Wednesday, 17 December 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!

Just a reminder that there will be no WUW on December 24th & 31st. We’ll be taking a break for the holidays and can catch up in the New Year!

What I’m Reading:

I have about fifty pages left in Winterspell, and unfortunately it hasn’t improved for me. Just to clarify my comments from last week, the reason I’m not enjoying it isn’t because it’s dark. I like dark stories. My stories are dark. Without giving specifics from the book, my problem is when sexual abuse is used as a means to up the heat level, rather than being dealt with as the serious issue it is. That feels gratuitous to me and potentially confusing to younger readers, especially when the mc's responses are unhealthy. There’s a lot more I could say, but I’ll leave it at that. My reason for bringing this up again is because I didn’t want anyone to assume I was just being a prude or that my WIPs are full of sunbeams and frolicking puppies. Definitely not.

What I’m Writing:

This was a weirdly good writing week for me, despite how busy it was. Somehow I managed to get out 6800 words. It’s a Christmas miracle! I met my goal, which was to finish the scene I was on, and I’m really happy with the result. I also finished two more scenes and got caught up to where I was before I went on a rearranging binge. And I wrote part of a new scene. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to cut a bunch of what I’ve written lately, but at least the story isn’t fighting me anymore.

My writing goal for this week: I’m not going to set a goal since it’s the last week before Christmas.

What Works For Me:

Writing by the light of the Christmas tree. It provides the perfect ambience for my nighttime work sessions. Makes me tempted to leave it up year round. Kidding.

What Else is New:

Braving crowded stores to do Christmas shopping, which made me all bah humbuggish.
Braving crowded stores to do winter boot shopping…then ordering a pair online at the mall. And the point of going there was…?
Finally getting around to my Christmas baking: shortbread, white chocolate cranberry cookies, white chocolate topped gingerbread cookies, and cracker candy. Let the face stuffing commence!
Listening to the Interstellar soundtrack nonstop for writing inspiration. Christmas music? What’s that?
Scrambling to cram in as much homeschooling as possible before the holidays. 2014 stuffed my kid’s head good and full.


Happy holidays to everyone! See you in 2015!


Wednesday, 10 December 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!

A couple notes: Firstly, if you’d like to use some of the festive new buttons Jaime whipped up for winter, you can find them under my WUW tab.

And secondly, there will be no WUW on Dec 24th & 31st. Since many of us will be busy on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, we figure it’s a good time for a break. We can all catch up in the New Year!

What I’m Reading:

I’m halfway through Winterspell, and I have to admit it’s not really what I expected. It’s inspired by The Nutcracker, so I assumed it would be somewhat Christmas-y—dark, yes, but still with the “magic of the season.” Not so much. It’s not that I want it to be Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies for 300+ pages (heck no), but I'm finding the story kind of flat and, to be honest, even a bit off-putting at times (sexual predators = not very festive). We’ll see how the rest goes.

What I’m Writing:

The goal I set last week (finish the scene I was on, outline and start writing the next one) went by the wayside, seeing as I completely switched gears. I ended up hacking apart a whole section of scenes, scrambling everything around, patching it back together, adding in a couple of new scenes, and outlining one of those.  Why, you ask? Well, getting the plot to unfold logically is easier said than done. It’s one thing to know all the details of what has to happen but to reveal everything in the right order and get those twists right can be mind numbingly difficult. Anyway, despite not meeting my goal, it was still a reasonably productive week.

My writing goal this week: Um, barring any more insane urges to tear everything apart again, I’m aiming to finish the scene I’m on. It’s big with lots of action, so it’ll be a challenge.

What Works For Me:

As you can see above, what works for me is periodically reassessing how my story is unfolding. Usually this happens when I hit that dreaded plateau in the middle. There’s almost always a string of scenes where the excitement dwindles and it drives me to start ripping things apart. Even though I go into drafting with a hefty outline and enough notes to wallpaper my entire house, I still find it necessary and refreshing to rethink and rearrange. That’s an important part of the evolution of my WIPs and motivating myself to get through that second half.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Let’s see. I put up the Christmas tree, Skyped with my sister and mom, had a fun appetizer and movie night with my son (we watched Stardust), indulged in some excellent holiday craft brew with the hubby, and had a total meltdown when I realized I accidentally tossed a whole stack of my good recipes in the recycling bin by mistake—including many Christmas ones. A few weeks ago I was ripping new recipes out of magazines and sorting through my old ones (which are terribly disorganized and mostly shoved in folders) and somehow the favourite we-make-these-a-lot-and-can’t-live-without-them pile ended up getting pitched. Basically I went into panic mode. Much time was spent combing the internet, and fortunately I was able to find most of them (or suitable replacements) again. Crisis averted. Seriously, how did people cope before the internet?

So how was your week?



Monday, 8 December 2014

COVER REVEAL: Prophecy of the Six






I'm excited to host the Cover Reveal of Prophecy of the Six, Book Two of the Prophecy Breakers series by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West. The cover was designed by Darren Boekweg of Boekweg Books Publishing and Cover Design.





About Prophecy of the Six


We didn't know how much we had to gain by being infected with magic. We found a purpose, we found a destiny, and we found each other.

But California isn’t the new start we were promised. Dr. Child may be gone, but now we must face a military school, dangerous secrets, and a prophecy that has half the country wanting us dead. When the line between enemies and allies blurs, Sam, Juliette, Ana and I need to choose between love and sanity, between magic and survival.

Paradise has a cost. When the authorities are suddenly giving you whatever you want, they’re going to demand everything in return. And that’s a price not all of us are strong enough to pay.
Freedom feels like safety, but it’s not. There are no walls here. No place they won’t be coming for us.

No place we won’t destroy.




About Alchemy

Book 1 in the Prophecy Breakers series
We didn’t know how much we had to lose until we were infected with magic. Sam was in love, Juliette was the main caretaker for her siblings, and Ana and her dad planned the best parties in New York. But we lost it all when we were shipped to Chebeague, an exclusive school for newly infected mages.  
Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone. 
We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.
In 2014, Alchemy was named on of the top 50 self-published books worth reading. On December 8, 9, and 10th you can buy it for free here. For a limited time, Funny Tragic, Crazy Magic and Hidden Magic are also available for free.


About the Authors


Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West met online, (which isn't as weird as it used to be) and blog together at theprosers.blogspot.com. Their first collaborative project, Alchemy (Prophecy Breakers #1), was voted one of the top fifty self published novels worth reading by Indie Authorland.

Sheena Boekweg is the author of Funny Tragic Crazy Magic, and The Waxling (forthcoming). She is a mom of three from Utah and is prepared to survive a zombie apocalypse.

As a mom of four, Melanie Crouse thinks that parenthood is exactly like a zombie apocalypse. Melanie Crouse is the author of excuse notes, thank you cards, and the novel Hidden Magic.

Sabrina West is a writer and wildlife biologist living in San Diego, California. Her short fiction has appeared in markets such as Cover of Darkness; Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine; and Kayelle Press’s Night Terrors Anthology.

We love hearing from our readers, so drop us a line at theprophecybreakers@boekwegbooks.com, on facebook, twitter, or Internet stalking Benedict Cumberbatch.


Add it on Goodreads 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 3 December 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!

If you’d like to use some of the festive new buttons Jaime whipped up for winter, you can find them under my WUW tab. Also, if you missed the last WUW, please note that we're now including a writing goal for the week under the "What I'm Writing" heading in hopes of keeping each other accountable. Your goal doesn’t have to focus on word count. It can be whatever you like, as long as it’s relevant to the writing process. Please try to keep your goals reasonably brief. Thanks and good luck!


What I’m Reading:

For the time being, I’ve put aside City of Heavenly Fire in favour of Winterspell by Claire Legrand. Since it’s inspired by The Nutcracker, I’ve been saving it for the holiday season. Jaime’s going to read it too, and then we plan to have a special Christmas themed Skype session to discuss it.

What I’m Writing:

My goal last week was to finish the scene I’d been working on and get back into the flow of my story. Well, I capped off said scene, which ended up being way longer than I thought it would be, and I wrote another one and a half small scenes on top of that. While my word count was 5700, I’m still not sure I’m totally back into the swing of things. Much of that is likely destined for the chopping block, especially since one scene was an experimental afterthought. We shall see. Things are too busy for guaranteeing any kind of writing mojo these days.

My writing goal this week: I want to finish the scene I’m on now, do a more detailed outline of the next scene (which is a biggie), and start writing it.

What Works For Me:

Getting back into writing this week was helped drastically by some fresh music to inspire me. For whatever reason, my usual playlist wasn’t doing the trick, so I decided to give Audiomachine’s album, Phenomena, a try. If you aren’t familiar with Audiomachine, they’re a company that composes epic music for movie trailers, video game ad campaigns, and TV commercials. Trust me, if you write sci-fi or fantasy, you've got to check them out. You can even listen to their music for free on their website.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

I’ve been indulging in birthday parcel number two from Jaime, which was full of all kinds of tasty and awesome goodies. My birthday was on Saturday, and seeing as the weather was around -30 degrees Celsius (-40 something with the wind chill), I was tempted to stay in and hibernate in my pj’s, but we braved the cold and went out for dinner, then saw Mockingjay—Part1. I thought they did a good job of adapting the book to the big screen, but after seeing it, I still think they could have done it in one movie rather than two. Regardless, it was a great way to spend the evening, and I enjoyed it.


So that was my week. How was yours?

Wednesday, 26 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!

Last week, we asked if you’d like to set goals in our WUW posts. The overwhelming response was YES, so from now on, we’ll include a writing-related goal under the "What I'm Writing" heading in hopes of keeping one another accountable. Your goal doesn’t have to focus on word count. It can be whatever you like, as long as it’s relevant to the writing process. Please try to keep your goals reasonably brief. Thanks and good luck!

What I’m Reading:

I'm still crawling through City of Heavenly Fire. Whenever I sit down to read lately, (which isn't very often, unfortunately) I fall asleep. This isn't the book's fault.

What I’m Writing:

Seeing as I was either busy or sick for most of the week, not much. I did some brainstorming and half-hearted mulling, but creativity is being a jerk lately. My head is crammed full of other non-writing things these days, so my story isn’t simmering in there the way it usually does. That’s problematic for me. I need simmering.

My writing goal this week: I want to finish the scene I’ve been working on, which will include some rewriting, and try to get back into the flow of this story again.

What Works For Me:

Like I said above, I need time to simmer, mull, steep like a teabag in water. I’m not a fast writer.  I don’t do well with word sprints or NaNoWriMo. That’s partly by choice (I enjoy taking my time when choosing my words) and partly because that’s the only way I can operate. If I haven’t had time to think about my story during the day—you know, daydream a little, consider what I’ll be working on later, ruminate on some ideas, get in the right mood—then I find it really hard to jump into writing at night when I sit down to work. It’s all about getting in the zone and letting the story come to life, which is usually a gradual process for me.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

David's Salted Caramel tea & a Nordic mug from Jaime. Yum!
Remember last week when I pulled a dozen boxes of books from our shelves to donate? Yeah, it’s now 35 boxes. I found another stack of boxes in the basement that I thought we'd gotten rid of already. And we still have full shelves. We should not be allowed anywhere near used book sales, Indigo, Costco, or Amazon ever, ever again. Naturally, we went book shopping this weekend anyway. I also put together my Christmas list, which, so far, includes only books. I never learn. Someone chain me to a wall in a room far away from any means to buy anything with pages.

Other than that, the house renos continued, I baked banana-cranberry muffins, planned our Christmas baking, binge watched Gilmore Girls, Skyped with my sister, homeschooled the heck out of my kid, opened my early birthday gift from Jaime, and wailed over the amount of snow that dumped on us. Overall, a fairly normal week.

So what's up with you?


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?