16 January 2015

Hey, I Read Your Book! Effigy

Ok, I admit it. I totally dropped the ball on my book review posts. In my defense, I'm a very slow reader (somehow I'm already behind in this year's reading goal). What I don't have an excuse for, however, is getting the review for this book done, because I finished reading it about three months ago. It was just one of those "oh, I'll do it next week" sort of things. Anyway, I'm still going to aim to write a "Hey, I Read Your Book!" post once a month, and hopefully I'll have two books to review next month. But you know what happens when I promise things...

So, FINALLY, my mini-review of...........

Effigy by M.J. Fifield

Effigy was one of those books that had me constantly wanting to throw it against the wall. And I loved every second of it. From the very beginning, I knew this was a book that wasn’t going to hold back from its darker moments, and it did not disappoint. The twists and turns had me hooked throughout the whole book, always wanting to know (and sometimes fearing) what would come next. A rich cast of complex characters, wonderful use of descriptions, and incredibly intricate world-building made every page interesting and well-developed. The characters were flawed and felt very real. For me, Haleine was easily the most relatable and likable character. You can’t help but root for her as she is put in an unbearable situation and must find a way to work around it, at times fueled by her love and devotion to Dana, her desire to help the rebellion, or just the sheer will to survive. The villains are easy to despise, and even the good guys do things that will leave your jaw hanging. This book has a little bit of everything: a love story that you will constantly hope against hope will work out, relatable characters, nasty villains, bloody battle scenes, book-hurling disappointments (expect a few deaths), magic, gods, and above all, will cause an overwhelming desire to read the next book in the series. Can’t wait for its release!

14 January 2015

A Super Lame Post!

Ok, so I had a good idea for a post. I really did. I've tried writing it at least three times today. But I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with a cold and just kind of want to take a nap. I don't know HOW I would even get a cold since I haven't left my apartment since Saturday (it's too cold out!) and my fiance isn't sick, either. So anyway, I can't really get my brain to function. But I didn't want to not post anything because that would screw up my blogging resolutions! I'm just going to chug some more orange juice and DayQuil and hopefully my brain won't feel so fuzzy anymore.

12 January 2015

Scrapping the Last Ten Chapters

I know most people have what they call an "aha" moment, but I had a "holy crap!" moment. And it is both exciting and terrifying.

I've known for a while now that I needed to change a lot in the last third or so of my book. I just had no idea how to actually change it. It's really hard when you've spent a few years and more than one draft with all of the moments in the story being pretty much the same. It's difficult to picture another way to write it, or different scenes to replace the ones you know aren't working.

Well, last night I finally had a breakthrough. I was actually just trying to brainstorm one of the subplots, and I thought of something that worked, but then the scene I was picturing kept going and ended up in the main plot's territory. I just let the idea run free to see where it would take me. And then suddenly things were happening that I did not expect.

My first thought was, "HOLY CRAP," followed by a "Nooooooooooo." Because I knew instantly that what I had imagined was absolutely perfect. But it was going to change everything.

I always knew I was going to need to basically scrap the last ten chapters and start from scratch, maybe saving a moment here or there that still worked. But this new scene I imagined makes most of those chapters unusable. My characters' whole relationship has to change after this moment, in a way I never imagined, or even would have considered to be possible way back when this was just a short story. But I've spent so much time with this story that I know this change feels right. It's just going to be a lot of work.

I finally feel like I'm on to something. I have no idea right now what will actually happen after this particular moment in order to lead the story to its end, but I think I can figure it out. Sometimes change can be terrifying, but it can also be a lot of fun. There's nothing quite like that feeling when all of the pieces start to fall into place.

09 January 2015

The Sarcasm, Snark & Sass Blogfest

In honor of L.G. Keltner's third blogging anniversary, today is The Sarcasm, Snark & Sass Blogfest! Three of my favorite things! I don't think I'm always that quick in everyday life, but if I can come up with something sarcastic to say, then I'm definitely going to say it. I do think I've gotten a lot snarkier since a certain someone started living in my head...

So today I thought I'd share a quick excerpt from Uneven Lines, for three reasons. One, I slept in today for no good reason so I'm feeling rather lazy. Two, I figured I could use a pick me up by not only looking at my own writing, but having other people read it, too. And three, out of all of the characters I've created over my life, Jordan is definitely the snarkiest.

I decided with this part because it seemed to have the most snark on one page (several conversations between Jordan and his mom were considered, because they're ridiculous, but I couldn't find a long enough part to share). This is the beginning of Chapter Twelve, right before my characters go on their first real "date". Warning: a few naughty words.

*   *   *

            When Tom said he’d pick me up early, I didn’t expect nine o’clock. I mean, on a Saturday, that’s just insane. Obviously I wasn’t awake when he started knocking on the front door. Or when he started calling me. It took several minutes before the buzzing of my phone finally broke through to me, then several more for me to stumble to the door.
            “I told you I’d be here early,” he said as he charged past me. He’d probably been a nervous wreck waiting out in the hallway for so long. My God, somebody could have seen him, and then of course, the world would have ended.
            I rubbed my eyes as I closed the door. “I guess you don’t remember being a teenager. Nine A.M. is practically the middle of the night.”
            He turned around to face me and frowned, then his face went blank. “Well, we should, uh, get there early, uh, before it gets too crazy.”
            “Where are we going?”
            “I, uh, can’t tell you. It’s a surprise.”
            I stared at him for a few seconds. He was having trouble keeping eye contact with me, his eyes looking down, then up, then down again. I looked down and caught sight of my bare legs. Oops. Forgot I slept in my boxers. He was getting a free show. “I’ll get dressed before you have a nervous breakdown.” At least I didn’t have a boner. He would have fainted.
            He thrust a white paper bag at my chest. “Here. I got you a bagel.”
            I yawned as I took the bag from him. “Couldn’t spring for a coffee?”
            “Are you allowed to drink coffee?”
            “Am I allowed to make out with a twenty-eight-year-old?”
            He opened his mouth to speak but then closed it and shrugged. He couldn’t exactly argue.  “Mmhmm,” I grunted as I turned away to go change.
            “Wait a second!” he shouted.
 “What?!” I whined as I turned back. He just pointed to his lips. I glanced down at the bag in my hand. “You didn’t even make this, asshole.”
He kept pointing, raising his eyebrows. With a groan, I stepped back to him and quickly pecked him on the lips. He smiled. “Good morning.”
I should have stuck my tongue full of morning breath in his mouth. “This had better be the best fucking bagel I’ve ever had.”

                                                                           *   *   *

I hope that actually counts as being snarky! Have a good weekend, everyone! I'll be glued to my TV because two of my favorite favorite favorite shows come back this weekend. If anyone tries to take the remote from me, I'll bite them!

07 January 2015

Let the Dream Die

It's once again the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click the link to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog and learn more! This month we've been asked to include a short intro about ourselves, so here goes:

I’ve been writing since I was 8, but am as of yet unpublished. I’ve been working on my novel, Uneven Lines, for nearly four years (yikes!), and hopefully someday you’ll get to read it. Sometimes I write poetry. I’m 27 and live in a studio apartment with my stand-up comedian fiancĂ© and my cat Gizmo. I have no idea when I’m getting married, but I’m totally fine with that. If you browse through my blog, you’ll definitely come across Jordan—he’s the 15-year-old narrator of my novel and my muse/the annoying voice in my head/the third love of my life. 

Boom! 100 words exactly. By the way, Jordan's monthly post was this Monday, and he still wants your questions!

So what am I insecure about this month? Oh, the usual. I still haven't even looked at my novel since September. I know exactly what my issues are but I just can't seem to work past them and get back to editing. I want to actually find an excerpt to use for a blog post on Friday, so maybe just reading it will get me back into the swing of things. 

One of the big problems I have is that I dream big. Everybody dreams about getting a publishing deal and all of the things that will happen afterwards, right? Well, I think I overdo it. I won't get into the crazy details, but it is something I think about on a daily basis. It would be great if it was motivating me to work, but it's not. 

It sort of reminds me of when I drink alcohol--I'm always very aware of how intoxicated I get. With the whole dreaming big scenario, I'm extremely delusional, but I'm also aware of how delusional I am. I tell myself things could not possibly happen in the exact way I imagine them, but I keep imagining. 

Here's the thing--I fully believe that everything happens for a reason and that the universe will on occasion send signs. I also believe that I actually got a sign that these dreams will on some level come true. It freaked me out when it happened, but now I'm wondering if it was a sign--or was it just a bunch of coincidences at once? I can't really know until it actually comes true, but that could take a long time. So I worry that I'm putting too much faith in it and not enough in myself. 

I worry that dreaming too big is holding me back. That I'm too afraid of it not coming true, or even of it actually happening, because that would be scary. Great, but scary. I don't want to give up on the book, of course, because I've put way too much work into it, but I'm wondering if I should give up on the dream. Maybe it would be better to just let it die and not think about it, and put all of my focus on the book itself without even thinking about getting it published until it's done.

What I'd like to do is to not let the dream die, exactly, but set it aside. Stop worrying about the future and focus on the present. I'm not going to get anywhere if I don't finish the book first. The universe can't help me with that. It's all up to me. 

05 January 2015

Jordan Takes Over: What Should I Write About?

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance.**

Happy New Year! How's everyone doing?

Ok, was that as weird for you as it was for me? Blech. No, I did not make a New Year's resolution to be nicer or anything. That would just be way too difficult. Plus, you know, if you're a cool person I really don't have any reason to be a jackass to you. So there.

Anyway, before I forget what I wanted to write about...so I know my December post was all about me, me, me!!! Or maybe every post is like that...No, that's not true! I know it. I've given you some good advice before, right? No one's gonna get all cranky just because I wanted all the attention during my birthday month.

Well, ok, here's the thing. I've been accused of being selfish at least once (We won't talk about that. Let's just say I won that fight. Fuck, I even won the make up. Let this be a lesson to you people...), and yeah, maybe sometimes it's true. And I know what I'm about to say is just going to make you think I'm lazy or something, but here goes:

The big question is: What do you want me to write about? 

It's not like I can't come up with ideas on my own. Sometimes I procrastinate, sure, but I get the job done. *wink wink* But I thought I would try reaching out to whoever actually cares about reading what I have to say. So I want you to comment with questions or topics you'd like me to provide my unique perspective on in the upcoming months.

So my favorite topics are usually: inspiration, characters, voice, writers being stupid, MYSELF. What kind of things would you like to know coming directly from a character/muse? What things do you find yourself screaming while you shake your fists in the air and curse your muse for not inspiring you? Or if you just want me to talk about myself, then I certainly don't have a problem with that.

I promise, no matter how silly or serious the question, I will try to answer it. If no one has any questions, or just doesn't care, well then, at least I had a topic for this month just by asking. HA. See? I always win.


02 January 2015

Getting Off on the Right Foot

If I were to stick to an ideal blogging schedule, I would post something every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I've been able to pull it off in the past, but I'm not always consistent from week to week. Fridays are definitely my worst day. If I don't have a good idea for a post or just don't feel like writing one, I usually won't. I'll tell myself that no one really looks at other blogs on Fridays anyway so what's the point? 

Well, not today! 

Since today is my first actual posting day of the new year, I didn't want to slack off. I wanted to start things out right. Maybe I won't post three days every single week throughout 2015, but if I don't at least try, I never will. And if I skip today, then it'll just kill my motivation even more. 

So I don't really have all that much to say today. I haven't really started any of my major goals yet (besides trying to read every day), but I'm hoping to really get the motivation going next week. I plan on spending the weekend planning things out, maybe even writing a few blog posts ahead of time. I at least want to map out the entire month of January for my posts, so that way each day I'll know what I'm going to write. 

As far as editing/rewriting goes, I have no idea how I'll even start. But I guess like everything else, I'll be taking it one step at a time. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!