Wednesday, September 28, 2011


So, I thought about something today while pondering what to blog about, (besides my beloved Monday Memes) and I realized that I don't talk about reading much.  I mean, yes, I've talked about my love of the Vampire Academy books but besides that I don't talk about what else I'm reading.  And you guys, I read A LOT.  Like, when I sit back and wonder where my time went, there is a big, blinking, neon sign that points to the hours spent on my couch reading.  I've literally told friends that I can't go out because I'm in the middle of a book.  It's what I do. 

Anyway, I figure I'll mention some of the books I've read recently and my thoughts on them and then I'm going to ask (plead, beg, wimper) for reading suggestions from you all.  Deal?  Deal.  Here we go:

So, probably a week ago I finished a re-read of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.  I won't talk about them that much because I feel like it's all I do, but I'll just say that they are SO GOOD.  Not only well written but well thought out, heartbreaking, ballsy and everything that a book should be.  Read it.

A quick non-fiction book, which is kind of weird for me, but I read If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone.  If you're not familiar with her, look her up.  I guess I like ballsy ladies because she tells it like it is, while also digging deep into her flaws to help you get to a better place.  The title says it all and is my own personal, non-crying motto.  Also, you've probably seen her on The Hills and her show on Bravo a while ago.  I. Love. Her.

I made my way back into fiction with Wildefire by Karsten Knight, who I totally have a crush on.  Maybe it's because there aren't enough male writers my age out there, but it's probably because he's totally cute and he wrote a really, really good book.  I mean, it's about a Volcano Goddess.  Also, it has a killer cliff hanger/shut-up-no-he-didn't moment.  Again, read it.

And I just finished Across the Universe by Beth Revis and then promptly googled when the next book in the trilogy will come out because it was amazing.  I've always loved that books can make you feel things and this book literally makes you feel claustrophobic right along with the main character and also giggly when the cute stuff comes up.  It tackles really huge societal issues (Hello, liberal studies major here! Love that!) while still letting the MC's be teenagers.  Full. Of. Goodness.  Read it, and then prepare to read the next book, A Millions Suns in January. 

Okay!  So that's my reading... for the last week.  I know!  But remember, I have no life so this is completely normal.  My friends and family understand this.  Sort of. 

Before you ask, yes I do come across books that I don't like, but I won't be talking about them here.  I don't bash people because of my opinion... although I might say that I'm just not crazy about it, but still.  It's not something I'll be doing a lot.  Some of them are best sellers and that would just make people mad.  I sure as hell won't tell you to read them, though. ;)

So!  What are you reading?  What should I read?  Tell me!  Seriously.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Writing Meme.

1.  Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.
I really love the world in the WIP I'm revising, MISFITS.  I think it's because there are SO MANY possibilities.  I actually started MISFITS as a creative exercise by just throwing everything at it and it turned into a book!

2.  How many characters do you have?  I normally have one MC and a group around her.  I think the people around an MC make them who they are, so friends and family are important to me when creating characters.

Do you prefer males or females? I've only written from the female POV but I think a lot about writing a male.

3.  How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)? It's a big deal.  I'm very picky about names, although in MISFITS the names are so silly and obvious that I just kind of went with it.  I also tend to give my female MC's names that could also be male.  I don't know why but there it is.  As for places, I pick a place that makes sense for the story.

4.  Tell us about one of your first stories/characters! My first story, which I found not long ago, was about me and a lot of danger.  Like, chocolate was dangerous.  I was five-ish.  I've written kind of dramatic my whole life.

5.  Where are you most comfortable writing? My couch.  I try other places but no matter where I go, I get the most done on the couch.  At what time of day? Whenever it hits me, although I make an effort to write during daylight times because if I write too late, I can't sleep. 

6.  Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters? I need quiet to write.  Or if the TV is on, it's very low and on something that I won't pay attention to.

7.  What’s your favorite genre to write? YA contemp, or fantasy-ish YA.  To read? Same. Although I work in non-YA too.

8.  How do you get ideas for your characters? I start with their personality and quirks.  Charlie, my MC in KILLER CUPCAKES is very driven by what goes on around her and how she wants to change that.  Ali, from MISFITS, doesn't deal with emotions well and uses jokes to lighten things up.  My new MC is a complete headcase but I think I love her.   

9.  What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Hell.  One has woken up spooning with a guy in front of her grandmother and almost shot a raccoon.  Another has ridden a were animal.  It's complicated.

10.  Who is your favorite character to write? The group of life-long friends in INHERENTLY DANGEROUS is really fun to write.  They have so much complicated history and there really aren't many secrets between them, so the dynamic is fun.

11.  In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding?
 I kind of suck at worldbuilding, so I'm not sure.  It's definitely not my strongest suit.  I'm working on it.

12.  What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not? Any and all.

13.  How do you map out locations, if needed? Honestly?  I've never felt the need to.  I take creative liberties while trying to be realistic about everything around my characters.

14.  Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not! Richelle Mead but I'm not talking anymore about it.  If she finds out (doubtful), she'll think I'm obsessed and I'M NOT.

15.  Do you write romantic relationships? Sure do.  How do you deal with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? Well, I write mainly YA, so I try to be smart about it.  Interestingly enough, if I ever write my second books to KC or MISFITS, I'll have to deal with this more head on, I think.

16.  What are your favorite character interactions to write?  I lurrve awkward scenes.

17.  Do any of your characters have children? No, but boy would that complicate things!

18.  Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not. Not sure what this means, but we'll go with I don't have one. :)

19. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?   
First draft takes about a month, revisions take MY WHOLE LIFE!  Kidding.  But that takes longer.  I would say the whole process takes three months before betas get it.
20.  How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? If it needs to happen, then it does.  What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone? I don't know if I can answer this.

22.  Do any of your characters have pets? Yes, and they're cats.  Always.  This says a lot about me.

23.  Do appearances play a big role in your stories?  I think so.  In MISFITS especially there are a lot of small details that I thought were important.

24.  Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities?  I think there is something a little bit wrong with all of my characters but nothing that I would classify as a disability.

25.  How often do you think about writing?  All. The. Time.

Whew!  That was longer than I thought it would be.  Fill out at your own risk.  :)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


So, I think I've mentioned before that I'm a little bit of a loner, but guess what, you guys... I'm going to JOIN!

Well, probably.  The idea for now is that I'm totally PLANNING on going to YallFest in November.  What made me want to be a joiner, you ask?  First, it's in Charleston, which is amaaazing and relatively close to home.  Also, there are going to be some awesome YA writers there who I will take diligent notes from and try not to stare at.  I'm so excited!

So, here's the questions. Have you all gone to any conventions, festivals and so on?  If so, did you have fun and do you have any tips for me?

Let me know!


Here's some info on YallFest, just in case you want to come and stare at people with me.  Click here!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Writing Meme

Just like last week, a writing meme!  I swear I won't only have memes on the blog from now on, it just ended up that way this week.  Pinky swear.  

You know the rules: there are none.  If you end up doing the meme, let me know.  If not, just comment and say hi, okay?  Because I'm fragile like that.
1. List one of your writing goals for the upcoming month and how likely you are to accomplish it.

Well, I have two goals for the next month.  The first is to FINALLY, FINALLY finish revising MISFITS.  I would also, in a really happy world, like to finish my first draft on The New Project.  MISFITS will happen, for sure.  I'm not sure about TNP.  It's taking a while to form in my head, so it may end up being my NaNoWriMo project.  Not sure yet.

2. What genre or subject would you like to write about that you aren't currently?

I don't know.  I'd love to write something like The Mortal Instruments series by Cassie Clare but I don't know if I can put myself through that.  If I still hung posters, Cassie Clare's pic would SO be up there.  Also, a book like Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.  She is insanely amazing.

3. What is your writing lifestyle, habits? How do you manage the interruptions with your writing? How do you stay positive? Believe in your writing success?

a) Writing lifestyle - I'd like to say that I'm really structured and sit down from 9-5, or whatever, to write but I don't.  If I wanted to work from 9-5, I'd go get a real job instead of trying to write books.  I do, however, like to give myself wordcount goals, so I try to write 2k words a day.  On Wednesdays, I like to double the word count, a day I've dubbed Double Up Wednesday.

The only real habit I have is that I make notes after writing for the day, so I know what my thought process was when I start the next day.  It keeps me on track.

b) Interruptions - I mostly glare at people.  Is that wrong?

c) How do I stay positive - Oh boy.  I don't know about this one.  I think I go back and forth between thinking my stories rule to thinking I suck at life.  One day I'm all, "Working on my future best seller right now!" and the next I'm all, "I should just go and get a factory job and never write another word!"  So I really don't know.  I have people who tell me I don't suck.  That helps.

d) Believe in my writing success - I've gotten good feedback, even with rejections and that helps.  It lets me know that I'm close but still need to work harder.  So I keep working.

4. Are you a pantser or plotter? - Pantser.  I love the idea of planning while it also gives me hives.  I feel that if I plan out the whole book, I won't feel like writing it anymore.  I also worry that I'll plan myself into a box.  In general, I know who my characters are when I start and within the first few chapters I have a basic idea of what's going to happen and that's all.  This is the problem I'm having with The New Project right now.  I have NO IDEA what's going to happen and don't want to write more until I do. *shakes fist at ceiling*

5. Who are two of your favorite current authors and why? - Oh my.  This is a ridiculous questions to ask me! Or for me to ask myself!  Okay, okay, OKAY!

I'm going to go with Richelle Mead first because of my obsession with The Vampire Academy.  Also because she is so ballsy, and let me be honest, the person who created Dimitri Belikov deserves a poster on my wall.

Second, I'll go with Stephanie Perkins because she is just GOOD.  I read Anna and the French Kiss in one day, put it down, sent texts to all of my friends telling them to read it, and then picked it up and read it again.  So cute.  I just gave it to a friend as a birthday present, actually.

6. How does your family feel about your writing? - My mom is my biggest fan.  She's Person Who Tells Me I Don't Suck #1.  My sister thinks it's cool but is still silently waiting for me to grow up.  My niece hopes I'll make tons of money so I can buy her a new wardrobe and softball gear.  My dad's side of the family doesn't really know that I write that much.... I kind of never told them.  Don't worry!  I'll send them a book when I get published! *crosses fingers*

Okay, that's it!  Happy Monday!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Writing Meme

Because I like answering questions about writing, I found this while googling random things and decided I want to try and do something like this every Monday.  The only rule for this is simple, if you want to do it, DO IT!  You don't even have to do it on a Monday.  We are REBELS, people.  REBELS.  If you don't want to do it, read mine and laugh at me or comment.  Either way!

What’s your favorite genre of writing? Hmm, contemporary or fantasy-ish YA.  I think I'm still figuring out where I'll land on this.  Maybe I won't land at all.

How often do you get writer’s block? Not very often.  If I get writer's block, mostly I'll just trudge thru it, or take a serious look at where I'm at and what I'm doing in a WIP.  I take writer's block as a sign more than a problem.

How do you fix it? Like I said above, writing thru it.  Also, reading more and going to the movies.  Anything that gets the creative juices flowing.  I've also been known to put on some headphones and stare at the ceiling for a while.

Do you type or write by hand? Mostly typing.  If there is a scene I want to flesh out more before getting serious about it, I'll write it out.  Writing by hand is also another thing I do if I feel stuck.  I feel less committed when I'm only writing by hand.

Do you save everything you write? Yes.  I have SO MANY first few chapters of books I've never finished saved.  Even when I'm revising, I save the scenes I cut out.  My excuse is that someday, people may want to see them.  Hoarder-ish?  Yes.  Presumptuous? Totally.  I do it anyway.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? Oh, yeah.  This is why I save everything!  If you look at my projects bar on the side, INHERENTLY DANGEROUS is the first book I ever wrote, except it takes place ten years after the first book happened.  The first book sucked but I will finish ID.  New spins on old ideas are the best.

Do you have a constructive critic? I do and she's awesome.

Did you ever write a novel? More than a couple.

What genre would you love to write but haven’t? I've never finished a non-YA book. I'd love to do that. 

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will? Horror/thriller.  I'm a total wuss with that stuff.

How many writing projects are you working on right now? Three.  But I'm focusing mainly on two.

Do you write for a living? Do you want to? I don't but it would be the best thing ever.

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper? Magazine, no.  Newspaper, yes.  I would jump at the chance to write for a magazine though.

Have you ever won an award for your writing? Nope, just a contest.

Do you ever write based on your dreams? No, but I wouldn't rule it out.  My dreams are nuts.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers? Oh lord, I could write a whole post on this one.  I like endings with closure.  It doesn't have to be happy, although I like them the most.  I just want the questions that are posed in that book answered.  Even if it's a cliff-hanger, I think a good author can wrap up their story and still leave something to look forward to in the next book.

If you do end up doing this meme, let me know in the comments so I can check it out.  Or just leave me a few thoughts in general.  :)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Writing frustrations.

I'm sure I'm not the only struggling writer out there that reads books that are so good, so consuming that you just want to throw things and shake your fist at the sky while yelling, "I want to write like this!" Right?  RIGHT?  Because that's what I've been doing the last few days.

I know I've tweeted about my love of the series The Vampire Academy but I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog before.  I'm in serious love with these books.  Yes, I'm a few years late but still, it's love.  I also know that there are a lot of people who will shake their head and sniff at vampire books because they're so overdone and "on the way out" but I. Love. Them.

I'm reading the series for the second time and I've done so just as fast as I did the first time and with the exact amount of awe as well.  For me, these books aren't even about vampires but amazing characters that I find myself thinking about throughout the day.  In fact, a friend asked me what I'd been up to the other day and I answered honestly, "Well, I'm wondering what Dimitri Belikov is up to."  It's just the way I think.  I can't help it.

What's so impressive though is how ballsy Richelle Mead is.  If you've read the series, you know what I'm talking about.  The end of the third book and all of the fourth are heart wrenching, gut twisting and breakdown inducing.  By nature, I'm not a crier, but I think every time I put down the fourth book in the series, Blood Promise, I bawled my eyes out.  And in a show of how good the story is, the next day, I picked the book right back up, tissues in hand.  I'm also about to read that book for the second time, ready to cry for a few days again.  But Mead went there anyway.  She KNEW that she was turning the world she created upside down and she pushed on.  Even when you think things are about to get better for poor Rose Hathaway, they don't.

I've also heard people complain about decisions that Rose makes throughout the series, calling her selfish or immature, but that's because she is.  Mead allowed Rose to be imperfect and to do things that the readers may disagree with because it's what made her real.  She got away with this because the story is just that good and because it's honest. This is so brave and as a struggling writer, SO admirable.

I have a lot of the same feelings about the writing on Sons of Anarchy.  You just don't leave seasons hanging the way Kurt Sutter does.  You don't flip the whole world around, leaving everyone at risk.  You can't write characters that do horrible things and expect people to pull for them.  Except that he does.  What makes these stories so good is that when I either put the book down or walk away from the TV, my mouth is hanging open and my heart is pounding.  I can't believe these writers went there and that they continue to go there.

I haven't read Bloodlines yet, the companion book to the Vampire Academy series, but I have heard what the very last line of the book is.  Mead went there again, leaving us hanging yet trusting her that she'll bring it next time.  And I'm positive she will.

*shakes fist at ceiling*   Why must they set the standards so high? Why??

So, what story, book, TV or otherwise, leaves you shaking your fist?  I'll be sure to grab a pen and paper so I can check them out too.


Monday, September 5, 2011

The last two weeks, in pictures.

It's been too long!  Quick recap: My sister got married, I hung out with family in Delaware, didn't sleep much.  Returned home only to wake up the next day with the flu/cold/death sickness that didn't go away for almost a week in a half.  The fall semester started, I've revised MISFITS a little, started planning out a new project, read some books, watched Sons of Anarchy season 3, reorganized my bookcases and then started this blog post.  That doesn't really capture how crazy it's been.  Maybe pictures will?  Let's see...

The view from the balcony at my sister's wedding.

My Sick Kit on the couch.

Cat # 2, Blaze. Another part of the Sick Kit.

Also Cat #1, BooBoo.

Then school started and these started piling up.

New notebook, which I love.  Science? Not as much.

Me & my BFF's obsession.  If it's wrong, I don't want to be right.

I hit up Borders and needed to find a home for these.

My fav bookcase and fav books.

The whole thing. Almost full. Must add on.

This is now!

So anyway, that's been my life, in pictures, for the last few weeks.  Exciting, huh?

Real blog posts (with words!) coming soon.