Sunday, October 26, 2014

777 Challenge

The 777 challenge is when a writer is challenged by another writer to post the seven lines of text, seven lines down on the seventh page of their work-in-progress. I was tagged by my friend Katy Upperman (check out her seven lines here).

I'm using seven lines from my WIP When The Wind Blows.

I jog across the empty road to the boardwalk. As my foot hits the worn wood I breathe a sigh of relief. Home.
The beach is where I belong. I was never a candlestick like my brother. I longed to fight against the mold. Against them. Against the perfect little family. That is, perfect until I come in, rocking the boat with my stormy seas.
For as long as I can remember there was a plan and it was set in granite. We—Shawn and I—would graduate high school with straight As, just like Daddy. 

I'm tagging my writer friends: Jessica, Jamie, Ginger, Jennie, Jessica, Tabitha and Valerie.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Reads 2014

A few years back I tried book blogging. I suck at it because I can’t just review the book. I want to ramble on for pages and pages or can’t find any words at all. So earlier this year I decided to use Katy Upperman’s idea (it’s okay, she doesn’t mind). Each month I do a mini review of the books I read that month. No picking and choosing, every single book.
September was an eclectic month (11 books this month/105 for the year). New Adult and Young Adult. Sci-Fi and contemporary and dystopian and suspense.
It was a cute, fun read.Nothing bad but not one of my favorite reads ever. I'll definitely be reading the next one.
I don’t even know what to say about this book. I liked Anna. I loved Lola. I LOVE LOVE LOVED Isla. It was cute, funny, angsty, swoony. I could go on and on. BUt I won't because if you've read it, you know. And if you haven't...well....what are you waiting for?!
I started this series years ago when it first came out and have read each book since. The last two kind of let me down but this book picked the pace of the series back up again. I’m excited for the next installment.
I found this one slow going at first but once I got used to the language and into the story it started flying. I saw the movie opening weekend and can’t wait to finish the series.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Told from multiple viewpoints we really get to see what goes on in the minds of high school students and what makes them start horrible rumors. It's a great example of why you can't always believe what you hear. Incredible story very well told. Jennifer really captured the heart of the story and kept me guessing about the truth. It's definitely a book I'd love for my son to read when he's older and going through peer pressure. Sometimes a story or book can express more than someone can explain.
I love everything about this entire series. I listened to the audio book for each one and the narrator does a fantastic job of making each character their own. The series has a dark tone but Barry Lyga does an incredible job of weaving laughter here and there. If you love a good dark mystery I highly recommend this series. NOT for anyone squeamish about blood and gore.
I wanted to love this book. I really did. I heard so many incredible things about it but I just didn’t. It’s not a bad book. It’s beautifully written. I think my problem was there were so many characters introduced at the beginning and throughout the book that I tried to keep up with them instead of enjoy the story. I’m hopeful that I’ll love The Piper’s Son, but giving myself a break before starting it.
I just finished up a re-watch of Friday Night Lights so it was the perfect time to read All Lined Up. Cute fun read that made me think of Julie Taylor and Matt Saracen.
Originally listened to this book last year when it was released but for some reason came up blank trying to remember it. When the sequel (The Infinite Wave) was released I decided to give this one another go. And I’m glad I did. I missed so much the first time. I’m currently a third of the way through book two and loving it.
This was another reread/second chance book this month. I read an ARC back in early 2012 before the book was released and didn’t get into it. To me, the book reads more middle grade and I think that was my problem. Knowing that this time around helped. I was anxious for the second book. Glad I was able to pick it up right away.
Which brings us to this book. Sky on Fire was a lot shorter than the previous book (and the conclusion) but I don’t’ think it needed any more. It was perfect. And so far (I’m a third into the 3rd book) it’s my favorite of the series. We’re introduced to a new narrator (it flips between brothers Dean and Alex where the first was just Dean). I was hoping to finish Monument 14: Savage drift this past weekend. I planned on reading the series over the weekend but I was busier than I thought I'd be.
So what did you read this month?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday? In Which I Catch Up

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to keep in touch by sharing what they've been up to. Be sure to link up on their site if you want to join in on the fun. 

I took a break from What's Up Wednesday during Ready? Set. Write! But...I'm back!

What I'm Reading

I decided to join the "Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon". You can see my post for that here. And catch up on what I read this summer here (JuneJuly and August). Currently I'm listening to Blood of my Blood, the 3rd Jasper Dent book. Just as creepy as the first two. Love it. I'm also half way through reading Saving Francesca. It's okay. Looking forward to The Piper's Son though. 

What I'm Writing

Sadly...I'm not. I should be...but....I'm not. I haven't been able to switch gears from When The Wind Blows to What If I Was Nothing. I need to spend some time and make a rough outline and get back in the heads of my characters. I think once I start querying WTWBs (I have it out with two beta readers and will see what work it needs after that) I'll be able to get into WIIWN.

What Works For Me

Distance. Sometimes I just need a break from writing.

What Else I've Been Up To

Summer is over and school is back in session. Kiddo is now in the first grade. When did that happen?! And is playing his second year of soccer.
 First day of first grade!
 2013 U6 Mutiny vs 2014 U8 Stingers

I'm still going to cross fit and LOVING it! I'm participating in my first weight loss/get fit/get strong challenge. It started last Monday and lasts six weeks. Can't wait to see how much I improve. I went to my second DEATH BY class today. I did 210 push-ups! I think I left my arms behind.

Over Labor Day weekend we went down to Tampa and watched the Red Sox play the Rays. It was kiddos first Red Sox game and he had a BLAST!
Ready for some base ball!
 Kiddo with his uncle (my youngest brother). We went to Chili's for dinner before the game and there was a lady making balloon animals. These two got crazy hats.
After the game with all the MLB mascots.

So what have you been up to?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tackle Your TBR Read-a Thon
I was invite to Wishful Endings TBR read-a-ton by my best friend and critique partner, Jessica Leake. Hoping to make it through some books I've had for a while but haven't yet read (two newer but I've been wanting to read them).

Book Books

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Monument 14 Series by Emmy Laybourne

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols


All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

Perfect Kind of Trouble and Right Kind of Wrong by Chelsea Fine

More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

Audio Books

Opposition by Jennifer L Armentrout

Blood of my Blood by Barry Lyga

I'm not sure if I'll get through all the BOOK BOOKS but I'm going to do my best. If I don't finish them by the 20th, I'll finish them this month.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Reads 2014

I've been thinking of a better way to come up with a way to keep track of all the books I've read this year and what I thought of them. Hope Katy Upperman doesn't mind I borrowed her idea! I finally went back and created a (short) blog post for each month this year showing which books I've read and briefly what I've thought about some of them. Going forward I'm going to try to do a small review of each book in one monthly post. Images of books lead to goodreads link.

August was a bit of a slow month. Only managed to get through eight books, half of them being audio books.

Okay, I really, really liked this book. But...I didn't love love it. I'm not sure why. I loved the characters and the surroundings were described incredibly well but I'm not sure what I missed. Maybe more romance? I don't know...but I did enjoy reading it. 
Finally finished the series. I listened to all three on my Audible app and the narrator was really good. She did amazing voices. And while I was completely swept away by Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight took me a long long time to get through. But then Dreams of Gods and Monsters saved my feelings on the series. Overall I really enjoyed this series.
Why have I not heard more about this series? I love The Summer series and To All The Boys (these books are the complete opposite of those) but was hesitant about picking up these books. Mainly because I haven't heard anything about them. Until a friend (thanks Katy!!) told me how much she loved them and of course I had to read them. And I LOVED them. Ashes to Ashes comes out next month and I can't wait to see how the series concludes.
Sometimes you read a book and aren't sure if you like it. It just hasn't hooked you. Then you get to the end and that all changes. The ending on Someone Like you totally grabbed my heart.

Why did I not read this series sooner? Or, in this case, listen (I love Audible). I'm not sure what I was expecting when I got into this series because I didn't know much about the books but I'm glad I finally picked them up. This is another series that the third book comes out this fall and I can't wait to finish it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Goodbye Ready? Set. Write!

Ready? Set. Write! is a way for writers to keep in touch with each other and keep themselves accountable to the goals they set. This year it's hosted by Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. Check out their blogs for more details and be sure to link up each week.

How I did on my goals?

1. I'm sticking with the goal my CPs and I came up with last month and that's completing my current WIP, a YA contemporary titled When The Wind Blows, by June 30th. To do that I need roughly around 1000 words per day to finish on time. As of now I'm on track to finish. I'm at 42K and usually draft around 55K-60K words.

2. After that it'll be revising WTWB. I'm not 100% sure how much time that'll take and exactly how I'll go about it until I'm finished, so I'm playing that by ear. Everyone always says let the draft sit but I write so slow the first half basically is and by the time I get to the end it will have.
3. I also need to think about a query letter...and I'd rather not. I'll fit that in somewhere down the road.

4. I want to keep up with reading at least one to two books a week. I set my book goal for the year at 80 and am already around 66 or 67 books. Hoping I can make it to 100.
5. Get to the beach more often this summer and visit the Gulfarium again (of course taking kiddo along). Both are a huge inspiration to WTWBs.

A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised


The biggest challenge I faced this summer

Myself, honestly. Making myself work. I'm glad I did.

This book is done. You know, for now. I'm so glad I did RSW this summer. It really helped me get this book done. I finished the first draft, edited, revised the whole thing and edited it again. Wrote a basic synopsis and wrote the query (then rewrote again and again). And now I'm ready to query it. Well, it's ready, I'm not. No matter how many times I do it, t's still scary to hit send. But I'll get there. Eventually.

I managed to read at least 1 1/2 books each week, some weeks I read more, so it evened out. I'm on book number 81 of the year so I'll get to 100 and pass it.

Went to the beach a few times. Never managed to get to the Gulfarium, though we drove by it a few times. Maybe once the tourists are gone or something.

Overall I'm very proud of what I accomplished this summer.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Writing Process

I was tagged by my lovely #nerdherd pal Tabitha Martin in the Writing Process Blog Hop. The quote that started it all: "We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one's playlist grows as the draft grows, why one's poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook..."

So here are my answers

What am I working on?

As of last night I'm between two projects. I just finished up a major revision on WHEN THE WIND BLOWS (a YA contemporary). I'm waiting on notes for a few chapters from my CP and have entered it into a contest. I'm going to see how that goes and then query from there. EEP. Next up is another YA contemporary, WHAT IF I WAS NOTHING. I have a few chapters written and some plot points jotted down.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I wrote it. I mean, there are only so many different story lines out there. It's all in the way it's presented. My stories are my spin/take on an story line. Everyone sees the world in a different light and only we can tell the story from that point of view. I also like to think I have a unique voice.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I love contemporary. Simple as that. I wanted to write YA science fiction (my first MS was YA SF) but I'm not sure it's for me. I have another idea for one, but we'll see how it goes. For some reason contemporary is what fills my head. And I'm okay with that.

How does my writing process work?

Strangely enough it starts with a song. I'll have an idea or a character and then I'll hear this song and BAM! A book idea is born. It can be a song I've known for years or a song I've never heard before...either way in that moment it hits me and makes sense. I wish I was a plotter. I'm trying to be because I know it'll be so much easier but for the most part I plot as I go. I know how the book with go one to two chapters ahead of where I am with only a general idea of where the book is going to go. I am a huge fan of making a book map after I've written a rough draft to see where the book is and where it's going.

And this all happens slowly. I am a horribly slow writer. I pushed myself this summer and finished my novel within two months, writing at least 1K a day. But it drained me. I tried to pick right up into a new MS but couldn't do it. Now that WTWBs is pretty much done I can focus on WIIWN. I may not crank out 1K a day but I'll take what I get while I'm querying. I wish I were a faster writer but I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not. And that's okay because it's me.

So that's a look into my crazy writer brain. I'm tagging two of my incredibly talented CPS! Jessica Leake and Joy N. Hensley. Both have amazing books out this fall! Check out their posts next Monday!