Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Instead of yesterday's FRIDAY LOVES post, I'm here today- Saturday October 31st- to wish everyone a happy Halloween! I love Halloween- the costumes and the candy and the fun (not creepy) decorations. So I hope everyone has a fun and safe night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Stressin'

I'm more than halfway through my revision/second-POV-adding of COLLIDE and most days I'm feeling really good about it. It's not there yet, obvs- once I'm done I'll have to go back to the beginning and read it through to make sure the dual POV works and the chapters are in the right place, then I'll send it to CPs. But I think it's going well.

Until... I'll get these crazy moments of total unworthiness. Like, maybe I'm screwing up this retelling SO BAD that everyone is going to hate it. Someone said recently that they're really excited for this book and I was all

I've searched Goodreads and Google and haven't found any other NORTH & SOUTH retellings. There are some continuation stories, or retelling in that time period, and I believe there might be some on fanfiction sites, but no modern day published books. (If there are, please tell me, I'd love to read one.) So this leaves me feeling the pressure. People love this story, what if I screw it up?! Of course, I know I'm not going to meet everyone's expectations, that'll never happen no matter what. But still, I'm stressin'.

For anyone who thinks writing retellings is easy, hahahahaha. They're SO not. Anyway, there's nothing for it but to press forward with the book and make it the best I can make it and hopefully that ends up being enough.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Reads: Beautiful Disaster and A Guardian, A Sword, & Stilettos

I read two interesting books this week. The first, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER by Jamie McGuire. This book definitely had it's moments.

I was into the relationship for the first half- the whole, will they/won't they totally drew me in and I loved it. Once the two main characters got together though, I was kinda wondering where it would go, which I shouldn't have. Because hello, the title is a dead giveaway. And their relationship was definitely a disaster, but not necessarily all that beautiful in my view. For me, the book itself was good, but their relationship was so toxic it became hard to read sometimes. I felt the book was very real, and the dialogue was right on. This wasn't a book that wasted time with a lot of prose or description. The characters did a lot of sneering and face-touching which pulled me out of the story every time, but otherwise, it was a super fast read. My own personal feelings toward the book aren't 100% though since I just didn't care for their relationship. Totally a personal opinion and nothing more.

Then I read THE GUARDIAN, A SWORD, & STILETTOS by Kristin D. Van Risseghem. This was a fun book, another fast read, with not a lot of wasting time on unnecessary things. It felt sort of like MORTAL INSTRUMENTS meets HUSH, HUSH to me- a lot of angels and demons and even a werewolf and a faerie or two. This is a series, so it didn't wrap up the main plotline, but it had a satisfying ending nonetheless.

And now I'm fully read-ed out, so I think I'm going to go watch some stuff and start a new book, SEDUCING CINDERELLA, tomorrow.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Loves: Making A Playlist

It's no secret that I love to make playlists for my WIPs. My playlist for COLLIDE (my NORTH & SOUTH retelling) is pretty small so far. It's really hard to find a song about a girl who's just not into a guy. Seriously. Sure there's, "Oops, I Did it Again," and my recent fave, "Ex's & Oh's" by Elle King, but neither really convey they point, in my view. Those are both about playing with a guy/guys and COLLIDE deals more with a girl who's not interested even though the guy likes her. If anyone knows a song by a female that's basically, DUDE, I DON'T LIKE YOU, please let me know.

But here's a few songs I've found that do go well.

"Song of the Caged Bird" by Lindsay Stirling
I actually mention this song in the book as one my female MC dances to.
"Hero/Heroine" by Boys Like Girls
This would totally be a song from my male MC's POV
"Pocket Full of Dreams" by Hedley
Especially when they change the chorus near the end.
"Unbreakable" by Jamie Scott.
Oh yes, this song. LOVE

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Writes: The Journey

I'm still working on my NORTH & SOUTH retelling, which I've tentatively titled COLLIDE. It's going pretty good, although I'm still struggling with finding the voice of my male MC. Ergh.

I've been thinking lately about my writing journey. So far, it hasn't turned out like I thought it would. That's not a bad thing. One of the reasons I love to read "How I Got My Agent" stories is because they're always different. No one gets an agent the same way and no one's writing journey is the same.

I thought writing the book in the first place was the hard part. Hahahahahaha. I thought that once I did, I'd revise it once, then send it to a handful of literary agents, one of whom (or maybe all) would love it, and then sell it right away in a multi-book deal. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Needless to say, my writing journey has been NOTHING like that. I don't as yet have an agent. But I do have a book coming out soon, plus a short story in a collection, and I'm excited about that. You can't put expectations on your writing. You shouldn't assume things will happen for you the same way they did for that girl in your writer's group or your facebook group or wherever you heard her story. Every journey is different. For me, it's helped me to be patient, and just roll with it. Take what's coming and also lean into what's working. No matter what your journey looks like, have patience, take a breath in the low moments, and enjoy every second of the peaks.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Reads: The Royal We, The Wrath and the Dawn, Side Effects May Vary

I didn't post last Monday because it was Canadian Thanksgiving, so this week I've got three books to talk about.

First I read THE ROYAL WE by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. This is totally Will and Kate fanfiction, but I loved it. It was fun to read and feel like I was part of a world I will never be part of. Even though it was fiction, they built the world of the royals so well, it felt real, and with so many similarities between the story and Will and Kate's journey, I felt like I was reading about them (which I wasn't, I know). I only have two minor complaints. One, the book felt long. I don't know where they could've cut it, and I don't think I was ever bored, but it still felt long, which isn't something you want your readers to feel. The other thing, which some people will laugh at me for, but these characters did not stop drinking. Like seriously, find something else to do. It made for a lot of hijinks and funny moments, but there were multiple times where I was like, SERIOUSLY STOP DRINKING. This is coming from a girl who doesn't drink, so there you go.

Then I read THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Adieh. This book sucked me in from the start. I loved the story, although I was a little disturbed by how Shazi fell for Khalid. I wish I had written this post right after I finished reading it because my thoughts were much clearer then than they are now. But that feeling hasn't left me. As much as I loved their complicated story and was totally drawn in, it was still a little off to see her fall for him. I mean yes, he had reasons for having all those girls killed, and he felt horrible, but still- he killed her best friend. All those times she was hating herself for falling for him, I was feeling the same thing. The book was good though- the world building in particular was excellent. A minor complaint I had was all the eye and hair descriptions. I'm guilty of the eye thing myself, but I found myself rolling my eyes at her "waving tresses" and his "tiger eyes" mentioned every other page. Just saying. I'll definitely pick up the second book though.

Last, I read SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy. Yeah. I have a lot to say about this book but I'll keep it brief. Again, this book sucked me in, but when I wasn't reading it, I didn't want to pick it back up (I did anyway). Why? Because I could not stand the main character Alice. Yes, she had cancer, but she was not a nice person, she treated everyone like crap, and especially Harvey, who was such a good guy but he would just lie down and take it. It drove me crazy. Yet I still kept reading, which is a testament I think to how good the writing and the story itself was. It was very honest, and I liked that. I just couldn't stand Alice. It made me think of unlikeable characters and the whole discussion about unlikeable female characters. I started to think if I'd read any male unlikeable characters and if I liked them anyway, but couldn't think of any. I agree that we should be able to have unlikeable female characters as well as males, because why not? But they aren't really my thing. Like unreliable narrators, I'm just not a fan. Anyway, the book is good and deals with cancer in a very real, honest, and not sappy way. Although I felt the end a little too... easy after everything that had happened. I don't want to give spoilers so you'll just have to read it yourself.

Whew, that was a long post, but an interesting couple of weeks of reading. If you've read any of these books, how did you feel about them?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Loves: NORTH & SOUTH

I may have done this one before, but I can't help myself. Especially since the WIP I'm working on right now is a NORTH & SOUTH retelling. I watched the four-part movie this past week to get those inspo juices flowing, so of course I have the whole thing fresh in my mind.

I bought an Elizabeth Gaskell boxed set of movies for my mom once, it was something she'd asked for. I'd never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell or her books. When I took a look at the movies, the one I really wanted to watch was WIVES & DAUGHTERS. It seemed like totally my thing, and it was. I loved it. I've gotta admit I turned up my nose a bit at NORTH & SOUTH based on the movie blurb. I wasn't really into strikes and industrial revolutions and what-not. I wanted the love stories, a la Jane Austen.

I don't know what convinced me to finally watch NORTH & SOUTH. It was probably the mere fact that I'd already watched WIVES & DAUGHTERS and CRANFORD (my mom's fave) and that left just one. I can't remember. But I fell in love from part one (or more likely the part where Margaret witnesses Mr. Thornton beating up one of his workers). It's been a favorite of mine ever since.

After writing SWAY, my PERSUASION retelling, I toyed with the idea of retelling all of Austen's works, but finally kiboshed that idea. Like my love for the movie, I can't really remember when I suddenly decided to write a retelling of this story, but I did. I seem to have a memory fail about lots of things N&S because I can't even remember when I wrote my first draft. (I think I started it during NaNo, but I feel like I didn't finish it until January?) I read the book for the first time last October so it must have been around then sometime.

Anyway, I'm excited about this WIP and where it's going, even though writing the male POV (Mr. Thornton's) is harder than I thought it would be. And I'm always excited about the movie version- it is excellent! I want to start it again from the beginning, even though I finished watching it just last night. If you're a fan of Austen, or period dramas of any kind, definitely check out NORTH & SOUTH. And to convince you...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Finding Voice

I've been working away at my NA retelling. I'm changing the entire setting from a fictional city to Las Vegas, and I'm adding in a second POV of the LI. This past week I also wrote a back cover blurb and a synopsis, the latter sucking somewhat fiercely since my 2nd POV isn't completely written, the book hasn't gone to CP's yet, and I have a feeling some things will change. I'm still super nervous about this 2nd POV because I just haven't found this guy's voice yet. He's kind of a tough guy- foster homes then living on the streets- and he likes to fight, so it's been hard for me trying to figure out what he'd sound like, especially since I don't use cussing in my books. It makes things tricky, to say the least.

I've kinda kept this book under wraps so far, but I feel safe to say now that this is a retelling of Elizabeth Gaskell's NORTH & SOUTH, or should I say, inspired by it, since it's a very LOOSE retelling. I love that story like crazy and I'm excited about this book and hope hope hope it ends up being great.

What are you working on this week?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Loves: A Perfect Moment

I've been in an off mood this week, who knows why. Today, after finishing my house cleaning, I really didn't want to exercise, but it was a nice day outside so I decided to put my earbuds in and take a walk. About halfway through, I realized. This was a perfect moment. The sky was blue and the sun was shining, the weather was actually pretty nice for October in Alberta, crisp leaves were laying all around my feet, and I had a great song blasting in my ears (just the way I like my music).

It was a perfect moment, and I noticed, and I took a breath. Then, as I kept walking, I started to list the things I was thankful for. Well-timed since Canadian Thanksgiving is this Monday. But not just because of that- this is something I've been trying to do when things get me down. And it worked. Listing all of the great things about my life didn't make me forget about the negatives, but it made them seem a bit less negative (and some even a little silly).

So as I go into the Thanksgiving weekend, I want to get it in writing all the things I'm thankful for/loving right now. It'll be nice to have for those days when I forget.

My incredibly wonderful, good, smart, talented, funny, and sweet kids.
My smart and patient husband.
My dream coming true- AKA: my first book coming out in just a couple of months, and a short story, too.
Nice weather in October.
Getting to take a walk.
Getting to stay home and write.
My NA retelling that I reread these past few days and the fact that it's pretty good and not total suckage.
My family, who I won't get to see this Thanksgiving.
All the things I have that I don't have to want and that make life easier (like my dishwasher)
Good books to read.
Good music to blast.

I could go on but another thing I'm thankful for is sleep, and right now I need to get some. So Happy Thanksgiving from me to you. And notice those perfect moments when they come along, and stop. And take a breath. And enjoy them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Interruptions

My poor poor NA manuscript. I think I wrote the first draft without any interruptions, but every time I try to revise, I get interrupted with something else. I've read through fifteen chapters so far, taking notes on each, but then I had to quit because I received the digital copy of SWAY from my publisher which I had to read through and look for errors. MAN was it hard not to tweak stuff. I'm such a nitpicker- it never ends. (I refrained because I wasn't allowed, which is probably a good thing.) A day after I received my first round of edits from my other editor for my short story BECOMING FANNY. Both of these were due ASAP so my NA WIP had to be put aside for a bit. Again.

Just a bit though because I got both done and I can go back to it today. YAY! I have to say, I don't do well with jumping from project to project. I much prefer to focus on one until the work I need to do is done, then I can put it aside and work on something else. But it's okay, I'm learning to adapt and these different edits and deadlines have been good for me. I am happy to go back to my NA WIP though and hopefully I'll get these revisions done by Christmas. Like I said, deadlines are good.

Monday, October 5, 2015


It only took me three days to read THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith. I enjoyed this book. The two characters were different and interesting (although the female MC was the shy girl who no one notices and I felt like, oh it's this girl again). I loved how the setting changed to different spots in the world. I loved how it felt very real. It wasn't a THIS ROMANCE WILL WORK OUT NO MATTER WHAT kind of thing that's super unbelievable. The two MCs were apart, and they did what teenagers apart would do. Even the ending, while happy and satisfying, wasn't a roll your eyes never gonna happen kind of thing. It was honest and true, yet still hopeful. The thing that really stands out to me with the two books I've read by Jennifer E. Smith (the other one being THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT)- they're not sappy. They're not over the top lovey, or I will die if I don't have this boy kind of books. They're very real, and I like that. Check this book out if you like that too.

After I finished that book, I started THE ROYAL WE, which is a very Will and Kate kind of book. I'm enjoying it so far, but I've been busy with lots of other stuff and haven't had a lot of reading time.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Loves: TIME





So says the girl whose kids are in all-day school. But suddenly, I have twenty-bazillion things on my to-do list and no time to do them.

So adios, have a great weekend, and hopefully by next week this elusive thing called time will have reappeared...