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.