Wednesday, 19 November 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:

Still reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.


What I’m Writing:

Well, I got 1200 words out this week, and while those words weren’t spectacular or full of inspiration, it’s something. Unfortunately, I’m trying to dive back into writing in the middle of a tough scene—one that was already giving me issues before I took a break. I finally had a brainwave for how to make it more exciting though, so the action is about to pick up, and I'm looking forward to that. I also did a fair amount of research, most of which won’t actually appear in the scene, but is crucial for informing how I write it.

What Works for Me:

I know this is something writers differ on, especially since we all have unique thought processes, but writing chronologically works for me. Here’s why…

a) It helps me keep the plot straight in my mind. If I jump around from scene to scene, I know my plot threads will get all snarled up. Hey, I’m easily confused.

b) I feel like the story unfolds organically, with one scene naturally leading into another. Even though I’m a staunch planner, a scene can turn out differently than I expect, and that can affect everything that comes after it. When I used to write out of order, I often found my scenes to be more like individual vignettes that didn’t necessarily hinge together the way I wanted them to.

c) If I write all the juicy scenes first, I lose my motivation to write the rest, which ends up feeling like filler. When writing chronologically, if I encounter a scene I’m not interested in, I stop and brainstorm ideas that will make it more exciting to work on. You know what they say: If a scene is boring to write, it’ll be boring to read. By not allowing myself to skip over those scenes, I force myself to up the interest level. My reward is moving on with the story.

It wasn’t until I started writing chronologically that I actually finished a novel. I’d made many attempts before, and they all ended in failure and frustration. When I decided to try a sci-fi novel, the idea was challenging enough that I thought writing chronologically would help keep me organized. Turns out that’s how I work best.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

It’s been one of those mostly boring but very productive weeks around here. After our trip, I’m good with that. We’ve thrown ourselves back into house renovations and getting rid of stuff we don’t need, want, or wish we’d never owned in the first place. The Great Book Purge of 2014 also continues. I think I’ve weeded around a dozen boxes of books by now. Our shelves are still full, so I suspect they’re multiplying like Gremlins when we aren’t looking.

Since that’s been exhausting and it's freaking cold outside, we haven’t done much else other than crash. We watched Catching Fire (prep for Mockingjay) and The Fault in Our Stars (ugly cried just as hard this time), and the hubby and I have fallen down the Gilmore Girls vortex again now that it’s on Netflix. According to him, it’s just as good the second time. I wholeheartedly agree on that. Some of the quirkiest, cleverest writing ever to grace TV.

A question for all of you: Jaime and I are thinking of adding a WUW heading for setting weekly writing goals. We’ve decided we could both use the accountability. Does that sound like something you’d all be interested in? Let us know in the comments!



Wednesday, 12 November 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’m reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. Since it’s gimongous though, I couldn’t bring it on vacation with me. Seriously, I would’ve needed an extra suitcase for that sucker. Instead I opted to read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout on my ereader. Much smaller and lighter for airplane reading. My son and I also finished Romeo and Juliet for school.

What I’m Writing:

At the moment? Zippo. As I mentioned in a previous post, October was a stressful month and that resulted in putting writing aside for a while. I can’t even tell you how hard that was to do. Of course, when the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation, so while I haven’t been writing, I’ve been recharging my inspirational batteries. Plus, while we were off on our adventure, a new story idea was percolating in my mind—one that branches off of my current WIP. I guess technically I did write a little then because I scribbled out some snippets of dialogue in my handy dandy notebook at the hotel. Jaime and I also had a monster Skype session when I got back in which there was much discussion of our WIPs. Super helpful as always.

What Works For Me:

Most times the Butt in Chair philosophy is good. I’ve worked hard to establish a routine where I write almost every single day, BUT sometimes I need to stop myself from writing. When the inspiration isn’t there, when the creative well has run dry, when I’m burnt out or distracted, I need to remember not to force the story. I need to remind myself that I could be doing more damage than good to my WIP and step away from the laptop. That’s frustrating when I want to get words on the page, but I know ultimately the story will be better for it. Discretion over duty will result in quality words and not just crappy words that were written for the sake of writing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

As I mentioned, my boys and I took off on a spur of the moment vacation at the start of November. We went to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, two of Canada’s beautiful maritime provinces. I’d been there when I was a kid and wanted to go back again ever since. Tourist season is over there by this time of year, so some of the landmarks we visited we had entirely to ourselves. In a word: peaceful. Here are some photos of our whirlwind trip. There are a lot, so don’t feel obligated to look at them all, but if you’re interested feel free to browse.

These are the St. Martins sea caves on the coast of the Bay of Fundy. We were the only ones there and these pictures couldn't possibly capture how gorgeous the caves are. We wrote our names in the sand for fun, and the tide will have washed them away by now. What a refreshing and memorable afternoon!
Here we're at the Hopewell Rocks, also on the Bay of Fundy. These are called flowerpot rocks because of the trees growing on top. At low tide, the eroded bottoms of the rocks are exposed and you can walk on the beach around them. Unfortunately neither of the low tides the day we visited were during daylight hours, so we hiked on the trails above the cliffs instead. It was rainy and quiet, except for the sound of the water. Amazing.
This is at Green Gables on Prince Edward Island. As a quirky redheaded writer, I've always felt that Anne Shirley and I are Kindred Spirits. I first visited Green Gables when I was eleven years old, but this time I got a kiss while hiking on "Lovers Lane." FYI, my husband has read further in the Anne series than I have. We also wandered through the Haunted Woods and visited L.M. Montgomery's grave.
I've never been to a Canadian city with as much character as Saint John, New Brunswick. The historic architecture, especially in Uptown Saint John, is incredible. This is the Saint John City Market. The centre of the building is a farmer's market, while little restaurants line the outside. We went for tea and scones at the Infusion tea room there. Delicious and quaint. We also spent some time walking along the harbour.
More photos of Uptown Saint John, including dinner at the fabulous Saint John Ale House. We basically did a pub crawl across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Great food and craft beer!
And last, but certainly not least, this is the main branch library in Saint John. It's so cool I could've sat there and stared at it all day. Seriously, look at those huge, awesome books beside the doors! Couldn't resist sharing some pics of it!


Well, that was our trip. I have loads more pictures, but I've overdone it as it is. It's hard to adequately convey how beautiful New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are: the history and architecture, the ocean, the abundance of trees, the lighthouses and covered bridges, the friendly people who made us feel so welcome there. I wish we had more time to enjoy it!

So what's up with you lately?

Wednesday, 29 October 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!

I’m frantically getting ready for a family trip, so my blog break continues. We’re off to New Brunswick soon, which means I won’t be doing WUW next week either. Instead, I’ll probably be visiting the Bay of Fundy, home to some of the highest tides in the world. Can't wait! Hope you’re all well and that the words have been flowing. Good luck especially to all of you starting NaNoWriMo in a couple days! I’m off to do more laundry and packing and all that fun pre-trip stuff now, so have a super Wednesday!


Monday, 27 October 2014

More Than Exes Book Blitz

Today, I’m excited to announce the release of More Than Exes by Elizabeth Briggs. If you enjoyed Liz’s debut novel, be sure to check out this novella for more about Kyle Cross, band member and younger brother of Jared from More Than Music. Even if you haven’t read More Than Music yet, More Than Exes stands on its own. Take a look for more information below, and be sure to enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card...

Book & Author Details:

More Than Exes by Elizabeth Briggs (Chasing the Dream 0.5) 
■Publication date: October 28th 2014
■Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:

Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always stuck fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a college Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn’t show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe.
Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be a little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he’s never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.

Author Interview:

Where did you get the idea for More Than Exes?

In More Than Music, which is about Kyle’s friend, Maddie, and his brother, Jared, there’s a part where Maddie thinks about how it must be difficult to be Jared’s brother sometimes. That made me wonder about how Kyle sees his brother, and I quickly jotted down what would become the first chapter of More Than Exes. Right then I knew I had to tell Kyle’s story, too. I also had many fans of More Than Music tell me they loved Kyle and wanted a book about him, so that sealed the deal!

Do you need to read More Than Music to read More Than Exes?

No, definitely not. More Than Exes is a novella set about a month before More Than Music and can be read as a standalone. There’s nothing in it that would be confusing if you haven’t read More Than Music – but if you have, it will also shed light on a few things in that book. You can read them in any order, even though More Than Exes is a prequel.

What is your favorite thing about More Than Exes?

There are so many things I love about this book – the fact that it takes place over a few
hours, the sarcastic humor in it, and the love story of two high school sweethearts getting back together… but my absolute favorite part is the close sibling relationship between Kyle and Jared. I loved showing Jared from Kyle’s point of view – Kyle views his brother very differently from how Maddie does in More Than Music, but still loves him and would do anything for him.

What was the hardest part about writing More Than Exes?

More Than Exes is the first book I’ve ever written from a guy’s point of view, and that was a lot of fun but also challenging at times. I had to make sure that Kyle would be sympathetic to romance readers but also feel like a realistic 21 year old male. I don’t think there are many romances told from only a male perspective, but I hope people will give this one a chance!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?

A rock star, of course! I play the guitar, though I don’t have time to practice as much as I’d like. I’ve always wanted to be in a famous rock band, but now I just write about them instead.

What’s next in the Chasing the Dream series?

I’m currently working on More Than Comics, a novella about the drummer of the band, Hector, set at Comic-Con about a week after More Than Music ends. After that, I’ll be writing books about Maddie’s best friends, Julie and Carla, who both go on their own reality TV shows!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 22 October 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!

Guys, this has been a difficult and stressful week for my family and me. I can’t get into the reasons why, but I wanted to let you know that I won’t be posting today, and I’m not sure when I’ll be back. It could be next week, or it might be a while. Writing is also on hold for me. Despite fall being my favourite season, October never seems to be a very good month around here. Anyway, I hope you’re all having a happy, productive week and that you enjoy WUW today.


Wednesday, 15 October 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’m about two thirds of the way through Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I can’t even tell you how much I’d love to sit down and gobble up that last third. I love the new characters she’s added to the cast and the way she’s expanded the world in this awesome series.


What I’m Writing:

Since I last posted two weeks ago, I’ve added around 8k to my WIP. I also had the mother of all plot restructuring sessions. While I’ve known for ages what I want to happen in this WIP, I wasn’t happy with how some of those events were hinging together. There was much rearranging, trimming and adding of notes, and a few new ideas tossed into the mix. I also FINALLY worked out this story’s timeline, which was unbelievably hard for different reasons, and spent a chunk of time doing medical research.

What Works For Me:

Getting my husband to beta read for me. He’s an avid reader—in fact, he reads even more than I do—and I value his feedback. Plus, after spending all those hours locked away writing, I like to share what I’ve been working on with him.

He finished reading Engrave yesterday, and his overall comment was that "it rocked and was a killer second novel." I know, I know, he's my husband and he has to say that, BUT he did have more articulate comments about things like plot, pacing, and character development. Comments that made me very happy and boosted my confidence.

Aside from that, he also does encouraging things like drink Coke with one of my characters' names on it and then tweet about it while on his break at work. That made my day. :)

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada, and we filled it with fun and relaxing things. We finally saw If I Stay, and all of us enjoyed it. My son and I agreed that it was adapted well for the big screen.

We also spent time reading at Starbucks and went new and used book shopping. I was hoping to find a copy of Sir Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel because part of it features in my current WIP. I wasn’t expecting to find a copy that was 113 years old though! This sweet little paperback was put out in 1901 by a Canadian publisher, and the cover is decorated with maple leaves. It’s a unique addition to my stack of dusty, old Romantic poetry books.

This year, we decided to have a picnic for Thanksgiving, so we took our turkey dinner to Blackstrap, a provincial park about half an hour away. The weather is still fairly warm for October, but it was really windy near the lake, and I froze my butt off. Still, we enjoyed our little turkey roast (perfect for a picnic for three seeing as it was small enough to cook in a meat loaf pan), sweet potato crisp with cranberry-apple-oatmeal topping, pumpkin cake, and other goodies. It was a gorgeous place for a picnic, but next time we’ll go when the weather is warmer and the boys can take me hiking. They did a trail run there before and were eager to show me how nice it was.


Well, that’s my week. How was yours?

Wednesday, 8 October 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!

Please note that one of our WUW headings has changed. You can find further details on that here.

Things are busy around here lately, so no post for me today. Hope all of you are having a lovely and productive week though! Keep those ideas and words flowing! :)