Monday, 21 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week #7

Welcome back to Ready. Set. WRITE! My co-hosts, Alison Miller, KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, and I hope you’re looking forward to another productive summer! If you’re new this year and you’re wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, or planning like crazy, plus a way to keep each other accountable. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief (2-3 lines per heading tops) in order to maximize our writing time and minimize on blogging. Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here.

How I did on last week’s goals:

My goal was to add at least 3000 words to Enlighten. I got on a roll and wrote 7700 words.


My goals for this week:

Seeing as last week went so well, I think I’ll aim to add 4000 words to Enlighten.

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

I hate how everything lovely and pure and worth holding dear eventually gets destroyed. And I hate that I was the one who did the destroying this time.

The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Noise. The retired men in our neighbourhood have nothing better to do than putter around their yards with leaf blowers, lawnmowers, and weed whackers. ALL. THE. TIME. And then there’s the dude who tinkers with his motorbike and races it repeatedly up and down the street (Without a helmet and in flip-flops. Duh.) It’s driving me insane and making it very difficult to write. Sigh.

Something I love about my WIP:

I love that even though the overall tone is dark and serious and often sad, there’s also a nice sprinkling of humour throughout. Most of that can be attributed to a particular character whom I adore for his tendency to be goofy and highly inappropriate. He’s so much fun to write.

And now onto the exciting part…

The winner of our second giveaway is:

STEPHANIE ALLEN

That’s two Stephanie’s in a row now, so it must be a lucky name. Congratulations to Stephanie #2! We hope you enjoy using all those goodies from Jaime while you write! Up for grabs this week is Katy’s fun writer's care package, which you can see below. If you’d like a chance to win it, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter. Please note that, unlike weeks 1 & 2, you no longer need to provide links in your entries. Stay tuned next week for the winner announcement.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

I finished Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield, and while I didn’t find some aspects of the ending believable (from a logical or legal standpoint), I have to say the author’s prose is very evocative and the mystery did keep me reading until the end. Now I’m craving something lighter and funnier, so I’m reading The Queen Geek Social Club by Laura Preble. I also read the new Daily Prophet article J.K Rowling released on Pottermore. It went nicely with a glass of pumpkin iced tea and made me desperately wish for more books in the wizarding world.

What I’m Writing:

I’ve been busy drafting Enlighten this week, and it’s been slow going due to many distractions. I'm now just over the 8500 mark, which is still super considering I've only been drafting this WIP for two weeks, but it took many hours to get that out. What I wrote had a nice chunk of action and also some romance that was actually very much on the sad side. (Does anyone else cry when they read their own stories or is that just me because: A) I’m a softy, B) I'm too wrapped up in my own characters, and C) I'm a weirdo? Or so Jaime tells me.)

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Lately, I’ve been listening to Run by Snow Patrol non-stop. The lyrics and tone of it perfectly fit a scene I’ve been building up to for about two years now and was finally able to write. Also, the flaming motorbike in the video is strangely appropriate.


As for my YA literature inspiration this week, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol captured it best when he sang this line in Make This Go On Forever:  “The first kiss and the first time that I felt connected to anything.”  That line just screams YA to me and I love it dearly. It's not a line from a book, but it makes me think of so many YA novels I've read and most definitely the ones I've written.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

I had my mouth more or less reconstructed on Thursday. That’s what all those dental surgeries were building up to. It feels strange and distracting, but I’m happy with the result.  One more step and I should be done (at least for the time being). It’s amazing how long this process takes.

After putting it off for far too long, we finally brought our dog, Holly, to the groomers. I couldn't resist taking some before and after shots, because the change is just so funny. I'm pleased to say she no longer looks like a Wookie. Now she'll be nice and cool for the rest of the summer and she'll hopefully stop sweeping pine needles and such into the house with her fur. True fact: Holly is the sweetest dog ever.


Holly (aka Chewie) before & after her epic haircut

We had dinner at our favourite 1950s diner (again) and also visited our favourite tea shop (again) the other day, and I stocked up on some decaf varieties for making iced tea. So far I've sampled the red currant, and it's very tasty. Next up, grapefruit flavoured tea. We also tried a few summery new recipes this week: chickpea, lime & cilantro salad; spinach salad with homemade lime vinaigrette; and white bean dip with cilantro. All were quite good and had the added bonus of being healthy.

What’s up with you lately?


Monday, 14 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week #6

Welcome back to Ready. Set. WRITE! My co-hosts, Alison Miller, KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, and I hope you’re looking forward to another productive summer! If you’re new this year and you’re wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, or planning like crazy, plus a way to keep each other accountable. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief (2-3 lines per heading tops) in order to maximize our writing time and minimize on blogging. Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here.

●How I did on last week’s goals:

My goal was to add at least 3000 words to Enlighten. I wrote just over 4000 and had to fight for every single word this week. While I beat my goal, that was the result of many long, slow hours.  It was well worth it though.

My goals for this week:

Same as last week. I’d like to add at least another 3000 words to Enlighten.

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

Gradually, my mind swims upward through a deep pool of nothing until I reach the surface where sleep evaporates into consciousness.

The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Being able to focus. I’ve had a lot of distractions, both big and small, trying to derail me lately--everything from noisy neighbours to the latest step in my ongoing saga of dental reconstruction. It’s hard to concentrate when my mouth no longer feels like my mouth, but at least when I grin and bear it, my teeth look spiffy.

Something I love about my WIP:

The dark, near future setting of the fictional city in my story. I love the atmosphere, and it’s a great playground for action scenes.

And now on to some other fun stuff...

Last week, all of you lovely participants had the chance to enter our very first RSW giveaway of the summer, and I’m pleased to announce that the winner of my writer’s care package is:

STEPHANIE SCOTT

Congratulations, Stephanie! If you’d like to direct message me via Twitter, we can sort out the details of getting this parcel in the mail to you asap!

This week’s RSW giveaway is hosted by Jaime. If you’d like to win the super cute writer’s care package pictured below, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter, and stay tuned next Monday for our winner announcement.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield. I’m about halfway through it and intrigued about how the mystery will play out in the end.

What I’m Writing:

I took the plunge into drafting again this week and managed to get 2800 words out on Enlighten. Yikes, that was tough! So far I’m happy with my story intro, or at least I will be after some tweaking. It’s got lots of action and something happens that makes me weak in the knees to even think about it. In a scary way, not a swoony way. Though there will be plenty of swoon later. That’s a promise.

I also fixed a bunch of minor issues in Engrave after rereading the second half, did tons of brainstorming, and researched things like base jumping, gravity, and acceleration of free-falling objects. I like the “sci” in my sci-fi to at least be believable even if most of what I research never makes it into the book. The near future setting does allow for some pretty good leeway, of course.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

As you’ve probably noticed, lately I’ve been sharing reasons why YA literature inspires me, and here’s another.  There are so many great YA books available now that I wish had been around when I was a teen. Books with characters I could’ve related to so well. Stories that would’ve encouraged me to be braver, more independent, more confident in my teen self. And while teen me might have been around before YA really flourished, I can now pass these books onto my son and hope that he feels inspired by them too.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Picking peonies from my yard, taking advantage of bargain book deals at Indigo, enjoying fresh whole grain bread baked by my son, watching Tiger Eyes (which I enjoyed, though I can’t really compare the book to the movie seeing as I haven’t read it since elementary school), listening to my drunk neighbours host a campfire sing-a-long in their backyard during the wee hours of the morning (they were actually singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” if you can believe it. Awimbawe, awimbawe...), organizing our homeschooling shelf with lots of awesome new books, drinking root beer float tea from David’s, and trying to stay cool in these toasty summer temperatures.

So how was your week?


Monday, 7 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week #5

Welcome back to Ready. Set. WRITE! My co-hosts, Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Jaime Morrow, and I hope you’re looking forward to another productive summer! If you’re new this year and you’re wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, or planning like crazy, plus a way to keep each other accountable. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief (2-3 lines per heading tops) in order to maximize our writing time and minimize on blogging. Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here.

How I did on last week’s goals:

I reread the second half of Engrave and fixed some minor issues. I also sorted out the first scene of Enlighten and started drafting. I was aiming for 1000 words, but I ended up writing 2200. Mission accomplished!

My goals for this week:

I’d like to add at least another 3000 words to Enlighten.

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

Not quite knowing what to say, we stare at each other, our faces surreal in the lantern’s glow, an abstract mix of light and shadow.

The biggest challenge I faced this week:

With Engrave, the particulars of my story beginning crashed into my head before I was even ready to start writing it. Not so with Enlighten. This one took some major brainstorming, and it was tough switching to drafting after being in revision mode. I was also in an allergy fog all weak which made coherent thoughts a bit tricky.

Something I love about my WIP:

It feels balanced to me. There’s plenty of action and plot, but there’s also a lot of character development and romance. I hope it comes across that way when other people read it.


Alrighty, folks! It’s time for our first RSW giveaway!

Each week in July, one host will be giving away a writer’s care package. The idea is that four lucky participants will receive a parcel in the mail containing all sorts of goodies to help with writing for the remainder of the summer. Enter the Rafflecopter below for this week’s giveaway, and next week we’ll announce the winner. The contest is open internationally and you have until Friday, July 11th to enter. For every week you've participated, you get one entry.

Here’s a photo of the writer’s care package you can win from me this week:


In case you’re wondering, the gold bag has two flavours of tea in it: wild cherry & chai chili pepper. Also, I loved the mug so much that I bought one for myself too, so if you win the one in the photo, I’ll send happy writing thoughts your way whenever I drink from mine. :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

I finished reading More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs and loved how the whole band competition unfolded throughout the book and the dilemmas the characters faced while competing. I think anyone else who’s ever followed music contests on TV would agree that Liz nailed the setting and atmosphere, while giving a cool glimpse at drama that could be going on behind the scenes.  It felt very real, as did all the characters. Jared’s villain shirts were a favourite detail for me, as was the little reference to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack. Maddie was a relatable protagonist, and I really enjoyed seeing her grow and take risks.

I also read One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij, which captured that bittersweet quality I love so much. Nata’s pain, both physical and emotional, really came through in the story. I’m often not a big fan of the “best friend” character in books, but I liked Becca a lot. She felt genuine, especially since she had issues of her own to deal with, as did the love interest, Tonio. One of my favourite touches was the way Nata, being a ballerina, often thought in terms of dance positions and used them as comparisons in her mind. There was a great sense of back story throughout One Two Three that connected me to the characters.

I also reread my WIP, Engrave, and spent a chunk of time reading Romantic poetry for research: some Tennyson, Shelley, Longfellow, Wordsworth, and Christina Rossetti.

What I’m Writing:

I fixed a long list of minor details in Engrave, although I’ve discovered a few more little inconsistencies after my reread. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time imagining and brainstorming to fill in the gaps in my plot for Enlighten. My plot arc diagram and outline are now in place. With my notes integrated into my outline, it’s 46,000 words long. Yikes. My outlines are more like a first draft, but that’s how I roll, especially since I’ve known most of what would happen in my third book--including the ending-- since shortly after I conceived the idea for this trilogy. I can’t wait to transform all those notes into prose.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Continuing on with the theme of what inspires me about YA literature, I’d have to say growth.  While it’s assumed that most adult characters have already learned certain life lessons, one of the great things about teen characters is that they’re smack in the middle of those learning experiences. I love seeing those situations shape a character and who he/she grows into by the end of a book or series. There’s often a lot to reflect on while observing a character make the transition to adulthood.

What Else I’ve Been Up to:

A little baking: Banana cranberry loaf and blackberry apple coffee cake.

A little watching: Seasons 2 & 3 of Sherlock and we introduced our son to the first two Iron Man movies with the caveat that Tony Stark, while funny, is not a proper role model lol.

A little celebrating: Tuesday was Canada Day here. At the risk of being Canadian clich├ęs, we made poutine for supper. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s fries with gravy and cheese curds. Unhealthy and delicious.

A little recuperating: My dental surgery went well, but I can’t wait until this entire process is done because it’s taking forever. It was a long weekend for us, but we didn’t end up doing anything exciting seeing as some health issues cropped up for me and my boys were both sick with nasty colds. Seriously, viruses! It’s July. Go away!

I also took part in the My Character Bloghop. If you'd like to know more about my mc, Naia, you can check that out here.

So that’s it for me. What’s up with you lately?



Monday, 30 June 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week #4

Welcome back to Ready. Set. WRITE! My co-hosts, Alison Miller, KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, and I hope you’re looking forward to another productive summer! If you’re new this year and you’re wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, or planning like crazy, plus a way to keep each other accountable. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief (2-3 lines per heading tops) in order to maximize our writing time and minimize on blogging. Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here.

How I did on last week’s goals:

Everything checked off. I reread half of ENGRAVE, filled in plot gaps in ENLIGHTEN, sorted out my plot arc diagram, and organized a very detailed outline that includes all my notes. I did my research, which yielded unexpected results that added something huge to my story.

My goals for this week:

I’d like to reread the second half of ENGRAVE and fix a few minor issues I’ve come across. I also want to figure out some key aspects of the first scene in ENLIGHTEN and start drafting (EEK!).  Story intros are hard, so I’m only going to aim for 1000 words for starters.

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

He stands on the far side of the casket, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, pain chiseled into his features like an epitaph. Against the blanket of snow and the pallor of his skin, the welt brands his cheek, as red as the long-stemmed rose he holds.

The biggest challenge I faced this week :

Blah. Besides having dental surgery AGAIN (oh joy and bliss), I was slammed with some health issues this week that are putting a major kink in writing and life in general. Not fun.

Something I love about my WIP:

I’ve known how my trilogy was going to end since shortly after conceiving the premise for the entire series. Working on plotting book three this week has me in love with how everything is going to finally play out and wrap up. I’m both sad and happy to be at this point.