Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Books And Blogs

Two things today.

1) Today is the book birthday of two books I've been itching to read for ages!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.

Now the problem is, as much as I'm grateful to Amazon for shipping them early, they still aren't here. Grr. So I am waiting, impatiently, until they arrive. In the meantime I'm calming myself by reading I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.

So what are you guys reading? Come on, a girl can never have enough on her TBR pile. :)

2) Okay, you know I'm all excited over the launch of Operation Awesome...well it's tomorrow!

*bites nails*

And, since you are my peeps, I'll let you in on a secret.

*Lean in closer, I'm whispering*

If you write YA and MG, and have a finished MS, get your one-sentence pitch ready. You won't want to miss this chance. Trust me. :)

So please feel free to hop over and say hi. You can always snag a blog button to help spread the word.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Our Name is Awesome....Operation Awesome.

now. Over the past few weeks something exciting has been happening in my little corner of the blogosphere...now I get to share it with all of you. *Squee*

The rain fell as six writers, in various stages of the publishing journey, sat alone at their laptops.

As often happens in these tales one met another. In another corner of the blogosphere another two met...and another. You know how these things snowball.

They decided to join forces and form a crit family. To become Operation Awesome.

But it wasn't enough. They wanted to give back. To share knowledge, a love of words, books and baked goods (okay, that may just be me then) around the writing community.

They decided to create OperationAwesome6.

We will be launching next week -- so we are still decorating the blog -- but I'd love for you to join us in spreading the awesome.

Even the Twilight cast are heading over there....

                                                Photobucket
                                                (Thank you YA Highway)

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

M.I.M.A

Yesterday I was M.I.M.A (Missing In Mockingjay Action).

My US copy is still somewhere over the ocean so I went and bought the UK version. Although, in the bookstore, I felt like Katniss trying to hunt it down!

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were both sat on the shelf but not Mockingjay.

I search the teen section...no.
I search the 9-12 section...no.
I thought about looking on the toddler shelves, but that's just ridiculous. :)

I ask the assistant. He searches the same sections and asks someone else who tells me it was embargoed till today. Yeah, I know that but it's the release day. Man goes to look in the back room. I wait.

I wait some more.

My friend is in the fiction section looking for Sophie Hannah books. I'm sure she's laughing at me.

The door creaks open. Kind bookstore man has six copies in his hand. Yay!

I buy my copy (along with the hardback of I Am Number Four) and head off happy. It calls to me from inside the bag to "read me."

But I've promised my friend we'd have food and go to the cinema. I read the first chapter waiting for Inception to come on. Friend laughs some more at me being "...a bookworm."

At 7pm I arrive home and read. I eat my dinner reading. I try to put the book down. I can't.

At 1:35am I finish. A worn out, emotional wreck, trembling at the writing of Suzanne Collins.

For all those yet to read Mockingjay I will NEVER EVER spoil it for you. I promised I wouldn't. I'm just jealous you get to experience it for the first time. :)

Maybe I'll just read it one more time...

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Today Is The Day!

Today is Mockingjay day....for you guys in the States. I have one day to go. ONE FREAKING DAY!!!!!



Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

I know the excitement on the blogosphere has reached fever pitch. The tweets from the midnight release parties (not that I'm jealous...grrrr) and excited blog posts attest to that. I'm anxiously awaiting my pre-ordered copy from the US, but I may relent and head off to the bookshop tomorrow to pick up the UK copy too. Who am I kidding? I'll be outside the doors before they open.

Now, because you are all awesome, I know you guys would never do this...ever! It has already been blogged, tweeted, and said by the awesome Suzanne Collins herself...but here it is one more time.

Please don't ruin Mockingjay by posting spoilers!

I say this with love, and fear, since Amparo, one of my fab CP's, happened across a tweet spoiler by accident yesterday. Grrr.

That is all. :)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Things I did This Weekend...Other Than Writing!

It was a pretty writing free weekend for me. So I decided my post would be on things 10 things I did this weekend. :)

Saturday

1. Go to a wedding and watch an eleven and eighteen-year-old have a "street dance off" on the dance floor. Think Zoolander meets Footloose/Step Up! If there's any way I can get this into a future wip I am adding it.

2. Stop bridesmaid Goddaughter from eating confetti, leaves, grass...then watch her get more excited by flashing disco lights and balloons than her bridesmaid present. Balloons v teddy bear = no contest.

3. Get a sandwich at 2am because, even thought I ate at the wedding, I was so starving I could have chewed off my arm. Then eat said sandwich doing more plotting on wip.

Sunday

4. Order Sunday dinner to have most of it stolen by the confetti eating twenty-month-old.

5. Watch said Goddaughter spin herself dizzy in the supermarket...whilst wearing an hand reigns attached to my wrist. I also got very dizzy.

6. Get asked by my dad if I noticed the new plants by the door? I said no...only to realise I walked past said plants four times the day before and didn't see them. Yes, my powers of observation suck!

7. Check email and get excited that my pre-ordered copy of MOCKINGJAY has been dispatched. *Note: I love you all, but if anyone spoils it for me I WILL CRY!

8. Five minutes later I realise my Paranormalcy and Clockwork Angel copies will be dispatched by the end of the week. *squee*

9. Watch two grown men -- brother and father -- trying to mend electric screwdrivers on the kitchen table in a bizarre "I can fix it quicker contest."

10. Go to bed and get another character screaming an idea for a plot. Get up, write it down, go back to sleep.

That was my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Guess The Character - Day Two: The Big Reveal

Thank you everyone for commenting on yesterday's post to guess what Ava looks like. It was so much fun seeing the different reactions to her. Thank you to Jen for hosting the fun. :) 
So what does Ava look like?

Brown haired, brown eyed. Ava pays little attention to fashion and would rather spend her time reading or doing something else useful. Unlike Poppy, the willowy blonde, she's less certain of her looks having spent years being berated by her mother for not being pretty. She's loyal, shy, and kind hearted but has a fiery streak and is prone to sarcasm (as you may be able to tell from her inner dialogue). Her voice was there from the start when I started her story and, even now, I love to go back and add snippets of her sass into my revisions.

Who was the closest?

Lots of you guessed brown hair and brown eyes. Pretty much most people got she was the opposite of Poppy. Here's some of the guesses that hit the mark.

Vicki:  "She's a bit of a rebel--not wanting to play the same obvious game Poppy excels at. Slightly awkward since she's making up her rules as she goes along.Brown eyes and big feet (don't ask me where that one came from! Maybe I'm just being silly now)"  Me: She doesn't have big feet though. lol.

Roland: "Brown hair simply done. Brown eyes. Medium height. A quiet reserved person might less discerning might overlook for the obvious flirts like Poppy."

Jen:  "Ava is a very good looking girl, she's one that doesn't realize it because Poppy is so disgustingly obvious about hers."

Here's an image I found of her from later in the story (with a bit more attitude, and no less sass) :

Photo by satin_shirt (cc) 

Thanks again to everyone for stopping by and guessing. I'm looking forward to working my way around to meet the other characters.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest - Day One

Today is the day. Jen over at Unedited has worked hard to organise her first blogfest. I'm so happy to be a part of it. So here's the deal. Entrants post a snippet of a character, without any description, and you lucky people get to guess what they look like on just voice, action and personality.

Descriptions will be revealed tomorrow. And by that I mean I'm going to try and scan the picture onto the computer...again! Either way there will be a picture of my character on here. Promise. :)

Here is a snippet from my MS:

Hanging over an upstairs balcony - waving like a mad woman - stood Poppy Montgomery. Her blonde hair tumbled over her shoulders as she draped over the guardrail. Poppy reminded me of a fantasy woman. The kind who should have a theme song playing and a wind machine blowing every time they walk into a room.

“What you doing down there? Come inside,” Poppy pouted her full lips.

Could she make herself any more obvious? I rolled my eyes, trying to contain my disgust.

“Better go see what she wants,” he sighed. “She’ll stand there all day if I don’t. Guess I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah, sure,” I replied. I examined a loose thread on the hem of my t-shirt, watching from under my lashes as he walked away.

Idiot, running after her like that. Although, he didn’t really need to chase her. Poppy pounced on him from the beginning - as had most of the other girls. If she’d been a cat she’d have peed on him to mark her territory. It made my blood boil how easy he’d taken her bait, it seemed clear she loved the attention.

Damn. What the hell are you talking about Ava? Why did I care so much anyway? I don’t even know the guy.

I don’t care.

There you have it. So what does Ava look like? Have fun guessing...I'll see you tomorrow for the big reveal.

And don't forget to check out the other entrants via Jen's blog.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Writing Is Like Baking A Cake

I've been writing/plotting more of the scary, wake me from my sleep wip this week.

And I've decided it is like baking. So when you bake you get the ingredients ready.

I start with my flour, butter and sugar. In my plots case it's the inciting incident, the bit where my MC accepts their fate, and the showdown.

I've got them ready in the bowl but I've still got to throw in a few more ingredients.

The eggs/supporting characters to bind it, the yummy flavouring of a love interest...and don't forget the odd bit of dried fruit/antagonist as a road block to the gooey goodness. I'll whip all that together with the electronic whisk of a voice/pacing and tension.

Then it's into the oven to bake.

Once my cake/novel is ready (and cooled. Never eat hot cake...it burns your tongue. I've done this. Damn my impatience for baked goods.) then I can add the decoration.

The jam layer of world building and the frosting topping of subplots. Don't forget to add the cherry/chocolate sprinkles of red herrings. All that is left is to deliver to betas/CP for devouring.

Then starting all over again in revisions.

See, just like making a cake. :)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A Multi-task World.

I've been working like a demonica (that's my own version of a female demon. lol.) on more edits to my completed MS over the weekend...and most of last week between WriteOnCon.

I've also been working on the wip.

I've never really been one to work on two things at once. I can multi-task with the best of them, but multi-write scared me. I worried I'd get confused with the characters, plot, and all the rest. Perhaps it helps that I've finished the first MS. I doubt I could write two at once...perhaps I shouldn't limit myself. A girl who can eat chocolate, type, watch TV and text (at the same time) should be able to do anything she wants. :)

Then it hit me - as it always does when I think too much - we multi-task every single day. We work/study, have family, friends. Some of you have those little, and not so little, kidlets. We're CP, beta readers, alpha readers, book readers, bloggers, tweeters, and we write. We search for agents, we query, we join forums. We even manage the odd few hours of sleep.

Did I overwhelm you there? 

How do we manage it?  My answer is love. I love writing, blogging, and being a CP. I get to be creative, and hopefully helpful, every day. I'm even getting into tweeting.

So here is to you. The brave writers who steal frantic moments to write between mealtimes, the school run, and the myriad of daily chores. Here's to us. The brave little toasters who listen to the stories in our heads. Who isolate ourselves behind a keyboard for love. The love of writing. :)

Oh, and don't forget to join me for Jen's fantastic Guess That Character blogfest this Thursday and Friday. Sign up here to join in the fun.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Normal Blog Service Is Resumed.

What a week!

The awesome of WriteOnCon over (*sniff*) it's time to get back to normal. So I've come home to my little corner of the blogosphere.

*blows the dust from my blog*

Hi to my new followers *waves* I'll be hoping over to say hi soon.

But before normal blogging is resumed I want to say a huge thank you to the awesome gals behind WriteOnCon. They have battled 403 errors, sleep deprivation (and a million other things) to bring us the first online conference.

Sorry, to bring 11,000 of us the first online conference!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

In other news, congrats to Matthew Rush for winning the query contest on WriteOnCon. I already congratulated him on Twitter, but it needed to be said again. Matt does such awesome things over on his blog so I love the fact he's collecting on the karma!

Plus, Matt, your new query rocked!

And finally...

Thanks to Candyland for the amazing I Heart Joy Like BR80 contest. Not only did Candace raise money for a good cause, but the prizes were epic.

I can't wait to wear my Team Candyland t-shirt when it arrives. No one else in my little corner of the UK will have one. :)

So what's new with you?

Monday, 9 August 2010

WriteOnCon!

The waiting is over.

WriteOnCon starts tomorrow!

*squee*

For anyone who doesn't know, WriteOnCon is a free online conference for with a focus on kid lit writers (but free, and useful, for any writer).

There is still time to sign up...and if you can't make a live event (or work/real life get in the way) then everything will be on the WriteOnCon site as transcripts.

Here's a sneak peak to some of the awesomeness during Tuesday:

2:00 PM: Voice by literary agent Elana Roth

2:30 PM: Live chat with literary agent Suzie Townsend

3:00 PM: Writing a Query Letter by author Jodi Meadows

3:30: Joanna Volpe’s query critique

4:00 PM: Author Branding by author Shelli Johannes-Wells

5:00 PM: Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Revision by editor Kendra Levin

6:00 PM: Pie in the Face (how characters react to situations) by author Rosemary Clement-Moore

9:00 PM: Panel of Professionals chat LIVE (Elana Roth, Kathleen Ortiz, Martha Mihalick)

Here's a link to the full schedule.

So I'll take this moment to apologise for my absence on the blogosphere for the next few days.

But you know where I'll be from the 10th-12th.

Hope to see you there. :)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Spreading The Awesome!

I had a whole other post idea for today until I saw this on Lisa and Laura Write:

Launching WriteOnCon with a BANG - Query contest with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe.

Here is a peek at the squeesome news.

"In the meantime, one of our star panelists, ├╝ber agent Joanna Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation, has generously offered to get this party started with a mega query critique contest. And some of you (ahem) have some new and improved queries that we're sure will catch Joanna's eye."

So, feel free to hop over to LiLa's blog and check it out. I know I am :)

Another of my favourite things to do on a Friday is to check out posts I may have missed from around the blogosphere. There are great links worth checking out over at Adventures in Children's Publishing. Then it's over to Seeing Creative for Stina's Cool Links Friday. As well as the others I frequent...but this post would be way too long.

And finally.

With the release of Mockingjay so close I can taste it, The League Of Extraordinary Writers are having a contest where two people can win a copy of the book. I know I can't wait till the 24th of August for my last Katniss and Peeta fix.

Yeah, yeah I know there's Gale too, but this Brit gal is Team Peeta!

Happy Friday. :)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Power Of...You!

Yesterday Valerie Kemp over at Sisters in Scribe did an awesome post about inspiration and preparation. The thing that kept me thinking about this post was the inspiration.

"If someone wants A to happen, yet they prepare for B, they will always get B."

As writers we want agents (dream agent, agent x...hell, any agent we spend the lonesome hours researching) to love our work. We crave the ping of the email asking for a partial, full, even the one requesting a scheduled time to talk. And we know what that means. :)

But as human beings it's easy to get doused in the negative. The little voice says "but it might be bad news." We don't want to allow ourselves to get excited for fear that the walls will come crashing down. We panic rejection will follow, and the hope we allowed ourselves to feel is crushed beneath the weight of a form rejection.

Today I say adios to the fear, hello to preparing for A to happen. Allow the swell of hope in your chest. Embrace the dizzy feeling of happiness as you check the inbox for the hundredth time in twenty minutes. Good things happen. They will happen for us.

Why? Because each one of us is awesome. And don't shake your heads, I read your blogs, we tweet, we email...you rock!

We just need to believe it ourselves sometimes.

*And sorry about the cheesy post title. I've not had my cup of tea yet :(

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Headaches Are Like Writers Block.

Okay, apologies yesterday's lack of post due to a evil night before of the migraine/headache from hell.

This is why I tell myself I should write my posts in advance.

What can I say? I'm a pantser.

As I lay in bed with my head pounding like feet on stage during Riverdance my mind turned to writing.

I really don't get how it does that!

To put a positive spin on my evil head I decided a headache is like writers block.

The dull throb behind your eyes which drives you insane enough to snap at anyone that comes close. You sigh, groan and close your eyes hoping, when you open them, inspiration will strike. In reality the room spins and you knock back a couple of paracetamol (or chocolate in the w/block case) and wait for some sweet relief.

You eventually get to sleep (or procrastinate in w/block). The next morning you wake up groggy, but positive, and begin your day with a huge cup of tea. The head pounding/block has passed.

The new day dawns and a word document of possibility waits. :)

Monday, 2 August 2010

We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes.

So we write.

Our family and friends know we write.

They've endured hours of us laughing to ourselves, talking to 'pretend' people, being distant, irritated, and glaring at them if they so much as interrupt out time with the device super glued to our fingers (a.k.a the laptop).

They even, if we let them, read our work.

But sometimes I look at their glazing eyes, the sigh as I say "I wrote this scene last night..."and wonder what they think of us as we tap away on our fictional worlds. Then the answer came in this post from Veronica Roth.

So I say hurrah for characters who wake me up in the night. The plot points which disturb me during mealtimes. The hair pulling frustration which accompanies editing.

It may be a mad world, but I can't imagine any other world than the one I'm in.

How about you?