Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WIP Love—Halfway Home!

Earlier in the year, I had a weird novel idea sparked by—I kid you not—watching that show Little Big Shots hosted by Steve Harvey (super great show!!).

Things sorta spiraled out of control from there, and whilst waiting on other things, I decided to plot and outline this weird (WEIRD) story. I officially started writing it on August 4th, and have been working on it off and on since then, time permitting. As of this evening, I am OFFICIALLY halfway to my projected word count of 75,000!! *confetti*

Look, I made a mini white board out of a picture-frame shaped like a whale! :-D
Anyway, I'm having a lot of fun with it, even though I'm definitely remembering why revising is SO, SO, SO necessary once you hit that final period on your rough draft…

I'm also getting to the point in the story that excites me the most, which is pretty awesome. But holy cow, I don't think I've ever juggled this many characters before, I'm writing in first-person present, and I'm doing my darnedest to keep SEKRETZ from the reader, which is a super interesting plot device I've never attempted before.

I don't know if this acrobat-turned-assassin-magical-boy-army-of-bears thing will ever see the light of day, but at least it's keeping me out of trouble (sort of) for now, right??

Happy writing, all!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Tail of Cleo (see what I did there)

I now break from your regularly scheduled writing posts to bring you a story about a cat. :)

WARNING: this post contains photos of cats!!

Once upon a time on August 3rd, it was not horribly hot out in the morning so I decided to take my writing out on the patio.

This little black cat wandered up and made friends:



She was SUPER cute and VERY friendly and SKINNY SKINNY SKINNY. I texted the hubs and he said we should feed her so I did. She was so hungry!


After that she kept coming by, sometimes a couple times a day. Sometimes she would disappear for a few days, once she vanished for about a week. We were pretty sure she didn't belong to anyone… and if she did she was not being taken care of! She looked young, somewhere around six months old. We kept feeding her, and she seemed to adopt us.

She even started walking my husband to his work truck in the morning, which is probably the most adorable thing ever:





Last Friday, she came around again, and I noticed that her belly looked rounder than before… Alarm bells went off in my head. My husband saw her that night and agreed that she looked potentially pregnant!!

We didn't know quite what to do… if not for Bertie, we woulda brought her right into the house! As it was, we didn't have room or knowledge on how to help a young cat mama.

Enter the amazing Ashley Carlson, who has experience fostering cats! She volunteered to take the kitty and keep her safe throughout the birth, and afterwards the hubs and I are officially going to adopt her (the cat, not Ashley ;) ).

Cleo hanging out with me!




So now this lovely little kitty, who we've dubbed Cleo for Cleopatra, is warm and safe and won't have to have her kittens in a bush! Can't wait until she's ready to come home. Bertie won't be happy, but he will have to deal. :-D

And there you have it: the Tail of Cleo!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Writing & Reading & Minecraft (oh my!)

Hey everyone!

Just another little quick update… Apologies for the dearth of posts lately! Sometimes it's easier to say nothing at all than to come up with random things to write that aren't what you *really* want to write about but can't yet for whatever reason. (Okay, that was cryptic!!)

But let's see, here's some of the things I've been up to lately:

  • I wrote Part One of Weird New Novel and got up to 26,046 words! It's strange and not well-written yet and confusing and there is literally zero character development, and most of it is spent wandering in a cave, but I think there might be something there anyway…… maybe?? In other words, it's an UNCOMPLETED ROUGH DRAFT. Hoping to get back to it soon! :-)
  • I hit my 30 books reading challenge on GoodReads and am still going strong, which is good, because I have a lot more I want to read before the year is over!! I just finished THE CROWN'S GAME, by Evelyn Skye and I loooooooooooved it.
  • On a related note, my three favorite books of the year so far are:
    • THE WINNER'S KISS, by Marie Rutkoski
    • MY LADY JANE, by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
    • THE CROWN'S GAME, by Evelyn Skye
  • I got to meet up with some lovely Arizona-based YA writers a few weeks ago, and it was a blast. I had no idea there were so many of us stranded out here in the desert! :-)
  • Hubs and I have been playing a lot of Minecraft lately. It's awesome. The other night we wandered away from our base and almost got hopelessly lost forever, but made it back in the end. I tamed a couple of cows and some sheep and am gonna try for chickens next!! :-D
  • Am currently obsessed with this song, and also this band in general:
And hmmm, I think that's about it! Happy reading and writing and living your life-ing. Until next time!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Sun + Writing Update

Well it's summer, ladies and gents—smack dab in the middle of, in fact. It's hot here. Feels like it's gonna continue to be hot forever (and it kind of is). But I DO live in a place nicknamed THE VALLEY OF THE SUN, so I guess that's to be expected. I super need to stop checking the weather forecast, as it's supposed to be 110+ until basically THE END OF TIME.

Um, I mean… I do super well in the heat and stuff.

But complaints about heat is not why you come to this blog (that's what my Twitter is for!!). How about some writing updates??

I had a lovely time at the mini writing retreat in June! I had more work to do on my fairy tale retelling than I thought, but I DID finish it a few weeks later. I'm super, super thrilled with how this novel came out—I'm falling more and more in love with it the more I work on it, which is the opposite of what usually happens………

It's so interesting to watch a novel grow and change and morph into something you couldn't have initially imagined it would ever be. This particular novel was sparked by a dream I had about a girl riding a reindeer across the ice being chased by wolves. I realized it needed to be a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and decided to write a short story, hoping to keep it under 10K and submit it to a contest. Long story short (hahaha—I should say SHORT STORY LONG), my "short story" is now an 89K word novel. I'm really bad at short stories, you guys. (Incidentally, that initial scene from my dream never made it into the book…)

But my, I'm rambling. All that to say, this novel has gone through several incarnations, and the latest one is my absolute favorite—I love it to bits!!

In other news, I'm slowly starting to outline a new novel that feels super plot-heavy and ambitious for me, but also intrigues me deeply (so I have to try it, right??). It has: lots of characters, betrayal, winter, an evil king, a prince who can control animals, a kick-butt female acrobat, secretsssss, and many other things!! We shall see how it comes out when I eventually start writing!

Okay, I think that's about it for now. Stay cool out there, everyone!

ETA: Here's a guest blog I wrote over on Adventures in YA Publishing about rejection, going easy on yourself, and how it's okay to take things personally! Hope you enjoy! :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mini Update

Gearing up for a mini writing retreat starting tomorrow, and I'm getting so excited! It'll be amazing to escape the heat for a bit (and my has it been HOT!!) and surround myself with forest and books and writing and tea!

I have yet to finish Draft #3 of my East of the Sun retelling, but I've made it through the tricksy middle part and the end is in sight!! I'll definitely be able to finish over the weekend and hopefully be able to start something else as well. Torn between starting a brand new novel and working on a revision for an older novel that won't quite leave me alone…… We shall see what happens!

I've been re-reading Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series over the last couple of weeks and those books are just SO BEAUTIFUL. Her skillful use of language and imagery and world building is mind-blowing. I adored re-reading The Tombs of Atuan especially, and kind of want to read it every day. It's so powerful and beautiful and pierced me deeply. I aspire to evoke that kind of emotion in my own writing. I'm also realizing why perhaps my characters have a penchant to philosophize on long journeys…… :-D

Okay. I must see to the laundry and peck away at my novel before popping off to teach six piano lessons… Until next time!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Phoenix Comic Con 2016!!

Walking from the parking garage.
Already toasty!
So I had a FANTASTIC time at the Phoenix Comic Con on Saturday, despite the fact that Phoenix was breaking heat records!! Lemme see if I can properly recap (can you tell I’m avoiding working on my book right now??):

So the first thing we did was to wait in line to get our pic with Billie! Line was long but moved really quickly—they REALLY shove you through the photo line FAST! I was getting soooooo nervous but I needn’t have worried. It went SO fast that there wasn’t even time for nervousness! We stepped up when it was our turn, and Billie looked at my shirt and was all “Let me have a look at this” and then she moved my hair (BILLIE PIPER TOUCHED MY HAIR) so she could read it (!!!) and was all “I love that!” and then we took our picture and I HAD MY ARM AROUND BILLIE PIPER (!!) and then it was over! But she was so lovely and kind and I can’t even imagine smiling like that for so long!!
Our picture with Billie Piper!!!!
Moisturize Me!
Exterminate!!
After that we wandered around the autograph/pictures room, which had some cool stuff to look at (they had a whole Doctor Who area with a TARDIS and it was super awesome), and then we went out to try and catch Billie’s panel. We barreeeelllly made it in but we DID and it was SO NICE to sit down for a while!

The panel was a fan Q&A session and Billie was SO LOVELY all throughout even though she seemed a little uncomfortable to be up there by herself at first.

Billie's Panel
The fans asked all kinds of questions, like what was her favorite Doctor Who episode (she said TOOTH AND CLAW and FATHER’S DAY), that she remembers every moment of filming DOOMSDAY, that she and David Tennant perfected kissing (haha!!), that she wants to see what’s happening with Rose and the meta-crises doctor (she imagines they argue a lot and they eventually split up and Rose gets together with the real Doctor!!), that sometimes at cons she gets marriage proposals and doesn’t know what to say so she just says yes (she said she’d had one earlier in the day!), that of all the characters she’s played she’s most like/most connects with Rose. There were a few kids that asked her questions and she was always like “Bye darling” when they finished and it was SO SO CUTE.

Billie was definitely the main highlight of the day!! I’d wanted to go to a YA/MG panel but didn’t make it in time, and the exhibition hall was SO CROWDED I might’ve had my fill of people for the next several years. But BILLIE WAS WORTH IT!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Revision Revision Revision (+ Comic Con Draweth Nigh!!!)

Happy very last day in May! I can't believe how fast 2016 has gone so far. 0_o Seriously, can someone slow it down a bit??

Just a brief update for today… I'm hard at work on the third draft of my East of the Sun retelling, and I **think** it's going pretty well. I had a CRAZY MAD AWESOME idea that I'm suuuupppper excited about incorporating into this draft. If I can pull it off, it could be pretty amazing. We shall see!!

I'm bouncing around in this revision, which is kind of unusual for me, but I want to make sure and hit all my problem spots/new sections whilst I'm bursting with ideas about them. It's definitely working so far! My plan is to add in all the new bits, untangle my middle (yes, AGAIN!!), and then do a pass from beginning to end where I look closer at things like word choice, pacing, and whether or not all the new parts make any sense.

This could be over-ambitious, but I'm planning to have a completed third draft DONE in a week or two. Some friends and I are heading north for a mini writing retreat in a week and a half and I'd LOVE to have it finished by then. I'm getting super antsy to start drafting a new novel (which I'm calling affectionately EVIL COLLECTOR KING in lieu of an actual working title), and it would be awesome to get a solid start on it during the retreat, but we shall see………

In other news, hubs and I are going to Phoenix Comic Con this weekend!!! I'm sooooooo excited because:

  1. I've never been to any kind of con before and I've always wanted to
  2. NERDY STUFF EVERYWHERE
  3. I'M MEETING BILLIE PIPER AND GETTING A PICTURE WITH HER
THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!!!!!! I'm sure I'll be sweaty and awkward and nervous, but I don't even care because BILLIE PIPER AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I hope my nerdy t-shirt comes in time. :-) :-) :-)

P. S. It's supposed to be 117 on Saturday and I'M ONLY LEAVING MY HOUSE BECAUSE BILLIE PIPER.