Monday, September 30, 2013

Best Book of September

It's the last day of September already which means, tomorrow I get to bring out the Halloween stuff! *cue creepy laughter and ghost howls*

I read a wide variety of books in September, and since I didn't answer the best book of the month question for YA Highway last week, I'll answer it now.

Sometimes it's so hard for me to pick a fave, but this month, it's very easy. And the winner is... AUSTENLAND!!!

Austenland was a reread for me. I picked it back up again thinking I'd be seeing the movie... but THE MOVIE ISN'T PLAYING HERE!!! I'm a little peeved about that, if you couldn't tell. But I'm so glad I reread the book. It's such a fun and hilariously funny book. Just thinking about it makes me want to reread it again... or better yet, SEE THE MOVIE. (What is wrong with Canada???)

An honorable mention goes to City of Bones, another reread. In this case, I got to see the movie at the same time I was reading the book. I love Cassie Clare and I still love this book. A Darkness Strange and Lovely was a good sequel, I really like this series, but I found myself very annoyed with the MC through most of the book. But isn't the cover gorgeous?!

What did you read in September?

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Party Time!

It's been a long road with this WIP but...

I finally got it finished!!!

Hey look, I figured out GIFs!

I started it last year around April (it's hard to remember that far back), working on it off and on for the past year and a half. When the summer ended, I was determined to finish it, and I did! In less than a month!

This WIP was especially difficult. It was in 1st person present when I'm used to past. And it's a lot darker than the other stuff I've written. I've had to go into the deep dark places of my soul, not somewhere I like to visit, and I still don't know if I managed to get it right. Also, I'm totally stressing over my low word count (57,711). That's totally new for me, usually I'm too high. BUT... I finished. That's what counts right now. So... PARTY TIME!!!

If you look in my windows right now, I'm probably doing this:

And I kinda want to do this. Any takers?

Finishing a first draft is the best. I'm waiting for a week or so until I start revisions. 1- because you're supposed to, and 2- because I want to hold onto this feeling. You know the one: This is the BEST MANUSCRIPT I'VE EVER WRITTEN, it's practically PERFECT!!! Yep, I'm holding onto that as long as I can until I pick it back up again and enter the "you totally suck as a writer" stage.

Until then, it's party time! I've finished my fourth manuscript! I think I deserve a drink! Oh wait, I don't drink. How about some of this?

Just kidding. I hate KFC (but I'd take Loki). Maybe this instead:

Yummmm *drools*

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

First of all, yesterday was so crazy busy that I haven't had the chance to check out the other Nerd Bloghop posts. I'll definitely check them all out soon.

Today I decided to participate in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly blog hop hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Check out their blogs if you want to participate.

What I'm Reading
I've broken from my YA norm, which I do from time to time, to read One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I've heard so many good things about this author that I asked for this book last Christmas. It's only now that I'm getting around to reading it. (I have a hard time letting YA go, even for a moment.) It's got great voice, funny moments, and lots of action. My only teeny tiny BUT right now is that it's just not my genre of choice, which is why I think I'm not as into it as I could be.

What I'm Writing
My super secret WIP is almost done, and not so super secret anymore if you've happened across my entry at Mother. Write. Repeat. (which did not win a critique, ah well.) At the moment, it's titled EPONINE, which I think is pretty self-explanatory, don't you? Oh, but it's YA, and it's Urban Fantasy. Yeah. And might I add that it's been super tough? But I'm thisclose to finishing. YAY!

What Inspires Me Right Now
During one particularly difficult scene I was writing, I came across a song at exactly the right time that totally helped the words to flow from my fingers like butter. Thank you to One Direction for that. No really. I've been a fan for awhile but had never heard this song before. In case you doubt the awesomeness of it, the song was written by Ed Sheeran (and some other dude) so yeah, it's good.

In case the video doesn't show up (why does it do this to me???), here's a sample of the lyrics:

Heart beats harder
Time escapes me
Trembling hands touch skin
It makes this harder
And the tears stream down my face

What Else I've Been Up To
Hmm, aside from writing and reading? Laundry. Cleaning. Treadmilling while watching Smallville. Cooking. Chauffeuring. Mom-ing. Gearing up for all the awesome TV shows starting. Trying to figure out when I'm going to watch said awesome shows. Scheduling my life away. Pretty much that.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nerd Bloghop

It's been so long since I've taken part in a blog hop. This one is so much fun that I couldn't resist!

What is the nerdiest thing about you?

Well... that would probably be my DRAGON COLLECTION. Yep, I really have one. And it looks like this:

My dragon collection. I have 9 (some are hard to see).
A dragon up close

Notice my Harry Potter wands, the Triwizard Cup, and of course a ton of AWESOME books that make my dragon collection look a little less nerdy. Bwahaha, not really.

I've loved fantasy ever since grade five when I read my first Dragonlance book. It helped that my older brothers and sisters were all into fantasy. They played D&D (and I even got to play with them once! which was like the totally awesomest thing because I was only fourteen or fifteen and my sister and her friends were all in their twenties!), they painted the tiny figurines, my brother even built his own armor once. Me and fantasy = destined. I wrote fantasy stories from grade two (so I actually loved fantasy earlier! Hmmm... I don't know how it got started then) and always figured fantasy would be WHAT I WRITE. Which is NOT what I write at all now, funny enough. And I barely read it anymore either. :(

I feel I am neglecting my fantasy nerdness. Then again, I've been crazy deep into Merlin lately (still waiting for season four, waiiiiiiting!!!!!!) and I've rewatched The Hobbit a few too many times so that counts, right?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beep! This Is Not a Test! Beep!

I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled programming to take part in the Nerd Bloghop hosted by Cassie Mae. It starts tomorrow so check out the link if you want to tell us all about YOUR nerdiness. Come on, you know you want to...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Money Woes

Sometimes I feel so stretched thin, money-wise, I wonder how we even have food on the table.

Take school for example. Fees were $105 dollars which isn't that much compared to some schools probably (I really have no clue) but multiply that by three kids. Then there's hot lunches and the fee I have to pay to allow them to stay at school during lunch hour. Not to mention the school supply fee, new backpacks, lunch kits, water bottles, and indoor shoes- all for four kids. So I get all that paid and now, just a few weeks into school, the fundraising begins. Cookie dough orders and the Terry Fox run. Of course, add in monthly tuition for preschool, kickboxing, and four dance classes. Birthday parties, Halloween costumes, and then Christmas is coming up plus all my kids birthdays...

Yeah. I'm stressing out a little. Sometimes I just want to scream, WHO HAS ALL THIS MONEY??? But it's not like we're really hurting though. I've spent time having pretty much nothing- eating ramen for every meal, walking to get anywhere, and donating plasma so I could have a little cash (hello college years). Yet, I've never lived in absolute poverty. There's always been food on the table, and clothes on my back, even if they came from thrift stores. It's easy to see I've got it pretty good, and despite a few lean times, I always have.

So it's time to stop complaining, buck up, and budget. Says my dad's voice in my ear. Or maybe I could listen to my own inner voice and just daydream the stress away. Either one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Generation Starship

Road Trip Wednesday time again. If you want to participate, head on over to YA Highway and link up your answer!

This month's Bookmobile selection, STARGLASS by Phoebe North, takes place on a generation starship. But the characters wouldn't be there if their ancestors hadn't left earth with the hope of their descendants one day colonizing elsewhere. Would you go on a generation starship, if given the opportunity? Why or why not?
Yeah, probably not. If I KNEW for a FACT that the world was coming to an end, like about to explode or be overrun by zombies, then yeah, I would try to get the heck out. But otherwise, no. I'm staying here. I'm pretty positive that we won't be colonizing elsewhere. The earth is ours and it's up to us to make it a great place to live. Not to take off in the hopes that our grand-children or great-grandchildren might get to live on some other planet that humans have yet to destroy.

I swear I'm not some crazy eco-maniac- I recycle and use reusable bags and try not to litter, yet I'm sure there's tons of stuff I should (or shouldn't) be doing to better this planet. But I do feel like this earth is ours and we should take care of it, not jump ship at the first opportunity.

What do you think?

Monday, September 16, 2013

What I Wanted (A Hint: Everything!)

Manic Reading

Finished A Darkness Strange and Lovely last week and now I'm rereading Austenland by Shannon Hale. I forgot how much I loved this book. It's hilarious! I'm reeeeally hoping to see the movie this weekend (it comes out the 20th here in Canada). Here's a teaser:

"Women make life impossible until the man has to be the one to end it. There is no working it out past a certain point. How can anyone work out the lunacy?"
Mr. Nobley took a ragged breath, then his face went red as he seemed to realize what he'd said, where he was. He put the book down gently, pursed his lips, cleared his throat.
No one in the room made eye contact.
"Someone has issues," said Miss Charming in a quiet, singsongy voice. (page 100)

Manic Writing

I did pretty good on my WIP last week. Yay, me! I feel like a lot of what I wrote is garbage, and I'm seriously worried that my word count isn't going to be high enough (a first!) but right now I'm just trying to get the story out. Here's a snippet:

His smile says everything. It tells me that he’s won. That even a murder charge can’t keep him down. Worst of all, his smile says that he’s not done with me yet.

Manic Watching

I watched Anna Karenina over the weekend. The movie was a little strange and a lot depressing, but the dresses made it all worth it. Oh, the dresses! *swoons*

Manic Listening

First off, I have no clue why, when I post youtube videos, they don't show up on iPads (same with my Manic Monday pic above). I usually think I'm pretty computer savvy, but considering this and the fact that I can't get a darn GIF to work... yeah, not so savvy after all, am I? Anyway, I've been loving One Republic's new CD Native and this song happens to go along with my WIP rather well. If it doesn't appear, go check out What You Wanted by One Republic. It's a great song!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Daydreams and Yawns

I had one of those nights last night where no matter how hard I tried to go to sleep, I just couldn't shut my brain off. And it wasn't even that I was stressing about something. Almost the opposite in fact. I was daydreaming a story that I liked so much that even as my body started to drift off, my mind would snap me awake because it probably wanted more. As good as this story was, after four or so hours of trying to go to sleep, it got to be quite annoying. Needless to say, I won't be writing this story down. I like my sleep too much.

So I've got kind of random swirls going around in my brain today, all sort of buried under the current of I NEED A NAP.

This will be me ALL day. Except without the bathrobe. I don't do bathrobes.

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment when I got NOT ONE favorite during #PitMad. Things looked up a bit when I was suddenly followed by one of my favorite authors- Diana Peterfreund. (Please don't let this be a mistake!) It felt like being followed by a rock star. I read her latest tweets after she followed me and she was having a discussion with some other writers about the phenomenon of the twitter pitch party. She noticed that the pitches that seem to get chosen more often than not are first of all YA/NA/MG and not so much adult. Also, that those pitches are usually ones with a huge and enticing hook. I somewhat agree. My Daze and Knights twitter pitch got many many requests while Sway (adult contemp) got none yesterday and a bare one or two at the last couple of pitch parties. While this makes me feel a bit better about not getting favorited, I also know that some pitches that are contemp, that aren't speculative, that are adult, that don't have a jaw-dropping hook, do get chosen. Ah, well. We can't win them all, can we?

Completely unrelated, my mom told me a quote earlier this week which has stuck with me because it's SO TRUE. She was reading an autobiography of Rembrandt and he said something like this (and keep in mind this has been passed from her to me and I have a terrible memory so it is NOT a direct quote),

"Everyone lives two lives: the life they dream about and the life they actually live. If you're lucky, both of those lives will intersect at some point."

I really liked this quote because I'm such a daydreamer so it's obvious that I hope ONE day, SOME day, that some of those daydreams will become reality. Here's hoping I get lucky. Happy Friday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIP Goals

Here's YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday question of the week:
Quarterly check-in: we did one in March and one in July. Now that we're 3/4 of the way through the year, how are you doing on your goals?

Wait. We're 3/4 of the way through the year??? Noooooooooooo.................

Okay, now that my panic attack over not getting anything accomplished this year while getting ever older is over, I can answer the question.

I think this is the first time I can check-in with a favorable response. This past couple of weeks has seen me back into my WIP like I never left it. Although I didn't set any goals at any of the other check-ins (not even at the beginning of the year), my goal now is to have my WIP done by December. I've even had the thought that maybe, just MAYBE I could get it done before November and then do NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. But we'll see about that.

What about you? Have you been accomplishing your goals like the keener you obviously are? Just kidding. Way to go you. :D

Monday, September 9, 2013

Back To It

Manic Reading

I've had A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard sitting on my night table for a few days and haven't read one word! What's wrong with me? My break from reading definitely won't last long. I cracked the book open to a random page and picked this teaser:

"You mean when you stole his body and started living in it?" I shook my head and bounded to my feet, my blood boiling back into a rage. "I promised I would send you to the hottest flames of hell for that." (page 59)

Manic Writing

Last week I reread what I had so far in my WIP. And then on Friday and Saturday got just under 3,000 words written. It's not much but it's something. I'm glad to be back in it and my goal is to finish my WIP by Christmas, which should easily be doable.

Manic Watching

My new treadmill show is Smallville. I watched a few of the middle seasons back when it was on and really liked it. No idea why I quit watching. So now I've started from the beginning. It doesn't always have perfect acting or the strongest storylines, but I admit, I'm hooked!

Manic Listening

Yeah, not gonna lie, I've been listening to One Direction. Here's two of my favorite songs from their second album. (The first video is hilarious, FYI.)


Friday, September 6, 2013

Girl With A Type

I took my nine-year-old daughter to see the One Direction movie (which was actually pretty entertaining) on Monday and I realized something.

Check this out:

Is it just me, or do all of these dudes look alike?
If you don't know who these guys are, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? Just kidding. At the top is one of my teenage crushes- Gene Kelly. (Who, yes, was waaaaay not in my time, but have you seen the guy dance?) Then there's Mark Ballas from DWTS, who I would want to be partnered with if I could dance on that show. Next to him is JC Chasez from 'NSYNC, always my favorite boy bander back in the day. And on the bottom- Louis from One Direction, who I leaned over to my sister-in-law during the movie and said, "I think he's cute." True story.
I never thought of myself as a girl with a type, because really, I could make a list of guys I think are hot (including my husband), none of who look like this. But these guys look eerily similar, right? Or is it just me? Maybe I have more of a type than I thought I did. Maybe these four same-looking dudes are trying to tell me something...
Or maybe I just want them to. ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apocalypse Now

It's Road Trip Wednesday time again...
What kind of apocalypse do you think would be most interesting to survive through?

Um, how about none. That's right, NONE.

Whenever I think of zombies taking over the world or a gigantic meteor shower raining down on all of us or aliens attacking, I just want to crawl into a hole and hide. Here's why. (Aside from me being a scaredy-cat.)

I guess if you live in Orlando- you're all set

I've got kids. Four of them. They're growing up so I don't have to worry about diapers or formula or all of that, thank goodness. But imagining something terrible happening just makes me freak out for them. Would I be able to take care of them all? Would I be able to feed them? Clothe them? Get them to safety? Would I know what to do? Would I be calm without panicking?

So many questions plague my mind when I think of this, even some really awful ones like, if I had to let one kid go, could I do it? (This has haunted me ever since I heard a parent had to let their older child go during the tsunami because they couldn't hold two kids without being swept away.) What would I do when faced with one of these impossible situations?

I have no clue. All of it freaks me out. I just want my kids to be safe. So I prefer not to think about this kind of stuff, thank you very much. Next question.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Mortal Instruments

Happy Labour Day!

Or, more accurately, Happy Last Day Before School Starts! Here's what I've been up to lately.

Manic Reading

I don't know if it's because I like to be a know-it-all or what, but I have this obsessive need to read or in most cases REread a book when I'm about to see the movie version. Or maybe it's just a great excuse to reread a book I love. Hence, I'm rereading The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. For some reason, it surprises me to hear that people haven't read these books. They seem almost like YA classics to me. Must reads. If you read YA, how could you not have read at least something by Cassie Clare?
Her covers are some of my faves!

Anyway, here's a teaser, in case you haven't.

"You didn't have to come after me."
"Yes, I did," he said. "You're far too inexperienced to protect yourself in a hostile situation without me."
"That's sweet. Maybe I'll forgive you."
"Forgive me? For what?"
"For telling me to shut up." (page 111)

Manic Writing

Okay. I swear. It's September now, the summer is over, and I'm getting back to my schedule, including my writing schedule. Yes. I. Am. YesIamyesIamyesIam.

Manic Watching

City of Bones! Duh! I saw the movie on the weekend and thought it was excellent. I'm only halfway thru my reread and I don't really remember the book that well, but for as much as I've read, it doesn't seem like they made any major changes. (I hope it stays that way as I continue reading.) It's definitely a must-see.

Manic Listening

I love this song so hard. And if I've already posted it on my blog, who cares? It deserves a million mentions.