What’s up Wednesday: The Final Countdown

RobotWUWThank you Jaime and Erin for hosting What’s up Wednesday these last two years! I have met some of my favorite writing people through it. You guys are amazing!

Here’s the last, What’s up with me…

What I’m Reading

I just finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell, and it was everything fantastic and awesome that I expect from one of her books, but it also punched me in the gut with emotion. Georgie McCool is a character I identify with in a way that makes me almost embarrassed, and maybe when I was reading I started sobbing like an idiot while my son tried to get my attention and my husband made me a cup of tea. Good times.

What I’m Writing

I started a new story. The voice came to me in the shower and then before I knew it I was writing words. For now, I’m just following her. I don’t really know yet where, but after a few months of false starts on other projects, and feeling like I’m in limbo, it’s nice just to write and not feel bound by anything.

What Works for Me

Like I said above, not feeling bound by an arbitrary goal or a word count requirement. Not looking at the long road ahead littered with drafting and revisions. It’s like walking down stairs carrying a laundry basket. I can’t see the stairs below me, but I can feel them. I can’t get focused on the final step or I’ll lose traction where I’m at. It’s an exercise in living in the moment, writing in the moment, focusing on the day I’m in, the word count I’m at, and that’s it.

What Else is New

Last week was Spring Break for my son. We did a lot of playing, and reading, and going to parks. The weather wasn’t the best the last half of the week, so I took him to the movies and cuddled with him over popcorn.

I also got him a little Spring Break gift at Target. He insisted on having his picture made.

samtarget

I’ve been focusing some (a lot) of my energy on my YouTube channel Books, Booze & Bitches with fun results! Yesterday I did a video about the San Diego Comic Con Hotel Lottery and the resulting CRASH of the website. (Check out the Crazy 4 Comic Con Post about the situation as well, if you’re interested.)

EXTRA: I discussed my experience with another crash when I submitted my application to the HBO Writing Fellowship.

We post new videos every Wednesday, with the exception of this week when we are posting more because Hotelpocalypse 2015. Today we are talking Insurgent Movie!

And finally *sniffle*….What’s up with you?

What’s Up Wednesday: I’m Back!

Castle Button (Final)What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

I just finished an ARC of The Winner’s Crime (the sequel to one of my 2014 faves The Winner’s Curse) by Marie Rutkoski. Oh man. This book. It took some turns I was not expecting, and they were all executed beautifully. I am deeply worried right now about Kestrel and Arin. That’s all I will say.

I started on Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, and already I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I think Amy is fantastic — so funny and smart and snarky. I am gleaning wisdom from her. She has the wisdom. I’m also reading a book called Severed by Frances Larson. It’s about severed heads throughout history. Because why not?

What I’m Writing

I am working up a revision outline for my screenplay. I finished the first draft Christmas Eve. Sent it to two of my CPs after the New Year. I got fantastic feedback last week and am thrilled to move forward with this revision.

I am also drafting a new project. Though, this has had to take a back seat to other things with more urgency. It’s not a YA project, it’s not high fantasy though there is of course a speculative element, and it’s a lot of fun.

My YA fantasy manuscript Of Blood and Promises is doing well in the query trenches. So, my nerves are totally wrecked. Yep.

My goal: 1000 words on the MS. Finish the revision outline for the screenplay.

What Works For Me

Taking time away from the computer to explore. Reading (and watching) nonfiction that is riveting, inventive, educational and vibrant. Paying attention to the small moments. Too often we brush over those, and those are where our humanity is fortified.

What Else I’m Up To

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a What’s Up Wednesday. There was no real reason beyond my own need to recede for a bit, and my own time constraints. I am so happy to be back with you guys! The past week I have been spending time with some baby goats. For years I have guessed that baby goats have magical healing powers related to cuteness, and last week I confirmed my suspicions were not unfounded. goatandsam Also. I injured myself rather dramatically about a week and a half ago. Read about it here. My face is finally starting to look normal, though I’m still dealing with soreness and bouts of embarrassment and shame. Klutz 4eva!

So…how are you fairing this week?

What’s Up Wednesday: The Outlander Edition

RobotWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

Finished the adorable How to Get a Love Life by Rosie Blake. It was a fun read, and since it is an e-first the price is quite low. I totally recommend, plus, it takes place in London which just feeds my growing obsession with the UK. I am using Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas as a revision reward. I want to just devour it, but this is better…this is better.

What I’m Writing

Yes. I am revising. It is part revision and part rewrite, which has gotten me thinking about the difference between the two. There is a difference. When I started revising the draft stayed mostly the same with some well-placed additions or subtractions, new scenes, reworking old scenes. Then I made this BIG change, and the BIG change has required a rewrite of the middle third of the book. I am a million times happier with this thing, but holy hell it’s involved. I want to be finished with the revision by the 15th (or somewhere very near the middle of the month) and have it off to my CPs shortly thereafter.

What Inspires Me

Thinking outside the box. I sat with my eyes closed last night pondering out a particular sticking point in the plot, and came out on the other side. Being willing to step back and really look at each element in this book has broadened my own understanding of what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.

Outlander…in no way does Scotland in the 1700s remind me of the world in my manuscript, but the beauty of the story, the romantic Jamie quotes, the pretty boy in the kilt…

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What Else I’m Up To

Watching Outlander

I don’t have Starz, and where we live (our house is in the woods) we cannot stream very much from the internets because our provider has a bandwidth cap. (I hate them.) So I go to my sister-in-laws on Saturday to watch Outlander. She is a teacher, and with the school year up and running she stays busy during the week. Saturday is our time to catch up, to fangirl and swoon, and to forget there is a world where Jamie Fraser is not real.

quote

 

I’m gonna also need all these outfits, and her tartan with pockets. (My birthday is coming up, FYI.)

 

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Catching up with friends in general after the busy summer. Reading more. Writing more. Overall just having more time, while also somehow having less time. Mom’s with school age children, you’ll know what I mean.

Have a wonderful week!

What’s Up Wednesday

TreeWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

I just started How to Get a Love Life by Rosie Blank. I started it about four months ago, forgot about it the hustle of things and it being on my Kindle app which sometimes I hate, and then remembered and opened back up. It was published in the UK and is absolutely adorable. It’s chick lit, which is not normally my bag — I say that, but I have loved quite a few books I’d call chick lit actually — but I’m really enjoying it.

I hope to finish it by the end of the week because as my reward for getting ALL THE REVISING accomplished, I am buying Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and may not speak to another human person until I have devoured it.

What I’m Writing

I am doing a revision on my manuscript Of Blood and Promises. Mostly, it was prompted by really incredible notes from an agent I’ve been working with (not signed, don’t get too excited), but then as I considered her notes I began to see so many things come clear that it took on a life of its own. I am kind of killing this revision, and now that my son is in school, I have time to really knock it out.

In the last couple weeks I have witten over 9,000 new words and revised a whole lot more. So, in honor, here is a tiny little excerpt that I revised last week:

I hear Aiken move from the bed, shuffle across the room, and then lean against the door. After another moment he opens it. His face is washed in moonlight, revealing eyes hooded with sleep and hair mussed all over. He wears thin pants that hang from his hips and cling to his thighs, and for the smallest moment I forget myself, the reason Malia and I woke him… reason at all. It is work to force my eyes back to his face.

He glances between us, waiting.

What Inspires Me

I’ve been inspired by some really incredible YA high fantasy. I read The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutoski and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, which are very different brands of high fantasy, and both incredibly well done.

This for tone and emotion:

obandpinspireWhat Else I’m Up To

Still very much adjusting to my son starting Kindergarten. There is no doubt that he is ready, that he will flourish, but it is emotional to realize how big he’s getting, and how fast that’s happening.

I’m started exercising again. I have been mostly eating healthy and not drinking (not having a night cap every night). I really hate working out but I really love the sense of calm I have when I do, and hopefully the result of a cuter ass won’t be so bad either. 😉

Happy Wednesday!

 

What’s Up Wednesday

wuwPLANEBORDER2What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

Beta reding, but different stuff now. I feel like I’m starting to get ahead on my reading, which is a wonderful feeling. Betaing is a responsibility I do not take lightly, so my recent reading slump is also not something I am proud of or willing to give in to. It’s good to be coming through it. Still reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman, still slow as Christmas.

What I’m Writing

Still mostly the Screenplay. I love this thing more than I should love something I have no idea what to do with. Screenwriting was my first writing medium. I know, it sounds very weird. I wrote my first screenplay at the age of nine on a typewriter. It was bare bones and unrealistic, but it was a screenplay.

I am also processing some notes on a manuscript and trying to figure out how to revise. It’s not that the notes are complex, or even really that much, it’s more wanting to really do this manuscript justice. So, I haven’t started revising yet, and I am OK with that.

What Inspires Me

Watching TV and Films and dissecting what is seen on screen and what is said in dialog. We were watching Firefly last night, which is incredible for language and character development, and I found myself taking notes.

My writer friends, who have become some of my best friends. I have called on them for advice, encouragement, and distraction in the past couple weeks and they have delivered to no end.

Spending time with a friend I haven’t seen in four years. We’ve kept up over Facebook, which is one reason I still do Facebook, and after four years — and a lot of changes — it was like no time had passed.

What Else I’m Up To

I had dental work last week and then didn’t really let myself recover properly. So I am paying for it. I had to go in to the oral surgeon yesterday for “an adjustment” which is a nice way of saying they had to do work on me that they shouldn’t have had to do.

Going to NYC next week for six days. I haven’t been to the city since last May. So. Excited.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

What’s Up Wedesday

TreeWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done What’s up Wednesday! I hope everyone is having a wonderfully epic summer.

What I’m Reading

Currently doing beta reading. Which is top priority for reading right now as I have a lot to get caught up on and very little reading time this summer. I also started If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and so far am loving it. I haven’t read anything by Gayle Forman yet, but have heard nothing but good things. And with the upcoming movie, I thought I’d start there!

What I’m Writing

I’ve been working on a feature length screenplay pretty much exclusively for the past two weeks. I am over 1/3 of the way through and just so very happy with it. The dialog, which is maybe the most important thing in screenwriting, is coming really naturally. I am taking this to mean I have a firm grasp on my characters. Right now I am just working on the main plot lines, and getting the basic story down. I had some breakthrough figuring out how all the main plot lines will converge at the end yesterday, which was THRILLING.

What Inspires Me

This may sound very strange, but my brother and his family. Three years ago, right before my husband and I moved to Brooklyn, my brother, his wife and young daughter moved to Israel. Right now, they are right in the middle of war in a foreign country. Their faith and bravery to stay in their home in Jerusalem in the midst of this chaos is incredible. Your thoughts and prayers for the peace of that nation are appreciated, personally, by me and my family. This is a terrifying time, it is meant to unsettle and unnerve, to get those who live there out of safety and into harms way. War does that, is touches the innocent and the foolhardy alike. When the war is over the land, over faith and long standing hatred, there are no winners. There can’t be.

What Else I’m Up To

Everything that is involved in having an epic summer with my son.

Also. I got New Hair (that is what all the kids at Sam’s school call it) and Sam asked me what “the hair color doctor” had to do to give me this hair. I explained it was a lot like painting.

new hair

Have a wonderful Wednesday! And drop by comments to tell me what’s up with you!

What’s Up Wednesday: Resubmit

 

RobotWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

Resubmitting a manuscript to an agent is the equivalent of a call back in an audition. Querying is really auditioning. It is your chance to show an agent you are the right one to play the role of their New Client.

When you get the chance to resubmit a manuscript after revision, you take it, and you do your best to hit all your marks.

Even after you have revised, read aloud, sent to a CP, and walked through the book one last time, it can be hard to be sure. And the truth is, it may never be perfect (most published authors will tell you it never is) but you have to resubmit it and have faith that it will be perfect enough to show the agent what you can do, to make the story shine in a new way, and to make them fall in love.

I resubmitted my manuscript today, with excitement and a lot of nerves, and now it is out of my hands.

What I’m Reading

Finally getting back on the reading wagon. I just finished (after far too long) The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. I loved it, though I did have a hard time with certain chapters and plot points. Definitely recommend if you read The Burning Sky, and if you haven’t read that you really should.

I am finishing up a friends MS, and starting on another tonight. Also, I will begin reading In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis, and I am so excited.

What I’m Writing

Right now I am working on a secret WiP that I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with. It’s kind of personal, and it’s different from my normal genre, and it’s a little freeing. Also, the Screenplay. I want to get a draft complete by the middle to end of June. That may be my ambition talking, though, and not possible in reality.

What Inspires Me

I had a writing session with my friend Lindsay today. Her debut The Murder Complex comes out in a couple of weeks, and her excitement is evident. We’ve been friends now for about a year, and watching her walk through this process has been not only inspirational but educational. It is such a huge accomplishment, and I am really happy for her.

My own love story. Monday, Memorial Day this year, May 26th my husband and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. There is not one part of me that wonders if I chose my partner wisely. We have grown up together in these eight years, we have made hard choices and faced uphill climbs. I am thankful to have him beside me.

 

What Else I’m Up To

This weekend I am going on a road trip with my husband and son to Houston, TX. We are attending the book launch for my friend and awesome writer Jennifer Mathieu, whose debut The Truth About Alice releases this week. I got to read an ARC back in April, and seriously LOVED it.

We are then planning to take my son to visit NASA. He has wanted to go since he learned about it. My maternal grandfather worked in the aerospace program in the 60s, which makes it extra special to share this with Sam.

The last stop on our trip will be to celebrate with my friend Sarah Penrod, who is a contestant on this season  of The Food Network Star. Everyone watch and cheer her on. She’s a super cool, immensely talented person.

Happy Wednesday to All!

What’s Up Wednesday

AlienStarsWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

Oh, not a damn thing. I am the worst right now. Besides beta reading — which I do consider reading! — I just haven’t had time. It’s been a hectic month. Who am I kidding? It’s a hectic life. I am hoping to have some time next week to dedicate to reading. When I do I plan to dive into my ARC of In a Handful of Dust, the companion novel to Mindy McGinnis’ debut Not a Drop to Drink, which was one of my favorite reads last year.

What I’m Writing

I finished the Revision part of the Revise and Resubmit on my manuscript Redhunt last Thursday. I am waiting on feedback from one of my CPs because I would feel antsy about the whole thing without out. I began a lightish revision on my manuscript Of Blood and Promises, which I hope to have completed by the end of the week.

Every time I finish a revision or a draft I think I am going to knock out the screenplay I’ve been working on in the interim…and then something happens with one of my manuscripts that makes that impossible. This is a good problem to have, but the fact remains that I want to finish that screenplay. So, I decided to dedicate ONE hour everyday (sometimes a little more) to the screenplay. I’ve written nine pages since Sunday.

I’ve also done a fair amount of blogging lately. I started a series on my blog called On Writing a Novel and the first three posts have been really fun to write! If you want to check them out, I’m including links below.

Planning and Research

Drafting until it’s Drafted

Revision is not a Four Letter Word

What Inspires Me

Reader feedback and reblogs. Sometimes, no matter how many readers WordPress says come to my blog, it stills feels like I’m writing just for me. That sensation is not a bad one, necessarily. It can facilitate honesty in a way that would otherwise be difficult. Still, it’s always nice to know something you’ve written resonated. Even just to one person.

Dallas Comic Con. I am a fangirl. My participation in fandoms has multiplied exponentially in the last few years. But what makes DCC more inspirational is how being there, even for one day, gave me insight (on a small scale) to the mystery of Comic Cons as a whole. The most interesting part of DCC was watching fans interact with each other in a supportive way.

My favorite moment was when a girl dressed in some anime cosplay I cannot name saw a couple dressed as Ellie and Carl Fredricksen from Pixar’s UP and got so excited she nearly cried. Cosplayers happily pose for pictures with fans, even though cosplayers themselves are just fans. And the whole thing has my mind buzzing with ideas.

What Else I’m Up To

So, Comic Con. These things happened and it was good.

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When Nathan Fillion walked out, maybe 10 feet from me, my knees almost buckled. That guy is seriously handsome, and his appearance was totally unexpected. My brother Isaac (the guy in the picture with Adam Baldwin) is such an adorable fan, that when Adam Baldwin shook his hand, Isaac (who’s 6 foot 7) nearly fainted into my arms. It was one of my favorite moments ever.

What’s up with you guys?

What’s up Wednesday: Revise

RobotWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

Still reading my ARC of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. I’m about 200 pages in and I think I may love it more than The Burning Sky. Plus, look at the pretty cover.

perilous

 

I haven’t had as much time for reading this week because of my writing news.

What I’m Writing

On Monday morning I received a revise and resubmit for my manuscript Redhunt. I was floored, if a little shocked. It’s with an agent I’m really excited to work with, and the notes were things I could see how to revise, and could see how they ultimately would strengthen the manuscript. I had come to a point with this book where I wondered — especially after finishing my new MS — should I move on? No, I hadn’t been querying it all that long, and really I hadn’t even queried all that widely. I had received multiple partial and full requests, but so far none had turned into an offer.

This is exciting not only because it is a fantastic opportunity to work with an agent, but a chance to give this book one more go through, one more reinvigoration, and see what happens. I am willing to do whatever is necessary to tell this story right.

What Inspires Me

The MS I am revising. My main character, Olie, is a hard voice to live with. She pushes at me, she makes me ache, she makes me angry, and she never does as she is told which is incredibly frustrating. I also know her so well that writing her is like breathing. I never question her voice, I just go with it. Being with her again (please, do not commit me, I promise I am sane) is a complicated thing, but a good one.

Having an agent get your book on this level is, easily, the biggest confidence boost ever.

Mumford & Sons, because they are my main soundtrack when working in this manuscript and I am excited to get to listen to them again. While I was writing Of Blood and Promises, I had to ban Mumford & Sons from my playlist. Their music is so synonymous in my head with Redhunt, that it distracted me.

What Else I’m Up To

I added a My Books page to this blog, because I have now written two novels. This felt like a milestone worth marking somehow.

My brother and his wife dedicated their baby at church on Sunday, and so of course they wanted to have a crawfish boil. I had never been to a crawfish boil. It was an experience. I am a little squidgy about shellfish, but I am always determined to experience different cultures than my own with an open mind. I will say, the part of the boil I enjoyed the most wasn’t the tiny, muddy creatures, but the telling of stories around the table.

crawfish

Happy Wednesday to all!

 

 

What’s up Wednesday

TreeWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

A lot of amazing beta reading happening here. I got to read my critique partner Susan’s incredible novel about a teenage Reaper who falls in love with the brother of a girl she reaps. I seriously laughed out loud and was brought to tears reading this manuscript. Not to mention, I am in love with one of the characters (not the love interest, though he is also dreamy) so it was extra fun for me. Then I read my friend Alex’s Middle Grade Fantasy manuscript about a girl who can talk to animals with a really unique magic system and interesting world. Lots of love for this manuscript and the well-drawn cast of characters. To sum up, I am a lucky girl.

Now I am doing more beta reading, along with reading an ARC of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. I seriously loved The Burning Sky, especially Titus and the Crucible and Eton College. This book is going to break my heart, I can feel it.

What I’m Writing

I did a revision on my recently completed MS, which is now titled Of Blood and Promises, then I wrote a query description, after that the synopsis. I switched gears to work on a screenplay I put on the back burner while writing my novel. After feedback from a trusted advisor, I am anxious to complete this screenplay and incorporate her notes.

I have been working on posts for I Believe in Story, the literary blog I contribute to. Last week I wrote a post about handling query rejections like a boss, which was a lot of fun, and kind of liberating.

What Inspires Me

I think Susan Dennard may be the best ever at explaining things. When preparing to write a query or synopsis — no matter how many times you have done it in the past — check out her blog for help. I know I have talked about it before, but it is worth repeating.

My brother and his wife are here from Israel. I haven’t seen them in a year, which means these last few weeks with my niece and my new baby nephew, have been precious. Talking with them about life in Israel, listening to them describe their home, and looking at my brothers incredible pictures, is definite food for the creative.

What Else I’m Up To

Tomorrow I am filming a promo video for my friend Lindsay Cummings’ upcoming debut, The Murder Complex. It’s awesome to use my filmmaking connections and experience to help her put something fun together for future readers.

My husband and I have been working our way through Veronica Mars. We are into the third season and it is a bummer to think we are almost finished.

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Easter Egg hunts with my kiddo. That’s hunts, plural. And then Church, which he was disappointed didn’t also include a hunt.

So…What’s up with you?