Monday, November 30, 2009

Things I'm thankful for

So it's a little past Thanksgiving now, but I was away this weekend. Kirsten tagged me in her 10 things I'm thankful for post, so I figure I better do this!

All the even ones have to be writing related.

1. My family. And I mean the whole thing: my boyfriend, son, and dog, of course (yes, my dog is family!) My parents and my sister. My boyfriend's mom, sister, and brother-in-law, and his aunts who take us in whenever we decide to travel up there and get tired halfway along. All four of my grandparents, who I am blessed to still have around, and everyone else. Family is always important, and I'm really lucky to have a good one.

2. My moose loves. They make writing fun. I don't feel like I'm doing it by myself anymore, because I have Kirsten, Kristin, Michelle, and Amanda to share my ups and downs with. And I can feel happy for them when good things happen, and it's almost as amazing as if the good thing happened to me. I love that we all happened to appear on the AW boards around the same time (Seriously, I checked--three October 2008's, December 2008, and February 2009), because there is something eerily synchronized about us, despite our differences, and living all over the place.

3. My friends. Because friends are important too, you can't only have family. My friends are so interesting and wonderful and they still like me even though I'm terrible at keeping in touch (my writer friends probably think this is a lie, but seriously. I fail.)

4. My imagination. Maybe this seems like a weird thing to be thankful for, but honestly. Ideas matter--that is, good ideas matter. I like that I'm imaginative, because I want my ideas to stand on their own. I don't buy into the whole "it's all been done" thing. If I thought about it that way, then why would I even bother to write? I'd rather think that there are infinite ways I could make my writing stand out, if only my imagination can do it. And I have a good imagination, so I really think, when I force it to try, I can come up with unique ideas.

5. Where I live. Okay, not specifically at this very moment (although I do like my apartment, but I'm just not a city person) but in general, I love you, America. Do I like every last thing about this country? Of course not. But I do love it here, and I love where I grew up. Northern New England will always be my true home no matter where I move in the future. It's perfect.

6. Absolute write and its people. There are more awesome people in the writing world than just my meese. I honestly think I would be so lost without AW. Where else are there several active threads just about YA every time I check? Where else is there a thread where everyone links their teasers on Tuesday? Where else would I find people who actually are excited about reading these teasers each week? It's amazing, it's a community, and it's real. I'm not going to list everyone from there who I think is awesome, because there are too many of you. All I can say is, thank God for the internet, because it really is a blessing.

7. Our troops. They can't ever be thanked enough. Seriously, nothing I could possibly do or say is good enough to thank someone for being willing to risk their life so mine can be safe. Whether you agree with this war--or any war--or not, our troops are brave people and we should all be so proud of them, so grateful to them, so happy they are there for us.

8. Other people's writing. Published and unpublished. Books inspire me to write. Not because I read them and think "oh, good idea, let me write about that with just a few tweaks." No, it's because when I read a really good book, when I can feel how much the author loved writing it, it reminds me why I write.

9. My immune system. It's spectacular. I'm so lucky. Colds tend to pass me by, or if I do get them, they're usually pretty brief/mild. My health has always been good overall, and I'm glad for that. Being healthy is something we sometimes take for granted.

10. My books. I'm not published (or agented) yet. But I can't be either of those things if I'm not writing. And I have feelings of snuggly warmth toward the things that I write. They're labors of love, and I can see myself growing and improving with each draft, with each WIP. Writing is one of the best (THE best?) hobbies in the world, and I'm so glad I feel love toward what comes out when I put a pen to paper.

Tagging. I want to spread the love, so I'm trying to go for people whose blogs I follow who haven't already been tagged in ones I've read, and who haven't done this yet:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RTW: What else do I do with my time?

So, I'm not really all that exciting. Reading and writing have always been my main hobbies, ever since I was a little tiny thing. These things make me happy, so when I have some spare time, why would I not read or write?

I do also like to play computer games, sometimes. The Sims being a particular favorite, although I've sort of gone off that now. It's amazing (but not bad!) how much time a one-year-old takes up. If the internet counts as a hobby, I guess I'd have to list that. I love reading blogs and twitter and keeping up with everyone on forums.

I also like the outdoors. I enjoy things like hiking and going for walks (which are kind of the same thing--one is just a more strenuous form of the other, really.) I like horseback riding and I like spending time on farms.

So there you are, the excitement that is me. But really, having exciting hobbies doesn't necessarily make you an interesting person. Caring about your hobbies does.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks to all who commented! This was an especially good Teaser Tuesday, I enjoyed reading all of yours as well.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

RTW had me thinking about soundtracks

...So I made one!

It's a giant mess of songs, because I made one unorganized playlist to encompass all three of my WIPs, so I made it play on random, just to make it even more fun.
So, these are songs that fit either:
Ignited, which is about demons--in Hell.
Unthawed, which is about surviving insane people in a future post-ice age world.
Untitled WIP, which is about a girl who is dead but sent back into life to learn some things about herself.

You can see why this makes for a disorganized playlist. But I'm satisfied, and sufficiently distracted for the day. I put the playlist at the bottom of the blog, so I took it out of this post so my blog doesn't load slowly!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RTW: The influence of music

This week's topic is hard/easy for me to answer--songs we associate with our WIPs. I like to write with music sometimes, but more often than not, it just distracts me. I also find that if I try to associate things in my WIPs with music while I'm writing, I end up not writing it the way I want, because I'm trying to fit it to a mood someone else has already created. I don't think everyone has this problem--just me, probably.

I have vague playlists for both Ignited and Unthawed, but only a couple random songs so far for my still untitled WIP. I might have to do what Kristin did and make an actual playlist to post on my blog, but I'm not sure I'm quite ambitious enough for that today.

Most of my playlist songs come from artists like Breaking Benjamin and Shinedown, because that's just what I listen to already. But I also find rock a really good music genre for inspiration. It's intense and moody and raw. And I want my writing to be like that--in the right places.

But if I had to pick just one song for each WIP, I think I can do it. I'll try:

Unthawed: I like both Second Chance by Shinedown and It's Not My Time by 3 Doors Down for this one. The first one more in relation to the end than to the majority of the book, and the second one I hope is more obvious (even if I sort of take my own meaning from the song rather than maybe what they intend...)

Ignited: Glycerine by Bush is kind of perfect. It's the best match of anything I listen to, anyway.

Untitled WIP: Life Is Beautiful by Sixx:A.M. Alright, so it doesn't fit perfectly, but I haven't really had time to think about this one, and this is my absolute favorite song in all the world, and some parts of the song, especially the second line "you can't live until you die" are really dead on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The love

So this is a lame thing to blog about maybe, but I finally feel in love with my (still untitled) WIP. I vaguely blogged about my writing on Friday, and about this WIP, but I've now worked through everything that's going to happen in thorough detail, and it's ballooned to 20,000 (or possibly a bit over--some is still handwritten) because I've gotten really obsessed with it.

I have the small fear that it (or aspects of it more than the thing as a whole) will be too similar to something else that I just haven't read, because I'm not well-read enough in contemporary to be writing something that takes place in a mainly contemporary setting. This is why I have betas.

It's also making me feel a little morbid.

But I love it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Writing and my inexcusable love of badboys

This might get really long. Just to pre-warn everyone.

So writing. I haven't actually blogged about my own writing all that much lately. Mainly because it tends not to be all that interesting of a topic, I've realized (especially if I do it too often) but also partly because I've got my WIP in somewhat of a protective little cocoon of mystery.

It's still untitled, because I have no idea what to title it. (I'm told that I can't call it Untitled unless that actually goes with the story in some way...of course, it doesn't.)

But all my characters are now named, and I researched all the things I needed to research, and I whined to Amanda about how I think I will fail at writing it because it's too hard, and then realized it's not going to be as hard as I thought (thank you, research), so this week it's blossomed from 7,000 words (where it was stuck since I first decided to try writing it in...August? July?) to just over 11,000, and it's just coming to me very quickly and happily.

So, that's all I really wanted to say about that.

Earlier, I was thinking about my love of "badboy" characters. And why. First of all, let's be clear what I mean when I say bad. Not emo. Not bad for the sole reason that they are a vampire who lusts after blood (and somehow miraculously manages to always control this lust with minimal effort but great amounts of whining). Not bad because they drink or do drugs or sleep around. Bad because, for whatever reason, they're a little dark inside. And because they can take care of themselves--and not just because they've got some special advantage due to immortality/superhuman abilities of some sort.

On a side tangent: it surprises me how often male characters are actually not very strong people. Sometimes this is necessary, of course, because not everyone is strong, but sometimes I wonder if it isn't done to make a mediocre female main character look stronger or braver. I won't give examples, because let's face it, that just will make me look mean.

Back away from side tangent: The reason I was thinking this is because last night I stumbled upon somewhere that said "Peeta or Gale"? (The Hunger Games) and on twitter, there were hashtags for teamnick or teamalan (The Demon's Lexicon). And I am so black and white about this, it's never ever a question in my mind. I like Peeta. He's a sweet little dear thing, and if there were no Gale, I'd be perfectly satisfied for he and Katniss to end up together. But, Gale exists. And Gale can hunt for things, and works in the coal mines, and he would rather fight than flee and hide. In The Demon's Lexicon, I am not even tempted to be swayed from preferring Nick. He's angry and cold and doesn't feel bad about killing people. Yet somehow, I find him attractive.

The only reason I've stuck with Eragon for three books, despite hating the main character, is because of Murtagh. Eragon (the character) spends 90% of his time feeling guilty about having stepped on ants or crushed a blade of grass (and the other 10% of his time is split between pining after someone he should never be able to get but probably will in the end, and killing people in battle, because apparently that's somehow different from ants and grass.) Murtagh is too busy having actual problems to worry about such pointless crap. Instead, he's just badass.

Sirius Black. I mean, come on. The guy escaped from the horrible wizard prison with the dementers guarding it. And you just know that even though he's on the good side, he'd mess some people up if he had to. This is why he's my favorite of everyone in Harry Potter.

I think my point is made.

And there is this little voice inside that says, "you have a very disturbing taste in fictional men." But you know what? I ignore that voice. The voice just doesn't understand.

I'm not sure there was entirely a point to this post, other than to express my love for badass guy characters. I thought I had a point, but it got lost somewhere in there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RTW: What I read (besides YA)

So this week's topic is nice and simple. Because we all write and read plenty of YA, but it can't be all we read.

I think it goes without saying that I read a lot of books that are more pictures than words--it's kind of part of the deal when you have an eighteen-month-old. I'm very over-critical and particular about these. Since I'm reading them out loud, I don't like when they rhyme but have no rhythm. It makes it very hard for me to read them in a pleasant sounding way. But a lot of them are better than you'd think. (Michael is especially fond of one called Five Little Ducklings. I think this is more because of the soft ducklings he can grab to easily turn the page than the story, though.)

I also read a fair amount of MG, mainly because my mom reads a lot (she teaches fifth and sixth grade and likes to know what they're reading) and she recommends things to me. MG can be awesome.

And adult. I like fantasy. So mostly when it comes to adult books (I don't know how to say that. The way I'm saying it makes it sound like something you get in the curtained off section in the back of the video store...) I read fantasy. I won't list all the fantasy I've read, since there's quite a lot. I also read the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. This is apparently considered fantasy (at least by some?) but in my opinion, that's wrong. It's historical fiction, and then any fantastical things that happen (the only one I recall off the top of my head involved rituals and talking to ancestors) could easily be explained away because I'm pretty sure there were hallucinogens involved. Nothing read like fantasy. I could rant about that, but I won't. Anyway, loved it because of the prehistoric times. Wasn't such a fan of the fourth book in the series basically being an excuse for the two characters to have sex frequently throughout the entire book. Wasn't a fan of some of her descriptions that went on way too long. Was really super extremely impressed by the research and effort that went in. Loved when mammoths made appearances. I've read several books by Stephen King. Some Nora Roberts and other authors like that because my mom likes them and they were around.

And I read plenty of other things as well. I'm not so into non-fiction (unless my parenting books count. Thank you What to Expect in the First Year!) But I like to read magazines when I get my hands on them--Reader's Digest, mainly. Sometimes trashy tabloids. Some of my boyfriend's boy magazines, if they have good articles. (They do sometimes! This is not a myth.)

It's probably a long and meandering way to say that I will read pretty much anything, if it's near me and I've got the time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

This lovely blog award comes to me from one of my most favorite people, Kristin Miller. She and her baking and her writing and her blog could not be more awesome. And this is my first ever blog award, so yay for warm fuzziness! Thank you, Kristin!

My requirements, now that I've received it (which are also the requirements of those I pass it along to!)
  • Copy and paste the pretty picture in which you see on the top left corner onto your own blog.
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and post a link to their blog.
  • Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.
  • Choose 7 other bloggers to award.
  • Link to those 7 other bloggers.
  • Notify your 7 bloggers.
So I'll start with seven things you don't know about me. (Don't be scared.)
  1. When I was a wee little child, my career plans went like this: I was going to become a veterinarian/farmer. Then, I was going to use my veterinarian/farmer/cow loving skills to translate mooing into English, and I was going to write a book of my translations. This was going to be some sort of bestseller, apparently, because I anticipated it making me millions. I had big plans for my millions, which included things like: individual heated and cushioned stalls for each cow with automatic manure removal devices, a waterbed with fish in it (I didn't really foresee potential problems with this at age eight), and separate houses on what I think would've had to be a very large property for the several breeds of dog I wanted (including a wolf), as well as all the various farm animals I wanted. And a moose. I always wanted a pet moose.
  2. I am slightly obsessed with history. In particular, prehistoric times, the Roman Empire (actually, that whole time period, really), Vikings, colonial America, ancient Egypt, and the Middle Ages in Europe.
  3. Despite my mooing to English translation idea falling through, I would like to move back to the country sooner rather than later. If not on an actual farm, at least in a place where I can have chickens, and maybe a couple cows, and definitely a horse. There's nothing like waking up to the sounds of animals going about their business, and the smell of the outdoors.
  4. Even though I like to whine about winter, I really don't think I could live for very long in a place without all four seasons in all their glory.
  5. I love ruins and caves and creepy old homes or buildings. I absolutely want to go to Romania one day and visit "Dracula's" castle.
  6. I had never held a baby until I had one.
  7. Despite my intense love of dairy products, I don't like most soft cheeses.
So now, for my seven other bloggers to award. I chose: Amanda, Kirsten, Kristin, Lee, Leila, Michelle, and Veronique. In reverse alphabetical order (because dear little Amanda always gets to be first otherwise!) here's why:

Vero: Is just one of the nicest people. I love reading her teasers, her writing updates, her interviews with her characters. And her blog is so gorgeous with all it's stunning pictures, it makes me want to apologize to my blog for not putting in more effort!

Michelle: Not only is her writing awesome, but she also does so many other interesting things. She's a little rockstar. And may be one of the funniest people I know. And the food blog she does as a little side project (because she's too cool for just one blog!) will leave you drooling.

Leila: I think Leila could write a blog post called 'how to dig a small hole in your front yard' and make it sound like the most gorgeous and amazing activity of all time. Everything she writes is really just that beautiful.

Lee: Her teasers are awesome. Mainly because her writing is awesome. Her site is beautiful, too. Also, she is automatically on my cool list just for the simple fact that she lives in Maine. (We'll ignore Maine's little epic fail from the start of this month. Because otherwise, Maine pretty much rocks.)

Kristin: Mrs. Multi-talented. I want her to live with me and be my personal chef. Her posts are intelligent and thoughtful, and her writing makes me happy. She is also a crazy person who within a day or two (if she hasn't already) will have read 100 books this year.

Kirsten: Her amazing beautiful wonderful book, Like Mandarin, will be out in 2011. Her blog keeps you updated on this, provides the rare and spectacular teaser from one of her WIPs, has the CUTEST pictures of baby animals (a new one each week!) and will make you jealous with stunning pictures from her travels. She also shares my love of sloths.

Amanda: Her blog highlights her quirky, adorable humor. Her posts are like thoughtful little rays of sunshine. And she gives great advice, too. She is so very wise, even if she likes to pretend she's a lost little noob. Don't be fooled.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I made apple crisp, and it tastes delicious. I just thought this is something that should be shared with the world.

I am shockingly unskilled when it comes to baking, so just the fact that I peeled the apples (with a knife!) without slicing a major artery is a feat. No, actually, that may be exaggeration. I'm pretty good at not cutting myself.

Just not so good at baking.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

RTW: How did you choose your genre?

...Or how did your genre choose you (courtesy of Michelle).

I don't think about it so much until after. Because if I told myself, "I want to write something contemporary," no contemporary ideas will come to me. If there were any simmering, they will hibernate. I know, because I've tried it before.

I thought, "I'd like to write a good urban fantasy minus supernatural creatures." Nothing came. Then I forgot about it, and, what do you know, my latest WIP is urban fantasy, and has no supernatural creatures.

When I wrote Unthawed, I really had no idea what it was. I still have no idea what it is, really. Thank you speculative fiction for giving me a nice, sweeping genre to put this thing in. It's definitely some sort of sci-fi, and it could probably be called post-apocalyptic, but both of those just feel so misleading.

I could never have anticipated something that started with, "I want to write a story with mammoths in it" would become what it did. And I'm glad I didn't try to label it before I wrote it, because I think I would only have confused myself.

I think generally speaking, science fiction and fantasy call to me more. Fantasy, in particular, is my brain's snuggly place. So most of my ideas are going to land somewhere around there. But look out, other genres. I will come for you one day.

Visit YA Highway for other posts on this topic, and to link your own!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks to everyone who commented!