Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I'm taking the next couple of weeks off from blogging so I can spend time with my family, enjoy Christmas time, and read read read.

So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and see you in the new year!

How about this blast from the past? You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: All The Reading

What I'm Reading
I finished All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill which was so so great and should really be made into a movie. Such a great paced novel. I did have an issue with the very end (how did [redacted] happen? how did [redacted] not [redacted]?) but oh well. I'll make the hubs read it and then I'll have someone to commiserate with. I've just barely started Teardrop by Lauren Kate. Also, I got an email from the library telling me Allegiant is ready for pick-up. AHHHHH!!!! While this is halfway a scream of excitement, it's also a scream of panic. I need to finish Teardrop then another book I've got out from the library, then I want to reread Divergent and Insurgent before I even get to Allegiant. Guess I better get reading.

What I'm Writing
Nothing! It's my month off! I finished On Writing by Stephen King. A lot of what he had to say I'd heard before, but he did have some interesting views on writing. I'm glad I read it. I've read a whole one paragraph of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Guess I better get on that too.

What Else I've Been Up To

Two words: THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug (guess that was more than two words). So psyched I got to see it on the weekend and it didn't disappoint. The ending was GRMPHDSGF but I knew it would be because there's still another movie coming. I REALLY loved it. A lot. Then again, I think I'd love anything Peter Jackson creates inside Middle Earth.

What Inspires Me Right Now
I know I've done these two questions backwards, but The Hobbit has inspired me this week. The whole world Tolkien created and then brought to life by Peter Jackson is amazing. I want to step inside, put on some elf ears, and just get lost in the world. Of course I'd probably get butchered by an Orc about two seconds in, but that's beside the point. I hope one day I can create worlds that people want to get lost in like that.

What are you up to this week? Head over to Jaime's blog to link up.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Best Book of Two Months

I usually do a Best Book of the Month post, often linking up with YA Highway. I haven't the last two months because I was busy with NaNo. So now, I'm going to try and choose the best book out of everything I read in October and November. Good luck with that. Here's what I read:


Twelve books, and I'm supposed to pick???
Surprisingly (to me, anyway), my top pick(s) would be Just One Day and Just One Year. They are both amazing contemp books. I don't know what it is about Gayle Forman's books, but I devour them. You'd think contemporary wouldn't be that page-turning, but her books always are.
I have to give a huge shout-out to United We Spy by Ally Carter. It was a great end to a great series. She's a fave author of mine and I can't wait to read through the entire series again one day.
My last mention has to go to The Dream Thieves. Another awesome series. I can't can't can't wait until the third book. Not only because I want to know how the trilogy ends, but because I'm going to reread books one and two and I'm excited to do that!
What have you read lately? Any new books that I should be putting on my TBR pile?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Reading and Rubbish

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly bloghop. Head over to Jaime's blog to link up!

What I'm Reading
I finished The Archived by Victoria Schwab and even though it took me a bit to get into it, it turned into a great book! And such an interesting concept. Now I'm reading All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and even though my reading has been slow of late, this book has had me from chapter one.

What I'm Writing
Nothing this month. I'm almost done reading On Writing by Stephen King (I may even be done by the time this post gets published) and then next up is Self-editing for Fiction Writers. I also read the December and January issues of Writer's Digest. The January 2014 issue especially had some great articles.

What Inspires Me Right Now
All this reading on craft is making me miss writing! I'm hoping that something, or better yet lots of somethings, stick in my brain when I start revising Eponine. (I'm thinking now I should have been taking notes because I have the worst memory ever.)

What Else I've Been Up To
Last weekend was my husband's family Christmas weekend in Edmonton. We ate some great food and swam a lot in the hotel pool and played lots of games. The kids had a great time doing a gift exchange and acting out the Nativity.
Also, I've been trying not to despair over all the things that have broken down recently. First, it was our Wii. Then the dishwasher. Yesterday, the snow-blower. Today, my husband's truck and our washer. Add in the fact that Christmas is coming plus two birthdays- one a week before Christmas, the other a week after- and I'm dying just a little bit. I feel like Ron Weasley: "Why is everything I own rubbish?" I have to remind myself that it's just things, just money, and that everything will work out eventually. Even if that means going to my sister-in-laws house every week to do my laundry. :/

Monday, December 9, 2013


I finished my NaNo WIP before November was over and surprisingly, I've barely thought of it since. Been too busy with Christmas, etc. Anyway, my daughter was watching TV the other day and BAM! there was my main character, which of course brought the whole manuscript back to mind.

So here's my cast of main characters right now:
Bella Thorne looks so close to how I imagine my MC: red-haired, drama queen Trevi. And she's around the right age which is a bonus since I was thinking Isla Fisher originally. Besides, Bella Thorne can sing which is a major part of who Trevi is.
This manuscript is a YA mystery with a bit of magical realism. There are a few boys who cross paths with Trevi, and all of them become suspects of the strange things that have been happening to girls at the school. 

Suspect #1: Jaff
No, Zayn Malik wouldn't be my favorite One Directioner, if, you know, I actually had one. Which of course I don't. Because I'm in my thirties and that would be just... okay, fine, it's Louis. ANYWAY, Zayn was very inspirational for my character Jaff who is misunderstood and mysterious, friendless, very quiet, but surprises Trevi with his powerful voice.

Suspect #2: Carver
Martin Johnson from Boys Like Girls is obviously too old to be in high school. But when I wrote Carver, I couldn't think of anyone else. Cocky, hot in a sort of messy way, but a total jerkface (which I'm sure Martin Johnson actually isn't, but oh well). Trevi doesn't want to interact with this guy, but something happens leaving her with little choice in the matter. 

Suspect #3: Hudson
Asher Book. Originally, I thought of Justin Timberlake for the role of Hudson. But again, age. And I think Asher Book can pull off the baby face and charm. At first, Trevi is into Hudson, but when she finds out he's a player, she loses interest. But he's not easily dissuaded.
This manuscript needs a lot of work, but it's fun to make up a cast anyway. It brings me right back into the book and gets me excited to work on it, even though it's later on my to-do list.
Have you cast your latest manuscript?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Do You Want to Build A Snowman?

What I'm Reading
I'm going through a reading slump right now which happens to me every once in awhile. I read so much that sometimes I'm just not in the mood and need a break. I'm reading The Archived by Victoria Schwab but haven't gotten very far yet. I hope I get back in the mood for reading soon.

What I'm Writing
Nothing! I finished my NaNo WIP last Wednesday (61k!!!). Since I just wrote two manuscripts back-to-back, I'm taking December off. Sort of. I'm not writing or revising but I am using the time off to read some books on craft- something I've never done. (Before you vilify me, I do read Writer's Digest every month which totally counts.) But I thought I'd read some actual books, starting with the classic, On Writing by Stephen King. Next up is a book on revising which I'm totally going to need because I have a feeling that next year is going to be a revising year.

What Inspires Me Right Now
Um, nothing really. I mean, I'm not writing or revising so there's really nothing to get inspired for. Of course, it is December, which means CHRISTMAS: the most wonderful time of the year and always inspiring to me.

What Else I've Been Up To
I took the kids to see Frozen. It was a great movie with fun songs and I loved the MC. HOWEVER, it had some plot problems. Maybe a lot of kids movies do, but this is the first time I've ever noticed. I mean, this is a Disney movie! Disney shouldn't slack on stuff like this. But anyway, it was still a fun movie to watch and my kids have the soundtrack on repeat so I'm constantly singing at people, "Do you want to build a snowman?" (Which I really don't.)
Why oh why didn't they give Jonathan Groff more songs?!

And speaking of Frozen, there was a huge blizzard from Sunday night until Tuesday so me and the kids were stuck inside for two days in a row. The weather here is so crappy. Can I move now?
Photo: I don't think the kids can get out the back gate. Good thing it's a snow day.
This snowdrift is almost to the top of our fence.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Catching Fire and Catching NaNo

What I'm Reading
So I finished that romance book and moved onto The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab which I just finished last night. I've heard so many people rave about her books and so I finally put all of them on hold at the library. I hate to say that I just didn't feel The Near Witch. The writing was really good, but I found the book slow. I didn't get into it like I wanted to. But that doesn't mean I'm not giving her another try. Up next- The Archived (also by Victoria Schwab).

What I'm Writing
I reached the NaNo goal of 50,000 words on Sunday! !!! I'm still not done the book, although I'm pretty close. I might not make it to 60k but I'm not worrying about it. Right now, I just want to type THE END, hopefully by the end of the week. (Maybe even today!)

What Inspires Me Right Now
The Phantom of the Opera has been hugely inspiring to me while I've been writing this manuscript. It figures prominently within the book. While I've been listening extra hard to my playlist hoping to catch a song that fits, the only one so far has been this one:

Relax My Beloved by Alex Clare is appropriately creepy

What Else I've Been Up To
Last Friday night I saw... CATCHING FIRE!!! Here's the deal. When The Hunger Games came out I was so stinking excited. I reread all the books right before and I just couldn't wait to see the movie. This time, I was much less excited. November has been so busy, not to mention the fact that my daughter's birthday party was the same day that I saw the movie. Also, I didn't reread the books this time. So I just didn't get all that excited. But if it's possible, I loved Catching Fire even more than The Hunger Games. The movie was a lot more intense, I spent the most of it on the edge of my seat. I loved the relationship building between Katniss and Peeta, I loved the new tributes. Everyone did such a great job. Since I didn't reread the books, I didn't notice any glaring differences. The only thing I didn't like? The end. The fact that I have to wait another year for Mockingjay and it's only PART ONE. Goll. Have you seen Catching Fire and what did you think of it?

Head over to Jaime's blog to link up if you want to participate in What's Up Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Loki Love

What I'm Reading
I finished Eragon in record time, but I have to admit I skimmed a bit. To me during this read, it seemed unnecessarily long, but that could be because I haven't read fantasy in so long, or the fact that I've read this already and didn't want to be bothered with paragraphs of description. I picked up From This Moment On by Bella Andre because it has a similar premise to an idea that I've had for awhile. It's only the second romance I've ever read and while it's a quick read and the story itself is entertaining, I'm reminded again that category romance isn't really my thing.

What I'm Writing
I've got less than 10k to go for NaNoWriMo! I took a day off on Sunday which turned out to be a great idea because then on Monday I pounded out almost 5k. I keep telling myself I have until the end of November, but then I argue that I don't need to take it slow for no reason and it's only a bonus if I finish earlier than scheduled. Here's hoping.

What Inspires Me Right Now
I don't know if it's inspiration so much as the drive to get this WIP finished. That's all I'm feeling right now is the push to finish. Also, this song helped me a lot with that major writing spurt on Monday:
The Point of No Return from Phantom

What Else I've Been Up To
Last weekend I saw the new Thor and it didn't disappoint. I read an article about how they went back after they had finished filming to shoot even more Loki scenes and thank the Norse gods for that! (It could have used even more IMO.) Loki really made the movie, although I loved everything else about it, too. This weekend: Catching Fire!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Rereading

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop. Head on over to Jaime's blog if you want to participate.

What I'm Reading

I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell which was amazing like all her stuff. She is the queen of memorable characters and catchy dialogue. Now I'm re-reading Eragon. I've read three of the four books but it was so long ago that I have to start from the beginning before I read the last one. I feel this is a bit ambitious because I know the library is going to be sending me some books mighty soon...

What I'm Writing
More than halfway to the NaNo goal at 27k! I'm really happy with my progress so far. I still feel like my WIP is a bit of a mess, but I think that might be because I'm not rereading what I've done, just carrying on right where I left off. Also, I'm juggling a lot of characters and writing a mystery which is new for me so... yikes! But at least I'm getting the words out.

What Inspires Me Right Now

What Else I've Been Up To 
Over the weekend I went to my parents house with the kids. We helped them put up their Christmas tree and the kids had tons of fun with Grandma and Grandpa. I also got my words written, which was surprising since I didn't think I'd get to them while I was there. All in all, it was a pretty good week.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Reading, Writing, and Decorating, Oh My!

It's What's Up Wednesday day. Head over to Jaime's blog to see what everyone else is up to and link up your own post if you want.

What I'm Reading
 This past week I read both Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman. I loved these books like crazy. They had the kind of characters I wish were my friends and the kind of settings (different places around the world) that I wish I was in. My only complaint is that I wish both endings had MORE. I want more AFTER the fact. This is just one my things, though- a thing I'm guilty of in my own writing (too much AFTER).

What I'm Writing
I've done really well so far with my NaNo goal of 2k a day. So far I'm up to just over 13k!!! I feel a little bit like this WIP is a mess but I'm forcing myself NOT to worry about that and just get the words out and the story told. Most of my first drafts are messes anyway.

What Inspires Me Right Now
All the other writers out there doing NaNo and killing it! I can't believe some people's word counts! I'm happy with doing 2k a day, but hearing people do four or six or even more just makes me determined to stick to my goal and get this WIP written.

Also, these:
My NaNo WIP is tentatively titled JAR OF HEARTS

What Else I've Been Up To
Else? ELSE? Who has time for ELSE? Just kidding. Actually, Halloween was last week and seeing all the costumes was really fun and my kids had a great time trick-or-treating. We were lucky to have okay weather, too. (And by okay, I mean it was cold and snowy but not blizzarding or minus thirty.)
Photo: Hulk, a Furby, a Spanish Princess, and Supergirl are all ready to go trick-or-treating.
We've got a Furby, Hulk, Supergirl, and a Spanish Princess
Then, once Halloween was over, I started putting up CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!!! I don't have my tree up yet, or my stockings, but most of the rest is up and I love it!
Photo: I've got about 90% of my Christmas stuff up!
Front door Christmas decorations

Friday, November 1, 2013


Today is the start of NaNoWriMo!!!

Yikes. That pretty much sums up how I feel. Yikes.

Anyway, I'm posting today to say that I probably won't be posting much during the month of November. I'm going to try to participate in What's Up Wednesday every week but that'll be all as I try to write ALL THE WORDS. Or, 50,000 of them. And try NOT to die of stress and/or brain explosion.

Good luck to all the other NaNo-ers out there, and good luck too to all those who aren't NaNo-ing because they're revising or taking it slower or even just taking a break. Luck to me too, that I make it through this month.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Stressing, That's What's Up

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop with other folks on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you want to join us, we encourage you to visit a few other WUW blogs each week, get to know some other writers, and spread some writerly love! Link up here.

What I'm Reading
Finished The Raven Boys. So good. Then I read The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White. She's a fave author of mine and this book didn't disappoint aside from one tiny nitpick which I won't even bother getting into. It was fun to read about Egypt mythology. The only other books I've read that deals with it are The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan (also great books and I still haven't read the third one yet). Next up on my TBR: Just One Day by Gayle Forman.

What I'm Writing
Right now I'm prepping for NaNoWriMo. And by prepping, I mean STRESSING. Why did I decide to do this? Not only am I worried about the time constraints, but I'm a TERRIBLE outliner. I don't think pantsing is going to work here though. I've jotted down tons of notes and tried to outline the things I want to happen but I feel like it's the most pathetic outline I've ever seen. Ugh.

What Inspires Me Right Now
Speaking of NaNo, this song is what helped me come up with the idea for my NaNo WIP.

Christina Perri- Jar of Hearts

What Else I've Been Up To
Last Thursday I got to *meet* Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced Steve-otter, who knew?) She was so entertaining and funny, I'm so glad I got to go. Of course, I ended up having one of those moments where I said something totally lame when it was time to get my book signed. Go me. It was only AFTER that I thought of something better to say. *headdesk* I also got to briefly say hello to our What's Up Wednesday hostess, Jaime Morrow. Even though it took some major juggling to get to go that night, I'm so glad I went and I highly recommend going to a Maggie signing if you get the chance.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Recently... okay a few months ago... my mom gave me this book of hers that she wants me to read. It's a self-help book. Something about busy mom's and letting it all go and loving yourself and you get the idea. I still haven't read it.

I've got nothing against self-help books, I don't. I know they can be very helpful. In fact, I'm sure there are lots out there, this book included, that might make me feel better about myself, my life, my parenting, my writing, every aspect of my life.

But here's the thing. When I get the time to sit down and relax, I don't want to read a self-help book. I want to get lost in a story of love and hate and war and power and first kisses and last kisses and relationships and people who are just as or more screwed up than me. I want to lose myself in other people's problems, not my own.

I actually did crack this book last Friday. I read probably the first ten to fifteen pages. Of course, it's not that bad. It's actually pretty entertaining. But reading a self-help book to me is like exercising. I don't want to do it and I whine and complain to myself how I don't want to do it and I'd rather be doing anything else, but when I finally do it, I like it and I'm glad I did it. Unfortunately, it's easier for me to find the motivation to get on the treadmill than it is to open a self-help book.

I don't know if I'll ever finish this book. My mom is coming this week and I either need to force myself to read it or just hand it back with a mumbled, "yeah, it was great."

Okay, maybe I need the book after all.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Eponine's Playlist

I love making playlists for my manuscripts. I love to play these songs while I write/revise. I love it when they pop up on the radio or on my iPad, immediately drawing me into the world I've created. To this day when I hear "Two Is Better Than One" by Boys Like Girls I think of DAZE AND KNIGHTS. When I hear "Haunted" by Taylor Swift I think of DAZE's 1st draft sequel. When I hear "Cry Me A River" by Michael Buble I think of SWAY. And now I've got a great playlist going for EPONINE.

Since I'm in Canada and don't get Spotify, and YouTube videos don't show up on some devices, here are links to the songs on EPONINE's playlist. Enjoy!
Royals by Lorde
On My Own from Les Miserables sung by Samantha Barks
Clarity by Zedd ft. Foxes
What You Wanted by One Republic
Moments by One Direction
Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons
Say Something by A Great Big World
A Little Fall of Rain from Les Miserables sung by Lea Salonga and Michael Ball

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Eponine and Josh Hutcherson

It's What's Up Wednesday time!
What I'm Reading
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Wait, was I reading this same book last week? I hope not! That would be like, against my own personal code or something.

What I'm Writing
I finished my first revision on EPONINE. While it's in the hands of CP's, I am going to (attempt) to forget about it and focus on outlining for NaNoWriMo. I've got an idea but it needs to be a lot more fleshed out if I'm going to write it in a month. (Eek!)

What Inspires Me Right Now
I started EPONINE more than a year ago. I only wrote around 10k before I put it aside to alternately work on other things and take a couple of breaks from writing. Around the same time that I started, I happened to see The Hunger Games movie. I've been Team Peeta since the start and I was really impressed with how Josh Hutcherson embodied the character when I was expecting him to blow at it. When I created my character of Mark Parsons (AKA: Marius Pontmercy), I had Peeta/Josh in mind. I really wanted Mark to have that same goodness that Peeta has. I wanted him to be strong and brave, and yet sweet and soft too. I wanted him to be an all-around very good guy. This week while I was revising and needed some inspiration, I spent a little time trolling pictures of Josh Hutcherson.

This is how I picture Mark. Inspiring, yes?

What Else I've Been Up To
Besides watching too much TV (and I'm still so behind!), I saw Escape Plan on the weekend. Another thing I was totally expecting to blow and surprisingly, it didn't. It's not amazing by any stretch but it had its moments and I have to admit, I was entertained. I'm so excited for all the great movies coming in November. When am I going to find the time to NaNo???

Monday, October 21, 2013

Vampires and Key Chains

It's Monday, so I feel like I should be productive and blog about something worthwhile. But all I've got right now are ALL THE FEELS about a few different things.

Like The Vampire Diaries. SPOILERS COMING. I watched two episodes last night. I think it's a bit funny how they drench the plot with so much. (He's not Stefan, he's Silas! He's not Matt, he's some-other-Traveler-guy! Bonnie's dead! Ketsia's here! Katherine is human and her blood is the cure! etc, etc.) Sometimes it's a little eye-roll-worthy in my mind, and yet I still love the show. When last week's ended on, Oh no, Stefan doesn't remember them anymore! I thought, OF COURSE. It's convenient to have a character not remember who they are because then it's almost like starting from the beginning. Beauty and the Beast is using the same trope. However, I had to laugh at myself when I realized I did the SAME thing in my now shelved time-travel manuscript. It's an easy way to thicken the plot, not that they really need to.

Is that how you spell Ketsia?                        Stefan. Nope, Silas.
I've got to say I've got huge appreciation for the general vampire-ness in this show. Vampires have come a long way in the past ten years. Yesterday I watched a season five episode of Smallville where Lana joins a sorority and all the girls are vampires (she becomes one, too) and it was pretty cheesy. We should thank better tech and Stephenie Meyer for vampires being a whole lot cooler these days.
Lana Lang: vampire
Another thing I'm loving is The Dream Thieves. People have gushed and gushed about this book lately so why add to all that gushing? But it's really good. There, I gushed. And I still love Gansey, despite his boat shoes and salmon polo shirts.

Besides vampire shows and awesome books, I like nerdy things. Like this:

View photo.JPG in slide show

The hubs paid extra for a special Thor cup at the movies on the weekend. I mock him for this usually because all we end up with are tiny figurines that sit inside our kitchen cupboard (waste of money). But this is a KEY CHAIN. So I called MINE and now Thor's hammer helps me find my keys in my gigantic purse.

Happy Monday!