Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #4

I just finished Graveminder by Melissa Marr. It was very good. It had just the right balance of creep factor, romance, mystery, and small town. The best part was that I found this book at a Dollar Tree in hardcover for $1. I love getting good books cheap! Note: Melissa Marr also wrote the YA Wicked Lovely Series, the first of which I greatly enjoyed.

2. WHAT I'M WRITING: More kissing!! It's so hard but so good!

3. WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW: Greeting to know a new group of high school kids has really got my brain moving! Despite the attitudes, kids have a lot of great things to show us adults. Also, I think they keep me young.

4. WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO: I just started a long term substitute teaching position and it's going well so far. I also spent Monday afternoon and evening celebrating Dyngus Day (complete with homemade pussywillow crown) and I'm hoping to take an epic nap this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #3

Nothing! I just finished E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I am so in love with Frankie that I can't read anything new just yet. She reminds me so much of the passionate and opinionated girl I was in high school that I actually got into a debate about respect on my work website. I love when a book affects my daily life. <3

I'm writing kissy scenes! It started late last week as I drafted my first kiss scene for G4. Now I've revised that one several times and moved on to a few more! I feel terribly inept at them but it's fun nonetheless. Muah!

The weather has me itching to write adventures. I love the transitional seasons of fall and spring. Watching the world change is so breathtaking when you stop to watch. I watched the crocuses (my favorite flower) sprout through the mud and decaying leaves last weekend and I was reminded that we can do anything. I feel both very small and very powerful as I watch the world come back to life after our brutal winter.

I'm continuing my nomadic life with a week long visit to Ohio. That means the boyfriend, job #3, sunshine (and snow), and fun. I might even cut the grass tomorrow! How fantastically mundane :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are you there, Judy? It's me, Lavender.

I know, I know. Riffing on Judy Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret  is overdone. However, I recently read my first ever book by Judy Blume, Summer Sisters. I have loved a lot of the books I've read recently, but this book left me with deep thoughts all day in a way nothing has for a long time.

Summer Sisters is the story of Vix who spends every summer on the Vineyard with Caitlin, a wild child and serious trust fund baby. The book follows Vix and Caitlin from their first summer together as pre-teens, through their summer of first loves, to college, marriage, and beyond. Along the way there are fights, laughs, betrayals, and unforgettable memories.

One of the things that struck me about this book was how accurately it nails a variety of interpersonal relationships. Firstly, the friendship between Vix and Caitlin is one I've seen and been a part of. It is both toxic and incredible, sometimes alternately, sometimes simultaneously. It doesn't matter how long it's been since you last talked because you pick right back up where you left off. It doesn't matter how crazy your last stunt was because you still love each other anyway.

Secondly, Vix's relationship with Caitlin's father and stepmother, Lamb and Abby. They completely take her in. They treat her like their own, protecting, providing, and advising as they do Caitlin. Vix, in return, loves them fiercely and turns to them for support. This connection really hit home for me. While I was never anyone's Summer Sister, I had a best friend raised by essentially a single dad while I had been raised by a single mom. We used to joke that together we had a whole family. The almost illicit feeling of loving someone else's parent/child as your own is well captured here.

Perhaps, the most poignant part of this book for me was the messiness. Every character had a messy life. Even the ones who ended up happy made mistakes and screwed things up in their own ways. I think there is a profound message to be found in this book about blended families and what it really means to be family, whether you're connected by blood or something else. I can't articulate it for you, but I do think it's there.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop!

I was tagged for this blog hop by Faith McKay. Hey there!

1.) What am I working on?
I'm working on a YA contemp called Goodbye Good-Goody Girl (aka G4). It's the story of Mirella, a theatre nerd trying to make the most of her senior year. She lands the leading role in Thoroughly Modern Millie and starts acting a little more "modern" in real life, too. It's a story of friendships and firsts with a hearty dose of musical theatre.

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
 This question was really hard for me but the always wonderful Jenny Adams Perinovic told me G4 is different from other YA contemps because of it's lady-mances, her new term for female bromances. There have been a few posts floating around the web lately about female friendship (http://www.bustle.com/articles/18771-we-need-more-female-friendships-like-these-8-ya-bffs and http://www.stackedbooks.org/2014/03/positive-girl-friendships-in-ya-guest.html) and a huge part of my story is about friendship, positive, deep, female friendship. There is a little romance, too. And a dash of drama.
I also think G4 is different because of the role the musical plays in it. I read (and loved) Maria Boyd's Will but the role of the musical show itself was so much smaller than I imagined. I just had to stop for a moment to think what the show was (The Boyfriend). In G4, Thoroughly Modern Millie is not only important because Mirella is a theatre nerd, the content and story of the show is important, too.

3.) Why do I write what I do?
 I write because I want to share stories. I write YA contemp with musicals and lady-mances because that is what I know and what I think is missing from a bunch of YA. I had a wonderful, if at times emotional, high school experience complete with weirdness and great girl friends. I want to share that with teens who have it rough. We talk about fiction as a safe way to explore difficult and diverse situations, and it is which is awesome. However, I also love fiction because it's an escape and a comfort. I want my readers to relate to the quirkiness of my characters and know that being "weird" or "abnormal" is ok. Actually, it's awesome. Jenny Kaczorowski has talked about this on her blog as well (http://jennykaczorowski.blogspot.com/2014/03/girls-like-me.html?m=1 )
At the end of the day, I write what I do because of memories like this photo of me and my girls during spirit week junior year (2005) which actually made it into our yearbook in hopes of inspiring and supporting those kinds of memories for others.

4.) How does my writing process work?
 Before I officially joined The Great Noveling Adventure, I wrote a guest post about my process of writing longhand first. You can find it here: Why I Love Longhand And that is still true. I write most scenes longhand first then type them up where I flesh out and do a quick edit. My hand on the page helps ground me to the words I'm writing. To be honest, as much as I love writing longhand and I think the process works for me, sometimes I really hate the typing. But nothing is perfect, right?
As far as the planning and organizing part, that's my writing notebook (a front shot and the inside cover). In case you couldn't tell, I like sticky notes. I normally start writing linearly but now I'm writing by scene so I have sticky notes for each separate scene I've written that hasn't been typed yet. Then the inside front cover is a list of finished scenes/chapters, scenes I still need/want, and a rough word count list. I'm very tactile and love to physically organized things. I often rewrite my sticky notes and relay them and it helps me somehow. I'm a quirky writer, I know.

I'm tagging Alex Yuschik
and Angel Cruz 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

rules were made to be broken

A few days ago, on Twitter, this happened.

It was so incredibly encouraging to have this interaction with other authors. As a writer who has never taken a creative writing class in her life, I get really anxious when I break the "rules" that we see all over the place.
1. Use said.
2. Never start a chapter with dialogue.
3. Or the weather.
4. No adverbs
5. etc. etc. etc.

I can get myself so worked up that I can't even write because I'm sure I'm not following the rules and then it will suck. But honestly, you can't always follow all the rules or it will suck. And there are so many freaking words in our language why don't we use them? Why don't we create the most colorful and well-illustrated picture we can for our readers? So I'm going to just keep writing and worry about the rules later. Everything in moderation. I will write the story as it flows. I will use my goddamn adverbs.

I will just write.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #2

It's been a few weeks, but I'm back on the WUW bandwagon!

WHAT I'M READING: Remember how in my last post I said I didn't plan to read anymore ebooks for a while because I don't really like the digital reading thing? Well, I lied. I saw a really cute looking book on sale for .99 in a tweet by @SwoonRomance and I bought it (I had a gift card with some change left over so it was basically free). It was Class of 98  by A.L. Player. It was super cute and enjoyable. It was described as "Back to the Future meets She's All That" and if that isn't enough to sell you on it, we're from different cliques, generations, and possibly even planets. Still not a fan of reading on the app though :/ 
I also just read Chasing Boys by Karen Tayleur. Another stellar Australian YA author. If you ever had an obsessive crush on a boy this is the book that will validate all of your behavior :) 

WHAT I'M WRITING: I'm still drafting for Goodbye Good -Goody Girl but I got a chapter and a half done this week so no complaints. I love writing the friendships in this book. Romance is secondary to the triumvirate of awesome these ladies share.  

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW: I'm inspired by the great YA books I've been reading, the fantastic MS I read from Alex Yuschik, and the beautiful weather (70 and sunny!). I want to get out and do things for the first time in MONTHS. YAY for feeling happy again :) 

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO: I'm done with musical season (bittersweet) and am gearing up for a long term sub position at a new district. I've been visiting my boyfriend, replacing the ridiculous dual exhaust on my car, fixing my washer, and just soaking up the sun. 

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck ...