Friday, January 31, 2014

Midnight Memories

I can be a mom and blog about motherhood. I can be a writer and blog about querying and rejection and believable villains and likeable protagonists. I can be a reader and blog about the millions of books I've read and loved.

But sometimes, I just want to blog about the little things. Like this video which just came out today and totally takes me back to my 'NSYNC loving days. I may be older and (hopefully) wiser, but boy bands and my love for them will never change. ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Winner's Edition

What I'm Reading
I read Allegiant last week and I swear I was going to do this whole post on it but I forgot and now the moment has passed. Anyway, I kinda see why people might have been upset by the ending- I think Veronica Roth could have easily done it differently and it still would have made sense- but I was satisfied with it. Now I'm reading Of Triton which is the sequel to Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. It's a fun read.

What I'm Writing Revising
Still plugging away at EPONINE. It's been slow going, especially since I had a computer/iTunes problem last week which took up my Thursday and Friday revising time. I have a feeling this is going to be a long revision because I have a lot of work to do, but I keep telling myself that's okay, it's not like I have a deadline.

What Inspires Me Right Now
On the weekend I read a very disheartening online article by a woman who loudly admitted that she looks down on wives and mothers. I couldn't get the article out of my head so on Monday I wrote my response here on my blog. I linked it on Facebook and Twitter and got a lot of positive reactions to my post. Not only did writing this response and getting positive feedback help me to let go of what that woman said, but it was amazing to hear all of the women out there who want to buoy each other up instead of tearing each other down, no matter what we choose to do in life. Now that's inspiring.

What Else I've Been Up To
It was my brother-in-laws 40th birthday on Monday, so on Friday night we had dinner at The Olive Garden (love their bread and salad) and then saw Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which was a great movie, very edge-of-your-seat. Then on Saturday night we played games and had Chinese food at their house. I lost bad at Wizard but kicked butt at Settlers of Catan, winning both games we played. Woot woot! (I'm a tad competitive. But just a tad.)

What have you been up to? Link up over at Jaime or Erin's blog.

Monday, January 27, 2014

To The Woman Who Has Demeaned The Last 13 Years Of My Life

Dear Amy,

Yesterday I read your article titled "I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands and and Kids and I'm Not Sorry."

I'm sorry I ever read your article. I'm sorry that women feel the need to look down on other women for their choices, no matter what they might be. In life, we're faced with many paths. Sometimes we make the right choices, sometimes not so much. Sometimes we choose what's right for us, even if it's not right for our sister, our friend, our neighbor. We are given this right to choose. I may not agree with your choice, and you may not agree with mine, but I don't look down on you for it. I have no problem with a woman who chooses not to get married and have kids, like I did. I may think that woman is missing out on something important and amazing, but it's her choice, not mine to make for her. And I would never belittle that choice.

You talk about how we shouldn't have showers to celebrate weddings and births, but rather we should celebrate when someone backpacks across Europe or lands their dream job. Sure, we should celebrate those things too. But why would we stop celebrating love, one of the most important and sought after things a human being can ever experience? Why would we stop celebrating the bringing of a new life into this world, something you say that "literally anyone" can do and yet something we still acknowledge as a miracle. And it is a miracle. Which you would understand if you had experienced it yourself.

Here's the thing. I would never tell a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, or a garbage man that their job is easy. I would especially never tell them that if I had never experienced it myself. I don't know what you do for a living, and I don't know what sacrifices you make to be the best you can be at it. But you know nothing of what it's like to be a mother. To stay at home every day with only toddlers to talk to. To completely lose yourself, one day waking up and not knowing who you are anymore. You have no idea what it's like to see someone you created, someone who is a part of you and yet their own person, go through milestone after milestone, something you might not think important but is one of the most incredible things on this earth to witness. You have no idea the highs and lows, the joys and suffering, the pain and love that I go through every day. What you should know is despite all this, despite your article, I would never go back and change my decision.

You think that a stay at home mom isn't on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself. I don't just take care of myself, I take care of four other people too (not to mention my husband who occasionally needs care too). And what about the women who not only take care of their kids, but work too. To me, that's amazing, and more than equal with a woman who only takes care of herself.

You said that men never mention how "hard" it is to raise kids and manage a household. That's because in most cases, men don't do this. They're at work. They, like you, don't really understand what it takes. You think it's just laundry. You think that sending my kids to school in clean clothes isn't as important as what a doctor or a lawyer does. You think raising a child and having a clean house isn't an accomplishment. You think being a mother is "average."

No, I'm not saving lives, I'm not inventing a new miracle drug, I'm not putting bad guys in jail. But my "average" job keeps society running. Do you think a receptionist or a garbage man is average? What about the people who spray the dirt off highway signs or stock shelves at your local grocery store? Are these people saving lives? Are you? No. But how would the world work without them? You may think you are more important or exceptional than me because you have such-and-such job (I'm not sure what you do), but without me, and the countless other mothers out there, what kind of people would we be sending into the world? What would the next generation look like? Would there even be one? Would we have doctors and lawyers anymore? Where would you be without your own mother, or whoever raised you?

You think it's ridiculous when a wife and mother wants recognition for what she does. Guess what? We don't get promotions. We don't get better salaries. We don't get days off. You can leave your job every night, you get a break. We never get a break. Our job never ends. There are no days off. There is nothing tangible that says, "well done." I'm not asking for a medal for getting my laundry washed every week. Even when we get the recognition, mothers often don't want it because we never feel like we're good enough. There is always something we could do better: healthier meals, a cleaner house, a child who is potty trained before they're four. All I am asking for is a little respect. Respect for sending clean, well-fed and well-behaved children into the world. Respect for trying to raise children who will become people who are hopefully way better than me or you. Respect for the sacrifice I have made four times over and would make again. Respect for those women who not only do all this, but go off to work as well. Respect for my choice.

You know what? I know I'm not going to get that respect, not from you, not from lots of people. And that's okay. Because I think you're wrong. I can be exceptional. I can be exceptional "despite" having a husband and kids, and because of them. I am exceptional with them and all on my own.

Us women, we can all be exceptional, whether we are mothers, writers, doctors, teachers, maids. I guess, more than anything, I hope that one day you realize that.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Giveaway! . . . Sort Of

A few days ago I won en e-book copy of A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris.

Here's the thing. One, I just bought a paperback copy of that exact book last week! And two, I don't have a Kindle. When I entered the contest, I didn't think anything of it, since I can read e-books on my iPad. But this book is gifted from Amazon and I don't think it's going to work on my iPad, besides the fact that I don't need it.

SO. I would love to give it away, I'm just hoping I can. I "claimed" the gift already so it's under my name and maybe my Amazon account. BUT, I haven't typed the code into my Kindle since I don't have one so I'm thinking I can email the code to someone who (isn't an idiot like me and) HAS a Kindle and would like to read this book.

A Tale of Two Centuries is a (sort of) sequel to My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, which I loved BTW. You can check it out here on Goodreads.

So if anyone is interested in the A Tale of Two Centuries e-book, just comment on this post. If I get more than one comment, I'll choose a winner at random (AKA: names in a hat).

I really hope I can gift it to someone because I just can't waste a book. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Revisions and Demons

What I'm Reading
I'm reading Allegiant, which I teaser-ed on Monday. I should have to be done sometime today because the book is due back at the library tomorrow. Yikes. Next up is Of Triton by Anna Banks.

What I'm Writing Revising
Yes. I've finally started revisions on EPONINE. Right now I'm going through the in-manuscript notes from two betas while reacquainting myself with the story (I haven't looked at it since October). Also, I'm taking notes about big picture things that need to be fixed.

What Inspires Me Right Now
I've long loved Demons by Imagine Dragons, but lately I've been blasting it and singing along at the top of my lungs. I've had Bleeding Out on my EPONINE playlist for forever and I'm definitely adding Demons.
What Else I've Been Up To
I saw the movie Lone Survivor on the weekend. I had no clue what this movie was about and wasn't all that excited to see it, but holy cow. It's one of those movies I'm glad I saw, but probably won't watch again. It's super hard to watch at times, especially when you know it's based on a true story. There are a whole ton of F-bombs in this movie, but I'd definitely recommend it, especially if you like war movies.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Allegiant Teaser

After much waiting, and spoiler avoiding, I finally managed to get my hands on Allegiant. Actually, it wasn't hard at all to avoid spoilers, surprisingly. I know people have mixed emotions about it, so I'm interested to see how it ends.
Anyway, I used to participate in Teaser Tuesday, but I thought that today I'd go crazy and do a teaser on MONDAY. I know, I know, watch out for my insanity people. So here's a teaser from Allegiant, spoiler-free, I promise.

"Why's he bleeding?"
"Because he's an idiot."
Zeke offers me a black jacket with a factionless symbol stitched to the collar. "I didn't know that idiocy caused people to just start spontaneously bleeding from the nose." (page 79)

Have you read Allegiant? What did you think of it? (Without spoilers please, I'm not done yet. ;))

Friday, January 17, 2014

December Reads

I know it's already mid-January, but I never did a best book of December post, so here I go.

All Our Yesterdays: Good book, but I have major issues with the end. Issues that seem to be bugging me the more I think about them, even though it's been more than a month since I've read it.
On Writing: Very insightful. All writers should read this book. However, I was surprised that half of it was memoir. I didn't know that in advance so I kept thinking, as interesting as your life is, get to the writing advice. I see why he did it- you can see how many things from his life he's used in his writing, not to mention the trials he's gotten through. But I was still itching for those gems of writing advice.
Teardrop: Great book. Like the Atlantis twist. Looking forward to the sequel.
Sense & Sensibility: I enjoyed the book, but was disappointed with how SAME it was from the original.
Divergent: Even though this was my second read, I have to give the best book of the month to Divergent. It's an exciting book with interesting characters and a richly imagined world. I don't identify with Tris necessarily, but I understand her. And Tobias is not the typical swoony love interest but still manages to be swoony nonetheless. I've just started a reread of Insurgent. I remember not liking it as much as Divergent when I first read it so I'm interested to how I feel this time around.
BTW, I took that test at the end of the Divergent paperback and I'm a mix of Candor and Amity. (I had absolutely no Dauntless answers whatsoever. Big shocker.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Or Rather, What's Down?

What I'm Reading
STILL waiting on Insurgent from the library. Grrr. On the upside, I got Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier from the library so I reread Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue in prep and now I'm on the last of the trilogy. These books are so much fun and I love them like crazy. It's funny because I remember when I read Ruby Red for the first time, I found it hard to get into at the beginning. I didn't have the same problem on my reread at all. But maybe that's because I knew what was coming. ;)

What I'm Writing
Oh gosh, I feel like such a slacker. I was supposed to start my revision of EPONINE the 1st week of January. Then I said, okay I'll start the next week. I still haven't started. BUT, I'm almost done critiquing a CPs MS, so once I'm done that and my reading pile diminishes a bit, I'm going to get cracking on EPONINE. Hopefully Monday.

What Inspires Me Right Now
To be honest, I'm not really feeling the inspiration right now. I've had a couple down days and so it's hard to find that spark, you know? I know it's still there somewhere and if it doesn't appear by Monday, I'm going to dig it out with a shovel or an ice pick, or whatever it takes to get myself lit on fire again. "This I vow," she said, head upturned, one hand pressed to her heart. Ha.

What Else I've Been Up To
My newly seven-year-old daughter had a birthday party last Saturday which reminded me why I was hesitant to do birthday parties in the first place. Girls can be M-E-A-N. I think I'm going to go back to doing a special activity for birthday kid and that's it. No party. That may sound harsh, but so is my daughter crying in my bedroom for 15 minutes because a girl was mean to her. I still have bad memories from my own birthday parties and I don't want that to happen to my kids.

ANYWAY, what have you been up to?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Nighttime Blogging

I have this problem. (One of many, ha.) I blog in my head when I'm trying to sleep. I lie awake, trying desperately to fall asleep, and meanwhile my brain is writing, or rather speaking, blog posts. You know how hard it is to fall asleep when your brain just won't shut the heck up?

In bed, these blog posts seem especially witty and/or poignant. They seem important. Unfortunately, I wake up in the morning either totally forgetting what I "blogged" about in the night, or the topic is a lot less witty and/or poignant than it seemed at 11pm last night.

My cure for nighttime blogging? Nighttime writing. Well, not actually writing, but in my head writing. Instead of writing blog posts in my head, I make up scenes. Scenes for books I've already written. Scenes for books I need to revise. Scenes for books I will probably never write. Somehow, even though my brain isn't shutting up, this helps me to wind down and eventually, fall asleep. Of course, I still run into the same problem. The same, "wow, this is awesome, I totally need to write about it tomorrow," and then in the AM, "dang, I can't remember what the heck I thought was so awesome last night," OR, "dang, that actually sucks bricks. I will NEVER write that down."

You know how people keep journals by their beds so they can write down those crazy nighttime inspirations and thoughts? I don't do that because I would never go to sleep. I just need something that attaches right to my brain and records it all. Then with one touch of a button I can either DELETE that junk I "wrote" in the night, or save those gems for real writing time.

Someone get inventing that, okay?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Waiting

What I'm Reading
I already did a post on Joanna Trollope's Sense and Sensibility (see Monday), then I reread Divergent in prep for Allegiant. Unfortunately, my library has taken its sweet time getting me Insurgent (and why isn't this book in paperback yet?) and so while I was waiting, I read Vicious by V.E. Schwab (AKA Victoria Schwab who wrote The Archived and The Near Witch). This book was brilliant. If you ever need an example on how to write bad guys well, READ THIS. Both MCs are antagonists. There isn't really a good guy, there isn't really someone to root for, and yet you do. You want to read about them, you understand them. It's so well done. I have a hard time writing bad guys and this book taught me a lot. Now I'm rereading Ruby Red while STILL waiting for Insurgent.

What I'm Writing
I'm about to start revisions on Eponine. It's been sitting since October so I think it's time. I'd like to finish reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers first. I'm also reading/critiquing a CPs excellent fairy tale retelling.

What Inspires Me Right Now
The new year. Even though I don't make goals or resolutions, there's something about starting a new year with new motivation, new energy. I want this year to kick last year's bottom, and it won't do that unless I get my own bottom in high gear.

What Else I've Been Up To
Christmas. New Year's. Birthday's. Eating. Exercising to make up for all the eating. Reading. Eating some more. I've also had time to catch up on most of my PVR'd shows and watch some movies I've long been wanting to watch (Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Pacific Rim).

What have you been up to? Link up on Jaime's blog.

Monday, January 6, 2014



Now that I've gotten that out of the way...

Over the holidays, I read Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope. It's a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's book of the same name. And I have thoughts. LOTS of thoughts.

When I wrote my first draft of Sway, (which, FYI is a modern adaptation of Persuasion by Jane Austen) one of the big resounding comments I got from all of my betas and CPs was that it was too close to the original. And it was. So I revised, tried to make it more my own. I still worry that it's not standing out like I'd like it to because I haven't made it wow-worthy. Look at Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars, also a Persuasion redux. That book was brilliant. Beautifully written and so original yet true to Jane Austen's story. I read that book and despaired.

I liked Joanna Trollope's version of S&S, but it was EXACTLY the same. Aside from giving Elinor a job (which is barely mentioned) and giving Margaret a high school (which is almost never mentioned) it's the SAME. Almost paragraph for paragraph. Every plot point matches up, every character was included. Even every name, both people and place, was the same. She threw in a few mentions of Twitter and Facebook and iPods, a minor character ended up gay, but it was the SAME.

I guess Joanna Trollope, who's written tons of books (S&S was the first I've read by her), is allowed to do this. She already has a readership. She's an experienced writer. She can do what she wants because her fan base is already there. I don't have that luxury.

This isn't meant to be a bitter rant (I hope it doesn't sound that way), nor do I regret making the changes I made to make Sway more my own. It's just me, noticing. And somehow, it also gives me a bit more hope for this little romance book I've written that I love so much.