Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pick A Fave, Any Fave

It's the end of the month, so of course YA Highway wants to know for Road Trip Wednesday:

What's the best book you read in July?

It's been such an awesome reading month! Either something was wrong with me last month, or the books I read just weren't stellar enough (I'm betting the first), but this month I read so many awesome books that my faith in reading has been restored! Yay!

Seriously, how am I supposed to pick a fave out of this bunch?

Guess what? I can't.

I will say that Ally Carter is one of my fave authors so it was a given that I'd love Perfect Scoundrels (which I did). Same with Opal- I figured I'd love it and I did. Star Cursed and The Elite were both excellent sequels and they both end on total WHAT-THE-HEY?! moments that leave you wanting the third book yesterday. Dark Triumph was also a great sequel, just without the cliffhanger ending.

This is the first time I've read Rainbow Rowell and I absolutely loved both of her books. She's the kind of author where I'd pick up any book written by her now because these two (one YA, one adult) were both so so excellent. She does contemporary brilliantly. Her characters are the kind of people I want to be friends with. I devoured these books. If you've never read Rainbow Rowell, do it now! If I had to pick, her two books would definitely take the top spot. (Warning: there's graphic language in both, just FYI.)

PS. If you've noticed that I didn't mention Requiem, it's because I was a little disappointed with it. Lauren Oliver is a wonderful writer and the book was good in many respects, but the ending just killed it for me- in a bad way. It was very unsatisfying. :(

Monday, July 29, 2013

Manic Monday

It's just another Manic Monday... (I wonder how many times I'll use that line?)

Manic Writing

Another line from the WIP I worked on NOT AT ALL this past week (yikes):

     Mark is lying. I know it, and by the way he stares ahead without meeting my eyes, the way his hands grip the steering wheel as he drives, he knows I know it. But I don’t push him. If he can’t talk to me, or won’t, I won’t force him. Even though it hurts. 
     I’m getting used to this pain that Mark unknowingly inflicts on me.
Manic Reading

From The Elite by Keira Cass:

"You're lucky my father had the cameras barred from the palace, otherwise there'd be hell to pay for your actions." He ran his hand through his hair, exasperated. "How am I supposed to defend this, America?" (page 114)

Manic Watching

I saw The Wolverine over the weekend and thought it was great! Hugh Jackman is always good, and there's something so COOL about when he whips those claws out. (And a bit sexy too. Don't know what that says about me.) The action and stunts were awesome, of course. My only complaint is that there weren't enough MUTANTS. That's one of the best thing about any X-Men movie- the different mutants and their fantastic powers. This movie was lacking just a tad.

Manic Listening

I've liked Clarity ever since I heard it on Glee. Lately it's been WIP-inspiring.

Cuz you are the piece of me, I wish I didn't need
Chasing relentlessly, still fight and I don't know why
If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?
If our love's insanity, why are you my clarity?

So what are you doing on this Manic Monday? Link up in the comments and I'll come check you out!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Proud Pantser

I've always felt a little... guilty... that I'm a pantser. Like, I want to be a GOOD writer so I should outline like a GOOD writer does. When I went back to my WIP after leaving it for like, a year, I promised myself I WILL OUTLINE THIS because I am a responsible, GOOD writer. I wrote a few notes on character, different plot points, and... that was it.

And then I read an article in Writer's Digest (a few months ago? I can't remember when exactly) that talked about why being a pantser can be a good thing. He advised writers to toss their outlines and write organically.

I applaud all writers who can outline before they start writing. If I was you, I'd ignore that dude. If outlining is necessary to you then do it! What the article made me realize is that it's also okay to be a pantser. That I can still be a GOOD writer when I write organically without a set plan in place.

Before I wrote the scene I just finished, I had no set plan of what was going to happen next, just a vague idea. As I came to the end of the scene, what should happen next came to me easily. I never thought I would go in that direction, it never occurred to me to have this next thing happen, but it was SO OBVIOUS. That's the brilliance of being a pantser. When I try to outline, I just don't get these ideas. It's only when I'm writing that the story reveals itself to me.

So I'm a pantser and I'm proud. Even if that means I might have a few extra rounds of revisions later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Great Escape

Here's today's Road Trip Wednesday question:

In this month's Bookmobile selection--OVER YOU by Amy Reed--the main character and her best friend try to escape their problems with a summer trip to Nebraska. If you could escape somewhere (anywhere!) for the summer, where would it be?

As if I could pick. Sheesh. Um, ANYWHERE?

Okay, not anywhere. Europe would be my first choice. I've been to France once (a small town in the south) but never Paris. Yeah, Paris. And then Rome. Venice. Madrid. London. Prague. Amsterdam. Glasgow. And everywhere in between. But not in that order. I want to see stuff like this, but in REAL LIFE.

Where would you go?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Manic Monday

Lately I've been posting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Friday's. I've always felt a little weird about this schedule, like it's wrong somehow (is that a little OCD or what?). So I'm gonna switch things up a bit.

I've decided to start my own thing. Every Monday I'm going to post a teaser of what I'm reading (bye bye Teaser Tuesday), a line or two from what I'm writing or revising, a quote from what I'm watching (movie or TV), and a song lyric that I'm loving or that's inspiring me that day. I'm calling it Manic Monday (thank you to The Bangles) because as everyone knows, Monday's can be totally crazy, which is why I'm all about the one-liners. And besides, I tend to do things a little manic-ly (maniacally?) so the word just works.

So here we go, my first Manic Monday. If you want to participate, link up in the comments and I'll come check you out.

Manic Writing

From my super secret WIP. And keep in mind, this is still in 1st-draft form:

I flash back to that time in the alley, when I screamed and people came. No one would come now. No one listens to screams anymore. Only Dad—he would come. And instead of two murders tonight, there would be three.

Manic Reading

From Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell:

"And you look like a protagonist." She was talking as fast as she could think. "You look like the person who wins in the end. You're so pretty, and so good. You have magic eyes," she whispered. "And you make me feel like a cannibal." (page 113)

Manic Watching

I've been rewatching Spooks (also knows as MI-5 in the States) and this quote spoke to me:

"If you are valuable enough to someone, you can never be free."

Manic Listening

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up) by Fall Out Boy- a song that inspires me while writing my WIP.

I've got the scars from tomorrow and I wish you could see
That you're the antidote to everything except for me
A constellation of tears on your lashes
Burn everything you love then burn the ashes
In the end everything collides
My childhood spat back out the monster that you see

So what are you doing on this Manic Monday?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Enchanted Lucky Jar of Kisses

Ooh, I love this week's Road Trip Wednesday question:

What song would you love to see a book based on?

Sometimes I hear a song and think, that song is perfect for my WIP, or this or that manuscript. Other times I hear a song and think, wouldn't that make a great scene in a book?! I can't think of one song that I can imagine a WHOLE book based on, but there have been plenty of songs that inspire different scenes to play out in my head.

Enchanted is THE perfect song for that first-glance, first-touch, first-meet moment. It just screams YA to me. (BTW, this is a fan-made video- a mash-up of her other music videos)

Recently I was listening to this song and thought, now THAT would be fun to write about. 1940s, a young girl trying to break into Hollywood, the glitz, the glamour, the name in lights... I'm sure someone has already done this, but it would make an awesome book!
FYI: I could pick pretty much every TaySwift song. One of the things I love about her music is that each one of her songs is a story. It's easy to visualize the scene in my head because her lyrics paint the perfect picture.
I don't know how much I WANT to write about a jerk who uses and abuses girls. I like me a good guy, not a bad one. But this song makes me want to read a story about it. Someone else get on that, 'k?
I don't think a whole book could be based on this song, but listening to it- I just want to write a kissing scene.
(Excuse the Spanish subtitles, but I loved the pics in this video)
What song could you base a book on?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Perfect Scoundrels

Have I ever mentioned that Ally Carter is one of my favorite authors?

Well, she is, because she's awesome, and she gets the honor of sole teaser today for Teaser Tuesday.

Angus gave an exaggerated sigh. "The Henley picked up the desk three days ago."

Gabrielle nodded, then hopped onto the counter and crossed her long legs. "And so that means..."

"We have to rob the Henley," Simon said.

Kat sank onto a truly uncomfortable sofa. "Again." (page 70)

This teaser comes 'atcha from Perfect Scoundrels, the third Heist Society novel. If you like kick-butt heroines, spy gadgets, twisty twists, and even a smattering of romance, then you MUST try out these books. They are so much fun and really should be made into movies someday. (That goes for her Gallagher Girls series as well.)

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Go After It

I'm multitasking today. The Road Trip Wednesday question over at YA Highway is this:

Quarterly Check-In: We did one back in March, so now that we're just past the halfway point of the year, how are you doing on your goals?

This goes right in with What's Up Wednesday so why not do both?!

What I'm Reading
I'm reading Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood which has been great so far. I love her world of witches and forbidden magic, although I would like her to pinpoint a year. I always assumed it was mid-1800s, but then something I read earlier in the book made me think it takes place closer to the turn of the century. Anyone know what year it takes place?

What I'm Writing
Here's where YA Highway's question comes in. Goals. Yay. I haven't really set concrete goals for myself this year. My main goal is to do a bit each day. If I'm writing, I aim for a thousand words. If I'm revising, I try to do a few chapters, a couple of hours, whatever I can fit in my day. Unfortunately, I haven't been reaching that 1k a day goal. Last summer, I took a break from writing/revising completely so that I could spend time with the kids. I felt guilty sometimes that I wasn't writing and had to keep reminding myself that my kids should be my priority anyway. This summer, I didn't want to take a complete break from writing, but I still think my kids should come first. They're home with me all day, and they want to do things with me. Of course, this makes it hard for me to fit any writing time in. During the school year, my writing time is usually after lunch until the kids get home from school. Now though, that's the worst possible time of the day to try and write which is why I think I'm getting nothing done. I'm also critiquing two manuscripts, and I've been putting that above working on my own. I've promised myself that as soon as I'm done those, that time will go to my writing. Here's hoping,

What Inspires Me Right Now
I couldn't think of anything that's inspiring me right now, and then I found this in my file of blog photos:
Enough said.

What Else I've Been Up To
As you can tell from above, I've been busy with the kids. Today I'm taking them to the beach. Yesterday we had a Just Dance 4 marathon. Tomorrow it's the library and spray park. Hot days seem few and far between here so I try to take full advantage of them.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Requiem and Star Cursed

It's Tuesday, which for me means laundry, bathroom cleaning, and more enjoyably... a Teaser or two!

I finished Requiem by Lauren Oliver, the final book in the Delirium Trilogy. I really liked the book, although I wanted a little bit more wrap-up at the end of the series. It really didn't END. But maybe that's just me. Also, I loved that she did Hana's POV, but I wanted more from her too. I wanted Hana to do more, and she just didn't. I really really really want to tease with the very last few paragraphs of the book, but OF COURSE I can't do that. But they're brilliant. Here's my real teaser that doesn't give away the end:

Maybe they're right. Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road. And in the end that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing. (page 23)

And my second teaser from the book I'm reading now- Star Cursed, the sequel to Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood:

I cannot imagine a life without books.
Without Father's stories of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses, without pirate stories and fairy tales and poems. Without the hope of another way, of freedom and adventure beyond what we have here and now. How dark life would be. (page 39)

How dark indeed. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

I'm switching it up this week. Instead of answering the usual Road Trip Wednesday question, I'm going to join Jaime Morrow's What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm Reading

I'm STILL reading Opal by Jennifer Armentrout. It hasn't been a slow or hard read, I've just been too busy with other things. Up next is Requiem by Lauren Oliver and Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood.

What I'm Writing

I'm STILL plugging away at my YA Urban Fantasy WIP. It's been slow going, which is discouraging sometimes. Even though it's been a tricky WIP, I'm not giving it up. I know I'll finish it someday. I've also been beta-ing two manuscripts- a contemp YA by a wonderful critique partner, and an adult historical by a lady who goes to my church.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I'm always inspired by other writers. Sometimes I feel like I move so slowly compared to others, but on the other hand, they push me to keep at it. Another thing that's inspired me with a Shiny New Idea is this:

What Else I've Been Up To

I mentioned yesterday I spent the Canada Day long weekend in Vancouver with my 9-year-old. We saw Taylor Swift's Red Tour concert which was just amazing. The only prob was I got us floor seats which is a major mistake with a child. She couldn't see a thing once everyone stood and so we had to go stand in the back. Next time, I'll get seats around the sides like we had when we saw her Speak Now concert. We did get up close when she came and sang on the little stage at the back, so I ended up with a couple of okay pics like this one.

What have you been up to? Link up on Jaime Morrow's blog and browse around to see what everyone else has been up to this week.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

An Opal Teaser

I'm still reading the same book as last week... what is the deal? I blame my long weekend in Vancouver where I ate way too much food and went to this:

So here's a new teaser from Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout:

"What do [girls] show up in? Nothing?"
"The closest thing to nothing... Bad for you. Yay for me."
"You really want to die, don't you?" Daemon said.
"Sometimes, I think so." (page 109)

What are you reading this week?