Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cast List

     Well, my peeps... okay, I should never write that word again. I don't say it out loud so why I thought it would sound okay in print...
     Anyway, I'm off tomorrow on a CRUISE! Yay me! Eastern Caribbean, here I come! Alas, this means internet silence. Seriously, don't know how I'm gonna deal. But maybe it'll be good for me. Maybe.
     I thought, for my last post for over a week (eek!), that I'd share the cast list I came up with for my new MS Sway that I'm currently editing. I know, I know, it's a bit early to be picking actors right? WRONG! I love to do this. I think it's fun. So back off.
     Kidding. Sort of. Clearly, I'm in a weird, slightly hyper-active mood today. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't been on a plane since 2006, I've never been on a ship (a boat- yes, ship- no), and I'm just so darn control-freakish that I feel like my head is going to explode. And my stupid iPad has gone berserk- right before the trip (ARGH!).
     Anyway... again... (stop blabbing Melanie), here's my cast list along with some great pics. FYI-
I've got A TON of characters! Enjoy! And see you all in December!
     Oooh, one more thing. I've said this before, but a quick explanation. My character Eric Wentworth is inspired by this (oh-so-lovely) actor:
Rupert Penry-Jones
     But, since he's in his early forties now and Eric is only twenty-seven, I chose this guy:
Eric Wentworth- played by Chris Evans
Ava Elliot- played by Alexis Bledel
Beth Elliot- played by Jessica Biel
Mari (Elliot) Musgrove- played by Michelle Trachtenberg
Charlie Musgrove- played by Erik Knudsen
Gage Johnson- played by Mark Salling
Lexi Smith- played by Emma Stone
Lacey Musgrove- played by Ashley Benson
Halle Musgrove- played by Hilary Duff
Luke Hayter- played by Tom Felton
Sam Benwick- played by Emile Hirsch

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks (Even Though I Already Did)

     This week's Road Trip Wednesday Topic:

What writing or publishing-related thing(s) are you most thankful for?
     Since I'm Canadian, I celebrated Thanksgiving last month. But you should never stop being thankful for things right? And it doesn't hurt to express those thanks more than once a year.
     1. I'm thankful for AWESOME books. Persuasion, The Twilight Saga, Lola and the Boy Next Door... just to name a few. I realized lately, as much as I want to be one of those wonderful and talented authors, if I was them... well I'd have nothing to read!
     2. I'm thankful for beta readers/crit partners/brainstorming buddies... whatever you want to call them and whatever they are to you. Without those people, my books wouldn't make it very far. Speaking of which, anyone want to be a beta for me and read my Persuasion remake? Anyone? Bueller?
     3. Some people might be surprised about this one, but I'm thankful for books turned into movies. Seriously. Yes, sometimes they suck. Sometimes they're even better than the book (okay rarely). But mostly, when I love a book so much and don't want to leave the world, I'm happy to take part in extending my time in that world, and with those characters, in any way possible. Now. Who's going to make movies of Anna and Lola? Anyone? Bueller? Get on that someone. (Cuz I can't wait to see St. Clair and Cricket come to life on the big screen.)
     4. I'm thankful for the time I can find to write/edit/read. Sometimes it's hard to find that time. So when I get it... lucky me. I just need to learn to be a bit more appreciative and a little less cranky when that time gets interrupted.
     5. Mostly- I'm thankful for whatever talent I have to write. I'm not saying I'm the greatest writer out there (because of course I'm not). But I know I've got something. And I'm grateful for that. And I'm thankful that I've found something that makes me happy.
     What are you thankful for on this American Thanksgiving weekend?

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Vamps and Wolves

     I saw Breaking Dawn on Saturday night. It's nice that our theatre close by has the AVX theatre. Meaning, you can buy your tickets in advance and pick your seats. So a week before, we bought our tickets, picked prime seats, and then didn't have to get there early or wait in any lines on Saturday night. Meaning I could pretend I wasn't a screaming fangirl. Nice.

    Anyway... my verdict? Well, I liked it. A lot. I wasn't expecting much. Breaking Dawn is my least favorite of the books, although I do love Jacob's perspective. With a wedding, honeymoon, and pregnancy... well I knew the movie would probably be a bit slow, with very little action.
     I didn't find it slow at all. I guess because I know the characters, I know the story, and I was caught up in it. My brother-in-law (who just came to be with his wife) found it VERY slow. So I guess, if you're a fan you'll probably like it. If you're not... don't expect to be riveted.

     Jacob was the best part for me (and I'm a Team Edward girl). Taylor Lautner did an awesome job. It was really evident how much Jacob has to grow up and mature in this movie. And they did the whole birth scene VERY well. It was gross, a little bit traumatizing, and Bella looked AWFUL. Seriously, so so bad. I enjoyed the movie enough that I'm miffed I have to wait another year to see part two.
     Anyway, of course I'm going to do my crush of the week. And I've got two. Like I said, I'm a Team Edward girl. In fact, in my first reading of the books, I never got Bella's thing for Jacob in Eclipse (that whole begging him to kiss her scene). Seeing the movies... well, I understood better. Maybe that's just because of Taylor Lautner! Haha. Actually, this re-reading, and watching all the movies again... I couldn't help but think as a human I'd rather be with a werewolf. Hot bods aside, the warmth is very appealing. And there's something about the idea of snuggling up with a big, furry dog. But the love story between Edward and Bella has always been what got me, what hooked me to the books.
     So right now, I'm on Team Both.


Friday, November 18, 2011

First-Chapter Phobia

     I think I've developed beginning-phobia. Or maybe I should call it first-chapter-phobia.
     With Daze and Knights, I wrote probably twenty different beginnings. And the funny thing is, I liked them ALL. Seriously. But I was on this quest to find the BEST one, a beginning that would blow people away. I don't think I achieved that goal, but I did finally settle on one.
     With Sway, I just jumped right in, ignoring any kind of beginning. I know that's what you're supposed to do, but by jump right in, I literally mean jump right in. There was no backstory or description WHATSOEVER. I know, I know, too much backstory is a BAAAD thing. But this had NONE.
     Probably mid-way through, I did come up with an idea- two paragraphs- for a start. I really like it, but it still wasn't enough. It wasn't until I'd written "The End" that I went back to the start and tried to connect those two paragraphs with my jump-right-in chapter. It was difficult. Hence- first-chapter-phobia. I did write it, but I'm not altogether happy with it. I feel like I forced it too much and when I force my writing, I'm never happy with what comes out.
     I guess I should remind myself that all those many beginnings for Daze came about during my many edits, NOT during the first draft. So hopefully edits will help me tighten the beginning I've got now or give me inspiration for something completely different, and completely amazing. Hopefully, I really haven't developed first-chapter-phobia. Because that freaks me out! I'll get a phobia of having the stupid phobia!
     How about you? Any writing phobias? (Is it just me, or is phobia a funny word or what?)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


    I'm done! I did it! I finished writing my third book! Ooo-aaa, ooo-aaa, woot, squee (and all those other weird internet sounds people like to make up and somehow become wildly popular).
     So it's no NaNo, but I did write it in three and a half months, which is a record for me. Not that I was trying to hurry, but I did have a goal to have it finished before I leave for my cruise next weekend. And I did! Yay!
     Anyway, I'm giving it one edit right now while separating it into chapters and then I'm going to put it away for a bit. Maybe send it to betas if I think it's ready. I've got some other editing to do and I'm already brainstorming what to write next.
     I'm totally psyched I did it. Writing the first draft is probably the funnest part of all, but there's nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you've written that last word.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today, I'm The Teacher (Beware)

This week's Road Trip Wednesday:

In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

     First off- I could never be a teacher. I SUCK at teaching, anything. But that's besides the point. Let's pretend that I actually am a good teacher and I get to choose... cue the evil laugh- BWAHAHAH!

     So because I'm an AWESOME teacher and I LOVE my students, I'd make them read every Harry Potter book. Just because I'm nice like that. We'd watch the movies in class and discuss whether we liked Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans better than Cauldron Cakes and what animal we'd be if we could be an Animagus. Actually, screw it, let's make that a whole year's subject- like Harry Potter 101.

     If I had to teach more seriously... I'd choose books that make you think, that relate to teens and that teach them something about their world. Examples: Wintergirls, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

     And because I like history, I'd probably go for books like The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.
     Funny- I picked all YA books.
     If you could pick the curriculum, what books would you make high school kids read?

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo? Or No NaNo? That Is The (Very Funny-Sounding) Question

     Good luck to all those NaNo-ers out there. I bow to you. I don't think I could ever write a book in a month. I've thought about it... but no. Maybe one year I'll try, but not this year.
     First of all, I'm so close to finishing my current WIP, it would be silly to start something new.
     Second of all, well I've got a CRAPLOAD of things to do. A cruise in two weeks, then I'm hosting my family's christmas weekend in December. My daughter turns eight next month and is getting baptized, and I have to write, plan, and play my church's Christmas program. Not to mention all the busy-ness that Christmas brings. Yeesh. I'll seriously be surprised if I don't go crazy in the next month.
     I'm almost done my WIP though... I want to say by tomorrow but I don't want to jinx it. So wish me luck, and good luck to you guys. I like reading your NaNo updates and I'm simply amazed at all you awesome writers out there. I love being a part of this whole writer community. Hopefully, I'll be able to give back someday.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Here's To The Heroes

     It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, a day to remember those who have fought, bled, suffered, lived and died to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. A day to honor those who are still fighting today. My brother was one of those- he returned from Afghanistan earlier this year.

     One thing we do here in Canada is wear a poppy to show our support. I wear one every year (and poke myself with it at least twenty times a day). The poppy comes from the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by John McCrae- a Canadian soldier who wrote the poem in Belgium in 1915. Since it's been a long time since I've read it myself, I thought I'd post it here.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

     Last week while at my parents house, my dad played me a song that brought tears to my eyes. It happens to be perfect for today. Take a couple of minutes and listen to it and just... Remember.
     Lest We Forget.

Here's To The Heroes, sung by the Ten Tenors

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Awesome Songs and An Irish Crush

     I thought I'd lay off talking about music for awhile, but I just can't help myself. I've loved Christina Perri ever since Jar of Hearts on SYTYCD (love her). I'm also a Bruno Mars fan (love him). And if you couldn't tell by the Breaking Dawn widget at the side of my blog, I'm also a Twilight fan (love it all). So what happens when you combine the three?
     Pure magic in the form of two songs on the Breaking Dawn soundtrack that I just had to share if you haven't heard them yet.
A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

It Will Rain by Bruno Mars

     I have to do crush of the week since I won't be seeing much of this guy anymore. He just got booted from DWTS on Tuesday, or rather, his partner Nancy Grace was booted. Anyway, I love his dancing, he's such a cutie, and I go ga-ga over that accent (even the way he says "turd" instead of "third")! So this week's Crush of the Week: Tristan McManus. (Can he be my partner when I make it on the show one day?!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Am So Not Supergirl

     It's Road Trip Wednesday again! Here's this week's topic:

What are your writing and publishing superpowers (drafting? beta-reading? writing queries? plotting? character creation? etc.) -- and what's your kryptonite?
     Superpowers? Moi? I wish! Seriously, I can't think of anything. I know what comes easier to me and I know what's more difficult, so maybe I should just go with that. I find dialogue, emotions, and scenes between the love-interests the easiest and the funnest to write. They come naturally and quickly to me. But that doesn't mean they end up good so I couldn't really call that a superpower.
     As to the kryptonite... sheesh- everything?! Okay, descriptions for me are hard. I don't have the patience for them when I'm reading, nor do I have the patience to write them. I write them anyway because I know they're necessary. But when I read, it's the story, the characters, the actions that capture me, not what they're wearing or what the house looks like or how pretty the sky is. That's the kind of reader I am and that's the kind of writer I am. So descriptions are something I really have to slave over so they don't totally suck.
     I'd also have to say that writing the dreaded synopsis is like a trip to the guillotine. Mine for Daze and Knights totally sucks and I'm going to have to rewrite it before I do another round of queries in the new year.
     What about you? Do you have Superpowers? And if so- mind sharing?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Last Day

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 30: My Favorite Song This Time Last Year
     I've made it! The last day of the song challenge. While I had fun choosing the songs, watching the music videos, and listening to music I love, I'm glad it's over.
     So for my last day- my fave song last year- easy. Two Is Better Than One by Boys Like Girls. I've put this song on my blog before and I'll do it again. Because I love it. Martin Johnson and Taylor Swift's voices blend really nicely together, the words are simply but lovely, and the video is nice. But mostly, this song is my theme song for Daze and Knights. Every time I hear it I see a book montage go through my head and I love that. Enjoy. And I'll get back to writing posts tomorrow!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boy Bands and RyanDan (these two are linked, trust me)

     I just discovered something this weekend. Anyone fans of RyanDan? I first heard their song Tears of an Angel on someone else's blog (can't remember whose) and loved it. So I downloaded some of their songs cuz I wanted more. This weekend I was listening to them on my iPad, and sort of absently staring at the album cover that was on the screen. And I realized- these two dudes are familiar!
     Ever heard of B4-4? They were a Canadian boy band back when boy bands were huge. I still have their CD on my bookshelf. I particularly loved this song: Get Down (seriously, watch it, it's hilarious)


     I also liked Go Go and Endlessly. But anyway, RyanDan are the same guys!!! (minus the brunette) What I'd like to know, is how they went from cheesy boy band above (admittedly, I loved it) to this:

Like The Sun

     Or another comparison, if you don't want to watch the videos:



     Craziness. Dudes have grown up, that's all I can say. Anyway, that has nothing to do with writing of course and neither does this, 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 29: A Song From My Childhood.
     Speaking of boy bands, the first band I ever liked all on my own (older sibs didn't like it first) was New Kids On The Block. I was in Grade Four so I think that qualifies as childhood.

Step By Step

Friday, November 4, 2011

Love Suckage

     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 28: A Song That Makes Me Feel Guilty
     Ummm, well... sheesh. This is a bit personal, don't you think? Can I plead the fifth. Maybe say we're experiencing technical difficulties and play some elevator music instead? No?
     Okay, I chose a song by one of my fave bands, Simple Plan. The song is called You Suck At Love. Now, if you know this song, or if you decide to listen to it right now, just know that I am NOT a "serial cheater". But I listen to this song and can't help but be reminded how much I suck at love. Seriously, I do. I love to write about it, but in real life... I'm not so great at it. Maybe that's why I do write it- to try and redeem myself a bit.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

WIP Ramblings and Rag-Time

     Ahhh, I'm so close- I can see the end in sight! I'm at 69,000 words on my WIP, I've got a few scenes left to write, and then I'm DONE! It makes me all antsy inside. And I get doubly antsy when I start to worry about all the things that could be wrong with it. But of course, you've gotta push that aside and just write. I tell myself that all the time. Wait till after, fix it later, etc.
     I made a comment to someone yesterday that sort of popped out but I realized as I was saying it (or texting it) that it was true. I said that I never worried so much about my characters when I wrote Daze and Knights. That makes me worry a little that I didn't put in enough effort into Daze. But as I was thinking about it, I realized a few things. One, Jessica- the MC in Daze- is a lot like me. Her thought processes, her actions, her likes and dislikes... a lot of me came out in her and so it was very natural to write her. The love interest, Alric, was also easy to write, mostly because I wanted an almost perfect guy and so all I had to do was imagine what my perfect guy would be like. The rest of the characters sort of just came together naturally.
     The thing with Sway, is that these are not my original characters. They aren't coming solely from my imagination. Instead, I'm copying them, or stealing them might be the better way to say it, from a classic novel. I'm reinventing them. Which, can I say, is HIGHLY stressful. I want to do them justice, I want them to keep a lot of the same characteristics as their original selves, but I need them to be modern and believable in our world.
     Yeah, that stresses me out. And that's not even mentioning the pressure I feel to do the entire classic novel justice. Agh- what was I thinking writing this? Ha, nevermind. I'm almost done, there's no point worrying about that now! And it's been a blast writing it, that's for sure.
     Anyway, enough of my ramblings. 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 27: A Song I Wish I Could Play
     Easy-peasy. I've always wanted to be able to play Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin on the piano. I can play most of it, all but the last page. But I've never nailed that last page down. And I've never played it really well. I tend to lose control of my fingers and the right hand ends up going faster then the left. Ah well. Practice right? (Ohmygosh, I just listened to this and realized how much I suck at this song! I wish I could play it as well as this!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Coaches and Serenades

This week's Road Trip Wednesday: What kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you?

     I don't think I'm much of a coach. Actually, writing this post is reminding me that I'm supposed to give reminders to my sis-in-law about her writing every week. I haven't done it once. Ugh, I'm so awful!
     On the flip side, she is an awesome coach for me in the way that if I need to brainstorm, I can ping her on BBM and she'll help me out. I think it was Stephen King who said that writing the first draft should be done with the door closed- meaning you do it on your own without outside help, coaching, reading, etc. While I don't let others read what I've written in a first draft, it is nice to have someone to talk about it with when I get stuck. Or when I have worries or concerns. That kind of person is invaluable (thanks Emily!!!). There's been lots of times when I've wondered where I should go next, or how I should do a certain scene, and just having her say, why don't you try this, or this, or this? is so helpful. Even if I don't use exactly what she says, it usually gets my brain rolling in the right direction. That's the kind of coach I need. I guess I also need to work on being a better coach myself!
     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 26: A Song I Can Play On An Instrument
     I don't know if I've ever mentioned the fact that I play the piano. My mom taught me from when I was young until sixteen or so. I still play, although not as much as I should. One song I've fallen in love with lately and just had to learn on the piano was this one:
Serenade by Schubert

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

About Secondary Characters and Being Lazy

     Halloween is over... it's time to get ready for Christmas!!! Seriously. It's never too soon.
     Anyway, there's something I've been wondering about so I thought I'd put a question out to the blogosphere. In my WIP I have a lot of characters. Of course, when you have a lot, most are secondary. My question is, how much do you develop a secondary character? I feel like I use them for my purposes- they appear to do what I need them to do, and then disappear when I don't want them around anymore. It is my story and I can do what I want, but I'm wondering if it will end up too contrived. So then I'm thinking, I need to add a scene with this character or that character because I've kind of forgotten about them lately and they haven't been around in awhile. But then am I just adding unnecessary stuff? So how much do you develop secondary characters? Is it okay if they are only around here and there?
     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 25: A Song That Makes Me Laugh
     I don't usually laugh- at least not out loud- to most songs. Let's face it, songs aren't usually that funny. Or maybe I just don't listen to the funny ones. Anyway, this is the only one I could think of.
The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars