. There are tricks that you can use with certain email providers to do the same thing, I just don't know what they are.

I send a lot of emails and a lot of them are queries which are basically just the same, slightly-tailored letter over and over again. I keep them pasted in a Word document for easy access. Now I have an even easier way.

Firefox has an add-on called WiseStamp. It allows you to create multiple signatures and easily insert them to a wide variety of email programs including Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and more. It also allows you to create signatures for other things such as Facebook, Twitter, and AIM.

Just download the add-on and a little icon will appear in the bottom right corner of your browser. Click on this and click "Edit signature." Put what you want your canned email to be in the box on the page.

Now to insert the canned email, just open up a new message on your favorite email program. A similar icon should appear above the text box. Just click on it, click on the name of the signature you want to insert, and there it is! All you have to do is make the required tweaks, put in a subject and address, and hit Send. =D

Unfortunately it seems that you can only have two signatures (default labeled "Personal" and "Business" though this can be changed) so you could do two different forms of your query, or do one plain query and one query with sample pages.

Another tip: If your email program screws up your formatting so it looks like it's in secret code, copy and paste into Notepad and then paste from there into the email or WiseStamp. Notepad clears out all the formatting and keeps the email neat and clean.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RTW -- My Ideal Writing Desk

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What would your ideal writing desk look like? Right down to the perfect pen or laptop.

For the record, I don't even have a writing desk. I write on my bed with the laptop most of the time. But if I did have one, this would be my ideal one.

Desk:Because it is cool and awesome and it has drawers. With notebook paper, pens, ink cartridges, computer paper, gum, candy, and bookmarks.
From Overstock


From Best Buy

Index Cards!
Because no revision session is complete without them.
From Staples

This poster shall go above my desk. Also, if there is some way someone could invent a giant version of that electronic picture album that would be epic. Then it could be Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor, that poster that has both of them, that new Deathly Hallows poster that just came out, and Prince Caspian.

Iced tea. Because no writing day is complete without it.

Minifridge/freezer filled with chocolate and tea and ice cream and snacks!

Then of course there is all the normal stuff like pens, pencils, paper, a printer, and a bag of chips that don't require a picture. Also my phone because despite the fact that I swore I'd never be like those people that have a panic attack when they're separated from their phone, I'm well on my way to being one of said people.

And finally surrounding me would be a giant bubble like the anti-Muggle one around the Quidditch World Cup that keeps away the Powers That Be so they can stop interrupting me while I'm writing. It also doubles to block out most outside noise.

What would your perfect writing desk be like?

Monday, July 5, 2010


I love reading the acknowledgments in published books, but I wasn't always that way. Before I became a writer, the acknowledgments was just a sheet of paper between me and the end of the book. Just a long list of people that I'd never heard of before and probably never would. So I skipped over them.

Then I started writing and now I love reading the acknowledgments. I always make a point to at least skim through them before or after the book is done. Why the change? Because, now I know what goes into a book. I know how many people are involved to get this book into my hands. Reading it is like watching the "behind the scenes" clips for a movie. It's fascinating to hear who was involved with the making of the book. So many people coming together to make one dream a reality and put the result of that dream in our hands.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Today is a day of food, family, fun, and fireworks. It's also a day to remember the great country we live in and why it's like this today. It's a day to remember the men and women who stood up and won against all odds. It's a day to remember the freedoms we were given so many years ago and a day to resolve to protect them. Have a great day everyone.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Week in Short

I got my Christmas in July today. I got to talk to two online friends I hadn't seen in awhile, I got an invitation for a reunion with family I wasn't even aware I had (still not going), and my information for one of my top-choice colleges arrived in the mail. My mom bought bacon and apple juice at the store. Oh, and I got new headphones. =D Great ending to a great week.

Must read:
"Other" project one-line pitches in the same query WHAT?! Mandy Hubbard explains.
Beta reading tips for both sides I've been trying to figure out a nice way to say this for two weeks, but she says it so much better.
Writing contests -- always read the fine print

OMG OMG OMG NEW DEATHLY HALLOWS TRAILER! If you haven't seen it, go watch it. Now. No, really. I watched it five times the day it came out and I still get goosebumps. SO...EPIC... Can someone say Best. Movie. EVER?

The Last Airbender came out in theaters today!!!!! If you're not familiar with this movie, it's based on the Nickelodeon TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, I am more excited for Airbender than I am for Eclipse. =D

In other movie news, Eclipse came out on Wednesday. I have heard that it is good, but I'll wait until it comes out on DVD. If I could, I'd probably go just to see the DH trailer on the big screen.

In non-movie-related news, the Bulwer-Lytton worst opening sentence award results are in! And they are hilarious. =D [The runner-up is my favorite.]

Courtney Summers:
Unlikeable female protagonists

Interview with Simone Elkeles

#164: religious fantasy

Shooting Stars:
Buffy vs Edward [Watch the video, it's epic]

YA Highway:
Emilia's made of awesome trailer for every YA novel ever

ARML -- third draft is complete which means I've finished up all my small plot revisions. I'm now working on the fourth draft which involves larger plot revisions. It's going kind of slow because I have to read through all the chapters whether they're involved in the revision or not just to double-check and make sure everything's lined up correctly.

Summer Fling 37k. Coming along slowly because most of my concentration seems to be on ARML at the moment. I'll get right on that.

Fire -- On hold while I trying to figure out what to do with it.

After the Jump -- On hold for Summer Fling

Everyone have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This Crazy Town Called Publication

One of my favorite country songs (for now) is Crazy Town by Jason Aldean. I love this song for two reasons.

1. Because it's awesome.

2. Because it reminds me of the journey that writers go on to become published. Let me show you what I mean. (Italicized bits are the actual lyrics of the song. I do not own these lyrics in any way, shape or form.)

Roll into town - step off the bus.
Shake off that where you came from dust.
Grab your guitar - walk down the street.
Signs say Nashville, Tennessee.
But I have found...

It's a crazy town - full of neon dreams.
Everybody plays - everybody sings.
Hollywood with a touch of twang - to be a star you gotta bang-bang-bang.
Bend those strings till the Hank comes out.
Make all the drunk girls scream and shout.
We love it - we hate it - we're all just trying to make it.
In this crazy town.

You pay your dues - and you play for free.
And you pray for a honkytonk destiny.
You cut your teeth in the smoky bars.
And live off the tips from a pickle jar.
Til you find a cool new sound.
And you smile when the record man shoots you down...

This entire verse is the one that resonates most strongly with me. All of you pre-published out there, me included, we're all writing for free. Those last two bolded lines are the ones I love the most. We're all looking for that one novel that's just right to break us out of the pack. We all smile when the agents/editors say no and shoot us down.

It's a crazy town - full of neon dreams.
Everybody plays - everybody sings.
Hollywood with a touch of twang - to be a star you gotta bang-bang-bang.
Bend those strings till the Hank comes out.
Make all the drunk girls scream and shout.
We love it - we hate it - we're all just trying to make it.
In this crazy town.

One year they repossess your truck.
And the next you make a couple million bucks.

It's a crazy town - full of neon dreams.
Everybody plays - everybody sings.
Hollywood with a touch of twang - to be a star you gotta bang-bang-bang.
Bend those strings till the Hank comes out.
Make all the drunk girls scream and shout.
We love it - we hate it - we're all just trying to make it.
In this crazy town.

It's a crazy world, the world of publication. We're all like the person in the song, walking into town and playing for free. Everyone here can write, we're just hoping that someday we'll find that one song (or book) that puts us on the map. We all love it and we all hate it. But we all strive to make it.