Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

I was absent yesterday because I had a sudden driving errand to do. Not in a Ryan Gosling, crazy, dangerous way. I met my mom halfway to her house (an hour and half drive one way) to drop off my oldest daughter who she's going to keep for the next couple weeks.

Wow, that was a boring story. Maybe I should've gone for the Ryan Gosling way.

Anyway, I'm back today for Teaser Tuesday hosted by Miz B. This week's teaser is from DemonGlass by Rachel Hawkins, a book I am LOVING. If you haven't read Hex Hall, you've got to get on that now. The voice, oh my heck, the VOICE. So. Good. Anyway, here's the teaser:

"You hoped I'd commit mirrorcide?"

He laughed, but it sounded a little breathless. "No, I'd hoped to see just how powerful you really are." His eyes were bright, and there was something that might have been pride in them. "You exceeded my expectations."

"Well, yay," I said. "So glad my skill at blowing crap up impresses you, Dad." (page 153)

What are you reading right now?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gah! Querying

I've been spending all morning trying to come up with something to blog about today. To tell you the truth- I got nothing. My mind has been totally taken up with querying.

It's been a long time since I've actually queried. Last fall to be exact. It was last August that I got my first two full requests. One I heard back on almost immediately- a very nice pass. A month later, I won a pitch contest and sent out a partial. That partial also got a pass but with some very helpful crits on some things that could be tightened in the MS. With that one full still out there, my plan was to wait until I heard back from that agent. I hoped that if it was a no, she'd have some comments also, then I'd go back to the MS and revise.

December hit and I still hadn't heard so I nudged. She had never received the full! Aaahhhh!!!! That's how I felt anyhow. (So if you're ever wondering if you should nudge, here's proof why it's a good idea.) So I sent it off again. In the meantime, I'd written a new MS and was busy with that so the waiting wasn't so bad. Then came February and a contest. I entered- another full request. March- another contest, another full request. Then of course May and The Writer's Voice. Two partial requests. When the Xmas in July contest hit, I decided if I made it in, it was time to revise. So I did- finally.

I've since heard back from some of those subs, not all. But I've made the decision to get back into those query trenches. I'm not gonna lie, I'm starting to despair a little over this story that I love so much. But I need a few more rejections (I can't believe I'm saying that!) before I decide it's just not gonna make it out into the world and I shelve it for good. Really, I haven't actually queried it with my sparkly query all that much. So even though it's been awhile, I'm giving it a chance. After that, I've got another MS waiting in the wings.

So, querying. This post isn't advice. It doesn't tell you how to survive. It doesn't tell you what to do or what not to do. It's probably not useful to anyone but me- a chance to unload the stress that is crowding up my brain. If you've been in the query trenches, you'll know what I'm talking about.

So what about you? Any of you querying out there? How's it going?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reincarnate Me

This week's Road Trip Wednesday asks:

If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?
Do I have to pick just one? Because you know I'm not gonna. I've got a whole list!

1. Hermione Granger

I'm guessing a lot of people might pick Hermione. I mean, come on. She's smart, she's brave, she's strong, she's a freaking good witch. Harry wouldn't have made it so far without her. Besides, she gets to punch Draco Malfoy in the face. Heck, I want to be reincarnated into this world so bad, I'd be Dobby if I had to. (Okay, not Dobby since he dies.)

2. Elizabeth Bennett

Also an obvious choice, but when you're an Austen-lover like me, how could I not choose her? Lizzie Bennett is witty and fun, she's got great comebacks and fine eyes. She may not be the richest or the prettiest, but she gets Darcy in the end.

3. Bella Swan

Don't groan at me. Who wouldn't want a rich, hot, sparkly boyfriend who is crazy in love with them, even if part of that crazy is, well, vampirism. And a best friend with abs like Jacob's? So, yeah, I wouldn't exactly be excited about the drinking blood thing, but other than that... sign me up!

4. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss

First of all, does this girl have a last name? Anyway, I remember when I started reading Anna, I had the thought of, why is this girl complaining? She's doing her senior year in PARIS. I mean, sheesh. That right there is enough to want to be reincarnated into her. Add in a hot British guy (St. Clair) and I'm in.

What fictional character would you want to be reincarnated into?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Today's teaser is from The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (author of the Iron Fey trilogy). I just started this book last and night so far, so so good. It's like a vampire twist on a zombie/post-apoc novel. Or like what life would be like if the Cullen's went crazy and took over the world. Haha. Anyway, here's my teaser:

LOVE this cover!

Beyond the Wall, the night belonged to the rabids. No sane person went over the Wall, and those who tried were either gunned down or blown to bits in the kill zone.

Which was why I planned to go beneath. (page 29)

And completely unrelated, a blog post of mine from last year has been nominated for The Most Fascinating Blog of 2012 in the Creative Writing category. No way, right?! You can vote for me but I couldn't get the voting badge's URL to paste for some reason. Oh well anyway.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wanted: A Boy Who Doesn't Read

Confession. I have a reader pet-peeve. Here it is:

The male love interest who reads.

Before anyone goes all nerd-tastic on me, let me explain.

I've read a lot of YA books where the guy the female MC is crushing on is a reader. He doesn't watch TV, he doesn't play video games, he's not even out playing basketball or skateboarding or something. No, he can be found lounging on his bed, reading.

And we're not talking comic books or even the latest John Grisham. Usually, these brainy yet brawny, sensitive yet cocky boys are reading classics or poetry or some obscure author I've never heard of.

Here's my theory: Us female authors think a boy like that is S-E-X-Y. I'm not gonna lie, it's a huge turn-on when a guy reads (teenage boys, take note).

Here's why it's a pet peeve: It's not realistic. I can't think of one guy I knew in high school who read for pleasure. Even now, thinking of my adult friends and family, I don't come up with many. My husband only started reading because I put Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on the back of the toilet. (No joke.)

Of course, there are guys in real life who read. And maybe someone out there will say, "hey, all my guy friends read for fun." Okay then, I believe you.

But I can also argue back with the very vague, yet very true, "we all know girls read way more than boys do."

Really, this isn't a big deal. I don't stop reading a book when the male hottie is caught reading Camus. At most, I roll my eyes while thinking, not again. It's a pet peeve because it doesn't seem all that realistic to me and I've seen it in A LOT of books.

Then again, did you know there's a tumblr just for pics of hot guys reading books? Oh yes, there really is.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I'm not gonna lie, the world is freaking me out a little today. All the hate and the awfulness and the killing of other people... it's majorly bumming me out. Why can't we all just get along??? Why can't we just Love One Another?

I don't know about you, but I need a distraction.

Nothing says distraction better than Stefan and Damon Salvatore.

Watch this and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gotta Get Some Hot Pics, Babyyyy

Here's this week's Road Trip Wednesday question hosted by YA Highway:

When you need creative inspiration, where do you go?
This is so funny because this past weekend I've been giving Daze another edit. You'd think I wouldn't need inspiration at this point, right?


Much of last night was spent staring at this (don't laugh):

Gee, my job is tough. Haha.

I didn't actually base my character of Lord Alric on Alex Pettyfer. It was probably a year or more after I'd finished my first draft that I discovered him and realized he'd be the perfect Alric. Perfect face, perfect hair, perfect eyes. Perfect entire look. And I think he'd play the part perfectly. Oh, and he's a Brit. Hey, Alex, in a few years, expect my call.

Just kidding, I won't call you. Maybe.

Now I've got that song in my head.

Anyway... why was I staring at this picture all night you ask?

Really, you have to ask?

Okay, my major crush on Alex aside, there were a couple different scenes I was trying to fix. I have a tendency to make my characters reactions be in their face, so I was trying to change that, and trying to imagine what my character would do if she was the one staring at the guy. Let me tell you, it worked.

Oh, and because I said PICS-plural, I also stared at these two as well, each for different scenes:

But wait. I haven't even answered YA Highway's question. Where do I go for inspiration? Well, duh. I go to my computer and I look up pictures. Very pretty pictures.

Oh yeah, the other place I go? My iTunes playlist. Music is major inspiration for me. Like this song which I played over and over again last night:

No, my MS doesn't take place during the Regency period, but this song sounds just right for a certain scene.

Honestly, I could keep going. Share tons of pics and songs that have inspired me, but I think you get the idea.

So where do you go to find inspiration?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Well, I'm kinda sad I haven't had the time to read this book lately. I read the first couple chapters on Friday, I think? I haven't picked it up since and trust me, it's not because I don't want to. I've been busy with my crazy revisions- I have only one more day (and more than 100 pages) to finish them.

Here's my teaser anyway, from Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be spending my free time reading:

I raised my hands and thought up the nastiest spell I possible could- one involving pus and bad breath and severe genital dysfunctions.

And nothing happened. (page 20)

Monday, July 16, 2012

If You've Heard It Once... You Probably Need To Hear It Again

If you're a writer, and you've done your research, been around the blogosphere, and studied your craft, you've probably heard these bits of advice at least a bazillion times.

Well, I'm here to say shout testify that these things work. Yes they do! Can I get an AMEN?! Anyway, here they are:

#1: Revise revise revise!

When I finished my first draft of Daze, I had this split second thought of, okay I'm done, it's perfect. And then I sort of laughed to myself and thought, c'mon Mel, it needs to be revised once.

*cue maniacal laughter*

I've revised Daze so many times since then I've lost count. I'm sure there's a point when you can revise too much, but I haven't reached that point. Every time I go back to it I find things that can be fixed or altered- sometimes just words or sentences. I usually find things to cut. I'm going through it right now and trying to insert more voice. No matter what, you can always make your work better.

#2: Put your MS aside

This goes along with #1. I haven't looked at Daze for almost a year. I've had a few requests that I'm still waiting on and I haven't wanted to mess with it while it's out in agent-land. Coming back to it has been like greeting an old friend. It's very familiar, and yet fresh at the same time. I'm reading it again with a whole new perspective. I'm seeing things I didn't before. Set it aside for awhile- longer than a month- and then go back and see what new things you find.

#3: Practice makes... well, if not perfect, then better

You've revised, you've put your MS aside, now start something new. I know, I know, we hear that ALL the time. But it's true- practice makes perfect. Okay, our writing will never be perfect. But it will get a WHOLE lot better. Trust me. And then, after you've written a new MS and you go back to revise the old, you'll see the mistakes you used to make that hopefully you don't make anymore.

You've heard this all a million times. I know I have. But this past weekend of revising Daze yet again has just reminded me how important these pieces of writing advice are, how TRUE they are.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mucho Contest-Os!!!

I've just got a mere few minutes before I have to take my kids to their last day of swimming lessons to say...

I made it into Xmas in July!!! Woot woot!!!

Okay, that's not all I was going to say. I also wanted to point out a few other things going on around the blogosphere.

First of all, YA Highway is celebrating their third anniversary with a seriously huge contest. LOTS of books and ARCS and critiques they're giving away so head on over there and enter. Or better yet, don't. Cuz then maybe I'll win! Haha.

If you've read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, then like me, you probably majorly want to visit Prague. You can enter to win a trip to Prague here. No joke.

Want another contest??? Of course you do. Lisa Burstein, author of Pretty Amy- a book I've heard tons of buzz about and I'm waiting to get my hands on- is giving away chapter critiques from herself, her editor, and her agent!!! Go here to check it out.

It's Contests Galore!!! So what are you still doing here? Go enter!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Movie That's Better Than the Book??? No Way!

I'm a little late today but I wanted to answer this week's Road Trip Wednesday question because it's a gooder:

What movie have you seen that actually (gasp!) improved on the book?

First, here are a few facts about me and movie adaptations:

1. If a movie is coming out that's based on a book I've heard of but haven't read yet, I'll wait until I can read and see the movie at the same time. Example: I've had One For the Money by Janet Evanovich sitting on my shelf for months but I'm waiting until the movie comes on TV, even though I heard it didn't do very well.

2. With series books/movies, I reread the series every time a new movie comes out. Example: Harry Potter (sniff, won't be able to do that anymore, sniff), Twilight, and Hunger Games. And soon... The Mortal Instruments! And I have to say that while the movies aren't as good as the books in all of the above examples, I still LOVE the movies like crazy. (Except Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I have serious issues with that movie.)

3. If I LOVED a book, I'll ALWAYS see the movie. I never expect it to be as good, but usually, the movie version makes me love the book even more.

I pointed these things out just to show the basic fact that I am not opposed to books being made into movies. Actually, I heartily and openly welcome them.

So, movies that have improved on the book? Here's some of my top picks:

1. Anything by Nicholas Sparks. For some reason, although I appreciate the books, I love the movies way more. The Notebook, and A Walk to Remember especially. The movies just do so much more for me and I really like the changes made.

2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I LOVE this movie. Love it. When I read the book, I was a bit disappointed. Mostly because there's a romantic element in the movie that just doesn't exist in the book.

3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Don't hate me! Unlike most fans, I grew up watching the movies, NOT reading the books. So when I finally read them sometime in my twenties, I just wasn't enamored by them. I had the story fixed in my head as I knew it from the movies and it was hard not to see it played out the same way.

4. P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern. Much like Nicholas Sparks books, this book was great, but for some reason I loved the movie wayyyy more.

That's all I could think of. Except I need to give an honorable mention to one movie that isn't better than the book, but just as awesome:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The Colin Firth movie is just as amazing as the book is.

Any movie adaptations you think improved on the book?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday, hosted by Miz B. at Should Be Reading, is a weekly bookish meme. Anyone can play along.

Mine this week is from Timepiece by Myra McEntire, a book I've been waiting a loooong time for.  I just wish that while waiting I would have had the time to reread Hourglass. I've only read one chapter of Timepiece so far but I'm not remembering exactly what's going on. Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure it out. Here's my teaser:

Maybe getting drunk and dressing up like a pirate for the masquerade was a bad idea.

Okay, definitely a bad idea. At least the pirate part. (page 1)

Friday, July 6, 2012


Who here has ever felt guilt, raise your hands.

Ooh, ooh, me, yes me!!!

I swear, guilt is like an every day thing for me. There's always something I could or should have done that I didn't get done in a day.

For the past two weeks, I've written a little over 500 words on my WIP. Guilt? Yep, there it is, glaring me in the face every time I see people on twitter say how they've written 3,000 words that day, or every time I open my blog and see the same 7k looking pathetically back at me.

But there's a reason I haven't been a stellar writer. My kids. My four kids who now have no school and are home for the summer. We've been playing games like Life and Ticket to Ride, we've been playing in the backyard, my oldest daughter and I are watching the three Anne of Green Gables movies, there are trips to the spray park planned, boating, and maybe the Calgary Stampede. We've been, and will be, busy.

This isn't an excuse. It's just my life. I know I can make time for writing sometime. Most of my measly 500 words came yesterday when all four kids went to the park down the road. When writing becomes my job, I know things will be different. I will HAVE to make time. And that's okay. I WANT that. But for now, they're home. They're with me. They want to do things with me. And I can't feel guilty about spending time with them.

Will I still feel guilty over barely writing? Yes. Definitely. Especially when I read a blog post or hear on Twitter how much you've written lately. Yes you. I will try to carve out any time I can for putting more words to paper. But if my whole summer is spent laughing and playing with my children and I only get a few thousand words written, so be it.

So to guilt I say, and will keep saying: SHOVE IT.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Most Likely To...

I gotta be honest, I don't see this post up on YA Highway, but a few people have answered the question so I'm gonna go for it. Here's today's Road Trip Wednesday question (I think):
What yearbook "most" category (aka superlatives) would your character win?

I really tried to think of what classmates would have said about my characters, and not what they would have said about themselves. So...

Jessica from Daze and Knights and Daze of Thunder would be voted:

Most likely to space out during every major milestone of life.

Ava from Sway would be voted:

Most likely to get married right out of high school.

I'm working on a new WIP which I've been pretty mum about. I tend to do that until I've really gotten going on it, just in case it utterly bombs. Anyway, without divulging really anything, my MC Poni would be voted:

Most likely to become trailer trash.

However, if her best friend Mark were voting, he'd say:

Most likely to save the world.

So there you have it. These aren't exact representations of the characters, rather what people who went to high school with them would have thought.

*Note: pics are of Shanley Caswell, Alexis Bledel and Alexz Johnson

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday time! Check out Should Be Reading for all the other Teasers.

Here's mine from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer:

He rose, shutting his laptop and picking up his backpack. "I'm sorry, but I need to leave. There's too much..." He shook his head. "I need some time alone. But I'll be back here tomorrow."

I stayed still as he moved past me, wanting to go with him.

"And Calla." He bent down for a moment, whispering into my hair. "I don't think I'm the only one who's being lied to." (page 217)

Monday, July 2, 2012


When do you shelve a manuscript?

I hear of many writers who last year were querying one book but this year they're querying a whole new book. They shelved the previous book after a few requests led to rejections.

I've been querying Daze for... oh, um, well... awhile. But I will admit here and now that I made a common writerly mistake and queried TOO SOON. Lately, I've had some requests. Some have led to R's, others I'm still waiting on. My plan is to give Daze another edit once I hear from these others and then send out another round of queries.

But should I? Or is it time to shelve it?

I know first books are rarely the ones that get published. But in my own defense, I've spent over two years making this book the best I can make it. I feel like this book is the "one." But maybe I'm just too attached? Maybe I need to just let go and I can't.

I feel like after one more round of queries, I probably will shelve it and focus on Sway. That's my plan for now, anyway. But I am wondering, when do you shelve? And what makes you shelve?