Friday, September 28, 2012

Robin Hood

I've got a thing for all things medieval. Which is obvious considering the MS I'm querying. I've always been a fan of the Robin Hood story- I've seen the Errol Flynn version, the Kevin Costner version, the Russell Crowe version, the cartoon version, and even the Men in Tights version (have I missed any?) So naturally, when I heard there was a TV show about Robin Hood, I decided to check it out.

I don't know much about this show. My local library has three seasons but I don't know if that's it, or if the show is still on TV, or what*. What I do know is after four episodes, I've fallen for it and I'm anxious for next episodes.

First though, a couple of pet peeves about the show:

1) It's a bit cheesy. Sometimes the dialogue, sometimes the action scenes- they induce mild eye-rolling at times.

2) Robin Hood is too scrawny. Maybe it's just me and the fact that I like my hero's with some meat and muscle on their bones. This Robin Hood needs to buff up just a tad.

3) Why won't Robin Hood kill the Sheriff already? Okay, it's a TV show, and so they've gotta keep the bad guy around, obviously. But every episode I can't help but think, if you'd just kill the guy, all your problems would be over.

Here's what I LOVE about the show:

1) Robin Hood. Yes, he's scrawny. But he's also charming and funny and rakish and roguish. I love how they didn't make him the brooding hero. We get the sense that he's got tough things from his past in the crusades, and he's serious about helping people, but that doesn't stop him from being the Robin Hood who cracks a smile, winks, or gives Marion a pick-up line. I LOVE that.

2) The Sheriff. He's not the evil-just-to-be-evil bad guy. He's the quirky bad guy who does weird things. He's an almost cheerful bad guy. But none of that takes away from the fact that he's a BAD guy.

3) Richard Armitage. Need I say more? He plays Guy of Gisbourne and, mullet aside, there's something about this guy that draws your eyes. When he's on screen he demands your attention. So far they've barely scratched the surface of him as a character but I hope they delve a lot deeper. Plus his voice is super-sexy. (Yep, I said it.)

4) Robin Hood's bestie- Mudge. Is that his name? I can't ever be sure. Anyway, this guy is so endearingly pathetic, sometimes funny, always loyal. He's another character I hope they give a little more backstory to as the episodes roll along.

5) The setting, costumes, weapons, etc. Everything medieval. They nailed it as well as putting their own spin on things too. This stuff alone makes me want to watch. And it's good for the brainstorming I'm doing for my R&R.

Are those enough reasons to check out this show? What about this?

*I just read on Wikipedia that they axed it after the 3rd season. Dang.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Easy Pick

Today's Road Trip Wednesday hosted by YA Highway asks:

What was the best book you read in September?

This is painfully easy. Here, I'll show the covers of all the books I read in September and see if you can guess which one I'm going to pick.


Did you guess it?

Yep, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It's almost unfair to the rest of the books- even though they were good, they didn't stand a chance against Code Name Verity.

Why you ask? Well, if you're asking, you obviously haven't read it.

The story is heartbreaking. The voice manages to be funny even through the major awfulness that's going on. You root for everyone, even the bad guy sometimes. It's the kind of book, the type of characters, that stick with you. And it gets major bonus points from me just because of the time period- World War II. If you haven't read it, you need to put it on your TBR right now.

What's the best book you read in September?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


For today's Teaser Tuesday I'm pulling my teaser from the last in a trilogy again.

First, can I just say, I hate when I'm reading a later book in a series and don't remember what's going on? I used to have all this time to reread and never encountered this problem, but now I've got stacks on my TBR list and no time for rereading. *sobs*

Anyway, the nice thing about Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready is that she sprinkles in the major plot from the past two books without dumping it right in the beginning or avoiding it altogether. I loved Shade and Shift- this whole trilogy is a brand new concept and she's a page-turning kind of writer. I also love how music is a big part of the books. These trilogy is a definite must.

And now I'll stop blabbing and share my teaser:

Now, I would wage a one-girl vendetta against the DMP for what they were doing to him. For what they'd tried to do to Logan. For what they wanted to do to me.

I would destroy them. (page 80)

What are you reading this week?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Found Guilty

I have been found guilty of  insta-love.

The sentence has been passed, and I think it's time to defend myself.

See, the thing is, I didn't mean to write insta-love. I never planned it, I never intended it. Once it was done, it never seemed like insta-love to me. No, it was something else entirely.

An insta-crush.

My character is a teen girl. She saw a guy and thought, he's hot, I wish he'd ask me out, I just want to spend time with him, I really want to kiss those sexy-sweet lips.

I ask you, is this insta-love? To me, it's a crush. Those first overwhelming and often overexagerrated feelings a person can get when they see something they like about someone else. An insta-crush. Once they get it, they find ways to be with that person, to get to know them, and then... SOMETIMES the love happens. Sometimes it doesn't.

I know insta-love is one of those THINGS A WRITER SHOULD NEVER EVER DO. But what about insta-crushes? Do readers feel the same animosity towards them? If you read a girl saying, "he's so hot I want to date him!!!" do you automatically chalk it up to insta-love, roll your eyes, or maybe put the book down in disgust?

I'm genuinely wondering here. I don't have the same bad mojo towards insta-love as most people do. I think it's because I don't ever see it as love, I see it as a crush first which often grows into love.
But I also don't want anyone throwing my writing across the room because, bam! there's insta-love again.

What do you think? Is an insta-crush basically the same as insta-love?

*P.S. I've been found guilty, and am now on the road to rehabilitation. Meaning: I'm revising.*

Friday, September 21, 2012

Classical Makes Me Cry

I'm one of those writers who listens to music while I write. I have a "quiet" playlist, which really isn't always that quiet. I've got some swing music on it, some Broadway, movie scores, opera, and a lot of classical and piano solo music.

A lot of these songs inspired me while I was writing Sway, because my MC and her love interest are both musicians. While my hero is more of a Michael Buble- singing jazzy tunes- my female protag is a pianist. While revising, I've given her more of a life and background. She's a Juilliard grad and plays for a Philharmonic orchestra. I'm trying to incorporate more how music would make her feel, how it's part of her like breathing- hopefully without going overboard. So I've been listening to A LOT of classical music.

For Friday Loves today, here are some of the songs that I mention in the MS and that have inspired me through my drafts and revisions. If you ever need quiet and beautiful (and heart-wrenching and tear-inducing) background writing music, these are great pieces!

Serenade by Schubert- I LOVE this song sooooo much!
Air on the G String by Bach
Piano Concerto #2 by Rachmaninoff
Liebestraum by Liszt

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Princess and the... What?

Today's Road Trip Wednesday questions asks:
In honor of this month's Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer's CINDER, name a fable or story you'd like to see a retelling of. If you're feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!

First, I can't help but wonder, is there a fable or fairy tale that hasn't been retold? Not that I've read them all, in fact the number of fairtyale retellings I've read is pretty low. Which is weird. Because I love fairy tales.

Anyway, Cinder, Beastly, Entwined. All awesome books. Growing up, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney Cartoon, but it's been done. I also loved Hercules as a teen, also done. One of my favorite TV shows now is Once Upon A Time which pretty much runs the fairy tale gamut.

After scouring my kids movie shelves, I've come up with one! This has been done as two different Barbie movies, but I don't know if it's been made into a book. It would be a fun one to write, modern day or old-school (both of which Barbie did). Here it is:

The Princess and the Pauper.

A story about a rich girl and poor girl who switch places? I can already picture all the calamity that could ensue, already getting ideas of different ways you could spin it... 

So I think I'm gonna go take some notes. Thanks YA Highway for another new idea! And if someone does know of a good book version of this, let me know so I can add it to my TBR.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


For today's Teaser Tuesday hosted by Miz B. at Should Be Reading, I'm going to tease you with the last book of a Trilogy. But don't worry, I won't give anything away. I'm pulling my teaser from Endlessly by Kiersten White, the third book after Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. These are great books by the way- fun and easy reads.

I resisted the urge to sit and stare at Lend while he slept; when he dreamed, instead of his eyes moving behind his eyelids, his whole glamour shifted appearances like a stop-motion film. It was fascinating and wildly entertaining sometimes- also a bit freaky considering I showed up constantly. (page 13)

And completely unrelated to Teaser Tuesday... you should go check out today's post from YA Highway called Giving Yourself Permission. It's an awesome post and everyone should read it!

Happy Tuesday! But not for me because Tuesday is bathroom cleaning day. Ugh.

Monday, September 17, 2012


No, despite the picture, I do not meant cow branding. Building your author brand. Have any of you thought of this?
I'd never really considered it before, mostly because I'm as yet unagented, so the thought of building my brand seemed like a far-off thing.

So why am I thinking about it now? Well, I'm currently querying a YA time-travel. I'm revising a Women's Fic. And my WIP is YA UF.

One of these is not like the other...

I love my Women's Fic manuscript Sway. It's undergoing major- and very difficult- revisions, but I really think it's got something. By the time I have it query-ready, I think it will be time to shelve Daze for good (sob sob sob) if it's not successful out there. But I really don't see any more Women's Fic for me in the future. I mean, I could... but my WIP and also a SNI I've taken notes on are both YA. I keep getting this nagging feeling that I shouldn't worry so much about Sway right now and work on my WIP instead. Except that Sway is closer to being ready, and I do love the story.

This may not be something I really need to worry about. One of the great things about having an agent is that they know more about this stuff and can give the right advice. Yet I still have these doubts that I'm pulling the wrong move somehow.

Ha, or maybe I just worry too much?! What do you think? I'd love to hear thoughts on this, especially from those who write in multiple genres.

Friday, September 14, 2012

One And Only

It's no secret I love music. For today's Friday Loves, I decided to do this game that I did more than a year ago, because I had a lot of fun with it. And I'd love to see other people's answers, so if you decide to play along, link it in the comments so I know and can go check it out! I always love to hear new songs and find new artists to love.

My Life in iTunes
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


Fallout (by Marianas Trench)

"I know you're fine, but what do I do... I know you're fine but what a fallout..."


Your Guardian Angel (by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus)

Not quite, but okay, we'll go with that. (I hope it's not an omen.)


Apologize (by One Republic)

Bwahahahah, that's funny.


Who Says (by Selena Gomez)

The title doesn't really make sense, but I guess the song sorta does.


Secrets (by One Republic)

*raises eyebrow* *attempts to look all mysterious and knowing*


One Life (by Hedley)

Okay, that's completely perfect. Check this out if you've never heard this song:

"It's a great big world, and you'll see
It could pass you by at light speed
You got one life, one life
Don't stop, live it up
If it's the last night in these streets
You'd be a fool to take a seat
You got one life, one life
Don't stop, live it up!"


Hold On (by Michael Buble)

Aw, that's nice.


Break It Up (by These Kids Wear Crowns)

Um, sure.


The First One (by Boys Like Girls)

Haha! Not really true but a good answer anyway.


Here We Go (by Mat Kearney)



Heels Over Head (by Boys Like Girls)

Hahahahahahaha, that's a good one!


Picture To Burn (by Taylor Swift)

K, that makes no sense whatsoever. (I wanna be a picture to burn? I want to burn someones picture???)


Remember to Breathe (by Dashboard Confessional)

Swear I didn't rig this.


It Will Rain (by Bruno Mars)

Actually, no. I hate the rain. It smells.


Sparks Fly (by Taylor Swift)

Fire isn't my biggest fear, but it's definitely a fear (ever since my old house burnt down and then my brother-in-law's house did as well... *shudders*)


Stutter (by Marianas Trench)

I don't have a stutter, I really don't. Never did. Although I'm not so good with getting up and speaking in front of people anymore, so there's that.


Magic (by B.O.B.)

That is the PERFECT answer. I've always wanted magic!


This (by Ed Sheeran)

"This is the start of something beautiful..."


One And Only (by Adele)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Word and Passive Voice

Today's Road Trip Wednesday hosted by YA Highway asks:
What word processing program do you use to write you manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?

That's easy. Word. Yep, Word. I've never tried Scrivener or any other fancy-shmancy program out there. My computer has Word so that's what I use.

As to handy tricks? There's probably lots of things Word can do that I have no clue about. One thing I use when I Beta/Critique is Review. You click on "Track Changes" and everything you put on the manuscript comes out another color. But then you probably all knew about that already.

Waaaaiiiittttt... I JUST remembered. Hold on...


So during WriteOnCon in one of the forums, a very helpful somebody (can't remember who) told us how to catch Passive Voice in our manuscripts using Word. I had completely forgotten about it until now and I just found where I saved the tips, tried it in my MS and... VOILA! It works!

This was how he told us how to do it:

In MS word, go to Tools, then Options. Under the Spelling and Grammar tab, look at the grammar section and look for Show Readability Statistics.

It didn't work this way in my version of Word, so this is how I found it:

Click on Review. Click on Spelling & Grammar. Immediately a little box will pop up with your first "error." At the bottom left corner of the box, click on Options. There you can click the box Show Readability Statistics. Now I don't know if that's necessary or not (he said how it shows percentages), but near that click on Settings. Under Grammar, all of my little boxes were checked off. But under Style... nothing was checked. And one of those little boxes is Passive Sentences. AHA!

I actually checked them all off, then went back and un-checked Use of First Person because it was basically telling me to revise every sentence based on my first person. I went through a few pages and lo and behold on on the first page of my second chapter, a PASSIVE SENTENCE!

I don't know about you, but trying to figure out passive voice gives me a headache. Here is a VERY handy way to find your passive sentences. When I've got time, I'm gonna go through my entire MS and search those passive sentences.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Code Name Verity and Half-Blood

It's Teaser Tuesday time, the day you open what you're reading and pick a line to share with all. Check out Should Be Reading for all the deets.

I'm gonna break them thar rules and tease two books today. Mainly because I just HAVE to share a bit of Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, because I heart it so much.

...let me remind you that I had been in France less than 48 hours before that obliging agent of yours had to stop me being run over by a French van full of French chickens because I'd looked the wrong way before crossing the street. Which shows how cunning the Gestapo are. "This person I've pulled from beneath the wheels of certain death was expecting traffic to travel on the left side of the road. Therefore she must be British, and is likely to have parachuted into Nazi-occupied France out of an Allied plane. I shall now arrest her as a spy." (page 6,7)

Awesome, right?! And that's not a giveaway by the way, it's only like five pages in. My second teaser is from the book I'm reading right now, Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

In front of me, he walked right through the flames, looking every bit like a daimon hunter should. The fire did not singe his pants nor dirty his shirt. Not a single dark hair was touched by the blaze. Those cool, storm-cloud-colored eyes fixed on me. (page 4)

Your turn. Tease me with what you're reading.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Awesome From Page One

I'm starting to get it. I'm starting to understand trying to find a gem out of the slush pile just a teeny bit.

No, I'm not interning or anything. But the last few years I've read A LOT of books. MOST of them have been REALLY GOOD.


I've noticed lately that it takes me awhile to get into almost every book I read. It's not like they're uninteresting, or written badly. It's just that life takes over and I don't feel the NEED to KEEP READING right away.

Last night I finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This book was AWESOME. Seriously, you should read it ASAP if you haven't already. I figured I'd love it, mostly because it's set during World War II, and I did love it. I borrowed it from the library but I will be buying it the first chance I get because it's a definite re-read. But it wasn't until about 100 pages in that I really felt that I want to read and do nothing else feeling.


This has happened to me with EVERY book I've read lately. I can't remember the last book I started and just couldn't put down from page one. The thing is, life is busy. I've got four kids and a house to clean and cooking and writing and church and exercising and this week dance and kickboxing starts and and and. These books all start strong and exciting, I've never NOT wanted to read on. It's just, I haven't read a beginning that's been so WOW I put aside everything else.

So I get it. That's what agents want, right? And when you've read SO MUCH, it takes HUGE amounts of AWESOME to make something stand out from page one.

Wish there was a secret formula to that... ;)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Loves: Dance

(I'm the one in orange)

I could probably post about dance every day of the week, I just love it so much. I started jazz when I was eight, ballet and tap around thirteen. I also did musical theatre and contemporary within those classes. At University, I took Country dancing (yep, I really did), and learned a lot of Swing which was huge back then. A few years ago I took a hip hop class (after I'd had two kids), and then a couple years after that I took jazz again. Dance is in my blood and bones and I can't get rid of it. Music comes on and I automatically start to bounce or sway or pop my shoulders (not out of their sockets or anything). Last weekend, I watched the new Footloose again, and afterward I was totally busting a move in my bedroom.

With my love of dance comes my love of anything dance related. TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, and Breaking Pointe. Movies like Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Step Up, Dance With Me, Center Stage, etc. Surprisingly, I haven't really read any dance books, but I just wrote down some recs from a blog for great YA ones.

Dance for me is that one dream that I'll probably always have but will never come true. I watch dance and I ache to join in. I long to be on stage. I yearn for it, but my time has passed (sob sob). Now, I enjoy it from the audience. My oldest daughter has been dancing for the last four years, and I love watching her grow to love it and improve. (And I solemnly swear I will NOT become a dance mom, or kill her love for it in any way.) My middle daughter starts her first ballet class next week.

Dancing makes me smile. It lifts me up. It's one of the best things in this world. I'll dance, even if it's just in my house, until I'm too old to move.

Since there are so many dance numbers I love, I had a hard time choosing. But this dance number is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The jump Melanie does into Neil's arms takes my breath away.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back To School Books

Today's Road Trip Wednesday question is:

Back to school time! What's your favorite book that you had to read for a class?

The obvious choices for me would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and the three Shakespeare plays I had to read: Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello (I can't remember if I read Shakespeare in my AP English class...) I was already a fan of Colin Firth's BBC adaptation of P&P before I had to read it in my Brit Lit class in eleventh grade. And I started reading Shakespeare for fun around grade nine so reading them in school was no biggie.

Then I took a look at my bookshelf and remembered two books that I fell in love with while reading them for school:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Both books are about war, the first about World War I, the second about World War II. Both books are honest, heartfelt, awful, scary, and eye-opening. They are very true depictions of life for the soldiers during both wars. My love of history and fascination with both World Wars can probably be stemmed from reading these books in grade nine and ten.

Did you end up loving any books after reading them for school?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Born Wicked

I just finished Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood last night. It started a little slow for me and I've been busy, but last night, only on chapter five, I finished the rest! It was AWESOME! One of those books where I wish I had the next one RIGHT NOW. Anyway, since I haven't had a chance to start the newest book on my TBR (Code Name Verity- super-anxious to read this one!), I'll grab my teaser from Born Wicked.
How much do I love this cover?!

Finn chuckles. "Are you a tree sprite now?"

"I'm pretending to be twelve again." I scrape frantically at my hair, wishing I hadn't thrown all the pins away. I must look a fright. He's always handsome, even covered in sawdust from the gazebo, with that ludicrous hair and his glasses all crooked. (page 126)

What are you reading this week? Head over to Should Be Reading to see everyone else's teasers. And happy back-to-school day! *grins*

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kisses And Kiss-Offs

Who doesn't love a good kiss? Or a good kiss-off?

Valerie Cole is hosting a kiss-off contest. Head over there and you can vote for your favorite first lines. These aren't the kiss-off lines, just the lines that should hook you into the kiss-off scene. The top five will move on and get to post more of the kiss-off.

Bria Quinlan at Love YA is hosting the kiss contest. You can read everybody's 250 words of kissing bliss. I read them through when I submitted mine and, yowza, some of those scenes are HOT.

So head over to their blogs and VOTE VOTE VOTE! I can't tell you which is mine in either, but vote anyway!