Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The end of February (WIP Wednesday Week 4)

Wow. I can't believe it's the end of February. The end of another month.

I basically met all of my February goals, minus one. I didn't vlog like I was going to (I thought maybe I would do it today, but turned out I had some personal stuff to take care of instead).

However, I did finish my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel, TCN. I did re-write the first three chapters of my current WIP, STAR RUBY. And, I blogged three times a week all but once. How freaking awesome is that?

Now that it's going to be March, I feel like I'm getting a fresh start. And also, I'm starting to think about a whole new (but familiar) set of goals. And, I'll be participating in K.T. Hanna's #writemotivation to keep me all sorts of motivated to get them done.

My goals are:
  1. Blog three times a week
  2. Vlog once
  3. Re-write my WIP to the mid-story climax
  4. Comment on blogs at least once a day.
I really wanted to give that last one a little oomph, so that I don't get behind on stuff.

And hey! If you too want to get in on the fun, you only have today to do it! Go here to sign up!

As for my WIP, I haven't made any progress. Well, maybe 200 words. Yeah - it's pretty sad. But, new month, new set of goals and a fresh start might be enough to kick myself into gear.

What are your goals for March? Did you have any goals for February?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tagged (again)

Well, I was tagged again by Siv Maria so while I don't usually post on Saturday, I didn't want to take up a normal slot for another tagging. Therefore - Special fun-time extra blog! (If only I were an awesome cartoon superhero and that would do something cool. . .)

Do you use Word Verification and why? (Better check first)
No. I use Intense Debate which allows nested comments and the availability to subscribe to replies. It's nice because if a commenter wants a response, they don't have to come back to my site, they can get an email response. I'm not a big fan of Word Verification. Why would you want to make it harder for people to comment?

When visiting a Blog what bothers you most about the format?
I hate it when the font/colors of the writing make it unreadable. Make it easy on me. Also, I prefer it when things are broken down into smaller paragraphs. Large, wordy paragraphs make me want to stop reading.

Do you have your email address listed on your profile, if not, why?
Of course! I want people to be able to contact me, if they want. And, on occasion, they have.

How often do you post?
I try to keep it to three times a week. I can't really keep up with more, and I don't want to spam people with blog posts anyway.

Are you on Facebook or Google plus?
Both. I like them for different things. I also have a Facebook fan page for my author self.

How often do you check your stats?
Not too often. I've been checking a bit more lately since there's more action going on with the campaign. But, I try not to get too worked up about it. Maybe once a month?

What influences what you write about?
That's a tough question. Things I've been through. Things I overhear. Things people tell me. Things I see in movies. I write about whatever inspires me to write!

What is the most important thing that happened to you last year?
I got a job that I love and a boyfriend whom I love. (I met him at the job, so I think it counts as one thing.)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
I'd really like to go to Ireland. Or France again. Or to Italy with my half-Italian friend. I would love to travel more.

If you could talk to a dead person about writing, who would that be?
Oh man, that's a toughie. I think it would be Ernest Hemmingway. I know he was a jerk of a man in real life, but I'd love to pick his brain anyway.

What one thing in the grocery store do you always want to buy? I cannot help but collect new spices.
Hmmm. . . I have a problem buying milk. I'll buy milk, then come home to find my milk is neither gone nor expired. My boyfriend, however, has a problem buying me peanut butter and bread.

So that's all for me this fine Saturday. I'm not going to post new questions because I think most people have done this by now. BUT! If you are reading this and you HAVEN'T done this, you ARE hereby tagged and must answer the questions I did. Go now. Have fun!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shoe shopping

So, I went shoe shopping on the Internet. I just paid for some super cute boots that will be here next week. I'm very excited.

But something I wasn't expecting: looking at the "next big thing" for spring.

Uh. . . what?
Look at that beast. I mean, does that look comfortable or stylish to you? I think it looks a bit painful and I don't know how I would ever walk in them. If, you know, I were to try.

Fads. I just don't get most of them. I've never been all that into fads, to be honest. A few I do remember.

But the funny thing about fads is, when they're over, don't you feel silly for your desire for them after they're done and gone? I do.

And that's why you shouldn't try to conform to a fad. Shouldn't do something just because it's popular. If you don't love it completely for yourself, then what's the point?

The same goes with writing. (What? It's a writing blog. You knew I would link it back to that somehow, right?) You shouldn't try to conform to a certain fad just because it's popular and it's what's selling. The best advice is to write what you want to read, write what you enjoy. Because in the end, don't you want people to read your stuff who are as passionate about it as you are?

So tell me! What's the most ridiculous fad you've tried? Have you considered writing what's "in" just because it was popular? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday, Week 3 (And Tag! You're it!)

Hey there everyone!

I'm sad to report that nothing at all has changed on my writing. I didn't write last week. I was busy. Doing other things. But that didn't stop me from thinking about stuff. So, I've still been thinking. Trying to figure out how I'm going to become a plotter when I don't have any clue how to plot.

I've discovered something about myself. I don't know how I write. Weird, right? I was visiting my Mom a couple days ago having dinner and trying to explain my problems with plotting. She asked, "So, do you picture what's going to happen in your head?" I couldn't answer.

Damn non-writers confusing me so.

So I had to sit there and think. Did I see it in my head? And yeah, I think I do. I see the scene like a movie, that I then describe and follow. And I think therein lies my problem. I can't "see" what's going to happen unless I've come up with what happens before it. One thing leads to another in my mind, which I think is why I have problems with coming up with a plot before I write it. So, that's something I'm dealing with.

Also! I was tagged by Alyssa and Carrie Anne Brownian in a game that many of the 4th Campaign Challengers have participated in where you have to answer the tagger's 11 question, then come up with your own 11 questions and tag 11 more people. So, here we go (in order)!

1. What is your favorite holiday?
I have to say that I love Christmas, but only because it's the one time of year I get to see my family together. And, you know, the presents help.

2. Who is your idol?
I don't know if I have just one.

3. If you could visit any place in the world where would you go?
Ireland. Or Italy.

4. What's your favorite genre?
Young adult speculative fiction.

5. What or who has inspired your writing the most?
This one writer that I read when I was about 12. She published her first book at 14, and I really wanted to be her. But, to be honest, it's continually my friend Sarah.

6. If you could choose any superpower what would you have?
TELEPORTATION! Think about it: No traffic, no taking forever to travel places, never needing to pay for transportation. IT WOULD BE THE BEST THING EVER!!

7. If you had to be a villain, who would it be? Why?
Dracula. Wouldn't that be cool to be him for a while? He has a sexy life for a living corpse.

8. What is your favorite animal?
I have always been a lover of wolves. Their grace, their loyalty, their sheer power. But I also like tigers. They are beautiful creatures.

9.What is your favorite food?
Beef stroganoff. It's the thing that I would eat every day for the rest of my life.

10.Who is your favorite author?
I don't know if I have one. I like J.K.R., Neil Gaimen, John Green, Maggie Stiefvater, Jackson Pearce and more.

11. What is your biggest fear?
Spiders. I have extreme arachnophobia. Like reduce me to tears and sobs kind of fear.

1. What is your dream car? It could be either a current car or a classic or antique car.
For a long time, it was a 1999 Lamborghini Diablo. But now, it's a '69 Mustang. So pretty.

2. Are you interested in illustrating your own books? Have you ever drawn pictures of your characters?
I'm not all that interested in illustrating my own books, although I doodle a lot in my free time. I do draw my own characters, my friends' characters, characters from books and TV shows and movies. I draw a lot. :D

3. What is your favorite flavor of jelly?
I'm actually more of a jam lover, but I think peach. I pretty much love anything peach.

4. What animal would you most like to be?
I would be a panda bear. They're big, and round and cute and a little lazy. I'm not black and white, but it's not a perfect analogy.

5. What foreign country would you like to live in?
France. Or Ireland. I visited France when I was in high school and I loved it. But, I really want to visit Ireland. I am Irish and have an Irish name (Brenna), so I'm pretty attached to my heritage.

6. Do you prefer the countryside or the city?
I like them both. I grew up in a city (not big, but a city) but I vacation in the countryside. But, for living, I'd have to say city.

7. What is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
CHOCOLATE!! Actually, if we were getting fancy, I'd have to say Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide. (See a theme there?) It's sooo good!!

8. What character from mythology (any mythology) would you most like to meet?
Athena. I think she'd be an awesome friend. Although, does Thor from the comic books count? Because him.

9. Do you have a favorite or well-liked name you haven’t used on a character yet?
Edward. I like the name, I just don't think I could use the name for a love interest because I don't want my character to be like the Edward from Twilight.

10. What is your favorite amusement park ride?
The biggest, baddest roller coaster. It's so much fun!

11. Would you prefer to live on the beach, in the forest, in the mountains, or in the desert?
Well. I live in the mountains. And I know that I would NEVER want to live in the desert. But, I have never experienced living on a beach. That would be interesting, I think.

As for my 11 questions:
1. Coffee or tea?
2. What was the first story you can remember writing?
3. What TV show, video game, movie would you recommend to other writers?
4. What time of day are you most productive?
5. Green or black olives?
6. What was your first car?
7. What is your guilty pleasure?
8. Are you a fan of footie pajamas?
9. What's something you didn't think you'd like that you did/do?
10. Favorite salad dressing?
11. What is your most embarrassing nickname? (Or, just any nickname. You don't have to give an embarrassing one.)

Now, those I tag!
1. Sarah Robertson
2. K.T. Hanna
3. Rebekah Loper
4. Daniel Todd Noyes
5. T.D. McFrost
6. Michael Haynes
7. Margo Kelly
8. K.S. Collier
9. Megan
10. Fairview
11. Lori M. Lee

FYI: If you've already done this tag thing, and I'm sure you all have by now, don't worry about tagging more people. Just answer the questions, I think. That way, we don't have to keep this going into perpetuity. I would just like to see your answers. Have fun!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Don't give it all away

This post goes almost hand-in-hand with that of last Monday about overwriting.

I have a problem. I've realized this recently. I was reading a friend's story on Inkpop (Daniel Todd Noyes, I'm looking at you) and in the first third of the book, there's this nice moment of not knowing what's going on. Now, having talked with Daniel, I knew what the story was about. I even knew a little about the sequel to the book. And then I realized how good and smart his writing is BECAUSE HE DIDN'T JUST GIVEAWAY EVERYTHING AT THE BEGINNING!!!

I am terrible at this. No, I suck at it. Completely suck at it. When I write, I just become a fountain of information spewing forth and giving my readers pretty much everything. Yeah, even when I'm rewriting and editing.

Now, doing this in a first draft isn't bad. Actually, I'd argue it's a good thing. It's things you should know as a writer. But then, you have to separate yourself from those and remind yourself that you shouldn't be giving away all those details in one giant block, and almost never at the beginning of the story. You need to dole them out in little bits. And sometimes, without your readers even knowing that you've done it.

It's hard. And it's something that I struggle with a lot (if you hadn't gotten that yet). I seriously have to work on not explaining everything in the beginning of my WIPs. But, I think it's truly worth working on and nailing.

So tell me: Is this something you noticed in others' writing? Do you notice it in your own work? Do you struggle with it like I do? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday, Week 2

Okay, I realize this is coming a little late. sorry. I didn't have access to a computer until now, and I didn't manage to get a post up before now.

So, here goes.

I didn't do too much work this week on my WIP, sadly. I'm still working on Chapter 4, which is only about 2,500 words in right now.

What I did do, however, is a lot of thinking. I've been thinking about this chapter, and the chapters that will come after it. I'm trying - unlike I've ever really done before now - to actually think and plan out what I'm doing farther than the next couple of pages. I'm hoping that by doing this - like all you plotters out there - I'll have a cleaner, more usible draft when I'm finished. Because, you know, I can't sit here on my fourth draft thinking about doing another rough one again. I want to really get into a place of meaty edits. Not just rewrites.

So that's what I've been up to. What are you working on? How's it going for you? When you're rewriting, do you think a lot about what's coming next, or do you just go for it?

Note: Dear fellow Campaigners, I'm very sorry that I haven't been getting to you guys as much as I should. I'm really working on that, but as I mentioned above, I didnt' have access to a computer. I'm coming, I promise!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Resist the urge

Today I want to discuss something that I've seen in some unpublished/self-published writing recently.

Resist the urge to overwrite.

Writing is a delicate balance. If your writing is too plain, with nothing descriptive, original or intriguing, readers may dump it for being boring (depending, some readers are willing to forgive plain writing if the plot is good.) Overwriting, however, it just as bad if not worse.

I think we've all been there. When we read something that uses flowery description and you wonder if the author looked up something in the thesaurus and went with the most exotic synonym he or she could find. That overwriting is easy to find.

But overwriting also applies to simpler things. Phrases that are written that are unneeded. For instance – if something is implied, but a writer writes it anyway. Readers can read between the lines. You don't have to spell everything out of them.

So, that's the bit of wisdom I have for you today. Is this something you guys struggle with? I know that I myself am guilty of it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

PURITY by Jackson Pearce

As I mentioned on Monday, Jackson Pearce is one of the biggest reasons I re-fell in love with Young Adult books. I had been focusing my book-purchasing choices on adult sci-fi/fantasy books for the last couple of years when one of my NaNoWriMo people (I was an ML) retweeted something she'd written. It made me laugh, so I started following her, watched all her YouTube videos, became a fan.

Anyway, I'd always been a fan of teen literature when I was a teen. And to be honest, I thought that I should be headed away from that. I was an adult. I should read adult-ish things. But her humor and honesty – not to mention her writing – made me realize that it didn't matter what age I was, I enjoyed reading YA.

So, thank you, Jackson. I hope to one day be able to call you a colleague.

Okay. On to the actual review.

PURITY by Jackson Pearce 

Reviewer's note: I received an ARC of PURITY from the publisher. (Thank you so much!) That, and my love of the author have not influenced my review. And, as always, it is spoiler-free as much as possible.

From Goodreads: A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.

Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.

Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.

Plot: I love the premise of PURITY, even if it's a little far-fetched. I have never met a teen that was so set on not breaking promises before, but then again, I have never met a teen who made promises to her dying mother before. So, I'm willing to let it slide. Passed that, and with a little willing suspension of disbelief, the story is one that's instantly grabbing. Here is a girl who has only five weeks to lose her virginity. She has to tackle a variety of obstacles such as a disapproving best friend (who is also male, I might point out), the ability to convince a boy to HAVE sex with her in a manor that she's willing (ie - condoms) and wether she can get the deed done by the dreaded Princess Ball. The story was fast-paced and dappled with dramatic, hilarious and well-crafted scenes.

Characters: There are about four main characters: Shelby, her best friend Jonas, her other friend Ruby, and her dad. Despite the fact that Shelby lost her mother, I think she is instantly relatable. Here was a girl who is trying to do right by both her parents, and herself, and trying to find any loophole she can. I mean, what teen do you know that hasn't tried to find loopholes around their parents? Jonas is the quarky best friend character who has a penchant for making lists. He immediately fell into the guys-I-want-to-be-around list. Ruby is such a fun character with her sassy attitude that made her a great balance to Shelby, who's a bit more reserved. And Shelby's Dad was a bit watery at first – but that's to be expected. The story is told from Shelby's pint of view, and Shelby doesn't have a good handle on her dad. They aren't close. But even in the watery beginning, I could tell there was so much more to him than Shelby was seeing – a true testament of Jackson's craft.

Themes: This book (shockingly) deals with sex. So deal with it. It's just a fact of life that teens are pressured into these types of decisions and they have to consider it, so it's not like this stuff doesn't happen. I think Jackson handled it tastefully, and it isn't at all pornographic, so please don't rate it on that. But that being said, if you're going to hate it for sexual content, maybe it's best if you consider something else. Surprisingly though, there was a bit of a religious aspect to this novel that I wasn't expecting. But it's not in that holier-than-thou slap Christianity in your face type of thing. It's about a girl who's still dealing with the death of her mother and struggling with her faith because of it. It's something that I think a lot of people go through in the darkest times of their lives. And it isn't the main theme, so keep that in mind.

Writing: Jackson has this habit of writing the way I think. Her characters don't use overly-flowery language that makes me instantly think "pretentious," and yet has such a beautiful way of crafting these drop-dead gorgeous moments. The construction of the book is not in chapters but in countdowns: ie, 30 days before; 15 days before; 3 hours before, etc. It drives home the idea of this impending deadline and really pushes the book forward. I loved it.

Overall: I'm giving PURITY 4.5 STARS OUT OF 5. I really liked the book, so I just couldn't give it a four. It wouldn't have been fair. And I don't give out that many fives. Overall, this was a quick, easy book that I enjoyed reading. It took me about four days (between writing and work, which was surprisingly good for me).

PURITY goes on sale April 24, so you can pre-order at Barnes and Nobel, Amazon or at your local indie book stores. Please consider doing so, or picking it up the first week it comes out. Because it will be a fun read.

Jackson Pearce Online:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday, Week 1

So, I'm starting in the meme begun by my lovely CP and best friend Sarah over at Squidink, to talk about my WIP on Wednesdays. She's currently on Week 7, so go check her out.

The first thing I want to say is I FINISHED A FREAKING MANUSCRIPT THIS WEEK!!!

Yeah, that's right. I finally finished the first draft of my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel, which I'm calling The Contemporary Novel (I'm so creative). And, to share my love of finishing, I wanted to share the stats. And a wordle.
I'm a little worried by how often I use "like" and "just"

  • The Contemporary Novel
    • Chapters: 17, plus an epilogue
    • Words: 53,431
    • Characters: 281,281 (How awesome is that?)
    • Point of view: First person
    • Main characters: About seven, including the narrator
    • Total time: Three months (but I barely worked on it two of those months)
    • Total freakouts: I'm going with about three. It was fun.
Isn't that exciting! Because I'm excited by it.

Anyway, with that done and crossed off my goal list for February (oh my gosh, it's already the 8th?!) I went back to working on my previous manuscript, STAR RUBY, which I was working on before NaNoWriMo started. I opened the program and prepared to work on my fourth draft.

And. . . I promptly had a panic attack. 

I'd been so focused on drafting, and I mean first drafting here, that it really freaked me out to start again on this one. I suddenly was in the middle of not knowing where to start and really over-thinking everything. I finally came down a bit after a phone call with Sarah when she told me to quite literally stop over-thinking. 

(I love a good friend and writing partner. They somehow always know what it is you need.)

Anyway. So, I re-wrote chapter one. I edited chapter two. I wrote a new chapter three. I'm working on chapter four. That's where I stand. I need to learn how to plot better. 


Also! Last fall I joined into this challenge where a bunch of writers got together to meet new people and extend their reaches. 

Now, I'm involved in Rachael Harrie's 4th Platform-Building Campaign (the other was the 3rd, FYI). 

Last fall I was able to connect to several other writers that are quickly becoming really good online friends. So, I don't at all mind expanding my base of friends on the Web. 

So, if you're new, hello! Welcome! I respond to all my comments, so if you hit choose subscribe to replies in the dropdown menu, we'll be able to communicate farther!

If you're an old friend, maybe you'll consider joining in? There's challenges and tons of people to meet and is a good wave of support. Seriously! Click here to sign up on Rachael's blog.

Well that's all for me folks. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Printz Award Reading Challenge (+awards)

Okay, I'm going to get to the most interesting thing first.

My lovely CP and friend Sarah is holding a reading contest centered around Prinz awards.

From her blog: "In the simplest terms, the Michael L. Printz award is an award for young adult books sponsored by Booklist, which is a publication of the American Library Association. The award was named for a librarian who was super active in the Young Adult Library Services Association and is pretty much THE young adult book award."

Currently there are 13 actual winners and 49 honor books (including this year's). The idea is that although I'm a young adult writer, I haven't actually read that many of those books. So, I'm going to rectify that by reading more this year.

There are different levels of challenges so every person no matter how crazy his or her schedule can participate. Honestly, it sounds like it's going to be a barrel of fun! And, you know that SOMEONE must really like these books to give them awards, right?

I think I've only read four, two winners and two honorees: LOOKING FOR ALASKA, SHIPBREAKER, AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, and THE BOOK THIEF.

I'm going to go for reading 12 books myself. I think I'm going to count THE BOOK THIEF too (don't throw things at me!) because I technically read it in the month of January.

Anyway, if you want to see the winners click here, and if you want to see the honor books click here.

I really hope you join me and Sarah! It's going to be a lot of fun!

Click here to go sign up and read more about the challenge.

Now for the less exciting part, unless I'm sharing with you. The same Sarah has nominated me for a couple blog awards.

And, I just found out, Rebekah Loper also nominated me for the Kreativ Bloger award! Wow, I feel so intensely loved.

As per the requirements, I have to do three things. As before on the blog, I'm going to combine them.

  1. Thank and link to the peep that nominated me.
  2. Share ten (kreative)/seven (versatile) random facts about myself.
  3. Award some other nifty bloggers.
So on with the randomness!
  1. My boyfriend has recently gotten me addicted to DragonVale. If you want to be friends, send me an email.
  2. I have a rather addictive personality, so fact number 1 isn't all that surprising.
  3. I am a snob when it comes to coffee, sadly. I like my latt├ęs, thank you very much. 
  4. It was my discovery of Jackson Pearce that reminded me of my love of teen literature. Without her and her amazing attitude, I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to get back to it. Thanks, Jackson. (Small plug: Her next book comes out in April, and is really good. I'll have a review up this week.)
  5. I absolutely abhor breaking laws and rules. Except speeding. I do that one quite regularly.
  6. I very rarely tell anyone my true thoughts. Not my parents, not my best friends, not my boyfriend. It's something that leads me to getting hurt a lot because I can't express myself.
  7. I can be pretty loud and obnoxious, but I am pretty shy when meeting new people. That fact made being a reporter quite hard on me. However, I can rock your socks off if I'm ever your waitress.
  8. I have no less than 50 tabs opened on my computer at one time. My boyfriend, who's a network administrator, is constantly berating me about it. But hey, it works. 
  9. I like buying gifts for random people at random times. Once the lovely Sarah finds a place to live, I already have her housewarming gift. :D 'Cause I rock like that.
  10. I hate showering until I'm in the shower. I will put off showering until the very last minute, and then I always feel better afterward, like "Why was I fighting that again?" It's pretty sad, I'll admit. 
So, that's about it! Now on to my lovely nominees!
  1. Ashelynn at A Gypsy Writer. Not only is she a kick-butt writer, but she was the first blog I ever started paying attention to. So, yeah, she deserves some awesome to match her own.
  2. Jenn at A Single Bell. Jenn is a great person, who's been pretty quiet lately, so I need to wake her up a bit. Also, she's going to be an awesome Best Seller, I just know it. Her ideas are far too creative not to be.
  3. K.T. at The Scribble Muse. This girl is hands-down the nicest, most motivating person I've ever met on the Internet. If anyone deserves an award, it's her. She is constantly lifting other writers up on Twitter. Plus, she's insane at finishing stuff, which makes me so jealous. But, she's too nice to hate, so I just root her on.
  4. Rebekah at her website. She rivals K.T. for the second nicest slot. She's an awesome person to have around to give encouragement and she working on so many projects! I can't wait to see them come to fruit!  (Now, she's already won the Kreativ award, since she nominated me, but I'm going to pass on to her the Versatile anyway.)
  5. Last, but not least, is Bonnie Rae at her website. She is an amazing person, who I'm still getting to know. But I'm looking forward to it! And, I'm hoping that since she's writing full-time, I will be getting to know her writing too!
So that's all, folks! I hope you enjoy. Ladies, you don't have to feel obligated to do anything with these awards if you don't want to. I just wanted to share the people I'm enjoying most on the Internet. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

A very sad day

I was originally going to talk about a reading challenge my lovely CP is hosting and some awards, but I needed to hijack my own blog post to talk about a couple other things. I will talk about those things on Monday, so look forward to them. *Insert apologetic look here*

I had a really rough night last night. First off, I read this article in the Rolling Stones.

A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying.
© Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/
This is an amazing article written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely is about a town in Minnesota that has created a war zone in their school district over homosexuality politics. After what an expert called a "suicide cluser" of several children committing suicide, many who were wrapped up in anti-gay bullying, the whole place is a mess. The school board, trying to appease the major Christian advocates that dominate the area, created a policy that left openly gay kids at a complete risk for torture. Teachers did nothing, and the suicides started.

Seriously. If you haven't already read this article, you need to. But be prepared to cry.

After I finished that article, I finished reading THE BOOK THEIF. If you haven't read that either, you need to. It's a fantastic book. I don't understand how it didn't take the Prinz Award, because it was seriously one of the best things I've read. And I was balling. I was a mess when I got done with it.

Anyway, many of you can probably see why I couldn't sleep after reading those two things.

On a positive note, I finished the first draft of my 2011 NaNoWriMo manuscript, so I can cross that off my February goals. That's right.

So tell me – what have you read recently that made you want to cry? Have you read either the article or THE BOOK THEIF? If so, what did you think about them? Thanks for sharing!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coffee shops and love

Guys! Guys! Guess what?

I'm at a coffee shop! I have my computer and coffee and I'm all set to write! How awesome is that.

After a half-hearted attempt at writing last night (boyfriend came over and wasn't feeling well, so we ended up playing a lot of video games). But, I did write a little, and now I'm here, feeling fresh and ready to get started. (You know – once I finish this blog post.)

One of two coffee shops I'm known to frequent
I may not have mentioned this before on this blog, (I know I did as a guest post on Squidink) but I do the bulk of my writing at coffee shops. I don't do it for the aesthetic and dramatic value of being a writer in a coffee shop. I go because it works for me.

See, when I'm in a coffee shop, I only have the distractions I bring. I only have the tables they have to sit at, the limited bandwidth of Internet and no TV. Okay, that last one is a major one.

I am easily distracted. And while I did the bulk of my writing for NaNoWriMo at home at my desk, I like working in coffee shops because I can really stay focused.

That's not to say that coffee shops work for everyone. I know a lot of people who are too distracted in an area that isn't theirs to get anything done. That works for you, great. I think the place that I will ultimately be most productive is in a home office. That's not in the basement. Once I get that, I think I'll be set. For now, I have my coffee shop, and I'm going to go writing.

By the way, for fairness, I'm going to list out my goals of February. Unfortunately, they are the same goals as January. But, I'm already closer now to finishing them than I was.

  • Finish 2011's NaNoWriMo TCN
  • Work on the first three chapters of STAR RUBY
  • Blog three times a week, preferably Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Do one Vlog
I only managed to complete the final one in January. But with my life getting back in order, I feel good about February. 

So tell me, how's this month shaping up for you? And where are you most productive?