Tuesday, December 28, 2010
1. I want to publish five freelance jobs. I don't care if the jobs are local, online, or print. I just want publication and a little compensation wouldn't hurt. I'm starting with Cat Misener's guest post on freelance writing at http://inkyfreshpress.com. I hope to use her posts to find out how to achieve this goal.
2. I plan to edit my MS. I'm jump starting the editing process with The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner.
3. After I beta/edit that MS & put it aside, I plan to query a few agents. I turn to Twitter for this one. If I tweet my genre and beta reader or critique partner with the hashtag 'betamatch', I hope to match up with a beta reader and/or critique partner. Twitter also comes in handy when I submit to agents. It gives me information about when they are closed to queries, what they are looking for, where to find their guidelines, etc.
4. I plan to write another terrible first draft. I have several story ideas. I just need to pick one and nurture it.
5. I want to add 100 followers to this blog, for which I have no starting point whatsoever.
I welcome any suggestions on making one or all of these things happen. Better yet, what are your New Year's Resolutions? Are any of the writing related?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Tess Gerritsen wrote Harvest in 1996 but I only became aware of the novel a few years ago when an English Composition instructor encouraged my class to read the novel to get an idea of how to achieve suspense in writing. I purchased the book but did not read it until now--several years later. She was right and I could have read this good book much sooner. The suspense was only one reason to read the book; I also enjoyed the journey the main character went on and her likeability.
The opening scene alone elicits vivid imagery that makes a person cringe. It doesn't take long after that to pull the reader in. Gerritsen hooks the reader into wondering where the story is going. While the novel obviously follows the harvesting of human organs, precisely how it plays out is unknown and the novel is written in such a way that the reader finds themselves compelled to read the novel to find out just how it plays out.
I was hooked after just a few pages. I had to know what happened to Abby and even so I never knew Abby's fate---not until the very end of the novel. The novel could have been a movie with the amount of twists and turns it took.
Gerritsen wrote Abby DiMatteo into some very difficult predicaments but the more fantastic the story became the more I rooted for her. The likeability of Abby also served to hook the reader. Before I knew it, I cared about what happened to Abby and I read until I found out. I wanted her vindicated.
The only things that the novel is up against are the time, it was written in 1996, and the medical lingo. Both of which Gerritsen handled very well. Brief references to VCRs and old televisions let the reader know the time wasn't present but insert Blue Ray player and flat screen and the novel could have taken place today. Nothing else gave the decade away or took away from the story. The story could have just as easily been printed today.
I thought the medical lingo would be off-putting but it wasn’t. I only have a teeny tiny understanding of medical lingo but I followed the story and the lingo didn't loose me. I only read two passages that were over my head. I read them for an understanding of the situation without going to get lengths to decipher the medical meaning but those passages still held my attention and didn't take away from the story.
The novel was very well written and the story was compelling. I only wanted to hear more of the little boy's story woven into Abby's. The novel opened with a little boy named Yakov. He had a compelling story of his own and at least twice during the novel as I read Abby's story I wondered what was going on with Yakov. I wanted a little bit of Abby's story then a little bit of Yakov's story all the way through the novel. It read more like Yakov, Abby, Abby, Abby, and then Yakov and repeat.
All in all, however, the book is a must read and it gets five out of five stars.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
By the way, I welcome suggestions for getting out of a NON-writing funk? Not that this ever happens to you.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Confession time---It was my first guest post so check it out. I hope you like it.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Nanowrimo takes 30 days to complete. In the end, participants have written a first draft of their novel. Each participant writes 1667 words a day for a total of 50,000 words in a month. It requires a lot of time to complete as any Nanowrimo participant can attest. Participants sacrifice if success is attained. More than a few people can probably attest to just how much sacrifice.
I participated in Nanowrimo this year and I lost track of how many hours I put into Nanowrimo weeks ago. The one thing I didn’t loose track of, however, is what I’ve given up to be a participant. While Nanowrimo provided a much needed break from some things like the laundry and dishes (they were done, just not as often as normal), I gave up some things that I can’t wait to get back to.
I have given up countless hours of sleep, reading and free time. As Nanowrimo comes to an end, I look forward to sleeping again, reading a good book, and catching up on my weekly magazine subscription. The lack of sleep is catching up to me. My characters, plot and writing goal are in my every waking thought. When my mind can process something other “Family Times” (my WIP), I plan to use my free time to catch up on my back issues of US Weekly. I haven’t read my US Weekly subscription in a little over a month (Nano prep) and I need to read my weekly news, gossip and entertainment. At this point, I’ll accept just being able to read my Twitter feed. I don’t need to read the next great American novel--any reading will be fine.
So I ask you, what have you given up to complete Nanowrimo? And what can’t you wait to get back to?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I need to get rid of them. I don’t recall what I've done with my books in the past. I know I have never thrown a book away and I rarely donate my books to the library. However, considering the books I’ve owned in the past and the books I currently possess, something is not adding up.
I did something with them. I probably left them in an old apartment or house in a prior move.
But for the first time, I need to get rid of some books and I am making the conscious decision to do so--and I have a blog. I’m considering hosting a giveaway on my blog for all of the books I need to clear out---and can bear to part with.
But first I ask you, what do you do with your books? Are they hoisted upon one or several bookshelves in your home like a red badge of honor? Do you use them as conversation pieces at dinner parties? Do you give them away to friends, acquaintances, or donate them to a library? Will some of them--a chosen few--be taken to the grave with you? Because of the impact they've had on your life.
Tell me, what do you do with your old books. But if you throw them away, don't tell me. In that case, I grant you full authority to lie to me.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I recently read a Chick Lit book, which shall remain nameless, and found it a little difficult to relate to. I must say that experience left me a little freaked out. Chick Lit is MY genre. I read it. I write it. I get this genre---or so I thought. I know what you’re thinking---It must be the writing. But no. The author aptly wrote the novel.
The author hit all of the points of a Chick Lit novel. A Chick Lit novel is typically written from the point of view of a twenty something to a very early thirty something woman. The main character was a 25 year old female. Chick Lit typically involves the search for the perfect man, a promotion or new job—all while either looking fabulous doing it or painstakingly tipping the scales (think Bridget Jones' Diary and Confessions of a Shopaholic). The main character in this novel wanted the promotion and while not specifically pursing a man wouldn’t turn down a good one; all while being very aware of her weight. The author met the criteria for the quintessential Chick Lit novel and wrote it well enough.
I just couldn’t connect with the desire for the promotion or a man. I pursued both at one point in my life but now I feel accomplished in both of those areas. At this point in my life, I could not help but think the main character does not have any children depending on her. Priorities tend to change after children. I kept thinking if your family is okay then you can rebuild. You’re okay. If the job did not pan out for the main character she could always find another one. She’s in her twenties. In my twenties I had a billion jobs. Well, I had a lot. I’m 32 now so I sneak in just under the wire of the typical age for the main character. However, with the gnawing feeling that the stakes just weren’t high enough I find myself asking “am I too old for Chick Lit”? And I need an answer before I give my husband my Christmas list—of books he would never otherwise get me on his own.
Not to mention, I entered a contest to re-name MY genre and was selected as a semi-finalist. *insert look of disbelief here* No really. I was. Here’s the link: http://aspiringwriterworld.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-have-our-semi-finalists.html. However, to become a finalist and win the critique, among other things, I have to write a paragraph explaining why my name best suits the genre. Yes, for the genre I’m not even sure I’m suited for. Umm.
So what do you think? Have you ever read/enjoyed Chick Lit? If so, did you outgrow it or are you 80 years old still reading it?
Off I go to think about whether I’m too old for Chick Lit and why my name should be chosen for its new moniker.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
1. On http://www.aspiringwriterworld.blogspot.com/, Gabriela Lessa in conjunction with ChickLitShortys is hosting a contest to rename the ChickLit genre. So if you enjoy writing or reading Chick Lit here's your chance give the genre a new and much needed moniker. Not only do you get to rename the genre but if your name is chosen you win books, an Amazon gift card, a guest spot on the blog. And best of all a 10-page critique. SQUEE!!!
2. Lisa Desrochers is giving away signed copies of the Young Adult novels, Firelight and Personal Demons, if you enter her contest at http://www.lisadesrochers.blogspot.com/ by November 3rd at midnight. Readers need I say more than--free books. Writers, it helps to read the genre you write in and there's no better reading than well-written FREE books.
3. If you are looking for a critique partner and/or beta reader and have a Twitter account, tweet your genre and what you're looking for with the hashtag 'betamatch'. This hashtag is being used to match writers with beta readers and/or critique partners.
4. Nanowrimo--the contest in which you write 50, 000 words in 30 days, started yesterday. I'm sure if you'd like to join in the fun and haven't yet, you still can at http://www.nanowrimo.org/. You just have a lot of catching up to do.
5. Literary agent Nathan Bransford provides a first page critique every Friday. At http://www.nathanbransford.blogspot.com/, you can upload the first page of your novel to the forums section. He critiques one random page every Friday. So eventually you'll get an awesome free critique of your writing by an expert in the field.
6. WriteOnCon, the first ever free online kidlit writer's conference, is hosting another live chat on November 15. Visit http://www.writeoncon.com/ for more information.
7. The IndieBookIBC is hosting a free social media workshop for writers via webinar on November 9th. Visit http://www.indiebookcollective.com/ for information.
Do you have others to add to the list? Please share anything I haven't mentioned and help out your fellow writers.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This choreopoem/play becomes a movie in theatres next month. Tyler Perry directs. Oprah Winfrey produces.
Having now read the play, I can see why Tyler Perry directs the film. It is written in the same vein as Tyler Perry’s own movies and plays. Shange wrote the predecessor to what would become Tyler Perry’s now infamous plays and films. And yet For Colored Girls, the play, manages to transcend thirty five years on the shelf with its use of language to set the place, time and culture as well as its ability to make its audience smile and contemplate.
The language is strong in For Colored Girls, with use of the n word and the antiquated use of ‘colored’. That fact alone can make a person think this choreopoem has no relevance to today’s woman. However, in this instance the language gives tone. It gives shape, color and size to the struggle of a generation to understand and love themselves when not much else in the world told them they should. That same language sets the time, place and culture thirty five years ago.
In addition to its use of language, the choreopoem also possesses moments that put a smile on my face and reflection in my heart. I can not help but smile at the verse “if Jesus cdnt play a horn like shepp/waznt no need for colored folks to bear no cross at all”. The text tells me that this particular character rather enjoyed ‘shepp’ playing the horn because in her mind there was no point in going to Heaven if that music wasn’t there. The play ends on the most beautiful note of contemplation—“this is for colored girls who have considered suicide/but are movin to the ends of their own rainbows”. It ends with a glimmer of hope or as I like to call it the proverbial ‘white picket fence’, even if the fence needs a few coats of paint.
The play sets out with the intent of giving a voice to the story of women of color. Inadvertently, “For Colored Girls" casts a spotlight on today's need for a “For Gay Teens who have considered suicide when the rainbow is Enuf” play, among a number of others.
With all of its pros, the play’s title can be off-putting but it deserves a read because it tells the story of not only women of color but women in general. The stories cut across racial, ethnic and color lines. “For Colored Girls” deserves 4 & 3/4 stars out of 5.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Writers get a lot of rejection. From rejection letters to writing partner critiques, a writer's life is plagued with it. Understandably, a writer can find themselves believing that their writing is no good, no one will read the novel when it’s done, or a billion other untruths. Those outer, and sometimes inner, thoughts can drive a writer to stop midstream, not complete the book and give up on writing altogether. The writer's life is so plagued with rejection, in fact, that I have decided to counteract some of it. My solution? Five reasons that, despite the hills you may climb or insecurities you may feel, you should write your novel anyway.
1. Your family and friends will love your novel unconditionally. That’s why they get the prestigious title of family and friends.
2. If you love your novel, it can never be a waste of time; even if it never sells. If you love your characters and story it is well worth the journey of writing the book. If you enjoy writing the novel for one, two or three years of your life then the entertainment you provide yourself alone makes the time well spent.
3. It’s more productive than watching television. The average American spends approximately 153 hours watching television a month—writing a novel is a much better use of your time and brain. *winks* I say that as a reality television addict.
4. Twilight. Every time someone criticizes Stephenie Meyer’s writing, an angel gets its wings----and she sells another copy of her trilogy. You don’t have to be Stephenie Meyer but her story goes to show that if it seems like someone isn’t getting your story then maybe 10 million other people will. Above all, don't quit writing or believe that you can't write.
5. You are entitled to a shitty first draft. So write it already. Good, bad or ugly.
As a writer, it can seem like the competition is too stiff or your writing is not as good as someone else’s, but I just found five reasons that you should push those thoughts into some deep crevice in the back of your mind and finish your novel anyway. There’s no time like Nanowrimo!
P.S. If anyone cares, this is where I found the information on how much television Americans watch.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Frannie Cavanaugh, the main character, is not perfect and we fall in love with her for it. If she were, her decision would be an easy one. There’s an old adage--Men want a whore in the bedroom and an angel in public. Well it applies to women too. And Luc and Gabe epitomize this adage. Luc is hot and dangerous and not having him in your bed would seem like a sentence in Hell, but you want to raise children with Gabe.
These awesome characters unite with their plot through the writing. The symbolism is rampant and used to give the sense of time, place and character. It goes beyond the fact that Luc represents Hell and Gabe Heaven. Ginger represents lust. And if you’ve ever heard the saying that you can smell fear, after reading Personal Demons you’ll know it smells like grapefruit.
Throw in the fantastically unexpected ending and Personal Demons becomes a book that you can’t put down. I found myself hoping half way through this novel that a ‘white picket fence’ lay somewhere in the future. Even though Personal Demons' 'white picket fence' hardly comes in the traditional form, it did not disappoint.
I truly enjoyed reading Personal Demons for its characters, unexpected ending and fantastic writing of a new and unique world where souls have a taste and a demon can make you run towards Hell instead of away. Personal Demons gets 5 out of 5 stars.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
The Passage by Justin Cronin
3 Crime Fiction
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl who played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
I consider myself a fan of women’s fiction, although by looking at the list I made above you’d never believe it. This is a list of the books I purchased this summer—some read, some not---and there isn’t a women’s fiction or chicklit novel on it. The list is shockingly short to begin with---I enjoyed a lot of surf and sun this summer—but the loyalty to my genre is shocking to me.
I received one women’s fiction book this summer, Good-bye to All That by Margo Candela. But I won it in a contest and not for fabulous writing either. I merely entered my name and address into a contest and the book came in the mail. Ummmm.
So I ask you do you have a favorite genre? If so, do you stick to it or will you read anything with a good story?
Better yet, what books did you buy this summer? Did they cross genres or did you stick steadfastly with YOUR genre?
P.S. I read more books than what is listed above, like Plain Jane by Cristyn West, but those books were given to me free of charge specifically for the purpose of reviewing them. These are the books in which dollars and cents were exchanged.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
To truly understand the Duff’s appeal, you would first have to read Julie A Lindsey’s blog, Don’t Be A Geezer @ http://blog.juliealindsey.com/julie-lindsey/dont-be-a-geezer/, then read The Duff. The Duff is the debut Young Adult novel by Kody Keplinger.
It follows Bianca Piper who finds herself in the midst of a family crisis at a time when she thought she had love, high school and her family all figured out. When she finds out nothing is as it seems, she enlists a very enticing distraction as a way to deal with her problems. The appeal in The Duff lies in its characters, voice and plot.
The characters in The Duff share the story of many American homes. Bianca could be any teenage girl in any town in America. Everything she says and does rings true, but she is not how adults think teenagers act. She’s not the popular cheerleader who looks at being a teenager as the best years of her life—the way older people inaccurately remember their teen years. She is the real thing without being a stereotype. She is the quintessential teenager but smarter and more self-aware.
Bianca may be the main character but Wesley Rush, her arch nemesis, almost steals the show. His self-confidence and devastatingly good looks makes the story believable. If his character had been the slightest bit different you would never believe the outcome.
And contrary to what we’ve heard about Young Adult books lately, Bianca’s parents are alive and well regardless of how wrapped in their own lives they are. Her parents and friends are the glue that holds this story together—believable and just as confused as she is at times, sometimes even more.
The only thing more on point than the characters is the voice. The voice speaks loud and is distinctly today’s young adult. Bianca’s attitude drips of sarcasm and teenage wit. The thing that might shock adults is the nonchalant attitude toward sex but that’s when you remind yourself that you are reading YA--that is today’s Young Adult world.
Following the plot I found myself hoping for Bianca’s happy ending in love. I remember fantasizing in high school about the star quarterback picking little ‘ol me out of the crowd and seeing what a jewel I was. The Duff makes every girl’s dream come true—particularly if she has ever considered herself a DUFF.
It would be easy to write this novel off because it takes place in high school if it has been a while since you’ve been in high school. However, that would be an error because appearance does not cease to matter after high school. If you can relate to being the DUFF in high school then you can relate to this novel; it doesn’t matter if you are in high school or it has been two years or twenty since you roamed the halls. We can all remember being panic stricken over what to wear or how to act--typically aiming for the ‘I don’t care’ attitude and failing miserably.
I give The Duff 5 out of 5 stars for its characters, which jump right off the page and into your high school or Alma mater, voice and the plot. If you loved Sixteen Candles, Bridget Jones’ Diary or Easy A, you’ll love The Duff.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
“The Girl who played with Fire”, the second novel in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, did not disappoint. This novel, more so than the first, truly follows the main character Lisbeth Salander. By way of a triple homicide we find out who Lisbeth is, where she comes from and the source of her odd behavior. Don’t get me wrong. Mikael Blomkvist still plays a pertinent role in the series but while the first novel was Mikael’s story, this one is all Lisbeth’s. This novel is full of twists with at least two that left my mouth hanging wide open. As with Larsson’s first novel, the beginning is all setup but then you reach a point where you can’t put the book down. I lost sleep on several occasions reading this novel. On at least one occasion my husband urged me not to take the book to bed, to which I reluctantly agreed. I truly enjoyed reading “The Girl who played with Fire”. It deserves 5 out of 5 stars. Sometimes I read a novel or see a movie and I think ‘this movie/book would have been perfect if this or that was changed’. I would not change a thing about ‘The Girl who played with Fire”. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading it--stat. I, however, am off to read “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
2. To laugh, cry and/or smile--at other people's stories.
3. Hone my craft. 100 words or less forces me to get rid of all the unnecessary -ly words and other bad writing habits, leaving a bare bones good story. Or at least it makes me practice, practice, practice.
4. Meet other writers. I met justwritecat when we both entered the same writing contest and liked each other's entries. Now, we follow each other's blogs. Go check out her fabulous blog at http://justwritecat.wordpress.com.
5. Sometimes I really, really want the book and/or prize and hope my entry will be good enough to win it......I still haven't gotten my hands on Personal Demons.
6. A break from my own WIP.
7. Expand the short story idea into a longer short story or maybe even a novel.
8. To complain to my friends and family about how 'the judges just didn't get me'. For which they respond, 'I liked your story better'. Friends--they're great.
9. The chance that an agent might see my entry, love it and sign me immediately based on my undeniably God-given talent. *crosses fingers*
10. I just love writing.
Did yours make the list? You don't have to tell me ten things. One is good! Why do you enter 100 words or fewer contests?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The part of the novel that affected me the most as an avid chicklit reader and lover was the ending. Not to give it away but as a chicklit lover I need a happy ending, the happily ever after, but the end of this novel ripped my heart out. I sat there reading the final paragraph without so much as taking in a breath. In all the reviews I have read regarding this novel no one even mentions the ending. For a true chicklit reader, I should have been warned. I'll have to see what the next novel brings for Lisbeth. For now, I am off to pick up "The Girl who Played with Fire" and "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" since I mistakenly did not buy all of his novels at once.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" definitely deserves all of the much publicized hype--4 3/4 stars out of 5!