Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Announcements that surprise no one: I did not complete NaNoWriMo

[sigh]  Oh well.

I am psyching myself up to rewrite my novel, AN UNEXPECTED KINGDOM, in the first person- you know: pep talks in the mirror, some face slapping, shots of whisky, jumping jacks, manic screaming, etc.  Since none of those things are doing the trick, I was very happy to find in my inbox a lovely post from Writer's Digest with advice (they call it "secrets", but it's really advice) from 90 best-selling authors.  Here are my three favorites, I hope they inspire you to write or rewrite too.
1. “We, and I think I’m speaking for many writers, don’t know what it is that sometimes comes to make our books alive. All we can do is to write dutifully and day after day, every day, giving our work the very best of what we are capable. I don’t think that we can consciously put the magic in; it doesn’t work that way. When the magic comes, it’s a gift.”
—Madeleine L’Engle

2. “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King

3. “I like to say there are three things that are required for success as a writer: talent, luck, discipline. … [Discipline] is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.”
—Michael Chabon

Oh, and this another important thing to keep in mind:
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Just like that time I won the Boston Marathon

Despite the fact that I have largely ignored NaNoWriMo (I think I wrote on two days) and only put forth a measly 3,500 words or so, there is a part of me that still believes I will finish and have 50,000 words completed on Wednesday.  Delusions of grandeur are not completely new to me.  I hate running, I have not been a real athlete since Clinton was President, and in one very embarrassing episode a few years ago I finished a 5K literally tenth to last behind a woman who looked like a poor man's Bette Midler and was wearing denim shorts.  HOWEVER, I still entertain the fleeting thought every once and a while that I just may win the Boston Marathon should I ever actually run it.  Spoiler alert- this will never happen.

In other news (of the actual writing kind), I think I am going to rewrite AN UNEXPECTED KINGDOM in the first person.  I think this is the roadblock that has kept it from getting to the level I've been hoping for (and maybe imagining it to be).  Big undertaking, right?  Gah!  But also (maybe) yay!

Finally, here is my favorite photo of me from our Ireland trip this summer.  It has nothing to do with anything, but it makes me feel creative and happy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Blog Hop- Our Christmas Story

Thank you to everyone participating in our Holiday Blog Hop.  Jenny and I are excited to share our story and read everyone's entries.  Our story is in two parts, the first half, written by me, is below and the second, written by my friend Jenny Morris is on her blog.  You will also find the list of all participants there so you can read their entries.  And away we go!

It was lunchtime on the 22nd of December when Violet and Sophia opened their front door in response to the chime of the doorbell. Sitting on the step was not a person, nor anything that could have rung the bell at all. Instead there was a plain brown box standing as high as Violet's ten-year-old knees and wider than Sophia could reach her arms.

The box had not come through the mail. There were no stamps and no address. The only thing adorning the top of the box was a small white label that read, “Violet age 10, Sophia age 8”. On the side of the box in huge block letters were two words written in black ink: “Kaffeklubben Island”.

Violet put a finger to her lips to quiet the chatter she knew Sophia was dying to share and pointed towards the kitchen where their mother was listening to the radio while she baked. Sophia nodded and the two girls started to drag the box inside. They managed to wrangle it down the hall and into the bedroom they shared where Violet immediately logged on to the computer. Tap, tap, tap went the keyboard as Violet typed. “Tell me what’s going on!” Sophia begged, but Violet didn’t answer her. Violet loved Sophia, but she could be so little sister-y sometimes. Suddenly Violet turned around and said quietly, “I knew it!” She turned the computer so Sophia could see too.

“Kaffeklubben Island is the closest land mass to the North Pole.”

Hop to Jenny's Blog for part two. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

What book are you most thankful for?

Beth Revis, amazing author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, is hosting the best giveaway ever and all you have to do is talk about the book for which you are most grateful.  How easy is that?
Hmm, actually kind of hard.  I went in and stared at my bookshelves and thought for a while.  There are an incredible number of books that have made a huge impression on me for one reason or another.  Instead of choosing my favorite book (Robin McKinley's THE BLUE SWORD) or one of the tons of books that have touched me in different ways, I am going to write about the book I have had on my bookshelf the longest. 
I got I WANT TO GO HOME by Gordon Korman through Troll Book Order (does everyone remember how awesome that was?) in the fourth grade.  It has been dropped in the bathtub, sneezed on, spilled on, loaned out and returned, thrown, kicked, and cried on. Every page corner has been folded down (both ways) and a dog took a little bite out of the front cover.  I loved reading long before fourth grade, but this book was the first one that made me laugh out loud and want to share the joke with my classmates.  I am thankful for this book for letting me know that books can be hilarious and that reading can be a social activity if you are willing to share the magic with others.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I go for MEGA SIZE!

I have signed up for this challenge on The Eclectic Bookshelf, which I found via Michelle at Book Briefs.  There are four levels of participation and I am going for GOLD, the MEGA SIZE YA Reading Challenge- 50 or more books in 2012.  Bam!  I will try to get my list together by mid-December and I hope some of my friends and followers will read some of the same novels so we can discuss.
What are you waiting for?  Go sign up!!  You do not need to be a blogger to participate.
Happy Friday! I am pumping myself up to have a big NaNoWriMo weekend.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday Blog Hop

In celebration of Blogging Buddies and critique partners everywhere, I have teamed up with one of my favorite writing people, Jenny S. Morris from Jenny’s Imaginary World to host a Blog Hop.  Jenny is my amazing critique partner and a wonderful writer.  Since she is waaaaaaay smarter than I am, she is handling the whole signing up part of the hop (as well as cute poster creation duties).
With the winter holidays just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to write holiday stories. To participate, just pick your favorite holiday (any will do) and post a story of around 250 words.  We are going for short and sweet so that we can all read each entry.  To make it even more exciting, write your story with a partner (Jenny and I are writing together) and each post half of the story on your blogs.  If you do enter with a partner, the story can be about 500 words.

So, head on over to Jenny’s blog, sign up on the Linky List, and grab the poster to put on your blog. Post your story on your blog on November 15th, and you will be entered to win one of four amazing books.  Woo! There will be four winners, chosen by random selection. Happy writing!