Friday, September 30, 2011

Music, Mania, and Michael Buble

     My music annoys some people. I know. And I'm sorry, really. I keep it there because it's the soundtrack to my current WIP and I listen to it when I'm writing. And sometimes just opening my blog and hearing it is enough to get the brain juices flowing.
     Anyway, I put it on stop- so it will only play if you press play- mostly just for today's post.
     Music is a huge part of my WIP. My MC Ava plays and teaches piano. Eric, her love interest, is a famous musician. It took a lot of brain storming to decide what kind of musician he would be. I made him into a jazz musician, or more specifically, someone like Michael Buble.
     Why? When people think of musicians, they tend to form an image in their head right off the bat. Ex: Rock Star = wild hair, tattoos, and depending on your age- plaid and bandannas, or tight jeans and studded bracelets. Country singer = cowboy boots and cowboy hat. Rapper = black guy, or Eminem.
     I know, I know. These are STEREOTYPES. They're not always true. But that doesn't stop people from hearing "rock star" and picturing someone who looks like Axl Rose.
     Since Eric was already crystal clear in my mind, I pictured him in fitted suits and skinny black ties. Hence- jazz singer. (I hope against hope that when people hear jazz musician, they picture Harry Connick Jr. or Michael Buble and not some fuddy-duddy old guy.)
     Then I started listening to my Michael Buble CDs (I have all of them cuz he's awesome) and I found songs that not only fit with my WIP, but they fit right INTO my WIP. As in, songs he would actually sing TO her or ABOUT her. Like these:

     Near the beginning, Eric sings this at a party, but he's basically singing it right to Ava as she sits there listening. Ouch. I love how angry this song sounds, which is exactly how I'd picture Eric singing it.

     I do flashbacks in this WIP, and this song is during one of those. While Eric doesn't actually sing this song, he does tell Ava to "hold on". I listened to this over and over while writing the scene.

     I haven't written the scene where this song will take place yet- it's near the end. But I have it clear in my mind and I can't wait to write it. I just hope the feeling I get and what I imagine in my head when I listen to this comes out as strong and clear on paper.
     Those are just three of many. But three very important songs to my writing. And FYI- Michael Buble is AWESOME in concert. I saw him last year.
     Any music inspiring your WIP?
     ***PS- I've entered YAtopia's Pitch Contest with Mandy Hubbard. You can find it here.
     *** PPS- I LOVE Mandy Hubbard's book Prada and Prejudice and can't wait to get my hands on her new one, Ripple.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Book Thief

     Yesterday, I said the best book I read in September was Anna and the French Kiss.
     Well, also yesterday, I finished another book that could give Anna a run for its money.

     The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

     These books are nothing alike. Where Anna is fun, light, romantic, The Book Thief is dark, sad, and scary.
     But it was AMAZING. Interestingly, the book is about a girl who loves words and Markus Zusak has this incredible way with words. Sometimes he'd say things that I would read over again because I just didn't understand. Other times, I'd read phrases and wonder how he came up with it and try to control my brimming envy. Some examples:
     At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down the air. The only sound I'll hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.

     As I made my way through, each person stood and played with the quietness of it. It was a small concoction of disjointed hand movements, muffled sentences, and mute, self-conscious turns.

     Those are both in the prologue, before the book has barely begun. And I have to share my favorite. And FYI, this quote is said by Death.

     It kills me sometimes, how people die.

     The Book Thief is the kind of book that everyone MUST read. (Warning, there are swear words- just FYI.) It's the kind of book I will NEVER forget. The kind of book that makes me feel like a crap writer but the kind of book that also makes me want to be better. The kind of book I will go to the store and buy tomorrow (I got it from the library) and pass along to everyone I know, telling them to read it ASAP. If you haven't read it, put it on the top of your TBR pile at once.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kiss Me

     Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

     This weeks question: What was the best book you read in September?

     Although I did read some great books this month, this was an easy answer. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

     I've thought a lot lately about how agents/publishers are looking for the BEST. Your MS has to be perfect, impeccable, fabulous, new, different, amazing, PHENOMENAL. And thinking about some of the books I've read, I couldn't help but wonder, what was it the agent saw in such-a-such book? Because for me, it didn't quite make the cut. Not that it was a horrible book, but was it really all that amazing? What stood out? What did the agent or publisher think that was PHENOMENAL about it? I read those books and think, my book could make it.
     And then there's the books that just are PHENOMENAL. A lot of times I can't pinpoint exactly why, they just ARE. Books that I finish and then think, I'll never be published because I'm not this amazing. Anna and the French Kiss was like that. I could not put it down. And even weeks later, I'm still randomly thinking about it. I want to read it again. That, to me, makes for a phenomenal book.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Raise Your Hands, Who Would Go Back To High School If They Could?

     I watched the movie Prom last night. It was cheesy, silly, funny, full of cliches (BTW, why can movies be full of cliches but books can't? Just wondering), and I loved every minute of it. What can I say, I love high school movies. They make me want to go back to high school.
     No, ahem, scratch that last. Let's be honest here.
     They make me want to go to high school in a movie.
     I want to be Nova. I want to be Gabriella from High School Musical. Cher from Clueless. Laney from She's All That. Kate from John Tucker Must Die. Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You. Viola from She's The Man. Amanda from Can't Hardly Wait.
     You get the idea (told you I love high school movies- did I miss any aside from all the Molly Ringwald ones?).
     All these girls have tough times. Some are nerds who get a makeover. Some are overachievers who learn to relax. Some just get the guy. But they all have happy endings. And I think that's what happens when we look back at high school- we want a happy ending. I had a few happy endings. I had lots of miserable endings. I didn't always get the guy. Hardly ever actually. Do I really want to go back to all that? Have I changed that much? No and no. I don't want to go back to high school because even though I've matured a teeny bit, even though I've realized that there's a much bigger world out there, I probably wouldn't be all that different (sad).
     What about you- would you go back to high school?
     Maybe you would if there was this guy, my Crush of the Week:

     Thomas McDonell. I don't usually go for guys with long hair, but his tough-guy-on-the-outside-but-sweet-softie-on-the-inside totally won me over.
     And if he wouldn't make you want to go back, what about Zac Efron, Paul Rudd, Freddie Prinze Jr, Penn Badgley, Heath Ledger, Channing Tatum, or Ethan Embry? (AKA: the love interests in the above movies.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

How's This For Funny?

     I'm stuck at this certain part in my WIP. I need a character to tell a funny story, or at least the end of a funny story. So I'm sitting there thinking, what's funny? What's the last funny story I heard? What's the last funny thing that happened to me? What makes me laugh?
     Well obviously I came up with a big fat NOTHING (hence the word "stuck"). I laugh a lot when I'm watching Friends, or The Big Bang Theory, but those aren't my jokes, so I can't use them. At my writer's group this past week someone shared a very funny story, but again- not mine- and I'm not going to steal it. So since I couldn't come up with anything, I vowed that I would remember that I need a funny story and to keep my ears and eyes open for one.
     Probably fifteen minutes later I found myself laughing so hard my cheeks were hurting.
     AHA! Right?
     This is what happened: My two-year-old daughter had carried up three of these big inflatable hammers that squeak when you hit something (we won them at a theme park). Then we proceeded to whack each other with them over and over while both of us giggled uncontrollably.
     Did I laugh? Yes. Funny story? Sadly, no. And what's doubly sad? Most of my laughter, when it's not coming from TV or books, stems from silly things like this (or similar child-related happenings such as poop, weird words, funny faces, falls that don't involve crying, dancing, etc).
     Maybe I should be writing about something else...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Paranormalcy and Abduction

     Another great book: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Loved the voice, loved Evie, loved Lend, loved the twist on paranormal, loved everything. I loved how Evie can "bag-and-tag" vampires, but she dreams of having a locker. She kicks butt, but she's got this innocence that's endearing and sweet. I love how she's obsessed with this high school drama TV show (which sounds like Gossip Girl to me), she wears zebra print dresses and pink boots, and she carries around a pink sparkly taser she calls "Tasey". As if that's not awesome! (Because it totally is.) I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Supernaturally.

     I saw the movie Abduction last night. My husband laughed when I said I wanted to see it. His actual quote was, "You just want to see it because you have a crush on Taylor Lautner."
     Um, no. Okay, well maybe. But just a little. I've already done Crush of the Week this week, but who cares! Here's another.

     I didn't want to see it because of that reason though. Truly. The movie looked interesting to me, for one. And for two, I wanted to see Taylor Lautner in another role besides Jacob (and that itty bitty Valentine's Day part he had). That's the same reason why I started to watch (but never finished because I hated it) Adventureland. I obviously don't have a crush on Kristen Stewart. But I wanted to see her be someone else other than Bella.
     Anyway, the movie was pretty good. It was cheesy at times, but I think Taylor Lautner held his own. The action was good, the plot interesting, the chemistry between Taylor and Lily Collins believable.
     So maybe that's not the best movie review you've ever read, but, well, too bad. If you really don't like it, I'll get you with my own Tasey.

Friday, September 23, 2011


     Progress on my WIP as of right now? 42,000 words. What I've written today? Twenty-nine words.
     Ugh. What do you do when everything around you is distracting? One daughter is watching iCarly, another is screaming at me because she doesn't want to watch iCarly, I'm trying to eat the lunch I didn't get to eat earlier, and as I had my word screen open, all I did was stare blankly at the two sentences I had written and wondered, what exactly am I doing here?
     Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh! This has been the worst productivity week, ever! Where did that 10,000-words-a-week-me go? I want her back. Her and all her brilliance. Instead, I think I'm wearing idiotic-Melanie. (P.S. I don't like her very much. She's not all that interesting.)
     Let's just hope that I can shed idiotic-Melanie this weekend sometime and get back to brilliant-Melanie for next week. Because she's got A LOT of catching up to do. (And I don't want to make Sheldon cry!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stealing Mona Lisa

     I love reading a great book. It makes my day (or days, depending on how long it takes me). I just finished a great adult historical book called Stealing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton. If you like heist novels- you'll like this one. Here's the blurb from Goodreads:
What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting?
The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau riche—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left behind—Paris. There he assembles his team of con artists for their final and most ambitious theft, one that will enable them to leave the game forever: The Mona Lisa.
But when a member of the team turns up missing, and Mr. Hart shows up in Paris, Valfierno and his crew must stay one step ahead of a relentless police inspector, endure a devastating flood, and conquer their own doubts to keep the priceless painting in play—and survive.
Based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, and published on the 100th anniversary of the crime, Stealing Mona Lisa is a sophisticated, engaging caper, complete with a richly imagined group of con artists and a historical mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.
     This book had great characters, a wonderful setting, I love historical, I loved learning about the art, it was fast-paced, and the end surprised me. I really like the fact that it's based on actual events, even though the author obviously took liberties. Still, love that.
     My only complaint- the blurb is a little misleading. It doesn't happen exactly the way blurb says, which annoys me, but isn't a deal breaker obviously. Another thing I love, which is kind of silly- short chapters! I LOVE short chapters. Honestly, it keeps me reading longer. It'll be late at night and I'll skim through to see how long the next chapter is and if it's long, I won't read. But if it's short... well, I probably end up reading more short chapters than if I'd read just the one long chapter. Seriously. Just a note to all you other writers out there. Long chapters- BOOO!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Beautiful Covers

     Ooh, I like this week's Road Trip Wednesday prompt:

What are your all-time favorite book covers?

     I've talked about covers before and how they can totally draw me in. For example, I wanted to read these two books and bought them, merely because of their gorgeous covers (and oddly enough, I loved one of them but the other- not so much):

     Other covers I've loved:

     And then there's the covers that I didn't love at first, but once I read the book, I love them now because they represent a particular scene from the book:

     I think it's interesting that most of these are Yound Adult books. I think they really do a good job trying to draw in younger readers with excellent covers. I know there's more that I haven't thought of, but these are the ones that I probably love the most. I do have to note that I love movie-tie-in covers. When I've seen the movie first and decide to then read the book, I usually try and buy the movie version of the book cover. Like these:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Entertainment Tidbits and Crush of the Week

     1. Last night I watched the movie Street Dance. Like all dance movies it had occasional weak dialogue, cheesiness, and predictability... but the dancing didn't disappoint. Once I got over the initial shock that it was British (I don't know why that shocked me but it did, I just wasn't expecting it), I really enjoyed the movie. If you like dance movies, give it a try.

     2. In that movie was this great song called "Life Is Beautiful" by Vega 4. I've been listening to their whole album today and it's pretty good. Give them a listen, especially that song- it's beautiful.

     3. I heard another song in the store the other day and loved it. Reading a magazine this morning I found out the song is called Skyscraper by Demi Lovato. It's an amazing song- listen to it!

     4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 comes out on DVD on November 11th. Yay! Can't wait for that.

     5. Crush of the Week: John Krasinski. I watched Something Borrowed the other day and I just love him in that movie. *Spoiler alert* I really wanted her to end up with him in the end. It made sense to me in the movie (even though it didn't when I read the book because his character isn't as important). He's just so endearingly cute.

Monday, September 19, 2011


     Does anyone else go through the mid-book slump? This is actually the first time I'm experiencing this particular problem. I'm 40,000 words in. I know exactly where my WIP is going. I know what's going to happen next. I'm not having problems with plotting. I know how the story ends. But for some reason, I've lost that manic enthusiasm I had in the beginning. I wonder why. I feel like I'm dragging and therefore it feels like the story is dragging. Not good.
     So how do you get that enthusiasm back? What do you do?
     I know some people just put the story aside, even for a little bit, and work on something else. I'm way too neurotic to do that. I have to finish this. But how can I get excited again? Because I feel like when I'm not fired up, it reflects in my writing. I don't like that. I need it back. I need my writing mojo back.
     Any suggestions?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vampires, Witches, and Trailers, Oh My!

     Last night The Vampire Diaries came back on- YAY! I love that show. What can I say, I love teen shows. The season opener didn't disappoint- Damon was funny, Elena sweet, Stefan heartbreaking. Of course it can be overly dramatic at times, but what do I care? I don't. I love it. If you don't watch, here's a sneak peek...

     I also tried out one of the CW's new shows- The Secret Circle. Although I wouldn't call it a favorite yet, I was hooked. I'll definitely watch more to see where it goes. My favorite part was in the forest with the floating water drops. Here's a sneak peek of that...

     I know there's a lot of Twilight haters out there. I am NOT one of them. Breaking Dawn is probably my least favorite of the four books (except when it's in Jacob's perspective- I love that). And the first teaser trailer that came out a few months ago made me laugh. But watching this trailer has made me excited to see the movie. I love watching favorite characters come alive on screen. And I'll probably reread the books around then too so I'm excited for that. Anyway, enjoy the trailer.


     And PS- my playlist is sitting on the right side of the screen if you scroll down a bit, just press pause and you can shut off the music. I know it can be annoying to some but it's my WIP's playlist and I listen to it while I write. (And it's obviously distracting while watching a video.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love and Winners

     Here's this weeks YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday Topic:

What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

     So, um. Huh. This is a little hard because the first MS I wrote Daze and Knights, and then its sequel (which is 90% done), both take place in the past. Different times in the past. Daze and Knights in Medieval Times, Untitled Sequel in 1781 Virginia. The WIP I'm working on now, Sway, is contemporary. So there really aren't any similar settings. We're talking castles to Colonial Houses to LA Mansions. Medieval villages to rural outdoors to beaches.

    The one recurring theme in all three... well, that's easy. Love. Love. Luuuurve. I didn't really think of my first two MS' as romances, or even love stories as I was writing them. But really, they are. And so is Sway. I've realized that I like to write about relationships. Those are the scenes that go easiest for me. The scenes I love to write. Anything to do with love, heartbreak, jealousy, and pining after someone shows up in all three.

     I can't help it. I love me some luuuurve. (And I love saying luuuurve.) (And there were so many pretty heart pictures, I couldn't choose just one.)

     And because I love to spread the love, last week in honor of reaching 100 followers, I did a contest to enter your first 25 pages for me to critique. Since there were only three entries, I hereby name you all winners.
     So, Jenna Cooper, Kirsten Lopresti and Prerna Pickett, you can all email me your first 25 and I'll take a look at them. Email me at mmstanford(at)hotmail(dot)com.
     Love you all!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


     The talks in church this past Sunday were all about adversity. And it got me thinking... I haven't had a whole lot of adversity in my life.
     Now before you snort in derision or even throw food at me, I haven't exactly had it all. I've lived a fairly middle-class life. Growing up our houses were all big enough to fit seven kids, but not mansions. I did a lot of thrift-store shopping but my mom made sure I never wore clothes with holes in them. We had an in-ground pool in three of the houses I lived in, but I never got a car until I could afford to buy one myself (age 20). My parents are very frugal and I grew up that way.
     But, I've never had to deal with major illness, poverty, tragedy, etc. Even death hasn't been all that prevalent in my life until recently.
     I realized that one of my adversities is not succeeding. Writing is fun. But there's that voice in my head that says, you suck, you'll never be a good writer, you'll never get published, no one wants to read your stuff, this is too hard just quit... that's adversity. One of the speakers in church talked about how this world is a world of instant gratification. And I thought, nah- I don't expect anything instantly, I don't expect things to be handed to me. And then I thought- wait, do I?
     It shames me to admit that when I finished my first draft of Daze and Knights I thought, I did it. I'm done. Now I'm going to be a bestseller.
     Man, was I stupid.
     I've learned since then that this is not easy. That writing one draft of a book does not an author make. That it is a hard road and no matter how much I work and work at it, the stars may never align in my favor. I may never be published. I may never be a bestseller.
     So do I just quit?
     Heck no. Because now that I'm facing a challenge in the face, I'm not going to bow out, slink away, or hide out in shame. I'm going to look my adversity in the face and say, BRING IT. I will last. I won't give up. I will work, work, work at this.
     I had a motivator song before I started writing Daze and Knights. It was Simple Plan "When I'm Gone". Here are some lines (from the two verses) that really spoke to me, because I was afraid they WERE me and I didn't want them to be me.

I look around me, but all I seem to see
Is people going nowhere, expecting sympathy
It's like we're going through the motions
Of a scripted destiny
Tell me where's our inspiration
If life won't wait
I guess it's up to me

Procrastination running circles in my head
While you sit there contemplating
You're wound up left for dead
Life is what happens
While you're busy making your excuses
Another day, another casualty
But that won't happen to me

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss

     Aaaaahhhhh, loved this book. Loved it loved it loved it. Seriously. I really did.
     I'd heard so much about it, lots of people raving, so I thought I'd get it from my library. There was a waiting list. So I decided, dash it all, I'll just buy the thing. (I usually don't say dash it all.)
     Anyway, SO GOOD. It didn't disappoint. It didn't even fail to live up to the hype (I hate it when that happens). It so far surpassed the hype that it basically blew the hype out of the water. Last night I went to a movie but the whole time was wishing I was at home with this book instead. And today? Well, I just read all day because I couldn't stop.
     Okay, I don't really know what I'm saying. I'm still in France. With Anna. And Etienne St. Clair.
     Speaking of, I know I already picked my crush of the week but can I pick a literary crush? Because it so would be St. Clair. It's not only American girls who love British accents. Well done, Stephanie Perkins. Well done. I just wish you (I'm speaking to you Perkins) would give us a cast list because I'd really like to know what actor you'd pick to play him. I've wracked my brain but I can't think of anyone good enough.
     Anyway, if you (yes I'm talking to you now) haven't read this book... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard

     I just finished the silliest book I've probably ever read: Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard by Belinda Roberts. Don't get me wrong, the book didn't suck, I didn't dislike it. Rather I found it quite funny. But it was totally silly. Sometimes ridiculous. But always amusing. If you like Pride and Prejudice and you like to read re-tellings- try this book out. You'll find lines like this:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a yacht must be in want of a female crew.

And this:

"I shall wear like my new pink sundress from Fat Face," declared Kitty. "Although I have only worn it like once, I have seen many a young man turn their heads to stare at me."

And this:

"You must know that I... that I fancy you. No, more! I have the hots for you, my dear Elizabeth, and with such feelings, I am desirous that you will be the companion of my future life."

     Can I just say... Bwahahahahahaha! I think it's hugely funny (and sometimes disconcerting) to see the proper Jane Austen way of talking mixed in with like and hot and the occasional whateva. The book stays very close to the original, only changing the locations- instead of Pemberley the estate, it's Pemberley the yacht and most of the book takes place in the beach town of Salcombe. Silliness is added in throughout, especially during the final proposal scene. It was the perfect summer beach read (even though it's no longer summer)- light, funny, easy, and to put it Jane Austen's way- diverting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Giveaway and Crush of the Week

     I've reached 100 followers! Who'd have thunk it? Anyway, this calls for a giveaway, right? Well... sheesh, I've got nothing. Seriously. I don't get ARC's, I don't know any agents... I wish I could hold a super-awesome contest but who would judge, what would be the prize?
     Anyway, this is what I came up with. A read-through of your first 25 pages. I'll admit, and this isn't really going to make people want to enter, but I'm not the best beta out there. I don't do line edits really and I don't know all the "rules" (or if I do, I tend to break them). But if you're looking for fresh eyes, someone to give you their general thoughts or input, I'm your girl. Just comment on this post and I'll pick a random winner. It can be from a complete MS or an unfinished WIP- I don't care as long as there is a beginning in place (I couldn't enter my own contest because I haven't written the beginning of my WIP yet, I just jumped right in). So enter away and I look forward to reading someone's work.
     On to crush of the week...
     I saw the movie Crazy Stupid Love on Tuesday night starring Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone (who I love- she's awesome) and this guy, my crush of the week:

     I sort of have a soft spot for Ryan Gosling because I've met him before. His mom and I went to the same church when I lived in Burlington, Ontario and he visited a couple of times. This was back when he had just finished filming Remember The Titans so he wasn't a huge actor yet. I spoke to him a couple of times and he seemed like a very nice, down-to-earth guy. Now he's a very well-known actor and I'm happy for his success.
     Anyway, in Crazy Stupid Love, he's funny, and holy cow hot. The movie was really good, although I'm not gonna lie, there were a couple of parts I didn't like. Steve Carell was of course hilarious. He had the whole theater laughing out loud. But since this isn't about him, I wanted to share this short clip of Ryan/Emma moments. My favorite is right at the beginning- "Seriously? It's like you're photo-shopped!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday- Adults to Teens

Hmm, today's topic is an interesting one...

What non-YA character would you love to see star in a YA book as themselves?

     This could be a hard question but I had one character come to mind right off the bat. I know I'm approaching the point of talking Persuasion to death, but I can't help but choose Anne Elliot. Actually, the reason I choose her is this: before starting my modern-Persuasion WIP I struggled back and forth between making the book YA or adult. Originally I thought adult. Then I thought, since I loved writing YA so much, why not YA? Then no, adult. Then back to YA. You get the point.
     Anne Elliot as a high school character might not be that interesting since her school days are before she ever meets Frederick Wentworth. And let's face it, Anne is such a good person that she might not be that interesting to read about before her love story happens (then un-happens). But I can't help but choose her because I've already imagined what her love story could have been like if it had taken place during High School instead.
     This is what I was going for... Anne meets Frederick in Grade 9. They date, but her friends convince her to dump him because he's not cute enough/good enough/rich enough/cool enough/captain of the football team/whatever (I hadn't figured that detail out). Then he moves away and comes back Senior year. Suddenly he's a hottie, all the girls want him, and Anne wishes she had never dumped him back when she was a silly fourteen-year-old. So she has to watch him date other girls, maybe even her friends, because he doesn't want anything to do with her since she broke his heart four years before.
     I think that would make a great story. HOWEVER... the one problem I had with it was how shallow Anne would come across (aka: dumping a guy because her friends think she should and then wanting him when he comes back because he's all hot? HELLO- SHALLOW). I've had a hard time with people seeing Jessica from my YA MS Daze and Knights as shallow (mostly in my query) and I didn't want to go there again. I'm sure someone else could write this story and not have this problem.
     But, I think that would make a great story. Anyone wanna write it? Cuz if they do- I'll be one of the first to read it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


     If you couldn't tell, I had lots of fun messing around with my background last night. I was sick of the orange and wanted to try something new. I had no idea blogger had so many options! Haha! Anyway, I'm worried it's a little distracting or hard to read so we'll see how long I keep it this way.
     It's the first day of school for my kiddies today (except for my pre-schooler) and I've got a bazillion things to do today. So just a quick post about a great book.

     I finished Wither by Lauren DeStefano last night. I picked up the book because I'd only heard good things about it. Then, after the first chapter, I thought- I'm not going to like this book much. Then... well, I changed my mind. I've said it before, but I'm not much of a Dystopian fan. But this... there was something about it that kept me reading and thinking about it and dreaming about it. (I didn't like the dreams much actually- they were a little creepy.) But anyway, the book was REALLY good. I think it was mostly the characters that kept me coming back. Characters that were twisted and flawed and good and bad and sweet and horrible all rolled into one. This wasn't a cut and dry good vs. evil kind of book, and I liked that. A LOT. Definitely one to read, if you haven't yet. And if you want to know what it's about, here is the cover blurb:

     Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic timebomb- males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
     When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape- to find her twin brother and go home.
     But Rhine has to contend with more than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flash Fiction

     The first challenge for the platform campaign is today. Flash fiction, 200 words or less, starting with, "the door swung open". I'm kind of in a hurry all of a sudden, so here's my entry with no edits, 200 words exactly, and I didn't manage to end with "the door swung shut". Oh well. I tried.

The door swung open and I bounced into the room. I couldn’t believe I was actually here. Finally. My moment had arrived.

It was dark in the theatre and I stumbled a little in my excitement to get down to the stage. Four people sat along the front row, papers stacked on a table in front of them. As I passed, I glanced at the topmost paper and saw myself grinning up at the four strangers. Man, I looked good in that picture.

I climbed the steps and headed to the middle of the stage, positioning myself right under the spotlight.

“Cassie Frank?” a man asked without looking up.

“Yep, that’s me!” I shouted.

Okay, I needed to calm down a little.

“It says here you’ve been in Hairspray, Chicago, Cats, and Mamma Mia.”

It didn’t sound like a question but I answered anyway. “Yes, that’s right.”

“But always in the chorus.”

I licked my lips. “Yes.”

He peered at me over the paper. I forced myself to hold still under his gaze. The other three at the table weren’t even looking at me.

I gathered my courage, lifted my chin and said, “I’m perfect for the lead. Just listen.”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Set Fire to the Rain

     I'm really behind on my So You Think You Can Dance Canada shows. Like ten episodes behind. At least I was last night. Trying to catch up I came across this number which I thought was amazing. Love the song, love the dancers, love the emotion. Just wow.
     Set Fire to the Rain (by Adele):

     You might have noticed that my playlist has been expanding. Or you might just mute it, whatever. These songs are solely songs that have either inspired my WIP or I've actually mentioned in my WIP- a lot of them the latter. When a couple of your characters are musicians, it's hard not to mention music. The scene I have planned coming up will have yet another song in it. Can't help it.
     Anyway, have a good labour day weekend. I have family coming to stay and then the kids start school on Tuesday. Yay! Ahem. I mean, sniff. My daughter in Grade 3 and son in Grade 1 and another daughter in playschool twice a week. I can't believe it. It means that for two hours twice a week I'll only have one kid at home. That doesn't seem like much but to me it's... well, HUGE. Hopefully that means I'll get a lot of writing done.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's Old is New Again

     It's interesting how you can have one story and twist it a million ways. I guess that's why "they" say that you don't ever have something new, you're just writing something old in a new way. Actually, that's not what "they" say exactly, but I couldn't quite remember the right way to put it.
     Anyway, since I'm obviously not the first one to write a modern version of Persuasion, I wanted to read some of the others that are out there already. There aren't many (luckily), and I could only get my hands on two. I found them both VERY different, and my version very different also. Phew. (Although I did have to rethink a couple of character names.)

     They were both good books. The Family Fortune seemed more adult to me, probably because the MC was in her late 30s, whereas the MC in Persuading Annie was 27 (which is the age of Anne Elliot from the original). I found myself a little disappointed with the end in The Family Fortune- I knew what was coming and everything but I found it wasn't enough. I'm a sucker for romance and I needed more of that. I needed something bigger. I liked Persuading Annie better, mostly because I found myself giggling through a lot of the book. Melissa Nathan is a British author and there's just something about British humor that totally gets me. Like this:

"Annie's hand flexed into karate chop position. I could kill him from here and be out before the adverts."

And I love this line:

"When the door opened and Jake stood in front of her, her mind, which Angus had left numb, was now blown."

     They were both good books, and I'm left with the hope that I can spin Persuasion my way just as well as both those authors did. I hope I can fill out my world and characters like they did with theirs. If I've done that, then I have nothing to complain about.