Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Smushing three into one

So I've visited a lot of blogs over the holidays and there are the common themes of years in review, what I'm thankful for, and goals/ resolutions. I think each one has its merit. So I'll try to touch base a little on all three.

2009 a year in review for Me
1. The year started with butt loads of video editting. My eyes were permanently glued to the screen sorting through video clips of weddings, Nutcrackers, and more ice skating than my poor eyes could bear.

2. Then around spring time it was the optometry soap opera. Let me summarize...
District manager: By the way. The new full time guy will be here in a week.
Me: speechless
District manager: Didn't the old manager tell you?
Me: umm....no
District Manager: Oh, yeah so I'm sorry, you kind of don't have a job anymore. Unless you want to be a full time doc.
Me: Definitely can't do full time. So. Ok. Guess I have more time to write now.

So I reinvent myself, start revising/ rewriting Product of an Illusion, and I'm perfectly content with life.
Three weeks later:

District manager: We need you! Full time guy flew the coop!
Me: What?!? I've kind of reinvented my life. I can't just drop that.

3. In June I won two agent reviews via Brenda Novak's Auction for Diabetic Research and this really kicked my writing up to full throttle.

4. In August I start officially blogging. Best decision EVER!

5. In September I'm maid of honor in cousin's wedding. Absolute fun craziness. See pic for example.



6. In October I'm writing away. Bliss.

7. In November, still writing and then finally submit to agents.

8. In December I recieve my agent reviews. Take a writing hiatus, contemplate, and decided to start working full time.

Whew...that was some year. Wish I had accomplished more, but there's always 2010.


What I'm thankful for:
1. My health, my family, Sarcastically Delicious, his jokes, my friends (these are listed in no particular order)
2. The joy that my blog and blogging has brought me (Thank you guys!!)

Goals/ Resolutions:
This is where the real conundrum is folks. I'm a very goal oriented person. If I don't make goals I feel like I'm just floating out there in a pointless ether. But the problem is that the goals are clashing with each other! It's worse than Monsters vs Aliens (funny movie by the way, just watched it the other night). When I figure out who the winner is I will definitely post it on my blog. They say if you write your goals down you are more likely to achieve them. So posting them on my blog should really improve my odds of accomplishing them, right?

And lastly, I'd like to thank Natalie Bahm and Shannon O'Donnell for thinking of me when it was their turn to bestow awards. I guess this should have went under the what I'm thankful for column. Alas, I try.
Happy New Year! Best wishes to everyone for a fantabulous 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A teenager with true Christmas spirit

Today at work I had a patient who was a fifteen year old hispanic male. As we were waiting in between dilation drops I asked him if he was excited about Christmas. He said, "Oh, yes. I bought presents for all my sisters and my family. But I told my Mom and everyone not to buy anything for me. We don't have a lot and I want to make sure everyone gets something for Christmas this year."
His response tore my heart out and I wanted to start bawling right there. Not only is this boy so generous, he broke his glasses two weeks ago and has been walking around blind. And here I was being ba hum bug about the holiday season and he was being so self less and mindful of his family's happiness on Christmas day.
Sniff.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Holidays

A lot of people are taking a blog hiatus due to the upcoming holidays. I am still undecided on my blog status. As you all know, I'm a bit ba hum bug right now and I am trying quite hard to come out of the funk.

For starters, I made a fire the other day and hung up stockings, in hopes that  Santa would squeeze his fat ass down my chimney and bring me a muse.

Next, Sarcastically Delicious (this was more his doing than mine) and I put up a tree. Sasha Kitty is waging war against the tree. So far the score is Kitty 1  Tree 0. And what a terrible loss it was folks. Tree was laying panting on its side, ornaments scattered across the floor, and branches strewn hither and tither. To the right is a pre battle shot.

And lastly, I went to Barnes & Noble and bought all of my ice skating students and my skating coach copies of City of Bones, City of Ashes, and if they were extra special City of Glass. I even splurged on some peppermint hot chocolate, sadly it tasted off.

And finally, I want to complain about how kids get off of school until January 5th! That's the 5th! And us adults have to work!
Ok, that's it from me for now. I fear this post is veering farther and farther away from writing and books. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Does your significant other read your blog?

I hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend! Mine was quite busy. I got to spend a good bit of time with Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend), but alas we spent most of it working. We did however have a very nice dinner at the Melting Pot on Friday during which we had some great conversation.

Let me tell you a bit about Sarcastically Delicious....
1. He doesn't like fiction.
2. He doesn't like anything with "fantasy" in it. It's beyond him why I participate in a fantasy football league. He says it's NOT REAL!  But it is SD. It is.
3. To this day he says, "I just DON't understand why you like Twilight. It's just gay." And if he can squeeze in a comment about "sparkling nipples" and "taking ones shirt off one too many times" he will never miss an opportunity.
3. He's not on Facebook
4. He is very FUNNY. He makes jokes about everything.
5. And of course he's sarcastic and hot. Hence his namesake- Sarcastically Delicious (which I believe he came up with himself)
6. He gives me my space. He doesn't care that I like to ice skate at the butt crack of dawn, spend most of my time in la la land, and do a wide assortment of careers.

So as you've probably figured out he doesn't read my blog. And I don't think he ever will. Does that bother me? Not really. He does however comment on my e-popularity.

So does your significant other read your blog? And how do you feel about that?

Friday, December 18, 2009

What I learned from my other agent review....

Alex Glass emailed me a partial critique of Product of an Illusion about 10 days ago and I've been digesting ever since. Getting partial critiques from two different agents (Nathan Bransford was the other-see my thoughts here) was an eye opening experience to say the least. And for those of you who are new visitors, I won these critiques via Brenda Novak's online auction for diabetic research.

Getting two different critiques reminded me of how subjective writing, reading, agenting, publishing, etc... are. After reading Nathan's critique I figured that I pretty much knew what Alex was going to say. They're both agents. They must share the same thought patterns, views, etc... Not quite.

I'm not going to share every detail, but just the things that I found thought provoking and that made me uber happy.

1. Alex said he "read with interest." 
Is that just a formality? Or was he really interested? I suppose he didn't have to say it unless he meant it. It's not like he would have said I read your manuscript with complete utter mind numbing boredom

2. He said I was a "talented writer" and that the  "core universal themes of the novel (coming of age, overcoming adversity, sacrifice, and redemption), and situates it pretty solidly within the YA fantasy category, with some great supernatural and adventure elements. It’s a strong premise and there is a large commercial market for this category of book."

I re-read this part several times. And then I re-read it again. And then I just kind of stared at the computer screen for awhile in a state of pleasant shock.

There were some other positive comments that he made, but the above two really MADE my day.
Now for the things that I learned and I hope are helpful for you guys too.....

1. I've always struggled with the concept of a prologue. To prologue or not to prologue- that is the question. Here's what Alex's take was on it:
"A prologue should set up a story and give some background details, but most importantly it should serve as gateway into the world of the novel. The reader needs to have a taste of the world and the character before we are given a lot of plot elements."
The part that really hit home for me was the not introducing a lot of plot elements. I think I was trying to throw too many plot snippets into my prologue and it just ended up being confusing and muddled. Thinking of a prologue as a gateway or a tasting really puts it into perspective, for me at least, as far as what I need to do for the opening.

2. Synopsis
I've read a lot of agent blogs and consulted many sources and let's face it- I think the concept of a synopsis is subjective. Alex said that he prefered a two paragraph synopsis and he said that some agents may disagree on that. But he feels you should have a clear, concise synopsis that you could use as part of your query letter.

3. Voice
Just as Nathan, Alex found some issues with my narrative voice. And he suggested (just like Nathan) that an omniscient narrator may perhaps be more appropriate.

4. Telling versus Showing- Alex's thoughts:
"The “telling” type of writing shuts the reader off from being able to sympathize with the characters or figure out what is going on and what the subtext of the novel is, which is the crux of a reader’s connection to a story."

5. Chapter Length
My chapters average 5-6 typed pages when using 1 inch margins, double spaced, and 11 point Times New Roman. Alex encouraged me to "focus on writing longer chapters with evocative scenes and fleshing out sympathetic characters that can stand on their own without the intervention of a sometimes-awkward narrative presence and plot-advancing devices."

So there you have it folks. I now have so much professional suggestions/critcisms on my novel that I almost don't know what to do with it all. I've been on kind of a writing embargo the past few weeks. And now I'm afraid if I start writing I'll just...I don't know....not do it right. Don't get me wrong, I feel soooo lucky to have these professional critiques and my inner writing engine is getting revved up for what I'm confident will be the best version of Product of an Illusion yet. But, still...it's uh...daunting.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I might be the real life Ba Hum Bug

I usually love the holidays. But I'm not really looking forward to them this year and I can't really explain why. I haven't put up a tree or hung up lights. I only bought presents yesterday for my skating students (I gave them books!) but have yet to buy presents for my family, skating coach, or Sarcastically Delicious.
I think it may be because I'm working too much these days. When the day is over all I want to do is veg, and thinking about Christmas just reminds me of all the things I should be doing to make it a holly jolly good time. Bah!
I think me and Scrooge should hole up somewhere and just have a ba hum bugiriffic time.

Will post more writerly thoughts tomorrow. Stay tuned for the scoop on my other agent review.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Seriously disappointed.....

Dear Pittsburgh Steelers,

I have been a long time fan of your team and an especially huge admirer of Hines Ward. I love the fact that he smiles after every play and genuinely looks like he's having the time of his life.

Well, I'm not smiling team. Last Sunday before you guys played the Oakland Raiders I announced on Facebook that I would disown you guys for the season if you lost to them. I mean come on, they're the Oakland Raiders. And you let me down! And then last night you played the Cleveland Browns. The poopy Cleveland Browns. And they beat you! I hope you're hanging your heads down in shame.

Mike Tomlin said that you guys were going to unleash hell in December. Do you need me to chase you around with a pitch fork? Seriously, I'll do it.

Further more, what kind of line lets their quarterback get sacked a gazillion times a game? I bet I could protect Rothlesberger better than you guys can. It's no wonder the poor guy has had so many concussions.

I understand that Polamalu is hurt and has been spending a lot of his free time doing Head & Shoulders commercials. But you guys are a team! And just because one defensive player is off shampooing his hair for money (just kidding I know you have a strained MCL, I've had one of those before too and I feel for you- ouch!) that doesn't mean our entire defensive scheme should fall apart.

And lastly, you have disappointed my fantasy team, Straight Trippin. I'll draft your defense in the second round just because I think you're that cool. And I'll pick up Hines in the third. Just beacuse I love you guys that much. But, I'm seriously regretting that this season. Well, Hines not so much. He's put up some good numbers.

So if I don't watch any more of your games this season it's not because I don't love you guys. I just can't stand to see you self destruct. I don't know if you should even trying winning anymore games this season. Just end the misery with a pitiful record so we can at least draft some better safetys and peeps who'll actually protect Big Ben.

Happy Holidays Team!

Seriously Disappointed,
Anita

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I've been tagged....

Matthew Delman over at Free the Princess just tagged me. Wow. How exciting! I'm frozen in place. No! Don't crawl through my legs to undo the nefarious tagging spell! Let me break it myself by answering the following questions:

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
The last thing I wrote (before Product of an Illusion) was a novella called Waggledance. The first thing I wrote, as a child, was a short story called Fireball Island (and of course it had illustrations because everything in second grade needs colorful pictures). When I was twelve I attempted to write a novel called The Time Struck. It was about a mouse named Lettuce Breath who lived in the NYC subway system and one day fell in a puddle that transported him to a parallel universe. 

2. Write poetry?
Not anymore. Used to when I was young- back when I thought all poetry was rhymey and sing songy.

3. Angsty poetry?
When I was in highschool I wrote a poem about a depressed teenager that killed herself (and of course I illustrated it with a picture of a smoking gun).

4. Favorite genre of writing?
When people meet me they usually ask where I go to school. And then I have to tell them I don't go to school. Then comes the predictable displeasing look of shock as they silently call me a drop out or accuse me of  playing hookie.  (I finished grad school in 2006) Most people say I look 18. Although the other day someone did tell me I could pass for 21. So, I have to go with young adult. Specifically fantasy young adult with an intertwined love story. Those are my favs.

5. Most annoying character I've ever created?
John's uncle from Waggledance. John's Uncle is gay and is convinced that John must be too. But John has the hots for the MC Anna. And right when Anna think that John likes her, his Uncle has to go and tell her that John is gay. Poor Anna.

6. Best plot you've created?
I'd have to say the plot of Product of Illusion. The problem is that it's fantabulous in my head, but doesn't quite come out that way on paper.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?
Definitely in Product of an Illusion. But, sadly I can't tell you, or it would ruin it. Sorry.

8. How often do you get writer's block?
I don't personally suffer from writer's block. It's just life that keeps erecting road blocks preventing me from spending time with my journal or laptop.

9. Write fan fiction?
I don't know what that is and I'm too lazy to wiki it.

10. Do you type or write by hand?
Both. Just depends on my mood. Pen on paper has an artistic, exotic lure.

11.Do you save everything you write?
Uh...yeah. What stinks today maybe gold tomorrow. Hang on to those words.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you abandon it?
Usually never. If I abandon you don't expect me to come back. Sometimes I'll go back to a short story or a previous novel and pull words/ideas from it. But if the idea and I have a break up, I almost always move on.

13. What's you're favorite thing you've ever written?
I have a terminal illness called self deprication-loathing-itis.
The other day I was talking to my coach. And he was like, "Anita, what's got you so down today?"
"Oh, nothing really. Just the fact that I'm average at everything I do."
So, I really don't have any favorites of anything that I've ever written.


14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
According to my skating buddies/beta readers it's the first draft of Product of an Illusion.
 
15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
I'm not a romance writer per say. But everything needs a bit o luvin' in it, right? Angsty teen drama? Angsty is such a subjective term.
 
16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?
London Baby!
 
17. How many writing projects are you working on?
Well, there's Product of an Illusion. And then I started dabbling in something called Ice. Just a chapter or two. And then this past weekend (since I was taking a break from Product) I started writing something called Second Chance. It's based a bit on my life intertwined with 13 Going on 30.
 
18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Why would anyone give me an award! Come on people.
 
19. What are your five favorite words?
Reconciliation (it was the first big person I learned to spell when I was a kid)
Trifecta (I love how they use this word in Ocean's 12)
If I named three other words I'd just be lying when I said they were my favorites. Beause two is all I have folks.
 
20. What character have you created that are most like yourself?
Kate Rose from Second Chance and Anna from Waggledance.
 
21. Where do you get ideas for your characters from?
No clue. I just start writing and they show up. It's as if my imagination puts out a casting call and they just show up to audtion.
 
22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
I usually don't remember what I dream about. And if I do remember, the dreams are so outlandish and crazy that you really couldn't do anything with them on paper.
 
23. Do you favor happy endings?
Definitely. I won't watch things or read things that I know have sad endings. I write/read for an escape, not to get depressed. My cousin told me that Up had a sad ending and I almost didn't watch it. But, then I thought how sad could a Pixar movie be? So I went ahead and watched it. It was wonderful! So creative. And in my opinion, not sad.
 
24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar when you write?
I'll usually let things flow at first and then go back right away and fix the kinks.
 
25. Does music help you write?
If it has lyrics its a distraction. I could do instrumental. But since I haven't created an instrumental play list just for writing time, I don't listent to music when I write.
 
26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head?
Umm....gee...thanks for putting me on the spot there.
I'm drawing a blank. Sorry. Too many things on my mind right now.
 
Ahhhh....the freezing spell has dissipated. So it's my turn to tag someone.....
You're It:
Marissa Spector, Hilary Wagner, and Thomas Taylor.
Have fun guys! And as always, happy writing!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What I Learned from My Partial Critique

Having my work critiqued by an agent was an eye opening experience. I submitted the first thirty pages of Product of an Illusion to Nathan Bransford for a critique that I won via Brenda Novak's auction for Diabetic Research. I won't go into the nitty gritty details, but I will share some things that I learned, how I digested it, and where it leaves me at today. For those who don't regularly follow this blog, the manuscript that I submitted to Nathan was a rewrite, of a rewrite, of a rewrite. Five years in the making, it was the best that I thought I could put out.

1. He liked the plot. (inner squee!!)
2. He thought I could craft interesting scenes and images (double squee!!)
3. I need to polish my voice. (hmmm....I'll have to work on that)
4. Too many adverbs (Wince. How did I miss those? I know adverbs are a no no)
5. Too many exclamation points and italics are used to say rather than show what is going on. (Stupid me. I know you're supposed to show rather than tell. I know that.)
6. Inconsistent narrative.
7. The protagonists is being bounced around rather than playing active role. (I feared this. I really did. And I am so glad Nathan came right out and just said it.)

And now for the most important thing Nathan helped me realize....

The cast for Product of an Illusion is large. Each character has a unique back story and in some way contributes to the protagonist. But, its been difficult orchestrating everyone and moving the plot along because I chose to tell this story from first person. I've always written everything in first person. I'm not sure why that is. And, I've always seen writing in third person as daunting. On a whim, I did write the prologue in third person, and after I wrote it there was this voice in my head, haunting me, telling me....You should tell this story in third person. You should tell this story in third person. But I just didn't do it. So I asked Nathan what he thought about me rewriting the story in third person. He thought it might be a good idea.

So, I'm back at square one. Pages Zero. Not only am I going to switch the point of view of the story but I'm going to change up the plot so that Maya (the protag) is actively moving the story along. I think I'm just going to lay low for awhile. Research. Brain storm. Write some other things for fun. And maybe with the start of the new year jump into the rewrite.

Happy Writing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yes, You Heard Right...There is Snow in Houston Folks!



After napping at thirty thousand feet, my eyes open as the plane descends for landing. The clouds thin and I rub my eyes in disbelief. The roof tops are coated in a thick layer of snow and giant flakes are swirling in the sky. Did I get on the wrong plane? Did the pilot take a detour? This couldn't be....Texas?

And of course iPhone, as vindictive as he is, purposely told me that the temperature in Houston would be 55 degrees today and in the sixties for the rest of the weekend. I ain't packed for no thirty degrees freezing cold weather. I think my iPhone is in cahoots with Kiersten's laptop.

Anyway, I've got sixteen hours of gloriously boring lectures to look forward to this weekend. Usually I tune out and work on my book. But since my book is still radio active (with radiation levels slowly but surely dropping) I guess I'll have to actually....cringe....pay attention to sixteen hours of blather on corneas and contact lenses. Bah.

Hope everyone has a fab weekend! Happy writing!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How an Olympic performance is much like publication

Yesterday Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend) and I were in the car and I was babbling as usual. S.D. is a great listener. I had a revelation earlier in the week where I realized how writing a book worthy of being published is much like becoming an olympic level figure skater.

Sure, I can skate, do more things than the average person: double salchows, double toe loops, axels, layback spins, I can even Starlight Waltz or skate the Blues on the ice. But I by no means have the grace, power, edges, spirals, spins, or the triple jumps, frankly, to be an elite skater.

Similarly, with writing I probably write better than the average joe who doesn't like to read or write for fun. But, to take it to the elite level it's going to take years. I've been skating eighteen years and I still can't do a double flip consistently. And if it takes me eighteen years to perfect the craft of writing and create something that's worthy of being published, then so be it. I write because I enjoy it.

And then as if the fates heard my words, waiting for me in my inbox when I got home was Nathan Bransford's partial critique of Product of an Illusion. Nathan posted on Monday about how to handle a manuscript critique. According to him, the critique is apparently radio active, and now that I have read it, I must distance myself from it for a few days.

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Driver seeking good YA audio book reccomendation

Hey guys! I'm looking to purchase a good YA audio book.  I've already listened to all the YA at my public library and I'm currently listening to Twilight for the upteenth time.
Any suggestions?

Gossip Time...City of Glass

Monday's awards were fun and now it's time to get back to business. Which means it's time for another installment of Gossip Time. Today we will discuss Cassandra Clare's City of Glass the third and final book in the Mortal Instrument Series.

 Like most of my recent reads, I listened to this one in the car. The second and third books in the series are read by Natalie Moore. She does a snaptastic job. The first book in the series, City of Bones, was read by Ari Graynor (and according to Bane of Anubis wasn't as snaptastic. The publisher was obviously in agreement and so they made the change to Natalie). But I digress.

Usually, when I gossip about a book I like to discuss everything about it, including spoilers. But since this is the final in the series I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it.

Some things I liked:
1. Clare is the master of cliff hangers.When I read her writing it feels like I'm watching a movie. She'll get you engrossed in a scene and right when you reach a pivotal, climactic moment she whooshes you over to a completely different scene. And then repeats. I was like WTF! This is too much to handle! I can't worry about all of these characters at the same time!

2. I like it when writer's use creative, innovative metaphors and similies. But what Clare does that is so cool is that she'll relate a present moment to a moment in the past. There was one part where the MC Clary is in tight spot and Clare describes the sensation as "jumping off the roof of the Hotel Dumort" from book one. Not only does it clearly describe Clary's feeling but also reminds the reader of the past story.

3. I like how Clare doesn't introduce us to Sebastian until the third book. That's the epitome of writerly patience- to hold on to someone as crucial and wham bam in your face until the third book! That's some well planned pacing.

I think the Mortal Instrument Series would be a great read for any teeny bopper or adult that likes that kind of stuff. On further note, I want to clarify that I am not being paid for gossip time or in any way receiving compensation for promoting Cassandra Clare's work. Have a great day peeps!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Superior Scribbler and Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you! Thank you! Thomas was kind of enough to award me the Superior Scribbler Award and the Kreativ Blogger Award. How snaptastic! And now I get to nominate people too! How fun! Here are my nominations for the Superior Scribbler Award AND the Kreativ Blogger Award (please hold your applause until all the nominees have been read):

1. Bane of Anubis- his posts are testosterone filled, jam packed, and well written. He's enlightened me on several topics such as anorexic models, Twilight spoofs, and my very own narcissism. I've also read his book, The Lost Children Chronicles, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

2. Marissa, although new to the blogosphere, has the makings of a star (on the ice and paper).

3. Ivy, over at Shut Up and Love, has always been one of my favorite reads. She's a poet but also an observer of the fine inner workings of love.

4. Hilary Wagner, already a proud owner of the Kreativ Blogger Award, has wowed me with Edwin Copperpot and is therefore in my mind a Superior Scribbler.

5. Renne Pinner, is always sharing bits of hope, reality, and passion for writing. I visit her blog regularly.

6. L.T. Host over at Quest Published has made me laugh on many occasions, especially when sharing kitty stories. I thoroughly enjoy her Fantasy Tuesdays and she also received an honorable mention over at Nathan Bransford's first paragraph contest.

7. Matthew Delman, is also a proud owner of the Kreative Blogger award, but is quite deserving of the Superior Scribbler award because he is always talking about steam and these awesomely weird gadgets.

Rule 3 of the Kreative Blogger Award says that I have to post seven interesting facts about myself.

1. I've been ice skating for 18 years.
2. I own a video production company.
3. When I was young, other than being an olympic figure skater, I wanted to be a whale trainer. And thus I watched Free Willy more times than I care to admit.
4. I have a brother who is in dental school and is constantly asking if he can practice injections on me. Yikes!
5. I'm 29 years old. Got a cat in February 2009 and I don't have the balls to tell my parents. Even though I own my home. Cats are looked upon with distaste in Indian culture and my Mom thinks they are allergy brothels. Anyways, it's been so long now I'm not quite sure how to even bring the subject up. Lame. I know.
6. I've watched New Moon....twice. Yeah, I know.
7. I baked brownies last night and...I forgot the egg. It emerged from the oven like bubbling sludge.

These are the rules for the Superior Scribbler Award:



1.Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

2.Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

3.Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

4.Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

5.Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog


These are the rules for the Kreativ Blogger Award:



1. Copy and paste the pretty picture which you see above onto your own blog.


2. Thank the person who gave you the award and post a link to their blog.

3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.

4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award.

5. Link to those 7 other bloggers.

6. Notify your 7 bloggers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Side effects of blogging: Memory Wipe

About ten minutes ago I had a mental list of all the things I needed to do before I went to bed tonight. Then as I stepped out of the shower I had a vision of my next blog post. And then at that very moment, EVERYTHING I was supposed to do was instantaneously wiped from my memory. Is this paranormal or what?

I subscribe to a newsletter called Screenplay Mastery. Granted I no longer have ambitions to write screenplays I still enjoy learning about them. Michael Haugue, the creator of Screenplay Mastery, has a post on screenplay structure that is excellent. A lot of screenplay structural theory can be applied to your favorite novel or even your own writing. Below is a diagram of what he believes are the basic six stages for a plot:


While this diagram can be a great tool. He warns:
"But a word of caution: don't let all these percentages block your creativity. Structure is an effective template for rewriting and strengthening the emotional impact of your story. But you don't want to be imprisoned by it. Come up with characters you love and a story that ignites your passion. Then apply these structural principles, to ensure that your screenplay will powerfully touch the widest possible audience."


I highly suggest checking out his post. Good luck to all the Nano Writers- just 7 days left with Thanksgiving stuck in the middle. Oh, what fun challenges can be!


Also, don't forget about Dorian and the add on story.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bursting with Happiness!

I'm just so happy right now. Let me list why:

1. My friend Marissa Spector- well she's more than a friend- I think of her as my little sister, recently started a blog AND just competed in pairs at the 2010 Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships. Her partner and her just placed 3rd! They're going to Nationals in January! Woot! Woot! I am sooooo happy for her!

2. I sent off my manuscript for the last partial critique that I won through Brenda Novak's online auction today. It's exciting and nerve wracking.

3. I'm going to see New Moon in theaters tomorrow with cousin, cousin in law (it happens to be his birthday), cousin in law's friend, Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend), Marissa and her madre! So excited! I don't know why I'm so excited because I hated the first movie (loved the book though- yes I'm not embarrassed to say it.). I guess after seeing the trailers my hope is that it will be better than the first movie.

4. I now have 26 followers!

5. Almost done listening to City of Glass. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Stay tuned for Gossip Time.

Don't forget the add on story. Dorian's mustang has magically healed and is driving, of its own volition I might add, to rescue Dorian or help him find the woman carrying his child. Hard to say sometimes what's exactly going on there, its open to interpretation.

I'm also changing my profile picture to a picture that more exemplifies me. I'm the one on the left, my cool cousin- Namstar (that's not really her name) is on the right. I LOVE to laugh and making people laugh, thus I think this pic is more me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

25! Woo hoo!

I have 25 followers! There are actually 25 people that care about what I have to say! These past few months have been an absolute delight. I love all the blog buddies I've met and the ideas that we have shared. In honor of this milestone, I am going to post 25 snippets from the book How I Got Published, a collection of essays from famous authors. I highly recommend it.

1. Hallie Ephron
Rule 3: Just because an editor says you should change the gender of your protagonist doesn't mean you should do it.

2. Jack Bludis
There is no magic formula-- just persistence and send the damn thing out.


3. Stephen Coonts
Writing in the evening on a portable typewriter on the dining room table after the kids were in bed, I created Jake Grafton and his squadron mates...


4. Thomas Perry
I never stopped writing. I went to graduate school and got a P.h.D. in English, worked as a commercial fisherman because I was sick of being indoors, then became a university administrator, but I still wrote.


5. Ray White
As an unknown, unpublished writer, whose favorite uncle probably isn't an editor at Random House, you must make contacts in the publishing industry. The best way to do this is to attend writer's conferences.


6. Charles Benoit
Your real goal is to write a book that people would pay good money to read...You can't achieve this goal if your reason for writing is to just see your name on a bookshop shelf.


7. Louise Penny
Like most writers I was turned down more often that I care to remember, or cared to admit to my agent.


8. Karen Rose Smith
After six years of writing and the completion of thirteen manuscripts, I sold two books in one week!


9. Shane Gericke
Scared? Do it anyway. I became a best-selling author because of those four little words. You can too.


10. J.A. Konrath
There's a word for a writer who never gives up... Published.


So uh...I know I promised 25...but geez this is taking longer than I thought (and I need to go to bed). So take these 10 multiply that by 2.5 and that should give you 25. Have a good night peeps! And Wooohooo for 25!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our own fictional straight jacket...

When I sat down to write today I felt incredibly blocked. Some mumbo jumbo about british royalty, time travel, and lost siblings- blah blah- was basically slamming the breaks on my WIP.

I keep thinking over and over- how am I going to make this all work. I've brainstormed in the car, in the shower, during many a day dream, etc... I've been waiting for some kind of epiphany on the matter since 2004- and I just can't (and I hate the word can't- in fact I don't even believe it exists) figure it out.

And then after almost five years of trying make something work I realized- why does it have to be that way. Why contrain myself to specific fictional parameters that I made up? Isn't this all imaginary anyway? Does it really have to be the 1480s? Or that specific prince? No it doesn't.

So I turned the prince into a pirate and voila-I'm back in business folks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Character Empathy

I have a friend who is going through a very tough time right now. Every aspect of his life is problematic: career, family, and personal health. I've been kind of down the past few days because of this (and getting a cavity filled that made my face hurt as if it had been beaten by the fury of a thousand fists).

Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend) noted I was a bit melancholy. He knows about close friend going through difficult time and asked me, "But, why are you down?"

"Because close friend is hurting," I said. "It makes me sad when's he's sad. It's like when you have a family member that's sad or hurting. It makes me you hurt too."

Of course, our conversation made me think about writing (what can't be related to writing if you're a write-a-holic like us). The books that I enjoy are often the ones where I have empathy for the characters.  It's when we as readers identify or understand another person's feelings or motives are we truly engrossed in that piece of work (yes, that definition was straight from dictionary.com).

Recently, I had the honor of being a beta reader for Bane of Anubis. By the end of The Lost Children Chronicles, I was empathizing for Kevin, Prince, and Natalie (Jenson not so much- he's just a smeghead). I'm also listening to City of Glass in the car and wow do those drives go by fast. Cassandra Clare makes you empathize for all her characters, even the bad ones. I'll have to do a gossip time about it when I'm done.

So then I began to wonder if I empathize with my own characters. And I think I do on some levels, and then not so much on others. I definitely have some work to do in the empathy department. How about you guys? Do you find yourself empathizing with fictional characters, whether they be your own creation or belonging to others?

Also don't forget about the add on story. Dorian is apparently walking down a desert road to find the woman carrying his child.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dream Lists...

Let's face it we're all dreamers. We wouldn't be writing if we weren't. Our writing aspirations are often private- shared only with family, friends, and blog mates. We don't let the "real" world know what it is that we're really up to- typing diligently during lunch or "cleaning up" when our kids are asleep.

A life time in the sport of  figure skating taught me many important lessons. One of the most important being, goal setting. Now for the purpose of today's post, let's interchange the word goal for dreams. It is said that to become succesful it is important to actually write down what you're dreams are. The act of writing our dreams makes us accountable to them. And of course, our dreams will evolve as time passes, and thus will need to be updated.

So let's get started....Dream List Time....Just fill in the blanks.

Dream Agent: for me this would be someone quirky, fun, hard working, knowledgable, savy, and gets me.

Dream Publisher: a house with a strong YA department (I haven't actually picked out which one is my dream publisher yet)

Dream Cover: Simple, elegant, with a tad of flashiness to it

Dream Book Tour Itinerary: Start in New York (I have a ton of family there), then go to Baltimore (cause I have more fam there), and then North Carolina (that way Nicholas Sparks can show up and congratulate me and I can oogle over him), from there I'd like to hit Florida, then Atlanta (have a bunch of friends and fam there), then in Alabama I'll have to hit Huntsville (go to my highschool) and Birmingham... oh and then Chicago to see Oprah...you get the picture

Whew...that book tour tired me out. What are some things you would put on your dream list?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our inner lens

Do you ever feel like the way you see or perceive what you write can vary from day to day?

Here's an eye fact:
Did you know that when you focus on things up close (i.e. write, read, type) the lens inside your eye actually changes shape? It thickens, changes dioptric power, and takes up more space in the anterior chamber of your eye. And of course when we're tired our eyes can have trouble focusing.

The other day I was tired, but rather than using it as an excuse not to write, I pushed through and got the scenes written. When I finished, my perception was that my work for the day was mediocre and boring.

Then I looked at the same few pages a few days later and I'm like hmmm....this is good stuff. And just experiencing this shift in perception frustrated me.

Do you ever find that your inner eye randomly shifts focus? One day something that looks good, the next day looks bad, or vice versa?

Don't forget about the add on story =)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I was abducted by a muse

I've always wondered how people write multiple projects. I guess I'm very monogamous when it comes to writing. Since I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl that could teleport. I moved around a LOT growing up and always wished I had that ability. That way I could go to the same school and have the same friends regardless of where my family and I lived.


Product of an Illusion initially started as a screen play in 2004 for a screenwriting workshop I participated in. It went through two rewrites in that format. After which I realized, I didn't like writing screen plays. Too technical and restrained for my taste.

So I took a stab at writing a novel (but it wasn't Product of an Illusion), but while I was writing it, I was thinking, man I really wish I was writing what would become Product. So I finished up that first novel, and with some experience under my belt I eventually turned Product of an Illusion into a novel. It had more depth than the screen play, a bigger cast, and was more what I had always wanted it to be. I let that novel marinade for awhile, and realized it needed to be redone. And now I'm almost done rewriting it. My life for the past five years has been all about Maya, Fabian, Laila, Grandpa Miles, etc...

All that's left is to write an ending for Product of an Illusion- a complex escape scene that involves five different "forces." There's a lot of choreographing involved, and it kind of bogged me down, and basically I stopped writing for the past 9 days.

So the weirdest thing happened... this idea started tickling my brain. You need to write about what you know. You need to write about ice skating. I told the bug to leave.

Ice skating. Whatever.

That's been my life for like 18 years....its mundane.... nobody would want to read about that. Besides I've got Maya, Fabian, Miles, Bernard, Laila, etc...to think about. Just leave me alone idea.

Then yesterday my filming crew (which is composed of ice skaters) and I were driving back from Louisville. So in passing I said, "You know what I want to write my next book about?"

And Marissa (who is also a beta reader) blurted out, "But, what about this book. Aren't you going to finish it?"

Alex, who read the first version of Product, said, "You're going to write the sequel of course."

"Well, yeah. I'm going to do those thing. But, I was thinking about also writing this...."

And they LOVED it. They said  they would definitely want to read the idea I pitched. I was floored. I couldn't believe that two people who live and breathe ice skating would want to read a book focused around it, amongst other things.

So I got back home at 1 am and all these ideas started attacking my brain. I lay in bed and all these different scenes assaulted my head. And I realized I was being abducted by a muse!

So while in bed, i jotted down a list of different scenes last night on my iPhone and did a basic outline. And then this morning the first thing I did when I woke up was write the first chapter of my new WIP As the Ice Melts.

It feels so good to be writing again! AND I actually feel like I can go back and handle the ending for Product. I finally understand why and how people write different projects.

Do you guys just stick with one project or do you work on multiple things simultaneously? Do you think it's beneficial or does it just produce a bunch of scattered, unfinished WIPs?

Don't forget to add on to our totally awesome story about Dorian here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's the small things that make life exciting....

A rundown of my totally fabulous/odd day so far:

1. When I woke up my hibernating computer this morning the weirdest thing happened. And I promise you I am not kidding, or tripping, or indulging in any mind altering drugs. A little pink pig scampered across the bottom right corner of my screen. It was about the size of a quarter. I swear. Final Cut Pro was open and at the bottom of the screen this pig ran across the timeline.

2. I didn't have to go to work until 10am today!! Wooohooo! I still woke up early and got a TON of stuff done! AND here's the real cool part. I didn't have to drive an hour and a half to get to work. The powers that be placed me at an office only 27 minutes from my house!!!

3. THE BEST PART. I got an email from Alex Glass. It was in response to my email asking how he'd prefer I submit my manuscript for the partial critque I won through Brenda Novak's auction. Nothing ground breaking. But just to see an email from an agent sitting in my inbox... SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! =)

4. I started listening to Cassandra Clare's City of Glass in the car today.

Hope everyone's day is as cool as mine! Don't forget to add on to our explosively awesome story concoction this month!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Let me entice you...

Hope everyone had a fabulously spooky Halloween. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching the Add on Story grown and morph. To entice you to add to it, I thought I'd post here what's been written so far. If you'd like to add to the mayhem contribute here.

The tires of the '69 mustang fastback squealed to a stop. Cautiously, the driver stepped out. He coughed and swatted at the puffs of dirt that fogged the air.

"What the..." he said under his breath. It was bright and colorful and moving about wildly, but what was it?



Florian Finkelkrumb narrowed is eyes and pulled himself together. He was not a man to stand about asking himself questions, not with a fortune to win and only two days left to live. He leant back into the car and pulled out his steam-powered blunderbuss. Bam! It backfired and killed him, just as Dorian Dundernuts predicted. Oh well, what was another dead Finkelkrumb?


Dorian stood from the ground. Dusting asphalt chips from his multi colored track suit and beanie. Who said faking a seizure in the middle of a county road couldn't earn you a sweet ride? He kicked Finkelkrumb's body aside and hopped into the Mustang. He revved the engine and fishtailed the hell out of there.


He'd been driving for more than five minutes, a country-western song blaring from the radio, before he realized that he was being followed.


The car following him was gorgeous...a silver Saturn Sky. In it was a beautiful woman. Everything about her was black, save her pale skin: eyes, long silky hair, tongue, nails, and black lips against her stark white teeth, the incisors elongated and the tips slightly showing. She was not a vampire, but what?

Then he heard the chilling song she was singing, instilling fear deep in his heart..."There's a Bad Moon on the Rise..." She laughed as she sang. After all it was 1969 and bad moons were everywhere!



In an effort to calm his nerves, Dorian grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey from under the driver's seat, and took a long swig. After all, Finkelrumb wouldn't miss it.

Now, with the liquid courage kicking in, Dorian slammed on the brakes and fishtailed in front of the Saturn, forcing it to careen to a screeching halt. Dorian got out of the car.


Nothing. Just dust and a faint silver gleam.

He pulled a long Cuban cigar from his left nostril, hoping as he did so that his interest in parlour magic was finally going to pay off.

The door of the silver Saturn Sky opens and a black pointed boot steps onto the pavement. 

Eyes wide. Mouth agape. The cigar drops from his mouth and rolls across the pavement stopping within inches of the boots point. Long manicured fingers, gracefully entwine around it.

She gives it a look of disdain with her cold black eyes. It falls from her hand, breaking up into a fine powder that piled up on the asphalt.
Wh-who are you?" stammers Dorian. "Wh-what do you want?"

"You don't want to know," says a voiuce from behind him. It is distinctly masculine.

Dorian spun in place. The bearded lady from 1944 stood her ground.

"Do it," she said. "Do it now."

Dorian pivots away from the bearded woman, simultaneously reaching for something in his back pocket. But suddenly something black, muscular, and slimy coils around his neck, squeezing his trachea, gagging him.
He looks down the length of the black muscular chord and shudders when he realizes what it is - her tongue.

He realizes that the bearded lady in black is not, in fact, bearded. What he presumed to be hair is little more than...shadows coiling around her, caressing her youthful skin.

The masculine voice floats to his hearing again. A man wlaks up to him--it is.....the last man Dorian wanted to see-the shadow-lady's boyfriend. He lets out a menacing howl and proceeds to give Dorian a tongue-lashing he would never forget. No, really. He inserts his black, writhing, cord-like tongue through Dorian's nose, up to his brain, and his venomous saliva starts to eat away at Dorian's fleshy cerebrum. Dorian's screams of pain give way to silence as his eyes glaze over. On the verge of passing out, he sees...

Sunlight coming through the rear winshield of the '69 Mustang. Dorian stretches his neck and vows to never fall asleep in the backseat again while letting a hitchhiker, no matter how beautiful she is, drive his car.

"You okay?" she asks. "You were making a lot noise back there?"



WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?! YOU DECIDE!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Smashing Debut of the Add on Story Shin Dig PLUS Gossip Time!

Hey guys!
I think the add on story is fantabulous! In fact, I'm so interested in what people are adding on I've started stalking my own blog! Go here if you want to join in on the month long of fun.

Next.... GOSSIP TIME
Just finished listening to City of Ashes (The Mortal Instrument Series #2) by Cassandra Clare.

WARNING: SPOILERS WILL BE DISCUSSED. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK AND PLAN TO IN THE FUTURE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER

I liked this one so much better than the first. To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to read/listen to the second installment, but I'm soooo glad I did.

Why I think I like City of Ashes better than City of Bones:
1. I know the characters better. Everyone is pretty well hashed out and they're my friends now.
2. I understand what the clave is, how to use a stele, and I feel like I can be on a first name basis with most of the down worlders.
3. Definitely liking the tension between Clary and Jace. I want to jump her bones...but eww...that's my sister. Simon is like a quaint summer day but Jace is this compelling force I want to crush myself into...but eww...that's my brother. Nice.
4. LOVE the part where Simon turns into a vampire. The way he claws himself out of the ground is priceless.

Some things to ponder though:
1. After reading City of Bones I never truly believed that Jace and Clary were related. And the way Clare drops hints through out the entire book that maybe, just maybe, Clary and Jace aren't related definitely solidifies in my mind that they aren't brother sister. Evidence: The Queen of the Sealy Court, Imogen before she dies (which I'm dying to know what she said), and then what Valentine says to Clary ont he ship. Clare does a nice job at the end where Clary wants to express her undying love for Jace and Jace is like, dude, let's just be brother and sister.

2. Where was this French woman all this time when she could have been waking up Jocelyn. Jocelyn could then clarify who is kin to who. Alas, I know this would have made the book boring. But, really what was this mystery French Woman doing?

3. I understand that Jace is this awesome warrior and everything. But do you really think he wouldn't have realized his exceptional abilities before? Would it really just take being trapped in a Malakai configuration and then Alec telling him to jump?

Anyone else want to gossip? But please no spoilers about City of Glass. I hope to listen to it soon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If you said NO to Nanowrimo; How about an Add On Story, Yo?

A lot of people are holing up with their computers and infinite mugs of coffee to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo. And to those of you brave enough to do it, I wish you oodles of luck.

But, then there's the rest of us. Perhaps we already have a WIP, or we're spending the month creating the perfect query, or maybe we're taking time off from the writing gig and experimenting with new hobbies such as ghosting.

So in the spirit of novel writing month, I thought why not do an add on story? For those of you who've never taken part in this oh so fun activity as a child, here's how it will work:

1. I will post the first paragraph to start off this shindig. (Definition of paragraph (for the purpose of this activity) is 3-6 sentences)

2. YOU will add on to the story by posting under the comment section of this post. I repeat, this post.

3. A person may add on to the story a maximum of three times per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). We've got to watch our waist lines (aka not stray too far from our REAL works in progress).

4. And then on November 30th- voila. We'll have... well, I don't know exactly what we will have. But that's part of the fun- right?

Bring your steam punk, vampires, bad boys, cliche weak female protagonists and more! Share this on your blogs and post it on your facebooks- nay, let the entire world contribute to this master piece.

And now for the beginning..... (please see the comments section).

Query Contest at Kidlit.com

Hey guys!
Just wanted to spread the word about the query contest that agent Mary is hosting. Check it out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hush, Hush....It's Gossip TIme

I just finished reading Becca Fitzpatrick's debut novel Hush, Hush. As you may remember from earlier posts, that I don't formally review books...I gossip about them.

WARNING: SPOILERS WILL BE DISCUSSED. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THis BOOK AND PLAN TO IN THE FUTURE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER


First, I'd like us all to stand (yes, that means you- get your arse off that chair) and give Ms. Fitzpatrick a round of applause. She wrote it. Found an agent. Sold it. She did what so many of us dream to do.


The cover is AMAZING. Even if I hadn't been introduced to this book via blogging, I would have picked it up off the bookshelf at B&N. It's radiant cover art overshadowed all the other books it shared a shelf with.


I really liked the epilogue. The writing was vivid and pulled me in right away. In fact I like the epilogue so much it inspired me to write my own epilogue. He he.


I like how we're introduced to Patch in the first chapter. Typical hot, bad guy that all girls (whether they want to admit it or not) lust over. He's shadowed in mystery from the get go. And then when I learn that Nora's dad is murdered- I want to read more.


Most of this book made me do the following:
"Say Wha--?" Flip back and re-read paragraphs or even entire pages.


Made me wonder why many female protags have unkempt/curly red or reddish hair and freckles (City of Bones, Great and Terrible Beauty, to name a few). The presence of red heads in fiction makes me think of my AP U.S. History teacher from high school. He always pointed out which historical figures in U.S. History were redheads, as a way to justify their actions. "You know them read heads. They're wiley firecrackers."


Some of the plot did seem contrived at places. But then at the end when you learn that Eliot is working for Jules (who is Nephilim) it all makes sense and you realize it's not contrived anymore. But, what I don't get is at the end when Patch tells Nora that Jules died and that Jules couldn't come back because he doesn't have a soul. Why is he lacking a soul, but is Nephilim? And Nora who is also Nephilim apparently has a soul? Why does Jules have powers, but Nora doesn't? Maybe this will be discussed in the sequel (which I will definitely read).


I want to find out the story behind Nora's Dad's murder. For some reason, I think it plays a role in the big picture. Do you? Any thoughts on this?


Lastly, I'd like to say I enjoyed this book so much that I actually tore myself away from watching Sunday NFL football just so I could read pages during commercial breaks and time outs. (And if you know how big of an NFL fan I am- you'd understand how big of a deal this is).


Any one else out there want to gossip about Hush, Hush?





Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Divorce Doom

A frumpy cloud of family shattering storms plagues the Birmingham metro area. Everyone around me is getting divorced. Some after 10, 15, or even 20 years of marriage. Affairs. Lies. Miscommunication. And this recent relationship fall out has made me think a lot about the characters that we write and what our character's thoughts would be on the institution of marriage amongst other facets of their life.

For example if Anita Saxena were a character in a work of fiction. She would say:
I'm desensitized to weddings but think marriage is a cool concept when entered into advisedly.

In graduate school I had to take gross anatomy. For three months I dissected in a cold room full of naked dead people. Naked and/or dead doesn't really bother me anymore (the smell of formaledhyde still makes my nose burn though). Same goes with weddings. I can't even tell you how many weddings  Saxena Video Productions, LLC has filmed. I've seen weddings where everyone is so caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the affair that the bride and groom don't even look happy. And the current fad, to curtail photographer costs, is for the bride and groom to see each other prior to the wedding. So if they're already living together, shacking up (a minister at a wedding I recently filmed said that "marriage was God's solution to shacking up." I was horrified that he said shacking up), and now seeing each other prior to the ceremony- what's the big deal about her walking down the aisle in a white dress that the guy already saw her in a couple of hours ago. (I hope I just didn't offend anyone. If I did- I am truly sorry for my jaded, insensitive comments)

I think marriage can be a beautiful, wonderful thing. It's the actual wedding ceremony that makes me feel like sometimes there is much adieu about nothing

Ten years ago I would have NEVER said anything like that about weddings. I think we all, at some point in our life, go through a major reality check  (not necessarily about weddings). We have this profound moment where we get the true nature of our careers, relationships, etc...

So yesterday I thought a lot about Laila from Product of an Illusion and what her reality check was like for her in her mid twenties. The choices that she made were pivotal because her new perception on self, career, and relationships. Same thing goes for the MC Maya. At 15 she's starting to see through the vale of deception her mother chose to shroud her in.

Do your characters have a reality check moment in their lives? How does it change them or their perception of things?

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Diwali Story- Daddy Saxena Style

So tomorrow is Diwali, the Hindu holiday for the festival of lights. As in any relationship, its a big deal when you take your significant other home for the holidays- so this is my big weekend- bringing Sarcastically Delicious home to spend Diwali with the folks.

During dinner this evening Daddy Saxena asks Sarcastically Delicious (SD) if he knew the story of Diwali. I interjected and explained that I told SD that Diwali was the festival of lights in honor of the goddess of Laxmi. Laxmi will come to your home and bless you with health, wealth, and prosperity.

Daddy Saxena said, "Not really." And then he proceeded to tell what is a mega epic in a few minutes (Cliff Notes to the extreme). Before he began, he first apologized for his crude retelling. He's an engineer, not a religious scholar.

A long time ago (before Jesus) there was a King in India with four wives. To his youngest wife he made an oath: if at any time she needed something, he would fulfill her desire.

When the King was ready to retire, as was tradition, his eldest son, Rama, became King. The youngest wife became jealous and was upset that her son wasn't King. So she went to her husband and said, "I want you to make my son King and I want you to banish Rama and his wife Sita to the jungle for fourteen years." The King had made an oath that he could not rescind and so he fulfilled his youngest wife's wishes.

Daddy Saxena explained that this was a period where sons were the epitome of obedience, never questioning their father's wishes. So the King told Rama that he and his wife Sita would have to step down from the throne and live in the jungle for 14 years. Rama was like whatev and he stepped down from the throne. Rama's brother, Laxman, did not think this was cool and he was like where ever you go, I will go AND I will help you protect your wife. Now, the youngest wife's son was pissed (Daddy's Saxena's words) at his Mom for demanding Rama's removal from the throne. The youngest son told the people of the land that he wouldn't accept the crown, but rule as a representative of Rama for the next 14 years.

So now let me tell you a little secret about Rama. He was an incarnation of God! And he had an enemy. There was a king on the island of Lanka who was said to have the brain power of ten heads.

Sarcastically Delicious raised his eyebrows and said, "He had ten heads?"

To which I explained that he didn't have ten heads, but the brain power of ten heads-kind of like a computer with a lot of RAM and a big hard drive. That clicked for SD.

So anyway Ten head guy wanted to go to heaven. And apparently the only way to go to heaven at that time was to be killed by a God. Since ten headed guy was so smart he figured out that Rama was actually a God. So he created a plan. He was going to provoke Rama into killing him by stealing his wife Sita.

One day Rama leaves to hunt for edible vegetation and he asked his brother Laxman to watch over his wife. Laxman was like, "I got your back bro." So Laxman and Sita are chilling and Sita was like I need some water. Laxman agreed to go get some water for Sita but before he did, he drew a circle in the dirt around Sita. Sita did not know what he was doing. If anyone encroached inside the perimeter of this circle, a fire would erupt and burn them. Before Laxman left he told Sita NOT to leave the circle until he returned.

Ten head guy thought this was the prime time to strike. He disguised himself as a beggar, went into the juggle, and staked out Sita. He approached her and asked her for some food. Being a very generous woman, Sita said, "Of course. But you will have to come inside this circle." Ten head guy stepped inside the circle's perimeter and felt a powerful surge of heat up his leg. He jerked his leg back. After that he some how sweet talks Sita into walking out of the circle to give him some food. And Sita DID. She actually walked out of the protective confines of her circle! Ten Head Guy kidnaps Sita and runs of with her.

When Rama returns. He is TICKED and then this GIANT war ensues. During this war different Gods take part. Daddy Saxena explains that Ganesh (the God with an elephant trunk) was kind of like Minister of Defense. But what Rama and the others didn't know is that they were playing right into Ten Head Guy's hands.

Ten Head Guy's achilles heel was his belly button. The only way he could be killed is by an arrow shot straight at his belly button. And of course during the war, Rama strings his bow, aims, and kills the guy with a shot straight to his belly button.

By the time the war ends fourteen years pass. Rama, Sita, and Laxman return back to their kingdom. And Diwali, the festival of lights, is actually a celebration of the return of Rama.

At the end of Daddy Saxena's story I retorted, "So if Sita had just listened to Laxman and stayed inside the freaking circle, an EPIC war would have been prevented?!?"

"That's women for you," Sarcastically Delicious replied.

This story was not meant to offend or wrongfully portray the Hindu religion in any way.  I apologize if I accidentally offended anyone. I just wanted to memorialize Daddy Saxena's incredible telling of this story in terms that SD and I understood and thoroughly enjoyed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"I had to hold on to the seat so I wouldn't blast off...."

This is what Sarcastically Delicious said to me yesterday after he ceremoniously returned from the bathroom. Poor Guy. I think he has the flu plus a nasty stomach virus.

But on a non-poopy note, I'm considering posting some of YA and/or my synopsis on here. I have a thirty page critique coming up and I want to send the brightest, shiniest, polished thing I can create.

Would you guys be willing to give me some feedback?

.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

High on cold meds...

When I take meds they have an odd effect on my body and mind. The drowsy ones make me alert. And the stimulant ones make my tired. Overall I react differently to common day situations and my thoughts become well you see....

I'm very upset because because my cat tried to touch my gluten fee chocolate chip cookie. She touched it with  the same paw that she used to kill a hornet with earlier today. Doesn't she know to use Purell?

Yesterday, I completed my third attempt at my second synopsis of WIP #1. Make sense? Natalie Whipple broke it down into Cinderella terms. She made it look doable.

I also am itching to go pick up my copy of Hush, Hush today. But, I don't really feel like leaving the house because of this nefarious cold.

I am also wondering what would have happened if Eragon ran into Frodo in the Hadarac Desert... Would Frodo be like: "Man, can I use Saphira to fly this ring to Mordor?"  OR would Eragon be like "Dude, what are you?"

You've probably heard, Nathan Bransford is hosting his annual first paragraph contest. I've submitted mine and have thoroughly enjoyed reading the others posted on there.

Lastly, I am wondering what you guys think of authonomy? (Those of you who are unagented) Would you post on there?

Monday, October 12, 2009

I don't review books...I gossip about them

I'm one of those people who mentally shut down when I'm asked to summarize, synopsize (that's a word right?), review, or write essays. BUT I do like talking about books. Talking is a bit of an understatement. I GOSSIP about what I read.

Most of my friends at the ice skating rink enjoy reading or are of the type that enjoy the flamboyant, spectacular, and dramatic (I guess that is the essence of our sport). So we gossip about books amongst other important things (each other, celebrities, you tube videos, etc...). I can singlehandedly say that I spread the Twilight Fever at the Pelham Skating School and the Wings Plague and the Great and Terrible Virus...I mean Beauty.

So...I'd like to gossip a bit about books that I just read (City of Bones) and listened to (Lost Symbol).

WARNING: SPOILERS WILL BE DISCUSSED. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THESE BOOKS AND PLAN TO IN THE FUTURE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER

CITY OF BONES
Valentine being Clary's Dad really wasn't much of a surpise. I mean come on. Jocelyn Fray didn't seem like the type that got around that much. As soon as we find out that she was married to Valentine, which was somewhere in the middle of the book, I already knew then that Valentine was Clary's dad.

Hodge and his avian partner always seemed a bit dodgy to me, so when he betrayed everyone- it was quite fitting.

Jace is HOT. I like the fact that Alec is homosexual and is in love Jace. I like that fact that Simon has been in love with Clary his whole life. My heart goes out to him, because I soooo know what that feels like.

It took me awhile to understand what a Stele really was and the fact that the Shadowhunters actually tatoo runes on themselves with the stele. Perhaps, I'm just a bit slow.

I think Clare built up the brother/sister thing pretty well. That's a difficult thing to do.

Overall, the writing is great. And I really like the way that Cassandra Clare describes things. Awesome metaphors and similes.

LOST SYMBOL
This was good. Dan Brown you are the man. After reading one of his books I feel so intellectual and educated. I learned about the circumpunct, Noetic science, and sensory deprivation chambers. I probably would have never heard of these things if it weren't for Mr. Brown.

My heart goes out to Peter Solomon. Lost his son. Lost his wife through divorce. Lost his mom via murder. Almost loses his sister. Thinks he loses a good friend. Think his brotherhood will be destroyed. Then loses his son AGAIN. WOW. Amazing man, that Peter Solomon to pull through like he did.

OMG. The part where Robert Langdon died. I was like in mega denial. No. It can't be! Does this mean Dan Brown won't write another intellectual adventure with the world's favorite Symbologist ever again!!! Seriously these are the things I worry about.

Great listen (I can't say read, cause well I didn't). Highly recommend.

Anyone else want to gossip about City of Bones or Lost Symbol?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

AHHHHHH!!!!!

I AM SO FRUSTRATED.
Why is it that when there isn't time to write the ideas rush at you. But, when you have an entire afternoon FREE, there ain't nothin' in my head to work with (that's a little Alabama talk for ya'll).

To be honest, I'm at a point in my plot where the action could go like ten different ways. And i don't know which way to go. Because the anal perfectionist side of me wants to choose the BEST way. And I know it's wrong. And I know I'm just suffocating myself; perpetuating this block.

Sigh.

On a bright note, I did reserve a copy of Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush today. It's getting great reviews and has a bad ass cover.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Outline versus Go with the Flow

I am often torn between outlining what I write versus just seeing what happens. A few weeks back I read a post here, which basically said you should have fourteen chapters outlined before you start writing. So since I am re-writing a YA with a pretty complex plot, I thought I'd give it a try. I opened up my journal, found a pen that seemed to glide across the paper (if you didn't know, this is a must; if the pen ain't smooth, it's automatic writer's block), and went at it.

The problem is that when I started writing, nothing that I outlined actually happened. When I write, I'm watching a movie in my mind. Except that it's better than a movie. I actually jump in and out the bodies of all the characters. I feel what they feel. I react how they react. If they are making a facial expression or clenching their gut, I actually do that. It's the ultimate experience. So I don't really know what's going to happen. I have to wait and see how it plays out. Sometimes, something happens that I don't expect.
Now, that I think of it, I bet I look pretty funny when I write.

Anyway, I'm wary because I used the "go with the flow" method when I wrote my original manuscript and I ended up not being happy with the pacing or the plot. I do spend a lot of time thinking/imagining before I write, so I do have a direction in mind. But, I'm afraid that if I keep going with the flow, I'll end up writing another no go.
What do you guys do? Outline? Or just see how it unfolds?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

A little inspiration...

 A few years back I purchased the book How I Got Published. It was enlightening to say the least. I highly recommend reading it, as it contains essays from famous authors sharing their story of how they got published.

Clive Cussler's essay, entitled I Decided to Take a More Devious Approach, tells the cunning story of how he created a fake agency to woo another agent to read his work. Remember folks, this was back in the day.

Marian Keyes' essay shares the low points of her life and how eventually her writing helped turn everything around.

It's an excellent read, especially if you're an aspiring writer. Almost 350 pages ranging from quick luck to years of persistence. No, I'm not getting paid to plug this book or anything. I was just dusting my bookshelf and I came across it. I read it and it energized me (as well as gave me a good reality check) about writing. Just thought I'd share.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chicken is ready to go in the oven

So the WIP has been marinading for about 7 days now. Between reading City of Bones and listening to Lost Symbol I haven't given my peeps in Product of an Illusion a second thought. I tried to think about Maya and Fabian when I was at the allergy doctor getting stuck with 50 needles in my back- BUT I wasn't quite able to make it there (perhaps it was the needles).
Does that disturb me? No, not really.
It's kind of like when you go on a vacation with your significant other and you see them EVERYDAY, ALL DAY long. You still love them, but you just need a break, some time apart so you can miss them.
I've had my time apart and I'm ready to jump back in. So if I disappear for awhile, I'm working on my WIP.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is that you with smelly underpants?

I got your attention with the smelly underpants. Don't deny it.

Today's blog is about smells- good and bad. When I read I like it when an authors describes smells. The smell of a setting, the smell of a character, the smell of an object, the smell produced by an action- they all help paint a better picture in my imagination.

I've been listening to the Lost Symbol in the car and there is a specific scene (don't worry I'm not giving away anything and if you've read it you know what I'm talking about) where Brown creates a pivotal moment centered around the smell of Ethanol. Woah. I so felt it. The burn. The noxious fumes. I was gripping the steering wheel at this part.

When we write we use words to describe sensory stimuli for the five senses. The best writers I believe cover all FIVE. A few months ago, I noticed my writing only utilized four senses. Smells were mentioned minimally in my WIP. So I went through the entire thing and where I felt it was needed, I described the smell of that moment.

How do you guys feel about the description of smells in what you read and write?