Wednesday, 30 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 was finally able to read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and thoroughly enjoyed it. The prose was lovely, the island setting both quaint and haunting, and the plot twist satisfying. I had my suspicions about the latter and was in the right ballpark with my guess, although had I not known there was a big reveal, I doubt my mind would’ve been racing to figure it out. I also read In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg, a fun, sweet book reminiscent of You’ve Got Mail.

Now I’m about halfway through The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. It’s not a fast paced novel so far, but I’m in suspense. I’ve also been reading a little more Romantic era poetry for research, particularly Byron and Sir Walter Scott.

What I’m Writing:

Thanks to a monster writing session this past Saturday, I’m almost to the 25k mark on Enlighten. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad seeing as I’m only partway through Act 1. I’m going to go with good and we’ll see how I feel about it come time for revisions. If you read my RSW post on Monday, you’ll know I was struggling with a plot issue. I think I’ve got it figured out now and hopefully the rest of the scene will play out properly. I’ve left my characters in a precarious position and I should probably get them out of it very soon (insert evil laugh here).

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Beautiful storytelling in all its forms.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Yeah, I wrote almost 10k this past week, so I was basically a hermit in the writer’s cave and didn’t do much else that was noteworthy. That’s perfectly fine by me though. Besides the same old same old routine (write, read, walk, curriculum, conquer mountain of laundry, etc.) I did stumble across something on the internet that thrilled me to bits.

It’s become a tradition in our house that every St. Patrick’s Day we watch The Secret of Kells. If you’ve never seen this absolutely gorgeous cartoon, you’re missing out. Every frame is a work of unique, Celtic-inspired art and the story is an original blend of history and Irish mythology surrounding an illuminated text. In short, it’s a feast for the eyes and the imagination. You can probably guess how excited I was to discover that the same director is coming out with another movie in a similar style: Song of the Sea. This tale is about a selkie and judging by the trailer it’s going to be every bit as magical and engaging as The Secret of Kells.


Apparently it’s coming out late in the year, but being a smaller film, I’m not sure if it’ll be released in many theatres. We saw The Secret of Kells at a local vintage theatre that tends to show independent films, so I’m hoping, hoping, hoping they’ll decide to bring in Song of the Sea as well.

So how’ve you been lately? Care to share?


Monday, 28 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week #8

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 4000 words to Enlighten. Because my boys were out of town on Saturday at a football game, I had extra time to myself for writing. I got down just over 9800 words this week, which sounds great, but I know some of that will have to be chopped because of a plot issue.

My goals for this week:

I’m sticking with my 4000 word goal again and aiming to resolve my pesky plot issue. It's sort of a logistical thing that's throwing a wrench in finishing a particular scene. Bah.

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

Grueling (for me and my characters)

The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Uh…writing for 13 hours straight. I prefer to write in big blocks of time, but that was a long haul and my brain is now officially fried. Additional challenges: finding creative ways to integrate infodump and, of course, getting stumped by a plot issue that’s making me tear my hair out. I’m determined to solve it before I go bald.

Something I love about my WIP:

That my main character is constantly being forced out of her comfort zone, and as a result she’s grown and changed a lot over this series. She’s kind of taken me by the hand and dragged me out of my comfort zone with her, so I’ve grown and changed a lot too.


Moving along to our latest giveaway…

The winner of Katy’s writer’s care package is:

JESSICA LEAKE

Congratulations, Jessica! We hope you enjoy all the treats from Katy and that they motivate you during your writing sessions!  This week is our final RSW giveaway. If you’d like to win Alison’s fun care package (pictured below) then don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter, and stop by next week for our last winner announcement.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 23 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!

I’m taking a bit of a blogging break today, so no WUW post for me. Hope all of you are having a lovely, productive week though, and I’ll see you next Wednesday! :)

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?