Friday, December 21, 2012

The Hobbit

I was super excited to see The Hobbit last weekend. My hubs, on the other hand, was not. I think he was trying to convince himself it wouldn't be any good so that if it wasn't, he wouldn't be disappointed.

Well, I LOVED it. I don't know if he was quite as impressed but we both agreed that it didn't feel like a three hour movie.

I do have a couple of nitpicks of course. The rock monster scene wasn't necessary, and they went WAY over-the-top with the whole Radagast trying to heal his hedgehog (or whatever that was). Of course Gandalf looked older when he's supposed to be younger, and even Elijah Wood didn't seem like the same Frodo.

But so what? The movie was awesome!

Last night I read a few scathing reviews and articles about it and I almost fully disagreed with what was being said, but it did get me thinking. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to watch all three LOTR movies. I remember saying out loud before we watched it how LOTR are the best fantasy movies ever made and how they're not cheesy.

Then we watched it. And there are so many CHEESY parts I almost wanted to laugh (at myself, not the movie). But LOTR is still awesome and I stand by what I said- that it's one of the best, if not THE BEST, fantasy movie(s) ever made. I think what happens though is that we build things up in our head to epic-sized proportions. That's what LOTR has become. Epic. And so we expect The Hobbit to be EPIC as well. Inevitably, it ends up disappointing- some people anyway. I WAS NOT disappointed. I'm so happy that we can go back to Middle Earth, that we can have more, that it's hard for me to be disappointed. (And I personally thought both Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage were FANTASTIC.)

Have you seen The Hobbit? What did you think?

And now this is me signing off for the next couple of weeks. YA Highway has a whole week of Road Trip Wednesday questions going on next week that I'd love to participate in, but with Christmas, and now an unexpected trip to Salt Lake, I'm just not going to have time. If I do manage to squeeze in computer time over the holidays, I'll be using it to work on my R&R.

So Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! See you in 2013. (That is, if the world doesn't come to an end sometime today.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's In A Name?

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

How do you decide on names? Would you ever name a character after a friend/family member/ex?

Naming characters is MAJOR for me. The right name does it all while the wrong name is like an annoying fly buzzing around my head.

So  how do I come up with such an IMPORTANT factor of my book? I look in a baby name book. Ha! As simple as that.

I have a thing with names and name meanings. In Daze, almost every name means something that fits with the character. (Of course, it's possible to find different meanings depending on where you look.) Jessica means "he sees." Alric means "ruler of all." I recently searched a babyname website because I wanted a name that meant "eternal" or "immortal." This name had to be female, and it had to be the right ethnicity. It's almost silly to go to so much trouble when in most cases a reader will have no clue as to the meaning of the characters name and won't even care. But I care. So I do it.

I did things a little differently with my Persuasion redux. In this case, I wanted similar names to the original characters, but modernized. So instead of Louisa, I have Lacey. Instead of Frederick, I used the last few letter of the original and went with Eric. Instead of Anne, Elizabeth, and Mary, I went with Ava, Beth, and Mari. Not only are these names similar to the original characters, but since the girls are daughters of an actor, my characters are named after great actresses- Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe. In some cases I even stuck with the original (Walter Elliot), and other cases I had to come up with my own since Jane Austen didn't see fit to provide a first name (Lady Russell became Aunt Rose).

I don't always take naming a character quite so seriously. Sometimes I just go with what sounds right. If it doesn't sound right, then I switch up the names until I find one that does. And no, I rarely name my characters after someone I know. The only two cases: I have a niece named Brynley and I used the name Bryn for a very minor two-year-old character in Sway. In my sequel to Daze I use the name Margaret which happens to be both mine and my oldest daughter's middle name.

What's in a name for you? Are you as picky as I am about naming your characters? I swear, I'm pickier naming my characters than I was naming my kids!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


With a post title like that, I kinda wish I was blogging about something else.

Alas, (did I just say alas???) it's Teaser Tuesday today so instead of writing about passion, I'm taking a teaser from the book Passion by Lauren Kate, the third in the Fallen series.

Enjoy the teaser. I know I will before I go to the very un-passionate task of cleaning my bathrooms. *shudders*

It killed Daniel to ignore her, to go away from Lucinda when everything in his soul was telling him to turn around and fly right back to the sound of her voice, to the embrace of her arms and the warmth of her lips, to the spellbinding power of her love.

He yanked the shop door open and fled down the street, running at the sunset, running for all he was worth. He did not care at all what it looked like to anyone else in town. He was running out the fire in his wings. (page 116)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Crazy World

FINALLY! That's all I want to say is... FINALLY this album has come out! I've been waiting sooooo long. And guess what? You can't buy the thing in stores! At least not around here in stupid Alberta (just kidding, I love Alberta). I ordered it online this week and so I've got to wait SOME MORE to get the CD in my hands. Hurry up, postal service, ignore all those silly christmas packages and send my my CD!!!

Breathe, Mel.

I'm talking about the new Boys Like Girls album- Crazy World. They've gone a little away from their harder rock sound, but I love this new Boys Like Girls just as much. I've already enthused over Be Your Everything, an absolutely amazing song, but here's a sample of a couple more. Listen and love them because they are awesome!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

100 Is Just A Number

Today's Road Trip Wednesday question is short and to the point (which is great because I swear, where are the days before Christmas going??? I'm running out of tiiiimmmme!!!):

About how many books do you read in a year? Do you want to read more? Or, less?

Last year I read 89 books. This year, I really wanted to read 100. Don't know why, I just did. Unfortunately, I'm only at 86 right now and it's highly doubtful I'll read fourteen books in the next two and a half weeks. I don't even know if I'll end up with 89 like last year. Ah well. There's really no reason to read exactly a hundred except to be able to say that I did. I think next year I won't bother trying to meet that goal and just stick with reading when I can.

So how many books do you read in a year? And I'm just wondering, who on earth wants to read LESS than they did???

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I'm rereading again. I can't help myself. Actually, I can, but I just don't want to. See, there are a few series I like that are coming to an end. When I read Reached by Ally Condie recently, I could barely remember what happened in the first two books. I wished that I'd reread them before reading the final book. So this time, I am. The series I'm rereading now? The Fallen books by Lauren Kate.

So for Teaser Tuesday I'm pulling my teasers from Torment, the second book in the Fallen series.

With her back pressed to his chest, and his head over her shoulder, he traced a line of kisses down her neck. She held her breath, waiting. Then he bent his legs and gracefully pushed off the edge of the cliff.
They were flying. (page 35)

Shelby scowled. "Seriously? Would you want to be called a nephil? It sounds like a bag you carry your shame in. No, thanks." (page 51)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Smiley Music

I liked New Kids on the Block as a kid. I was in love with 'N Sync. Is it any wonder I like One Direction, despite my thirty-cough-cough years?

It's true. And while I've passed the age of swooning over the boys in boy bands (seriously, what's with that dude's hair???), I still love the music. I bop around to it in my car. My kids and I sing the lyrics at the top of our lungs. I got my nine-year-old daughter the new One Direction CD for her birthday- a present that's just as much for me as it is for her (haha)- and we both love it. My favorite kind of music is the kind that makes me dance, makes me happy and smiley, and this is definitely it.

Okay, maybe one of them is kinda cute. ;)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chop And Change

(Wait, isn't that a song by the Black Keys?)

Today, Road Trip Wednesday asks a very relevant question for me right now:

How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share?

I finished a revision of Sway last month and now I'm thick in the middle of a revision on Daze. Both of these have been MAJOR revisions. For Sway, I moved a lot of stuff around, introducing some characters earlier, cutting out other characters. For Daze, which I have an R&R for, a lot of the revisions I've been given are simple. One, however, which isn't a major thing... well actually it is. It's changing one tiny thing which is affecting the book entirely. In fact, this is almost going to be a totally different book by the time I'm done. (Which is both scary and exciting!)

So how do I approach such major changes?

I wish I could say I had this set plan. (Maybe if I did, I wouldn't have to revise so much.) Basically, I do this:

Brainstorm. Make notes of the things that need to be changed and different possible ways of changing them. Talk with my brainstorming buddy who helps me to see holes or problems in my new direction. View every character from their own POV. Make notes on what each character is like and what they want.

Then I write. With both Sway and Daze, I copied the MS file, that way I still have the old one, but I can tear apart the new one. I add in what needs to be added and cut (or in the case of Daze- CHOP CHOP CHOP) what doesn't work anymore. Sometimes I'll move something to the end in case I want to use it later. I try and work on at least a chapter a day. I constantly refer back to the page of revision notes that I was given as well as my own notes, to make sure I'm staying on the right track. When I'm done a revision on the computer, I ALWAYS print it out and revise again ON PAPER. This is so important because there's always something I've missed. Then out to betas it goes and when I get it back, I start all over again!

Gosh, revisions are hard sometimes! But NOT ONCE have I regretted a revision I've made on a manuscript. No matter what, a revision always makes the MS better. Revising makes me as a writer better. And I would never want to send out something that wasn't my absolute best.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reaching for Reached

Last night I finished Reached by Ally Condie, the last book in the Matched Trilogy. The finale did not disappoint. I loved it. Ally Condie has a way of writing that completely draws you in, and her prose is just gorgeous.

So obviously I'm going to pull my teaser for Teaser Tuesday from this book. And there's not just one, but two teasers. These aren't just random quotes I'm pulling from the book (even though that's what you're supposed to do). These are two bits that are just magnificent. They are quotes that I want to remember always.

In the Society, we don't call out beyond our own bodies, the walls of our rooms. When we scream it is only in the world of our dreams, and I have never been sure who hears. (page 58)

I draw in a ragged breath, the kind you take when the pain is too deep to cry, when you can't cry because all you are is pain, and if you let some of it out, you might cease to exist. (page 458)

Do you have any great teasers for me?