Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Kissy Kissy

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ from
YA Highway where each week there is a writing- or reading-related question for us to answer. Check out YA Highway to follow along with everyone who participates. :-)

This week's topic is:

Compare your first kiss with your favorite characters first kiss. 

My current favorite kiss is between Charlotte and Harlin from A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young. I finished this book last week and I still can't get it out of my mind. Their first kiss of the book is barely a graze but sets the tone for their relationship. Sexy. Harlin is sexy. Their love is sexy. Their kisses are sexy. Just sexy.

And that means that my first kiss couldn't possibly be more different from their kisses. My first real kiss was a sneak kiss. My seventh grade boyfriend and I sneaked away during a church event at his neighbors house and kissed in *blushes* his bedroom. Now, I'm not saying it was terrible, because it wasn't, but it definitely wasn't sexy. Neither of us knew what we were doing and it was all over the place messy. And quick. So, yeah, I guess as far as first kisses go, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but sexy it was not. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For the Love of Writing

There are days when I struggle with writing. There are days I don't feel motivated at all to open those word docs and just want to curl up with a book--or *gasp* even television. On those days I wonder how I'm ever going to finish this book. I doubt my ability to make this manuscript something someone else will want to read. I think I must be the worst aspiring author ever. I put off revising because, well, I'm intimidated by my characters or the scene that's in need of major work. Yes, I realize that I've created this world and that I shouldn't be scared of it, but I am. What if I screw it up? What if I don't tell their story correctly? What if they hate me?

Isn't that the fear all mothers have? What if our children hate us?

I know this must sound crazy to those of you who don't write but those characters have lives of their own now and it's up to me to make sure they have the best tools possible to survive in the world of publishing. They really are my children now.

But even after all the fear and intimidation, I continue to come back to them. I can never stay away for more than a day or two before I'm itching to see what they are up to next. I love them too much to leave them unfinished. I realize that sometimes it's okay to take a break. Mini vacations are good for helping me reset and remember that I can, in fact, handle this.

And you know what else I realized? I realized I absolutely love to write. I always have. Writing makes me happy. Even if I knew there was no way their story would ever be published, I would still write it. I would write it because their story needs to be told, even if it's just me and my crit partners who read it. For now, I'm going to allow myself to just enjoy the process. I'm not going to think too much about whether this story will ever be seen on the shelves in some bookstore. This manuscript will some day be finished and when it is, I'll worry that stuff then. Until then, I'm going to have fun with this and remember why I started writing in the first place.

So, I guess the moral of today's story is this: Do what you love to do even if you are the only who loves it. Oh, and enjoy the moment? :-)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Your Best Scar

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ from
YA Highway where each week there is a writing- or reading-related question for us to answer. Check out YA Highway to follow along with everyone who participates. :-)

This week's topic is:

What is the story of your best scar? 

My best scar is right above the eyebrow of my left eye. I was a huge tomboy as a child. I have an amazing brother who is 3 years older than me. That should explain most of my scars right there. Everything he did, I wanted to do too. He had motorbikes, so of course I wanted to ride motorbikes. Some of my best memories of my childhood are from riding through the trails near our house. He could convince me to do anything and I loved every minute of it.

So when I was 7 and my brother was 10 (ages are approximate), my brother was gifted with a bow and arrow set. I don't remember him being particularly good at shooting it but once he hit his target right on. That target was me.

I still vividly remember him pulling the arrow back on the bow and releasing it. There was a slight sting as something popped me in the forehead. I stood there motionless for a few seconds...until the arrow fell from it's lodged location.

Then, I screamed. My brother rushed over and his first words were of concern--for himself. "You're not going to tell mom, are you?"

LOL - So that's the story of my favorite scar. Good thing that arrow was made of wood and not metal, huh? It still makes me laugh when I think about it today.

So what about you? What's the story behind your best scar?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Playlist

I've added a page (click above) for a more detailed playlist, plus lyrics, but as this song has been in my head for weeks now, I thought it deserved its own post.

If you haven't already listened to the Barton Hollow album by The Civil Wars, I recommend you do so right away. It's just incredible. I can't get enough of it!

Below is the music video for Poison & Wine. I'd love to hear your thoughts and whether you love it as much as I do. Enjoy!

EDIT: I just found another song by them and now I'm in love with this one too! New video down below the first one.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: The Year 2111

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ from YA Highway where each week there is a writing- or reading-related question for us to answer. Check out YA Highway to follow along with everyone who participates. :-)

This is my first week participating and I'm super excited that the question is:

Assuming we make it through the 2012 apocalypse, what do you imagine the publishing world will look like 100 years from now?

Okay, this is a tough question. Who knows how things will look, so let's have some fun with this.

Perhaps there will be an additional round of agents (pre-agents?) we will have to go through before we can actually submit to a true agent. The pre-agent will weed out those of us that can't figure out exactly where our commas go. The futuristic pre-agent may or may not look like this:

As a result of this there will be many more self-published authors and small publishing houses opening up. 


And then, because mirrors, radios, ipods and phones aren't enough, we will also be able to download books instantly to our GPS systems. 

So what do YOU think? Do we actually want to survive this apocalypse?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why YA?

Someone asked me once why so many of the books I read are young adult. I'm not sure there's one definite answer for this. I think I've always enjoyed reading YA books but I vividly remember the book that really ignited my love for them.

In ninth grade, my English teacher assigned us to read The Face on the Milk Carton by Carolyn B. Cooney. Normally, anything a teacher assigns is automatically filed into the "this book will be boring" folder, but not this time. This time, I found myself holding onto the edge of my seat and flipping through the pages quicker than ever before. The suspense, the romance, the sheer mystery of the book was incredible. Once I reached the end, I had to know: Are there more books like this? Where can I get them?

Over the following years I bought all of the books in that series and loved them all. I've read them all several times and love them as much today as I did at fourteen. My own love of writing was well established by then, even if I mostly wrote angsty poetry at the time, but there is no doubt that this one book is a part of my writing history and a part of who I am as a writer.

So many people have this misconception that young adult books are only for young readers, that they can't possibly contain a thoughtful or mature subject matter. They just don't know how wrong they are. Young adult books are not only well written but they often tackle hard hitting and challenging issues that many adults are still facing themselves. Just because the main character of a book is fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years old, doesn't mean the book itself is going to be a shallow or easy read.

So how does that saying go? You should never judge a book by it's cover? Perhaps in this situation, we could say: "You should never judge a book by it's genre."

If I'd judged Carolyn B. Cooney's book by my first impression, where would I be today? Maybe I'd still be writing and maybe I'd still be enjoying young adult books, but I do know the journey wouldn't have been nearly as fun.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reading, Writing & Insomnia

It's no secret I'm a tad bit addicted to reading and, well, books in general. I have always been an avid reader but in the past few years it's as if I simply can't get enough. I carry books with me when I run errands on the off chance that I'll get to steal a few minutes with its pages. I try to read at least a little bit each night before falling asleep. I feel more relaxed and getting lost inside someone elses' story has always been therapeutic for me.

I never really saw this as a problem until I began writing my own book. Now I often find myself torn between writing and reading. When it's been a particularly long or tiring day, I tend to gravitate towards curling up with a good book and going to bed early. This does not, however, help me reach my writing goals each day. I've heard time and time again that getting into the habit of writing every day, even if it's just a little bit, is helpful to keep motivated. I have to agree with this. When I take more than a day or two off from writing, I feel lazy and find it easier to skip writing again.

And here is where it gets more complicated: I love to read. I love to write. I want to do much more of both of them that I actually have time for. Some days I really do have to choose one or the other. It makes me sad either way. If I don't get time alone with a book each day, I hate it. If I can't reach my writing goals each day, I feel unproductive and overwhelmed.

The problem is, as a stay at home mom, I have very little time to myself. I often attempt to sneak in a few pages of reading during the day. It's not easy but I'm slowly learning that since the only time I really have to write when I can concentrate is late at night, after everyone has gone to bed. This is also not easy. I have always been one of those people who needs lots of sleep to function happily. After nearly a year of training it, I think I'm finally starting to get my body used to getting less sleep.

So my last thought is this: Is it odd that I may actually wish for a dash of insomnia? I'm sure it's a terrible condition to have but I sometimes allow myself to fantasize about how productive I could be if I had hours in the middle of the night to just work on my book.

A girl can dream, right? Or...I suppose in this case, a girl can dream about not dreaming?