Road Trip Wednesday #174: Fictional Meanderings

rtwRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This Week’s Topic: If you could visit any country with a fictional character as your guide, who would you pick and where would you go?

Hey, I’ve been absent for a few weeks from the Road Trippin’, so I thought I’d join in this week. If that’s OK? I love this weeks topic, even if I find it challenging and limiting. I have to pick just ONE character to take my jaunt with?!?! And what criteria do I use? Should they be someone already well traveled, with a broad knowledge of cultures, customs, etc.? Should it be someone I think will show me a good time? Someone wealthy, with good connections and manners?

So…since this is impossible…I’m going to pick one for each requirement.

Well traveled:

10th_doctor

The Doctor. I feel this is a no brainer. He has literally been everywhere, in every time. He’s dashing and wise, but he has a brilliant sense of humor and adventure. Now, since I could go anywhere with the Doctor, the where is harder here. Do we go to a distant galaxy in a far away time? NO. I have real, screaming nightmares about floating in the abyss of space or being sucked into a black hole. Not that I don’t trust the Doctor, but…NO.

We would do an excursion through time on Earth, beginning with the dawn and then meeting back up in my present. I wouldn’t want to see the future. I don’t need to know how bleak things will turn or not turn. To me, the mystery is much more exciting. Egypt, Jerusalem, Paris, the Americas — a smattering of it all.

Good time pal:

ron_weasley

This is kind of a creeper shot on Ron.

Ron Weasley. We would go to the Quidditch World Cup, drink too much pumpkin ale, probably get into a bar brawl in defense of the Chudley Cannons, and then meet Hermione back at the tent — which would be fully magicked out (that’s decked out in wizard speak) — where she would likely ruin all our fun and put us promptly to bed.

Wealthy, well-mannered, well-connected: 

lizziedarcy

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. As a couple, they would be immaculate hosts. We would do a tour of the Lake Country, staying in the finest houses and attending the most decadent balls. Darcy wouldn’t dance, but Lizzie and I would have a smashing time. I suppose, for this trip, I would bring my husband. He and Mr. Darcy could commiserate and brood about the simpering stupidity of high society England. Lizzie and I could be unaccomplished (at art and music) together. We would end in London. Somewhere in there I’d like to throw in a dip in those baths they were so crazy about at that time.

An honorable mention should go to Francie Nolan, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She and I would have a lot of fun at the New York Public Library and climbing trees in Prospect Park. Two pastimes I miss since leaving New York.

Road Trip Wednesday: #171 Quarterly Check-up…I mean IN.

rtwRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This Weeks Topic: Quarterly check-ins! We’re already 1/4 of the way through the year–where are you on your reading and writing goals?

Ok, first of all — No way! I am bumfuzzled that we are already a quarter through the year. Holy time warp, Batman! The first couple months of this year have been largely consumed with the process of moving from the Big City back to the sprawling lands of Texas.

I have read four books this year, with a few pages of progress on a fifth.

bones

crewel
ravendeerskin

 

According to my Goodreads tracker, I’m 12% behind. If I intend to meet my goal of 70 books, I best get my sweet little behind in gear. However, I’m nonplussed. I’ll make up the time. Insert Tortoise and the Hare analogy here.

As far as writing goals are concerned. I have but one, and I think I’m doing pretty well with it. What is my goal you ask? (Go on, ask.) Get my MS to the point where it’s ready for submission. Now, here’s the thing. That’s not totally on me. When working with an agent, a big part of the process and the relationship is about trusting them to tell you when it is ready. Or at least, trust that you can come to the agreement about its readiness.

Part of my struggle is this: I am obsessive. Someday I plan of finding another outlet for this energy that doesn’t involve making other people nervous. I sent her an email Monday about a particular revision I was going to try. She probably just shrugged and let me do it because, well, see above. So, for my writing goal, I think I am on track. And at some point in the next few months, I hope to have confirmation.

So, I need to get back to work now. I should probably read? Happy Wednesday! To goals!

funny-gif-simon-cat-tree

Road Trip Wednesday: #164 If I had a bookstore

rtwRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We ,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This Week’s Topic is: Imagine you get to open your own bookstore. What would it look like? What kinds of books would you sell?

My son got present obsessed during Christmas, a totally normal and completely enraging pastime for three year olds. After the initial panic that present time was over wound down, Sam began to ask, “What present do you want?”, whenever he got bored. Whoever was around had to answer him, and then ask him the question in return. His answers range from a Spiderman bounce house, to a trip to the moon, to a puppy, etc., etc., etc..

I felt the only appropriate way to answer this was by looking inside for what I would have wanted as a little girl. Other than a window-seat and “to be a Newsie”, there was one lingering, unattainable desire I carried. Upon introspection I realized, I still carry it. So I said, “I want a library.” He furrowed his brow at me, “A library?” I grinned. “Yes, like the Beast gives Bell.”

The truth is, I have always dreamed of a room with books lining walls. When I was in my early teens the movie You’ve Got Mail was released. I wanted that bookstore. That home for books, where quirky people found not only a wonderful new companion made by words, but also answers and true friendship.

This makes me sound like a romantic, which I guess I am, to an extent. Or maybe I’m an idealist. Maybe my fantasy bookstore only exists in a movie, but it’s a fantasy, so that’s OK.

recycled

source: Mary Beth Butler

books

source: Project Vinyl

In my hometown of Denton, TX, there is a wonderful place called “The Recycled Bookstore”. It’s housed in the old Opera House, and jammed full of thousands of books, vinyl records, DVD’s and even VHS’s. When I was young, I thought the place was haunted. My friends and I would go there to get Nancy Drew books and search for wandering spirits.

My bookstore wouldn’t only be about the books, it would be about the atmosphere. It would be a place to go, not just to buy. It would be a retreat from the normal world because that’s what books are. Books are our way to more.

The other day Sam came to me in the kitchen while I was cooking. He and his dad had been playing “store”, and he had bought me a present. In his hand was my library.

read library lights

Road Trip Wednesday: #163 Goals Anyone?

rtwRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We ,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This Weeks Topic: What are your goals for the new year—for reading, writing, or other?

I am going to attack this question in the three parts it’s broken up by — reading, writing, other.

I am not really a goal-setter. I discussed this in my New Year post, you can see that here. To briefly reiterate, I do not like to fail. I do like to have a plan though, and that plan does leave room for me to fail.

So…whatever.

Reading:

I have set a reading goal on Goodreads this year. First year I think I have ever done that. You can see my little tracker over in the sidebar. I’ve read one book so far. My goal is 75. We will see. I would like to try to read in genres or sub-genres I don’t usually read in for at least 30% of my reading. For example) Literary Fiction, Contemporary YA, Nonfiction or Memoir.

Writing:

The biggest goal I have here should be obvious: get the manuscript to a sale-able place. For those of you who are agented, you will understand how very little power you have in reaching this goal. It comes down to absorbing the notes on your work, interpreting it through the eyes of your characters and your voice and your story, then making that happen in the writing. That’s what I’m doing now.

Beyond that, ideally the book will sell. I’m an holding my breath for that. Holding my breath, praying, crossing fingers, dotting “i’s”. It’s happening this year. I would also like to consistently blog, tweet, and build my presence on the interwebs. And, if my manuscript is out in the world of publishing, I’d like to begin work on the sequel.

Somewhere in there I will sleep and potty-train my three year old son.

Other:

Potty training is happening. Sometime between now and when he turns four. My husband and I joke about this, and other more challenging aspects of parenting, in order to remain sane in the midst of chaos. He says, sometime between now and when Sam’s eighteen he’ll be able to sleep through the night (use the big boy potty, eat his vegetables, dress himself, etc., you get the idea), so no pressure.

I’d like to find time to sew, which I haven’t done since moving to New York.

I want be more settled this year. This is more of a feeling, something I will know when I get to it, but not necessarily know how to get to. I’d also like to be more flexible. Last year, I was learning how to be a mom and a writer. I’m still learning, but I hope this year, I’ll be better at the dance.

Those are my current goals. I find goals evolve, like all living things, and goals should be alive. They are a part of who we are. As you journey towards something the end result you were hoping for usually matures. Sometimes it changes entirely. By the end of the year, I may not meet any of my goals, but I may still feel I’ve accomplished everything I set out to. (This is a mentality I am developing in order to counter my need to win compulsion. So far, it’s working.)

RTW # 150 — There is a season, turn, turn, turn

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We ,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This weeks topic is: How does your writing (place, time, inspiration) change with the seasons?

First, I want to say I had a wonderful time at the Austin Teen Book Fest and will try to do a post about it by the end of the week. Look forward to that!

Now on to the question. I like this question. I have always been highly susceptible to change in weather. When it’s sunny, I feel happy. When it’s gray, I feel introspective and gloomy. When it’s cold I imagine myself burrowing into a cave like a bear and emerging with a renewed vision come spring (also thinner because I’ve been hibernating and not eating). I love the colors of fall, and the romance of winter, and the clarity of spring, and the laziness of summer.

When I began working on my novel — exactly one year ago this week — fall was upon New York City. Fall in the northeast is a rhapsodic time. Poems can (and have) been written about it. Painters flock to the city and the surrounding land to capture the brilliance, this tangible proof that beauty can and always will be possible. The world is transformed, by leaves aglow from light like fire, by softened sunlight, or even by the reemergence of sweaters, stockings, and little wool caps.

I was very influenced when creating my world by the atmosphere of fall. I still am. My book takes place in late fall in a woods much like you would find sprawling across New England. Even as winter, spring, and summer have come and gone since I’ve been writing, in my mind I’ve tried to hold on to autumn.

So, I guess, to answer the question completely: I am not very influenced at all. I carry a season around with me as long as the project lives in that season. My manuscript is over 300 pages, but still it is just barely winter when it ends. As I come to the end of these revisions (my third round) I also come to the beginning of fall. Full circle, maybe even completion.