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!

Friday, October 18, 2013


Expectations are a dangerous thing. Sometimes we go into something thinking it's going to be so totally awesome and then are disappointed when it doesn't live up to our hype.

"Maybe this HP movie will be amazing! Oh... no... not quite."

Sometimes, we think something is going to be so totally awesome and then SURPRISE! It actually is.

Avengers, anyone?

Sometimes, I don't have any expectations at all, and then end up VERY pleasantly surprised.

Don't cry, Stefan, your show is amazing!

Sometimes, I don't have any expectations at all, and then end up unsurprised and undisappointed (I know that's not a word) when it sucks.

I thought this movie would be crap and it was. Moving on.

Sometimes, we expect something specific, and then end up disappointed when that something specific doesn't happen. For example, after watching the first episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., my hubs said to me, "that wasn't what I was expecting at all." He didn't like the show as much as I did because he thought there would be superheroes in the show and I knew there wouldn't be. He thought there would be more, and when there wasn't, he was disappointed.

So why am I talking about expectations? The Scorpio Races, that's why. When I picked up this book, I expected two things:

ONE: that I would most likely love it because it's by one of my fave authors, Maggie Stiefvater.

TWO: that the book would be ABOUT a race.

This second expectation was what kind of lost the book for me. Yes, The Scorpio Races is about a race. BUT. This race doesn't happen until the VERY END of the book and it only lasts a chapter or two. For some reason, I went into this book thinking at least half, if not three quarters of the book would take place DURING the race. Think, Hidalgo. So when I started reading, and then reading some more, and more, getting a hundred pages, two hundred pages in, and STILL no race? I was a bit disappointed. I kept waiting for this big race to happen and got very impatient with the book when it didn't.

Was this a reasonable expectation for me to have? Maybe, maybe not. But I had it, nevertheless. I couldn't get rid of it. And it colored my opinion about the book.

HOWEVER. Expectation number one did end up coming true. I did like the book, A LOT, because Stiefvater didn't disappoint in any other way. The characters were good and the world vivid. I felt for both Puck and Sean. I teared up. She ended the book perfectly. The book was GOOD. But sadly, I can't say I loved it based on that one ridiculous expectation that didn't come true.

Be careful of expectations. Unfortunately, sometimes we can't help them. There was really nothing that said the book would take place mostly during the race, I just thought it would. Sometimes, we can't avoid expectations. We can't shake them. The best we can do is move beyond, whether that means seeing what did live up when something did not, or saying, it wasn't great, oh well, moving on.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Royals and Shoes

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! Don't forget to leave the link to your post on Jaime's blog.

I finished The Scorpio Races on Sunday and started The Dream Thieves on Tuesday. It's Maggie Stiefvater week! I've got things to say about The Scorpio Races but I think I'll leave them for their own blog post. The Dream Thieves is starting out great, I just don't remember who the Gray Man is. Am I supposed to? I thought about rereading The Raven Boys but finally decided that I'd rather do a reread before the last book comes out. (BTW, thanks to Jaime who let me know that Maggie Stiefvater is coming to the bookstore just minutes away from me!!! I really hope I get to go see her!)

I'm more than halfway through on my EPONINE edits. I'm pretty happy with a lot of the writing but I'm still worried about some stuff- mainly a few of my secondary characters. One of my CPs currently has my first half, I'm hoping that she'll be able to tell me if I need more fleshing out. (I have a feeling that I do.)

I've loved Royals by Lorde since I first heard it, but yesterday when it came on the radio, I had one of those moments where I see a scene from my manuscript play out like a movie. I know TV has already stolen this song, and I'm sure at least one movie will too, but now I will always think of Royals as part of the soundtrack to EPONINE.

Thanksgiving! We had a great dinner with awesome food and lots of family. I made a pretty tasty peanut butter chocolate brownie thing, and there was even some left over, but then my daughter kicked her shoe off in the car on the way home and guess where it fell? It didn't land right in the dessert, but her feet stunk so bad that there's no way that some of it didn't sink in.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


While you crazy Americans are at work right now, I'm doing this:

And this:

And this:

And this, because I like to eat and read at the same time:

So again I say, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And I'll see you on Wednesday if I've managed not to eat myself into a coma. (Which is slightly ironic considering last Friday's post.)


Friday, October 11, 2013

Food Issues

A few days ago, I was talking to a CP about doing a treat reward with writing. Write so many words and then get a yummy treat! Sounds like a great idea but I opted out.

Why? I've got food issues.

It didn't used to be this way. All through high school, I could eat pretty much what I wanted and stay the same weight. I was never the skinny-mini, nor was I overweight. I gained the freshman fifteen at college (and after) but lost it on a very unhealthy diet of a supersized McDonald's meal once a day (no joke). Even during four pregnancies, I gained the appropriate amount of weight, 30-35lbs, and even though it got harder after each birth to lose it again, I always did.

Once number four was born, I decided I'd really get in shape. I'd exercise. I wanted to look good and lose that baby belly. So I went on Weight Watchers. I didn't actually go to the meetings or get weighed, but I did it all at home. I kept a food diary, keeping track of every single thing I put in my mouth and how many points it was worth. I obsessed over food. It became all I thought about. On cheat days, I would gorge myself so bad on junk, I'd make myself sick.

I'm not gonna lie, Weight Watchers worked. And I'm not knocking the program- if you use it right, you get results, while still getting to eat foods that you love. I weighed less than I did in high school. I thought I had it all under control so I went off the program. I already knew what I should and shouldn't eat and how big portion sizes should be. It would be easy, right?

Hahahahahaha. (That's me, laughing maniacally at myself.) I gained it all back plus some. DUH. For awhile, I didn't care. I thought, no one else cares about how much I weigh except me, so why bother? I want to enjoy life, not starve. I felt sort of like this:

Then I saw a picture of myself while in Hawaii and thought ICK. So I tried the LoseIt app. Then quit. Then tried again. Then quit. I exercised. Then quit. Then exercised. Then quit.

See what I mean about issues? I eat when I'm stressed. When I'm tired. When I'm in a bad mood. Not only that, but I LOVE food. The good stuff as well as most of the bad. In fact, I'm surprised that I haven't been bigger, gained more. (Thank you metabolism. I guess you're still chugging away.)

I needed a change. I didn't want to go back to obsessing over food to the point that it controlled my life. Nor did I want to go back to not caring. So I decided that I needed an in-between. I needed to just Make. Better. Choices.

I don't keep a food diary, I don't measure out portions. But I go for healthier things. Instead of a two cheeseburgers meal and regular fries at McDonald's, I eat a grilled chicken snack wrap and a small fries. Instead of eating chimichangas for lunch (LOVE those), I eat a lot of salads. (Funny enough, I eat more salads now than I did on Weight Watchers. I think it's because I don't have to measure out each portion of vegetables.) When I eat something I probably shouldn't have (like last night's mozza sticks and Whopper Jr.), I don't beat myself up about it. Also, I've exercised pretty consistently since January. I've gotten enough into a routine that it doesn't take much thought to do it. I even enjoy it- or more likely, I enjoy the TV shows I watch while doing it.

I'm trying to get a better mentality when it comes to food. I'm trying to make those better choices. This is something I know I'll wrestle with my entire life, and it doesn't just have to do with food, but with my mental state (that sounds bad). This is something I definitely cannot connect with my writing.

So wish me luck, or give me a kick in the pants if you see me eating chips.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Scorpio and Sleepy

I'm back (I forgot to post on Monday) for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly bloghop hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.

What I'm Reading

Right now I'm a hundred or so pages into The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I love everything she's written so far, but I'm still on the fence about this one. The world building is amazing and the characters rich (as usual in her books), but it's taking me some time to get into it. I'm not quitting though. It's Stiefvater for crying out loud.

What I'm Writing
On Monday I started my revisions on EPONINE. My first drafts are mostly dialogue and inner thoughts, so I have a lot of setting and description to fill in. Also, when I was about halfway through, I went back and changed up a few characteristics of my MC so I'm watching for inconsistencies now. What I have trouble seeing on my first revision is bigger picture plot things. That's why I love my CPs so much.

What Inspires Me Right Now
Way back a year ago when I was just starting this WIP, I searched online for the perfect actress to portray my MC Eponine Thorpe. And I found her. Everything about this picture completely captures the way I see her.
Alexz Johnson

What Else I've Been Up To
Shoot. I hate this question. Because it seems like all I do is clean, read, spend time with my kids, write, eat, sleep, and watch TV, sometimes more than one of those at once. Like right now, I'm writing this and watching a PVR'd episode of Sleepy Hollow. "What's your name? Tall, dark, and British?" Ha, good line. (And my favorite kind. ;) ) So, what have you been up to?

Friday, October 4, 2013


Now that I'm done my manuscript, I feel like I can actually talk about it. I like to stay mum about things, for one because I know there are stealers out there who actually NAB ideas from other writers! I know! I was shocked when I heard about it too (this has happened to a few authors and it makes me so very sad). And since I'm not the fastest writer out there, I really didn't want to announce to the world that I'm doing an Eponine retelling. Not that I have the patent on this idea or anything, but still. And for two, I didn't want to jinx said idea, because I wasn't sure if I could actually pull it off.

To be honest, I'm still not sure I did. I'm scared about my low word count, I'm scared about my shoddy world building, I'm scared that this story JUST DIDN'T WORK. I'm scared that my MC is totally unlikeable or unrelateable, that my love interest isn't that desirable, and that my secondary characters are flat and boring (LIKE THEY ALWAYS ARE).

Basically, I'm scared.

But I'm also super excited about this idea. I've always loved the character of Eponine from Les Mis... or should I say, from the musical Les Mis. In the book, she's not that likable. More than a year ago I was watching the 25th Anniversary DVD of Les Mis, my heart breaking (as it always does) when Eponine sings On My Own, and crying (as I always do) when Eponine and Marius sing A Little Fall of Rain. So during all this breaking heart and crying, I thought, WOULDN'T HER STORY BE SO GOOD ON ITS OWN? WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT TO MAKE IT MODERN?

Cue a few months later when I decided, WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF I MADE THIS STORY URBAN FANTASY? (I'm still not sure if that was great or not.)

Cue another year later and I'm done and I still think GREAT GREAT GREAT mixed in with a lot of SCARED FRIGHTENED and HOLY CRAP WHAT DID I JUST WRITE?

On Monday, when I pick this thing back up again, I'll get to see just how crappy/great it turned out. So, here's to first drafts! *clink* And here's to revising! *clink clink*

And here's to Eponine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Say Something

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 on Jaime Morrow's blog or Erin Funk's blog.
What I'm Reading
I'm reading and LOVING United We Spy by Ally Carter, the last book in her Gallagher Girls series. I love Ally Carter's books and this one hasn't disappointed so far. Here's a teaser:
(A list by Cameron Morgan)
- Secret passageways. I know I've mentioned these before, but seriously. My academic experience would have been extremely different without them.
- Roommates with private jets. Again, this makes things a lot easier. I'm not saying that we couldn't have stowed away on a cargo ship (that was Bex's original idea), but when Macey made a phone call and said, "The jet will be here in twenty," we didn't exactly protest.
- Don't go where you're going. No. Really. So you want to go to Rome to break out your roommate's boyfriend... the last think you do is fly to Rome. Too obvious. Too easy to track. And, besides, we were in Macey's mom's private jet. There were going to be flight plans and manifests and stuff. So Rome was absolutely not our destination.
- Pack carefully (because even a rolling bag can be inconvenient in a high-speed chase, especially one involving cobblestones).
- Be careful. (page 52-53)
What I'm Writing
Nothing! I'm taking a week off from my finished WIP. The past couple of days I did a little bit of beta-ing, and I'm stewing an idea in my brain for NaNo, but that's it.
What Inspires Me Right Now
I love dance so much and there was this one from So You Think You Can Dance (one of many!) that really spoke to me because it fit right in with my manuscript. The story of best friends but one is in love with the other is just PERFECT. The song has been added to my MS playlist. If the video doesn't work, check out Say Something by A Great Big World, or Amy and Robert's dance Say Something from this year's SYTYCD.
What Else I've Been Up To
Yesterday was the start of October so, being the keener that I am, I put up all my Halloween stuff! Which isn't a whole lot, but it was still fun and the kids go crazy for the decorations. Here's just a bit of what I have up:
Photo: Halloween stuff is up!
My front hall
So what's new with you?