Wednesday, 31 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! If you’d like to participate in What’s Up Wednesday and/or Ready. Set. WRITE! you can sign up on Jaime Morrow’s blog. We’d love it if you’d join us in sharing your writing goals and what’s happening in your world lately.

What I’m Reading:

You know those books that ruin you for reading anything else afterward? That was Wanderlove for me. I so wish this one had been written when I was a teen. Maybe it would have encouraged me to take more risks. Not backpacking in a foreign country with some strange (albeit hot) dude mind you, because NOT A GOOD IDEA GIRLS. Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the story though, and don’t think Kirsten Hubbard was encouraging girls to be unsafe, just to be clear. I loved the characters and the way they grew, the gorgeous yet realistic setting descriptions, the sense of adventure. I thought it was every bit as good as the best reviews it’s received.

So, to make sure I followed it up with something that wouldn’t disappoint, I decided to read another book that’s been on my TBR list for a disgustingly long period of time. I’m now about three quarters of the way through The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, and I’m completely in love with it.

What I’m Writing:

I had two goals this past week. First, I was supposed to revise the new material I added to my ms, which I did. Second, I committed to writing at least 1000 words on my current WIP.  I ended up adding roughly 4800 words. Since revisions went smoother than I anticipated, I was able to do better than I thought I would on my drafting goal.

This week, writing is going to be a little mixed up. The other day, I came to the realization that one particular event needs to happen sooner in my WIP, which means shuffling several scenes and rewriting bits and pieces. My first goal is to get those scenes sorted out, do the necessary rewriting, and smooth the new transitions between them. In addition to that, I’d like to finish another three scenes.

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now:

Maybe not so much inspiring as scaring me. There’s only one month of summer left. Well, one month until school starts. Where has the time gone? There are still way too many things I need to get done, including an even bigger chunk of my WIP. Time to get the butt in gear before fall hits.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

While this was a busy week, it wasn’t terribly exciting. That’s okay, because usually not-terribly-exciting equals a fair amount of writing done.

One project I jumped into is paring down our book collection. I’m not kidding when I say we basically have our own library and it’s gotten ridiculous. This is largely due to one particularly amazing used book sale we attend every spring. When you’re buying books for a buck or two, it’s easy to think you’ll get around to reading them someday when really you won’t. Then there are books people have given us over the years that just aren’t our thing, others we bought ourselves but really didn’t care for, the ones my son has outgrown, and some that frankly I don’t know how the heck they made it onto our shelves in the first place. I’m still not done weeding, but there’s a huge box plus a few large piles on our rec room floor. It turned out to be a bigger job than I thought, but I’m proud of myself for giving up on my book hoarder tendencies.  Okay, fine. There’s still an obscene amount left, and we'll probably fill up the shelves again in no time.

A while back, I mentioned that my hubby brewed some Coffee & Donut stout and a Maple Chocolate porter. I helped with the first batch, and we were finally able to taste test it this past weekend. Both turned out great, but the Coffee & Donut stout was amazing. Like even better than the usual store bought coffee stout my husband gets. Just thought I’d follow up with the delicious results on that.

Oh, and this past Friday, I posted a Love List for the story I'm soon to begin querying again. If you'd like to take a peek at that, you can find it just below this post.

So what’s up in your little corner of the writing community this week?

Friday, 26 July 2013

My Love List

As promised in my What's Up Wednesday post, here's the Love List I compiled for my YA light-sci-fi story, ENVISION. In case you aren't familiar with the concept of Love Lists, it's an idea the awesome Stephanie Perkins came up with. Put simply, when she starts a new project she makes a list of all the details that first inspired her to write that particular story, then adds to it as she goes. The purpose is to remind you of why you love your story when the writing gets tough. It also comes in handy during the querying process when those rejections start popping into the old inbox. If you'd like to read Stephanie's post on this, you can find it here. Two of my lovely Ready. Set. WRITE! co-hosts, Alison and Katy, recently posted their Love Lists, so I thought I would do the same.

Love List for ENVISION

narrow escapes
a motorcycle
an inappropriately funny tech guy
rainbow hair
digitally enhanced minds
broken stained glass
energy pulse weapons
a drastic makeover
a cryptic wooden box
urban green spaces
books with real pages
books with no pages at all
 mean right hook(s)
glow-in-the-dark spray paint
egg rolls
slow burn romance
storage units
unique cameras
fun with jiu-jitsu and krav maga
sink sprayers
imploding things
first aid
Jell-o breaks
biker jackets
long stretches of highway
that limbo between dreaming and waking
autumn leaves
ideals this world has long since forgotten
torn up letters
first kisses
finders keepers
glow bracelets
taiko drums
an asymmetrical chandelier

And so many other things I wish I could add but can’t for fear of giving things away or babbling. If you haven't made a Love List for your story yet, I encourage you to do it!  Who knows? It might be just the reminder you need to give your WIP a hug and some TLC when the writing or querying process gets rocky!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Let’s get the ball rolling with some fun news, shall we? The winner of the Ready. Set. WRITE! giveaway is…

Raven Moore

Congratulations, Raven! We hope you enjoy your writer’s care package and that it gives you lots of encouragement and motivation to plow through the second half of RSW. You’re doing awesome and this prize is much deserved! Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway!

What I’m Reading:

I just finished The Summer I Became a Nerd  by Leah Rae Miller. I thought it was a cute, sweet story and I thoroughly enjoyed all the nerd humour. There were tips of the hat to all things sci-fi/fantasy/comic book related, so if you’re into that sort of thing, I recommend this book for a light, fun read.

Now I’m reading Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. Devouring books has turned into nibbling books lately for me though, so hopefully I’ll be able to work in a nice chunk of time for reading somewhere.

What I’m Writing:

My goal last week was to experiment with ways to incorporate some agent advice I was lucky enough to receive. So far I’ve drafted two variations on a new addition to my ms, and I’m pretty sure which one I’ll use. This required a lot of pondering and slow, painstaking writing. I’m still not sure if I’m accomplishing what I need to in this portion of the story, but it’s a start. Anyway, I met my goal and this week I’m aiming to revise/tighten/tweak my favourite out of the two options. I also need to keep moving forward with my current WIP, so I’m setting a goal of 1000 words.

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now:

Spending some much needed time with my son this week has brought me a little clarity of mind.  I’ve been spreading myself too thin, and I need to find some balance again. A hard thing to admit, but necessary. So right now, I’m inspired to get focused on the things that matter most to me and commit to them whole-heartedly, namely my family, my health, and my writing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

There was a lot of running around this week to put together my part of the writer’s care package for our giveaway. It was weirdly difficult to find what I was looking for and ended up feeling like a scavenger hunt. You wouldn’t think purchasing a mug would be the equivalent of a quest for the holy grail, but it kind of was. No, I didn’t want to buy something resembling 1960s Corelle, or Victorian china that someone’s great-aunt Mabel collects (okay, I actually like that sort of thing…), or a mug with a handle shaped like an electric guitar, but apparently that’s what stores around here are stocking lately. Eventually, when I stumbled on something both cute and a little funky, I was very relieved and excited.  I also found a couple more that I’ll be adding soon to my mug and book match project. (If you haven’t seen that, you can click the tab at the top of my blog for a peek.) A few other stops, including a visit to McQuarrie's, my favourite tea shop, and my parcel was complete. Now, I can’t wait to ship it out to our lucky winner!

I also put together a Love List for ENVISION, the story I’m querying, which I’ll likely post sometime soon. I’m currently looking for a couple beta readers, so if you think you might be interested, please give me a shout. I’d like another opinion or two before I continue with the querying process. If you want to know what my story is about, there’s a description in the Current Projects tab, or you can stay tuned for my Love List to see if anything on it catches your eye. I’ll also mention that while my story is sci-fi it’s definitely light sci-fi and although technology plays a major part in the plot, it isn’t a “techie” book.  There’s some action, romance, Romanticism, a bit of humour, a few plot twists…Am I selling you yet?

So what’s up with you this week? If you’d like to participate in either WUW, RSW, or both, you can sign up on the linky at Jaime Morrow’s site. We’d love it if you’d join us!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Okay, how did it get to be Wednesday again already? I can’t believe the summer is half over! Seriously, I'm afraid if I look at my trees the wrong way, their leaves are going to start changing colours and fall off. Anyway, if you’d like to take part in WUW, please sign up on the linky at Jaime Morrow’s site. That’s also where you can post a link to your blog if you want to join Ready. Set. WRITE! And don’t forget our giveaway! One lucky RSW participant will win a lovely writer’s care package courtesy of the co-host team: Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Elodie Nowodazkij, Jaime Morrow and me. Check out the rafflecopter below to see how you can earn entries. The contest will be open until Tuesday, July 23rd at 11:59 pm, and we'll announce the winner during WUW/RSW on the 24th. And now for the condensed version of my week…

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. I’m only a couple pages in, but I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time.

What I’m writing:

My goal last week was to finish three more scenes. It was a close call, but I got the scenes done, and my word count was just shy of 4100. That brings my WIP just over the 33, 000 mark. I’m venturing into some new plot territory now, so that’s exciting.

This week, my goal is going to be very different. Recently, I received a rejection from an agent who was kind enough to give me some valuable feedback. Before I continue querying, I need to experiment with ways I can incorporate her advice. That’s not the most concrete goal in the world, because it can’t be measured in terms of word count or number of scenes, but since querying is a priority, it needs to be done.

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now:

Just on time for a weekend of heavy writing, I received a parcel all the way from Germany. Elodie, one of my awesome RSW co-hosts, sent each of us on the team a Ready. Set. WRITE! t-shirt and some delicious goodies to fuel our writing sessions. Not only was this incredibly encouraging, but it provided a much needed sugar boost to get my brain in gear. That t-shirt is my new RSW uniform and whenever I put it on, I’ll feel inspired. Thanks again, Elodie! You’re the best!

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

I didn’t do anything especially interesting this week other than what I’ve already mentioned. It’s been busy but not with much that’s worth describing. There were lots of iced coffees, episodes of How I Met Your Mother watched far too late with my hubby, chapters of The Westing Game read to my son, and a nine hour conversation with my sister on Google Hangouts. Yes, nine hours. This is when plot holes get filled and characters develop. Seriously, without those conversations, I’d still be on chapter one of an unfinished manuscript.

In case you missed my pirate interview on YA Buccaneers this past week, you can have a look and a laugh here if you wish. We’d love it if you’d stop by and leave us an “Arrr matey” in the comments, or jump into the reading and writing fun with our crew.

So what’s happening in your corner of the blogosphere?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Let’s kick off this post with something fun, shall we? The Ready. Set. WRITE! co-hosts are giving away a special writer’s care package to one lucky participant in our summer challenge. If you’ve been taking part in RSW and would like a chance to win some goodies to assist in your writing endeavors (like a journal, mug, tea, craft book and other fun tidbits), then enter on the rafflecopter at the bottom. The contest will be open until Tuesday, July 23 at 11:59 pm, and we’ll announce the winner in our What’s Up Wednesday posts on the 24th. Please note that this giveaway is international and is only open to those who have already been participating in RSW.

And without further ado…

What I’m Reading:

I’m about halfway through The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

What I’m Writing:

Writing was very steady this week. My goal was to finish three scenes, and I was able to check
six scenes off the list. That added up to about 7900 words, which is both good and bad. It’s good, because hey, that’s a lot of words! And it’s bad, because well…that’s a lot of words. My last manuscript required a major trim after the drafting stage, so this time I’ve been trying to rein in my word count. Yeah, that’s not working out so well. Sometimes it’s way too easy to get caught up in the story. My present self is quite enjoying that, but my future self is going to hate me when it comes time for revisions. I’m currently sticking my tongue out at future self.

The next three scenes in my WIP are crucial to the plot and will also be a bit longer, so I’m going to stick with the same goal this week.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Sweet boys. One in particular. My husband runs down by the river early in the morning, and this time of year there are always thistles blooming along the trails. Knowing I love all things Scottish, he picked one and brought it home for me. He did the same thing last summer and was waiting for them to blossom again this year. It’s funny because I don’t necessarily remember all the store bought flowers over the years, but the handpicked thistles will stick with me. So while I’ve been writing, I’ve had my thistle close by to brighten my workspace and remind me why all my stories have a nice dollop of romance.

Oddly enough, the other thing that’s inspiring me is Sarah MacLachlan’s rendition of “Song for a Winter’s Night.” A wee bit on the Christmassy side, but writing snowy scenes in July definitely requires some extra assistance. This song has a lovely bittersweet quality that’s perfect for the sad tone of the chapter I’m working on. I’ve been alternating between that and “Stubborn Love” by the Lumineers. Also perfect, and one I could listen to on repeat for hours.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Speaking of Christmassy things, yesterday I entered the Christmas in July pitch contest. There’s a stellar list of agents taking part, so I thought I’d toss my manuscript in and see how it does.

The peonies in my backyard have finally bloomed. I recently bought a pretty turquoise vase specifically for peony season (which lasts all of a week), so I’ve been enjoying those. Where did I buy the vase, you ask? Why at our bookstore, of course! Where else?

Since I’ve buckled down on writing, baking is one of the things that has gone by the wayside, but the other day I found the time to whip up a couple batches of mini loaves: strawberry cream cheese and cranberry white chocolate chip. The second was an experiment and our tummies were very happy with the result.

So how was your week? Feel free to share in the comments or on your own blog. You can sign up for WUW on Jaime Morrow’s site. And don’t forget to enter our RSW giveaway if you’ve been participating in our summer writing incentive!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Hey, peoples! Thanks for stopping by for What’s Up Wednesday. Please leave your link on Jaime Morrow’s blog if you’d like to take part in the WUW blog hop or if you’d like to join in Ready. Set. WRITE! hosted by Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Elodie Nowodazkij, Jaime Morrow, and yours truly.

What I’m Reading:

I’m still reading Parallel by Lauren Miller. It’s different than I thought it would be. Since the premise involves parallel universes colliding, I expected it to be a little more sci-fi, but it reads like contemporary with a sci-fi twist. Seeing as I enjoy both sci-fi and contemporary, I’m finding it to be an interesting mix so far.

What I’m Writing:

My goal for this past week was to finish the next three scenes in my WIP. Mission accomplished. This involved some major rethinking and reorganization.  I was also able to sort out some aspects of the plot that weren’t gelling as well as I would’ve liked.

I’m going to stick with the same goal for this coming week. Hopefully, I’ll make some good headway on this. The weather is really hot here right now, and I feel like my brain has totally melted.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

In my recent internet travels, I stumbled upon Eric Whiteacre’s “Virtual Choir” project and thought it was such a unique and inspiring idea. Basically, what he’s done is combine individual videos of singers from all over the globe into one huge choir. In the video I’ve included below, they’re performing his choral piece “Lux Aurumque.” It’s amazing that although these people are all different ages, from all walks of life, and from every corner of the world, their voices can blend so seamlessly to create something beautiful.

This week, my story research involved trying to find a piece of music to incorporate into a particular scene. While this song is from the wrong era, I still found it inspiring in light of the scene I was writing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

• On Monday, I celebrated Canada Day with my family.

• I went book shopping (yet again) and picked up a copy of Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I had a great chat about YA book-to-movie adaptations with one of the workers at the store and asked them to please, please, please have a release party when Allegiant comes out this fall.

• I watched Upside Down, a very creative sci-fi movie that I enjoyed despite its shortcomings. I also watched Warm Bodies, and while I’m not usually a big fan of zombies (just not my cup of tea), I found this movie both adorable and funny.

• Together with the rest of the crew at YA Buccaneers, I was involved in the launch of our new YA group blog. Go check it out! We'd love it if you'd join the fun!

• Mainly, I’ve been trying to survive the heat. Being a pasty ginger, I don’t handle hot weather well. At all. It literally makes me ill.

So what's happening with you this week?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Introducing YA Buccaneers!

It's here, the big day is finally here!!!

We are so excited to announce the launch of our amazing group blog:

A combined effort by ten amazing ladies, we've put together some pretty awesome content that we hope you'll come on by to check out!

Today's the official day of launch -- over the next two weeks we'll be introducing you to each member of the crew, not to mention, hosting a pretty incredible giveaway for all those that would like to join us on our journey!

Adventure awaits and we can't wait to set sail with you!