Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and Funerals

     Happy Halloween everyone. Tonight I'll be freezing my butt off with Batgirl, Mario (as in Nintendo), a mermaid, and Rapunzel. Of course, it had to snow last night- perfect timing! Sometimes I think Halloween in general is a pain in the butt. But then I look at how much fun my kids have dressing up, going to all the parties, and getting candy, and it makes it all worth it.
     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 24: A Song I Want Played At My Funeral
     Seriously? At my funeral? I do not like thinking about death. And I DO NOT like thinking of my funeral. No- I'm going to somehow become immortal whether through vampirism, the Philosopher's Stone, or some kind of immortal-elixir, so... no funerals for me!
     Okay, seriously. I'm not going to be immortal obviously. But I still don't even like to picture my own funeral, so the only way I can answer this question is by referring to a past game. Have you ever done My Life in iTunes? I did it a few months ago as a blog post. There's a list of questions and you press shuffle on your iTunes list and answer the questions with the song titles that come up. One of the questions was, you guessed it, a song that will be played at my funeral. I still remember what song I got. Some might think it wildly inappropriate for a funeral, but I love the thought of people dancing and having a party instead of the solemn, sad, depressing occasion that most funerals are. So here it is:

     Heartache Tonight by Michael Buble

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wedding Memories

     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 23: A Song I Want To Play At My Wedding
     I was married ten years ago last April. I was a week over age 21. And I was still an 'N Sync fan. When we were dating, my hubby stood in line with his (male) cousin to get tickets to an 'N Sync concert for me. When the wristband numbers were called just four before his, he let out a loud "woo-hoo" (eliciting glares from girls all around). We got fourth row seats. It was an awesome concert and I still regret not having my camera there because I could have gotten some amazing pictures. Naturally, we chose This I Promise You for our wedding song. A song I still love today. And oddly enough, maybe because it's an old song, I couldn't find the full music video! So I picked a live version instead.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crushes and Tears

     So my crush of the week is actually a crush from last Saturday when I saw The Three Musketeers. I know what you're all going to think- I'm picking Orlando Bloom, right? Well, while I do think he is totally crush-worthy, in The Three Musketeers, he looked like this:

Nice outfit dude 

     A little girlie, a little fruity, a little freaky. And he wasn't the nicest guy in the movie either, which sort of ruins it for me. No, my crush this week is him:

     I know what you're going to say, isn't Logan Lerman a little young? Well, yes, at nineteen, he is a bit young. But what a cutie. And he was the perfect D'Artagnan- cocky yet sweet, innocent yet dangerous. And I love a guy who can handle a sword. (Haha.) I loved the movie too. It was a little strange at times- it reminded me a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean, although I couldn't really say why, you'd have to watch it to see the similarity. My hubbie thought the plot was a little thrown together. But I have to admit that when I'm watching a movie with excellent costumes and lots of swordfighting, I don't really pay attention to anything else. Sad but true.
     Oh, and I need to give an honorable mention to an actor who, while he doesn't exactly rate high on the hot-o-meter, I LOVE LOVE LOVE him as an actor- I think he's amazing: Matthew MacFadyen.

     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 22: A Song I Listen To When I'm Sad
     The Lonely, by Christina Perri. Love this song, even though it makes me feel all achy inside. Listen to it, you'll see what I mean.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Deep Thoughts

     Yesterday, I said that Before I Fall (by Lauren Oliver) might be the best book I read in October, but I couldn't say for sure since I hadn't finished it.
     Well, I finished it last night and yes- it was the best book of the month. Have you read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher? This book reminded me of that one. It's powerful, it makes you think, it sticks with you. And they both made me cry.
     The premise: Samantha Kingston lives out the day she dies seven times- which makes for seven very long chapters (my only complaint). Each time, each day she changes things, and on the way, well she learns some things. I speculated about the ending but it didn't turn out like I thought, or like I hoped.
     An interesting thing about: after the first chapter, I really wasn't liking Sam or her friends. They weren't nice people, not likeable characters. Then there's this quote, taken from the end of the first chapter, the end of the first time- the original way- she dies.
     I  know some of you are thinking maybe I deserved it...
     But before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that?
     Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does?
     Is it really so much worse than what you do?
     Think about it.
     There the narrator was, pointing out exactly what I was thinking. Which got me really thinking. That's what this book does- gets you thinking about life for real.
     One thing I was thinking about, and this is me just rambling a bit here... but I'm long past all that high school stuff. I still worry a bit what people think of me, but I don't care about being the most popular, the prettiest, the best. After reading this book, I wasn't so much thinking of myself, but of my kids. If you've read it, maybe you'll remember Kent and Rob. What makes one boy turn into a Rob and what makes one turn into a Kent? Or what makes someone a Juliet and what makes one a Lindsay? That is the question that haunts me after reading the book. How will my kids turn out? In high school, will they be the bully, the bullied, or someone in between? How can I stop my kids from going through all that pain and hurt in high school, or how can I stop them from inflicting that pain on someone else?
     I'm asking these questions when really, I already know the answers. I know what I can do just like I know that no matter what I do, I can't shield them and I can't make them perfect. I guess for now, I can sigh in relief that I have a few years yet before they reach that age, and also prepare myself for when they do.
     Having kids is hard.
     To totally change the mood- 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 21: A Song I Listen To When I'm Happy.
     Lots of things make me happy. It makes me happy that I can find happiness in the little things in life, like music. Like Michael Buble. Like his song Everything which, when I hear it, I smile, I dance, I sing, and everything is right with the world.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't Make Me Choose, and Muse

     This week's Road Trip Wednesday Topic:

What was the best book you read in October?

     Hmmm, this month, that's tough. The books I read in October were these: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Shade and Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready, The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.
     These were all good books. I hate to say that none of them blew me away. I couldn't pick one that was the best. Especially since they are all quite different. Beauty Queens and Twenty Boy Summer are both contemporary, but one is silly/funny while the other is more serious/sad. Shade and Shift deal with ghosts, while The Power of Six is about aliens with super-powers.
     The book I'm reading now- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver- would probably be my top pick, but I'm not finished it yet. While I started out not liking it much (the MC and her friends are not very likeable- at least not in the first chapter), it's grown on me. I want to keep reading to see what happens and I've formulated a few different scenarios on how it will end. It's sticking with me when I'm not reading it, and that alone would put it top of my list.
     So that's not much of an answer, but too bad.
     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 20: A Song That I Listen To When I'm Angry
     Usually, if I'm angry or sad or whatever, I listen to anything- anything that will cheer me up or lighten my mood. But if I'm angry and I want to hold on to that feeling... well, I'd probably listen to this:
Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

(And because I first discovered this song, and Muse, from Twilight, I couldn't help but use a video with clips from the movie. Twilight haters- suck it up and deal)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Which Melanie Rambles About Age And Shows Some Hot Pics

     Something I think everyone should know...
     First off, some backstory. In my query for Daze and Knights, I mention how my MC, sixteen-year-old Jessica, wishes Zac Efron would show up.

     Now, if you don't like Zac Efron or if you don't think he's cute or if you wish he'd just go away... okay fine. This post really has nothing to do with Zac Efron himself. (Although if that's the case, what is WRONG with you? Do you not see the photo above?)
     So what does the post have to do with, you ask? I've had my query critiqued a few places (which was awesome- you should do it before you send it to agents), and one of the comments I got was how it's creepy that a sixteen-year-old would be into a twenty-four-year-old. (And FYI, while I think Zac is hot, I had to look up his age because I'm not obsessed or anything. Swear.)
     I thought about this bit of critique, and then dismissed it because I really like that line in my query. Then recently (and this will seem totally off-topic but I swear it's not), someone did a post where they asked teens what they thought of Justin Bieber. (FYI2, I'm NOT a Bieber fan. Double Swear.) EVERY one of them responded that they didn't like Bieber at all.
     So what is my point exactly? Some more backstory- AKA: some of my crushes as a teen.
     New Kids On The Block. I was ten at the time and Joey- the YOUNGEST member of the band- was eighteen. And I hate to admit it but he wasn't even my favorite. Jon was, who at the time was twenty-two (and also gay but whatever, I didn't even know what gay meant when I was ten).

     I was thirteen when I watched The Three Musketeers and fell in love with Chris O'Donnell. He was twenty-three at the time. I watched that movie and Circle of Friends, Batman Forever, In Love and War, School Ties, and Fried Green Tomatoes over and over again.

     It was between the ages of thirteen and sixteen that I majorly crushed on Jonathan Brandis (SeaQuest DSV- ever watched it?). I had posters of him on my door (my mom wouldn't let me put posters on the wall because tape ruins the paint). He was four years older than me.

     Then there was Christian Bale. I was twelve when Newsies came out and thirteen when Swing Kids came out. I used to daydream we starred in a movie together where I played his love interest. He is six years older than me.

     I was sixteen when I saw A Time to Kill and thought Matthew McConaughey was the hottest guy in the world. He was twenty-seven at the time.

     And let's not even mention the (admittedly somewhat-strange) obsession I had in my teens with Gene Kelly- an actor who was born in 1912 and died when I was sixteen. (It was his amazing dance ability that really got me. And I'm a sucker for musicals.)
     Are you getting my point here (overused parantheses and hot-boy photos aside)?
     It is NOT creepy for a teen to crush on a twenty-something. That is what they do. It does not surprise me one bit that a lot of teens don't like the Biebs. Nine-year-old girls crush on him. Sixteen-year-old girls like Zac Efron, Alex Pettyfer, Chace Crawford, Ian Somerhalder, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Evans, or whoever floats their boat and is most likely at least a few years older.
     Proof to back me up? Go to Walmart and look in the teen section of clothes. Then look in the girls section sizes 7-12. The 7-12 section is where you will find Justin Bieber t-shirts. At least in my walmart.
      And I KNOW I'm not the only one who crushed on older guys as a teen. Case in point: Katie Holmes crushing on sixteen-years-older Tom Cruise as a teen, and Blake Lively crushing on thirteen-years-older Leonardo DiCaprio, both years before they ever married/dated their crushes.
     So this is just an insight into the very complex mind of a teenage girl. And yes, not every teen girl is like this, and yes, some probably HATE every single name I mentioned, and yes, I am no expert on being sixteen since I am now almost double that age (oh no, I can't believe I just said that out loud, and worse, that it's true). But if you're an adult writing YA, I happen to think this is an important point.
     Okay, maybe it's not THAT important. But it is a mistake adults seem to be making lately so I thought I'd point it out. Because if anyone knows crushes, it's me.
     And speaking of crushes and high school... 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 19: A Song From Your Favorite Album. I couldn't pick an all-time fave album so I picked just one. Thunder, by Boys Like Girls from the self-titled debut album- the perfect song when talking about crushes and high school. Don't believe me? Listen to the words. (FYI3- Martin Johnson, the lead singer of BLG, wrote the song about his first love which happened during HS.) (FYI4- speaking of crushes and Martin Johnson... you get the idea, although he's actually YOUNGER than me.)

     Anyway, watch the video. I'm going to go watch Newsies.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books and Music

     I've read some good books lately that I haven't really talked about. Just a quick mention...

     The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, which is the sequel to I Am Number Four. The book was good, exciting, fast-paced. We got to meet another of Lorien's Garde- Number Seven and it was interesting to hear her point of view and her story. I love all the different characters in the book (Number Four, Six, and Sam) and I can't wait to see what happens next. Also, I wish they'd make the sequel into a movie, but mostly so I can see Alex Pettyfer play Number Four again. My only complaint: the two POV's (Four and Seven) were hardly distinguishable to me. Their stories are way different, so I knew who they were when each was talking, but the voice itself didn't seem much different. I still liked the book though.

     Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. I heard a lot of high praise about this book which is why I picked it up. The book was good, but I wasn't blown away and I wonder if it was because of all the pre-hype. My only complaint: The MC was a little annoying at times. Sometimes I wanted to just tell her to get over herself (which another character actually did). But the writing was simply amazing- Sarah Ockler came up with ways to say things and wording that I would never be able to imagine. I simmered with jealousy while reading. So good book- pick it up just for the writing alone.

     Shade and Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready. Maybe because one of the books is called Shift, but for some reason, I thought this was about werewolves. Haha- it's so not. The concept of the book is great, it felt fresh to me even though it's basically about ghosts. I fell for the characters, especially the hot and Scottish Zachary. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what I loved about these books, but I was turning pages late at night because I couldn't stop reading. My only complaint: A lot of times, Aura's (the MC) search for the reason of the Shift is swept under the rug and I wanted more of that- more answers, more search even, and less drama over her dead boyfriend. But great books and I can't wait for Shine, the conclusion of the trilogy.
     That's it, I'm on to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which I've heard a ton of great stuff about to I can't wait to read it.
     30 Day Music Challenge, Day 18: A Song I Wish I Heard On The Radio
     There's a lot of songs I wish they'd play on the radio. But that's why we have CDs and iPod's right? Anyway, it was hard to choose but I finally settled on one of my songs by One Republic- All This Time. I've made notes for my last Jessica book if it ever became a series, and I see this song at the end of that book. Enjoy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Adele and Sean (aka, Songs and Crushes)

     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 17: A Song I Hear Often On The Radio
     I don't listen to the radio often. Well, that's not true. I'm a radio-surfer. I'll surf through the different stations I have programmed in my van, and if I don't like any of the songs, I'll turn on a CD. Sometimes I'll get involved in the CD and not turn it off, but other times, when a song is over, I'll check the radio again, just to see.
     One song I was surprised to hear on the radio is Adele's Someone Like You. I love this song, but it surprised me that she chose it as her next single. I'm psyched every time I hear it on the radio though, and I love to sing along, even though my voice totally butchers it. If you don't listen to Adele, you should, because she's amazing.

     Last night my hubbie went to a Flames game, so I had my pick of what to watch on TV. Sitting on my PVR was the movie You Again, starring Kristen Bell and Jaime Lee Curtis. It was funny if over-the-top sometimes, and occasionally cheesy, but I enjoyed the movie and the whole getting over high school theme. One person that stood out to me, even though he had hardly any lines, was Sean Wing. I don't know why he stood out, maybe cuz of his looks... okay, yes because of his looks. What a cutie. I've heard he's on 90210 sometimes but I don't watch that show so I hope we'll get to see more of him in the future.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oops, I Did It Again... Or Maybe I Didn't

     News: I'm going on a cruise at the end of November. Yay for me! I've been married for ten years, and my husband and I have yet to go on a real trip (somewhere not in the US and Canada). So we're totally psyched.
     Because of this cruise, I've got two major goals going on right now.
     1. Exercise 4-5 times a week.
     2. Finish WIP
     So, since the last week of August, I've stuck with the exercise goal. Even though the scale is refusing to budge (stupid thing- you will go out the window if you do not drop at least five pounds), I'm proud of myself.
     My WIP is also going well, although I'm a little nervous that I won't get it done like I want. I SHOULD get it done- there isn't anything to stand in my way but me. But still...
     Anyway, because of these two goals, I've been one of the worst campaigners out there. ***Hangs head in shame*** I didn't do the second challenge and don't know if I'll get to the third. And I swear, I try to comment on a few blog posts a day, but I don't always get to it.
     So, sorry sorry sorry. I think I bit off more than I could chew with the campaign, although I'm happy I joined just to get the chance to meet other bloggers.
     I bit off a bit more than I could chew with this song challenge too. Sheesh, it's a lot of posting. 
     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 16 (ohmygosh I'm only halfway through): A Song I Used To Love But Now Hate: Oops I Did It Again, by Britney Spears. Enough said. (Although I could still rock this in karaoke.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Number Ones

     This week's Road Trip Wednesday prompt from YA Highway is as follows (ooh, I sound all smart and stuff):
What's your numero-uno reason for writing?
     Sheesh, that's hard. I can never pick just one of anything- one reason for writing, one favorite movie, one cookie...
     A couple years ago, when I'd wanted to be a writer but hadn't finished any stories, my reason would have been as simple as, I want to be a writer.
     Now, my answer is different. My numero-uno reason- because it makes me HAPPY. It really does. Sure, sometimes its super-frustrating. Sometimes I find excuses not to write. Sometimes I write and think, man I SUCK at this! But in general, it makes me happy. It makes me feel useful. It makes me proud of myself. And it's cathartic. Not just escaping into my own head, but writing it down, having those characters and scenes from my head come to life on paper is simply amazing and when I do it- I SMILE.
     So what about you? What's your numero-uno reason for writing?
     And on those days when I feel like total garbage, or like I suck bricks and will never do anything but write stories that only a handful of people will see... I try to remember this song...
     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 15: A Song That Describes You
     I couldn't really think of a song that describes me. I listen to some songs and think, I wish I was like that, or I wish my life was like that. And other songs remind me of the worst parts of myself (is it a big surprise that I don't want to share those?). So I chose a song that motivates me- that makes me want to rise above it all, pull through anything, survive. A song that is so heartbreakingly beautiful. A song I hope I can live up to.

Skyscraper, by Demi Lovato

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Checklist and Opera

     I swear, where does the day go? Every day it feels like I've got a billion things to do and I'm lucky to get done maybe five. Like yesterday- I could give a check for exercise, a check for groceries, a double check for writing because I wrote over two thousand words (yay), a check for blogging, etc... But I feel like I've hardly been reading other blogs, I barely read yesterday, and I didn't even get to watch Spooks (which I've been watching online lately when I find the time). Okay so maybe those aren't huge things, but I hate the slacker feeling. Not that I'm slacking, I just hate it when I don't get things done. It's even worse when I know an extra full day looms in front of me (Tuesdays mean loads of laundry all day, cleaning my bathrooms- ugh, and spending from 3:30-7pm in the car driving my kids to their stuff). I think I need Hermione's Time-Turner. Except we all know how she wiped herself out trying to do too much, so maybe it's better this way.
     Anyway, 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 14: A Song No One Would Expect Me To Love
     Honestly, I like probably one song from every type of music. But most people probably don't know that I have major love for this song. I even mention it in Sway. While I'm not this huge opera lover, I like some of the songs, and I like to sing it sometimes (my kids like me to sing their bedtime songs opera-style). So here's today's pick:

Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini

Monday, October 17, 2011

Voice and a Guilty Pleasure

     There's something I just realized. Now maybe I'm slow and everyone already knows this. Or maybe you don't, so I'm going to share, because I'm nice like that. Haha. Anyway, the agent who gave me feedback helped me to learn something indirectly. He pointed out some things in my MS that he thought were really funny. These were things that I didn't necessarily think were all that clever, or would even stand out. These were things I will call Melanie-isms. Words or phrases that only I would say. These are things that betas might suggest taking out (I honestly can't remember if mine did). Things that might not make grammatical sense. Things that might break some of the writing rules. BUT they were the things he loved. Things I need more of.
     Okay, is it just me, or did I say the word things way too much?
     Anyway, it helped me to learn this simple fact: DO NOT SUPPRESS YOURSELF. Maybe you say something one way and someone else says, what does that mean? Or that's not how you say it. Or whatever. But KEEP IT. Don't suppress things only you would say, even if you think they're lame. Don't quiet your own voice. Because it's what makes you YOU.
     Not only that, but I need to find ways to develop my voice. The agent thought some parts were funny, but he said the whole thing needed to be funny in my own way otherwise it won't stand out. So I need to really work on my creative juices.
     What do you do to work on your voice? Is there a way to do that? To develop it? Or is always writing the way to do it?
     On to my 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 13: A Song That Is A Guilty Pleasure
     Here it is, no explanation needed.
     Love Bug by The Jonas Brothers

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Edge of Glory and Footloose

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 12: A Song From A Band I Hate
     Confession time: I'm not a fan of Lady Gaga (yes, I know, she's not a band). Some of her songs are great, some are catchy, and some plain annoy the crap out of me. Power to her for being her crazy and very individual self- it's just not my thing. However, I do LOVE this song (and like all my mixed feelings towards her, I HATE the video).

Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

Crush of the Week:
     I saw the new Footloose last night. I was four when the first came out, so it wasn't exactly part of my childhood. Meaning, I'm not one of those people who were all aghast about a remake. Kevin Bacon did a good job back then, but why not let someone else try?
     I loved the movie. It made me want to get up and dance. I thought it was clever that they used a lot of the same music from the original but remixed it. (For example, you know that song "I Need a Hero"? In the movie its sung very slow- loved it.) The dancing was fun. Julianne Hough did a great job as the wild preachers daughter. And Ren (Kenny Wormald) was sweet, funny, sarcastic, and a great dancer. So yes, he's my crush of the week. Sort of.
     I say sort of because there was someone else who totally STOLE the whole movie. He was hilarious. HILARIOUS. Everything out of his mouth was funny. Add to that his hic name (Willard), his hic overalls, and his really bad dancing- and you've got a recipe for... well, he's not all that cute really, but go see the movie and you'll see what makes him so awesome.

 Kenny Wormald looking all James Dean as Ren MacCormack

There were hardly any pics of Miles Teller as Willard- this is the best one I could find

Friday, October 14, 2011

All Fired Up and Love Drunk

     I'm all fired up again over my WIP, thanks to the help from my sister-in-law Emily over at Write About Nothing. She helped me do some brainstorming and come up with some really great ideas. I wrote some yesterday but I have one scene in particular that I can't wait to write.
     I love that all fired up feeling, the excitement, that writing can bring. I was lagging there a bit. One of the reasons for the lag is that I've been writing a lot of scenes with the "bad" guy. He's no fun and I hate him, so it hasn't been fun to write about him. Unfortunately, because I hate the guy so much, I think that's coming across on my MC. I'm going to have to be careful about that because she doesn't know he's bad, but I do (bwahahah).
     Another thing that fires me up is the band Boys Like Girls. I'm, stiiiilllll waiting on their next album (come on, dudes, what's taking so long???) but meanwhile- 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 11: A Song From My Favorite Band.
     Love Drunk (love this song and love this music video)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spookyness and Romance

     Yes, I've changed my background again. Since Halloween is coming up, I wanted to do something spoooooky. I've got my Halloween decorations up in the house and it's gotten me in a spoooooky mood. Unfortunately, blogger templates didn't seem to get that memo. So this isn't all that spoooooky, but it does make me think of old school Vampires for some reason.
     And while Vampires won't help me to sleep, this song will, my answer to today's song challenge (30 Day Song Challenge, Day 10: A Song That Makes Me Fall Asleep).

A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square by Harry Connick Jr.

     I used to play music to help me fall asleep. I had a mixed tape (ha- mixed tape! How old does that make me feel!) of quieter songs at first, and then later, I got a stereo that would program songs from CDs so I could only play the slow songs. This song is one of my faves from my mixed tape days. After seeing the movie Only You (Robert Downey Jr, and Marisa Tomei), I desperately wanted to reenact their slow-dancing-on-the-street-at-night-to-the-sound-of-a-saxophonist-playing-nearby scene. I think it's incredibly romantic. I would listen to this song and daydream about dancing with whatever crush I had going on at the time. It's a beautiful image- something I should put into a book one day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Writing Road Trip

Road Trip Wednesday from YA Highway. This weeks question?
What has your writing road trip looked like so far? Excitement? Traffic Jams and detours? Where are you going next?
My writing road trip has been all of the above. Exciting, frustrating, hard, easy, fun, confusing... you name it, I've been there. Writing the first draft of Daze and Knights was almost easy. It took me about five months (which is a lot to some but not long at all to others- VERY fast for me). When I was done, I started to research the whole publishing business. And that's when I got really SCARED. I'm the kind of person where just the THOUGHT of something freaks me out. And then I get more and more freaked until finally I tell myself- JUST DO IT. And so I do it and realize, okay, that wasn't so bad after all.
     When I first read about query letters, that's exactly how I was. I didn't think I could do it. And to be honest- my first couple of queries were AWFUL. And I was one of those stupid people who like to rush things (I think I mentioned this yesterday), so I started querying WAY TOO EARLY. My query sucked, I'd only edited Daze once... Yeah. Stupid.
     I've learned my lesson. I hope (haha). It's taken me more than a year to perfect the query. I thought Daze was at its best too- which it was. At least, it was as good as I could get it after editing a bazillion times and having betas read it. But getting agent feedback has shown me yet more that can be fixed, tightened, bettered. So I've still got lots of work to do.
     The one thing I've learned from my whole writing road trip? It is WORK. It won't come easy. And that's discouraging sometimes. But it's ENCOURAGING to know that I can do it- I can put in the work, the time, the effort, and that I won't quit. That's something I never knew about myself before. And if success never comes... well that's something I'll deal with later because for now- I'm still working at it.
     Where am I going next? Well, here's my plan: Finish my WIP Sway. Edit it once then send it to some betas. While I'm waiting, go back to Daze and edit again, using those comments I got from the awesome agent. Then after that? I'll probably start something new.
     And, if one day, I get "the call"... well, I'll probably DANCE, to this. Which is my oh-so-smooth segue into the 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 9: A Song I Can Dance To. (Which is pretty much any song but I had to narrow it down to something and this song always makes me want to shake something.)

Club Can't Handle Me- Flo Rida ft. David Guetta

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Waiting, Rushing, and Love Story

     While I was cleaning my bathrooms this morning (yuck- hate that), I came to a decision. The one good thing about cleaning is that it's so monotonous that it frees my mind up to think of other things. So I thought about the scene I'll be writing next, and also came up with an idea for the scene after.
     The decision I came to was this: stop querying. Not for ever of course. I usually stop mid-November until late January just because of the whole holiday season. But instead of sending out anymore, well, I'm not going to. Why? Well, I got an excellent critique back from an agent who had a partial. He gave me a lot of stuff to think about that I haven't gotten to yet because I've been concentrating on my WIP.
     Can I just say how awesome it is to get agent feedback? SO AWESOME!
     Anyway, I have a full out there as well that I'm waiting on, and in the chance that I get feedback off that as well, I think I'm just going to wait. That's what this whole business is about right? Waiting? Haha.
     So that's the plan. Smart? I think so. I have to constantly tell myself not to rush. This isn't a race. I may not be getting any younger (sniff), but now that I finally got what I wanted (agent feedback), I need to take the time to carefully consider all of it.
     On to the 30 Day Song Challenge, Day 8: A Song I Know All The Words To
     Um... all of them? Haha, kidding. But pretty much any song I like, I know all the words to. So to narrow it down, I thought of songs I like to sing along to. If I'm in the mood to sing, I usually put on Taylor Swift. I don't sound good singing along to her, but that doesn't stop me! Anyway, I picked one of my favorites of hers: Love Story. Enjoy! (FYI- the music video is awesome.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hey Big Spender

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 7: A Song That Reminds Me of A Certain Event
     This was kind of a hard one too. My wedding was the first thing that came to mind, but there's a question about that on a later day, so I saved that one. Instead, I thought back to all the dance recitals I've done since I was little and there's one song that still stands out to me today and reminds me of my days on stage.
     I grew up doing jazz, tap, and ballet. I did competitions and recitals and I had a lot of fun. I miss those days. I miss dancing. One of the songs we did was Hey Big Spender by Peggy Lee. I think I was fourteen at the time. I listen to the song now and think, sheesh that song is racy for a 14-year-old! Especially since we were also lip-syncing as we danced, making it kind of a musical theatre number. I wish I had a video of it. Well, I do I think somewhere but it's VHS and I have not a clue how to convert those into actual usable DVD's. Anyway, when I listen to this song, I sing along at the top of my lungs. Warning: you might feel the urge to do it too, if you know the words. So if you feel it coming on, I would make sure you're somewhere where people won't mock you, or worse, think you're coming on to them. Just, keep that it mind.

     Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there. In an hour I'm heading to my sister-in-laws where my husband will deep fry the turkey and I'll get to drench my food with my mother-in-laws cheese sauce and hopefully there'll be some fruity pie. Yum! Then tomorrow I 'll have to go back to the real world of eating right, exercising, and catching up on my writing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pachelbel and Hugh Jackman

30 Day Music Challenge, Day 6: A Song That Reminds Me Of Somewhere
     This was one of the hardest to come up with. I've lived a lot of places but I haven't travelled all that much. I hear songs that make me think of tropical locations I've never been to, or songs that make me think of Italy or France or Ireland. (I have been to France but there wasn't a song I could associate with that trip.)
     I decided on a song that makes me think of the two years I lived in Hartford, Connecticut. I did grade 11 and 12 there. It was an interesting time for me, for a lot of reasons. I spent a lot of time playing this particular song on the piano. Hearing this song conjures up images of the living room where the piano was, and missionaries.

     And completely unrelated, and so the opposite of a relaxing classical song, I saw the movie Real Steel last night. I went in not expecting much and was surprised by how good it was. Seriously. I even got teary-eyed at the end (although that's not saying much since I get weepy in a lot of movies). So, obviously, my Crush of the Week is going to be Hugh Jackman. He's a great actor. He can be tough, sensitive, serious, AND he can sing and dance. Major bonus points for that. Love you Hugh.

Friday, October 7, 2011

You Put Your Arms Around Me And I'm Home

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 5: A Song That Reminds Me of Someone
     Here's my choice. A song I absolutely adore. And to Forrest Gump-it, that's all I'm going to say about that.
     And because I'm sick, I'm way behind on my writing and critiquing, and I'm trying to get up the energy to exercise, I'm going to leave it at that. Enjoy the song though, because it's awesome.

ARMS by Christina Perri

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't Cry

30 Day Music Challenge, Day 4: A Song That Makes Me Sad
     Who wants to think about songs that make them sad? Not me. I like to listen to music that buoys me up.
     Oh well. There are some songs that make me sad. One of them is this one, Lover Dearest by Marianas Trench.

     I read recently that Josh Ramsay, lead singer of Marianas Trench, wrote the song as a letter to Heroin when he was struggling with the addiction as a teenager. When I listen to the song, I take a completely different meaning out of it, but now that I know that, I see it in a whole new light.
     No matter how you interpret it, the song is heart-breaking. And Josh Ramsay's vocals are amazing in all of his music (I love the scratchy-screamy power to his voice). This song is no exception. And if you've never heard of Marianas Trench, or don't know their music, try out Beside You and Good to You for slow songs, and Cross My Heart, Celebrity Status, and Acadia for faster tunes (All To Myself is good too, except it's got F-bombs in it, and I hate that).
     What songs make you sad?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RTW and Save The Last Dance For Me

This week's Road Trip Wednesday:

What supporting character from a YA book would you most like to see star in their own novel?
     Ooh, that's a toughie. On YaHighway, the poster chose Ron from Harry Potter and I immediately wanted to go with the same one. Because c'mon, Ron is awesome. But I'll try to be a little more interesting and come up with my own idea...
     There's a lot of characters I'd like to see star in their own novel because frankly, I love them and I'd love to learn their backstory more thoroughly or read about where they go next. I can't pick just one. So, my choices after perusing my bookshelf are:

Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss.

Giovanni from Rampant and Ascendant

Ridley from Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness

And even though some of Breaking Dawn is in Jacob's perspective, I loved his voice so much that I would easily read whole books about him.

And on to my 30 Day Music Challenge, Day 3: A Song That Makes Me HAPPY
     Easy peasy. Actually, not so much because there are A LOT of songs that make me happy. It's hard to choose sometimes right?
    Anyway, I loved this song back when Harry Connick Jr sang it. I love it even more when Michael Buble sings it. It makes me happy. It makes me sing along. And it makes me want to dance (but that's a question for another day). I wish I was the girl dancing with Michael in the music video. I don't know what it is about it but I SMILE when I hear it.
     And I had a wicked story set around it which will probably never get written but hey, you never know.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moves Like Jagger

     30 Day Song Challenge, Day 2: Your least favorite song.
     Why, why, why would I want to figure out my least favorite song? I don't even want to think about songs that I hate because then I'll get them stuck in my head.
     The first song that popped into my mind was for just that reason. I get this song stuck in my head and I can't get it out. Not only that, the only words I know are "I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-ves like Jagger."
     Annoying. (And I actually don't mind Maroon 5.)
     I know some people love this song, so if you do: Enjoy. But Beware. You will be singing it in your head for the rest of the day.

     Any other hated songs out there?

Monday, October 3, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge and an iPad Question

     I found this neat idea over at Crow River Writer. I decided to do it, even if it means a post of just one song title (although I probably won't post on Sundays since I like to have a day off from the computer). 
     It's no secret I love music. Like, LOVE it. (I know, a lot of people do.) But music is such a huge part of my life, I can't go a day without it. I have it on almost all day- thanks mostly to the speakers my husband had installed throughout our house that hook nicely up to my iPod. Love it.
     So the song challenge goes like this:

Day 01 – Your favorite song
Day 02 – Your least favorite song
Day 03 – A song that makes you happy
Day 04 – A song that makes you sad
Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 – A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Day 07 – A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 – A song that you can dance to
Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11 – A song from your favorite band
Day 12 – A song from a band you hate
Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15 – A song that describes you
Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 – A song from your favorite album
Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play
Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29 – A song from your childhood
Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year

     So, for today- Day 1, my favorite song. Usually I have a hard time picking favorites of anything, but for song choice- it's easy. Because I love this song and I will for FOREVER. The song is, da-da-da-dum:
     Your Guardian Angel by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

     Fact 1: No, this song does not specifically apply to me. There is no one in my life who's died and I consider my Guardian Angel. I just love the whole idea, the lyrics, the music- everything about this song.
     Fact 2: I don't really listen to anything else by them, they are very heavy metal. In fact, on my iPod they are designated as "Screamo".
     Fact 3: I first heard this song on So You Think You Can Dance. It was a ballroom number.
     Fact 4: I've pictured this song in my last Jessica book in a very specific scene. If I ever get that far.

     In a completely unrelated note, I need some iPad help. My mom-in-law just gave me her old one (thanks Deb, you rock) and I'm wondering how to work on my WIPs on it. It has a notepad that I can write new stuff and then email to myself, but to work on existing stuff- how do I do it? Anyone know? Any writers out there have an iPad and use it to write? I write in Word and backup on a USB stick, but I don't know if either of those will work. Do I have to get a completely different APP? What's the best/easiest way?