Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blog Hop!


Week 27: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP

There are the books everyone had heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by Janice Sperry. You can learn more about Janice on her blog, www.comeoutwhenyourehappy.blogspot.com where you can then connect with her on Twitter, and even Pinterest.

This blog hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s current work in progress, so here’s a little info about my current project:

1: What is the working title of your book?

I have two books in process at the moment: Fairy Tales and Lord Hyacinthe

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Fairy Tales came from a dream I had about being part of a fairy tale. In the dream I was Cinderella, but she was not anything like the many renditions of Cinderella we have seen. And it got me thinking about how many of the fairy tale characters would be very different in our day and age rather than when they were first written about - due to different expectations of how a female is suppose to act, the knowledge they can obtain, the equality with men. And then I began to rewrite their stories - Still set in the historical settings where the stories originally took place, but with a twist that allows them to be a bit more human and interact with each other in a more forward fashion. It's been fun to recreate!
Lord Hyacinthe - I started almost seven years ago - put it on a shelf and this last summer pulled out the scraps of ideas I had scribbled down and went to town putting it into an actual story.

3: What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Fantasy
Regency Romance

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

????? I have no Idea ????? (I honestly have a hard time imagining actors to create my stories. But if I saw the right actor/actress, I would know it immediately.)

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Fairy Tales follows the story of some of our favorite fairy tale princesses and how their lives might have been if their stories had all been entwined.

Lord Hyacinthe - Terrence and Vivian's lives become entwined in a very strange adventure as they are thrown into one another’s presence, fall in love, and then discover that each has their own plans … plans so
secret and so serious that if they discover what the other is doing, it could destroy them both.


6: Will your be self-published, represented by an agency, or published through an indie publisher? (Or How do you plan to have your book published?)

I would love to be represented by an agency. But as it's a work in progress, I have yet to query.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Fairy Tales - It took about two months. I had hoped to finish it in one month .... but obviously we can't control when our computers decide to die, our husband's get sick, we get a new job, etc. So it took me two months instead.
Lord Hyacinthe - once I pulled out the idea and blurbs from my filing cabinet then I wrote the first draft in a week. I basically did not sleep! And when it was done I think I may have slept for two days straight. Then I put it aside for 2 months before I pulled it out and rewrote the entire thing in a week again.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre

 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and Beauty by Robin McKinley

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I always have story ideas playing in my head - characters that walk around and talk, settings that pop up at the strangest times, and situations that arise where the story starts to form itself. Then I just go crazy and write down all the ideas and file them away for future use when the rest of the story comes into play.
But I have a lot of encouragement too. My husband has been a great support and inspiration  He helps push me to get to my writing. Also my parents always read and edit the first drafts for me. Mostly because they are gentle with how terrible the first draft really is, and can help correct it before anyone else sees it. But also because it gives them the bragging rights to claim they were the first to read my stories.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Fairy Tales - This is not just the story of Cinderella, but rather follows the path of three very well known fairy tale princesses: Belle, Cinderella, and Snow White. I chose to intermingle their paths in this story, allowing them to be part of each others lives and have a role in how each story works out in the end.
Lord Hyacinthe - This is actually a Romance Mystery and absolutely nobody is what they seem through most of the book. But it's hard to tell what information is accurate about each character, and what information is not .... it's fun to keep the reader guessing.

Here is another author who will be joining the blog hop for week 28 on January 2nd. I hope you’ll visit her blogs next week and learn more about their books. She has recently published her first novel and is working on a sequel. Maybe you will enjoy her books and she can become your new favorite author!

Jessalyn Adamson - http://addicted8.blogspot.com



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Who am I?

I realize that when I it comes to my writing people always seem to understand how important it is to me, why I spend so much time on it, and the quirks that I have regarding my writing. They might know my writing habits, what style to expect, and my story voice. But not a lot of those people know me as an author. Not because they are not interested - but because I get so excited about putting my writing first that I kind of forget to introduce myself when I'm introducing my characters to people.

When I talk about writing I get all giddy inside and bubbly! I talk fast and in an excited manner that makes people laugh. It is truly my passion and I love it! But now it's time for all of you to know who I am - the author behind the stories!

So I collected a few questions that people want to know about me, as an author, and I'm posting them here.
Here goes:

1- How did you get started?
I first started writing stories in Second grade. I had written stories before, for homework assignments, and apparently my teachers saw great potential. They asked my parents if I could be in a special after school writing group they were creating. It was only a couple of weeks but I loved it. The teacher taught us some things about forming a story plot and putting ideas together. There were only about ten children in this class, which made me feel really special that I had been chosen.
I had this sweater that I loved. It was purple and had a kitten and a turtle on the front. So my story was about this kitten and the turtle. (Actually I really hope I still have that story saved in one of my keep-sake boxes) The Kitten and turtle were best friends and they were playing hide-and-seek. While the turtle was hiding, the kitten yawned so big that the turtle thought it was a hiding place and crawling in the kittens mouth. I don't really remember what happened next except that the kitten drank some water with soap in it by accident and burped up the turtle who floated out in a soap bubble.
I was very proud of my story and our teacher took us through the steps of editing, grammar checking, and so on. Then she had each of our stories bound into a book at the end of the class.
In third grade we took a tour to a small publishing company and learned how books were made. Then we made our own books back at school. We wrote them out, edited and shared them, typed them up and then bound them. This one was about a duck who never stopped talking so all the animals hid from him until he learned to not always talk so much. My family laughed a lot over this book because I am a talker. My dad always says I can talk at 500 words a minute. He tells people I opened my mouth at 6 months old and have not stopped talking since.
Well that was it for me. Not only did I not stop talking, I didn't stop writing either. I got in trouble sometimes for writing during reading time, math, social studies, or other subjects. But it was important to me that I got my ideas down - so I risked it.

2- Why did you start writing?
This is an interesting question. The answer above covered a lot of this question. But those were short stories, fun little creations. So I'm going to answer this one as "Why did I start writing novels?" I love to read. I read anything I can get my hands on usually. I love escaping into the world the writer creates, and as a teenager I thought my life was just so awful that I loved escaping to any world that was not my own. When I discovered that I had the ability, and the imagination, to create those worlds, not just read about them, I was in heaven. I created those worlds to escape - to make characters that were everything I thought I was not. And to create guys who were perfect and who liked me - unlike the real life teenage guys I knew. (Seriously, how did any of us survive our teenage years?) But then the need to escape into those worlds became a passion of creating those worlds and those characters, and the desire to share the stories with others who could escape into my worlds and enjoy the life I had created there.

3- How long have you been writing?
I have a book that my grandma gave me for Christmas when I was about 3 years old (I still have it) and all around the edges of this book are swirls made in crayon and pencil. When my Mom saw me making these swirls all around the edge of edge page she asked what I was doing, and I told her I was writing. She thought this was amusing and didn't stop me. I was very careful and didn't "write" over any of the words, nor the pictures. Just carefully around the border of each page where it was blank. I love that book - it shows that apparently I had the aptitude for writing long before I knew how to write! So if you could from the age of 3 until now - I've been writing 25 years.
I already explained that I started actually putting together stories at about the age of 7 (in second grade) so if we start there then it's been 21 years
And I started writing my first novel at the age of 13 - so if we start counting there it's been 15 years.
But as much as I love my writing and loved doing all these things - it hasn't been until about the last 8 years when I became serious about my writing. I supported myself by working full time through school in order to obtain my BA in English - Emphasis in creative writing. In that time I wrote countless short stories, started several novels, completed my first novel, and first queried agents/publishers.
About 4 years ago, when I earned my degree, a couple of things happened that turned my life upside down for a while. I was engaged several times, and broke off all the engagements, I moved to several different states, traveled to several different countries, and in the process was completely put off writing. I would still write, dabbling here and there and always filing down ideas, but I just didn't have the time to get out my stories. Also I was working full time, first in a physical therapy office and then in a law office. Then I found the perfect man, and got married (Seriously, if you were able to write while planning a wedding and working full time - you deserve an award!) Then I struggled to find writing time while continuing to work and also becoming a full time caretaker to one of my friends (who was bedridden due to a pregnancy with twins) and her 4 year old daughter who didn't understand why Mommy couldn't play with her the same as before.
About a year ago my husband and I moved again to a different stated. His work transferred him and I would need to find a new job. It was then that we made the decision that I would stay at home and put everything I had into writing full time.
So I have had a dream for years, and I have written for years, but it has only been in the last year that I have had the opportunity to put everything I had into writing and only writing. I put all my effort, dreams, goals, and energy directly into writing, with no major distractions and with the desire to get my work into print. In that time I have finished 2 complete novels, both of which are currently being edited and/or critiqued by a wonderful support group (although I am always looking for new critique partners  - so please comment below if you are interest)
I also have a third novel in process which has been falling into place faster than I imagined.
I'm glad to finally be a full time author.

4-What do you like most about writing?
I love writing. It makes me happy and bubbly and makes all my frustrating times flee before me!
I love the way that I come to life and forget time when I'm writing. The way that the story just flows and is sometimes on the page before I even know what is happening. And the way my characters seem to take on a life of their own. I love it when I feel like I am following them through their story and I just commentate, rather than feeling like I'm writing their story. I create the setting and the conflicts - but they create the way the story flows. (Unless you are a writer you probably don't understand this concept and it probably sounds like I'm crazy) But in a nutshell - I love creating

5- What do you like least about writing?
Writer's block! Hands down I hate this. I have some stories where I have the beginning up to a certain point, and the end. But there is no middle to the story because I'm stuck and I have no idea how to get the story from point A to point B. That frustrates me to no end!

6 - What keeps you going when you're in the middle of a story?
Oh I like this question! I have a couple of things that keep me going when I'm in the middle of a story that I don't want to leave, but I need a break for a moment to breath, let my character's recoup, and stretch a bit before I continue to type. I call them my writing luxuries - it gives me a break and makes things interesting. My writing luxuries include painting my toenails on my desk while brainstorming, snuggling in bed while typing on my laptop, holding my extremely soft bunny on my lap while writing, eating Girridelli chocolate or Lindt truffles that I keep hidden in my desk drawer for my writing sprees, and giving myself writing breaks to go look at blogs of other writers that I love to follow.

Thanks for those who asked these questions so I could let everyone get to know a bit more about the author behind my stories and my blog posts. So now I'll give you a quick peek into me outside the writing world:

So Who Am I?

I come from a huge family (I am the 12th of 14 children) and I am the only author among them. Because all 14 of us have different talents and we live to share them with each other and everyone else.
I love chocolate and gummy candies much more than I should - and exercising is for the times I am not writing (so it usually gets pushed to the side)
I'm 28 years old and don't have any children. I may never be able to have children because I have PCOS, but we are always hopeful and I have an awesome doctor who treats me well.
I like watching movies and reading books, hanging out with our friends, and playing board/video games with my husband.
I ride my bike as much as I can in nice weather and I hate driving in the snow.
I love singing loudly while dancing around my kitchen (ballet being my favorite type of dance), and I like to make baked goods and treats.
I am a creative cooker and can usually whip up something pretty descent from scratch (making up the recipe as I go) - but in exchange I am very likely to fail a "no fail" recipe.
I own a parrot names Baby and a bunny named Thor.
My husband introduced me to super-heroes and I don't do horror in any way shape or form! (My overactive imagination prevents me from separating reality from fiction and if I get frightened I won't sleep!)
I am in love with my computer and my planner.
I am an excitable, enjoy life, learning to roll with the punches, social butterfly who jumps at the opportunity to meet new people and can begin to creative a story out of almost any regular every day event.
My life is never boring!
I'm an author.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Drafts

The first book I ever wrote was ....  well It was Terrible. But at the time I didn't think so. Now - fifteen years later - I stumbled across my original manuscript and I laughed so hard I cried. I seriously could not even read  because I was laughing and crying so hard, and my husband thought I was losing my mind. It was so awful that I couldn't help but laugh. I'm glad I have those first attempts at writing to look back on for the laughs and for the learning experience that they are. It's also interesting to see what I was going through in that stage of life. You see, when I started writing, I wrote to escape my life. I was a teenager, and of course life was awful - right? Well I started writing to create a different world, one where I didn't have to deal with the issues that seemed so traumatic to me back then. I created the character I wished I could be, and I gave her everything I wanted. The interesting part is that after she was given everything, and spent a good portion of the book happily ensconced in this world, then I made her not like it. It was too much. Having everything she wanted was not as fun as she thought. I she spent the rest of the book trying to help her escape from this perfect world I had created.
It was at this time that I realized that I enjoyed creating worlds and characters. I enjoyed writing for the sake of writing. After that I learned to take myself out of the book and create the settings, situations, and conflicts for my characters. And once I did, my characters brought themselves to life - with feelings, and attitudes, and different styles of handling the world I was creating around them.
I loved it! And I haven't stopped writing since.
I recently wrote a book in a week. I had some inspiration and I went to town. It felt good to get it all out, even though I mostly didn't sleep that entire week. When my first draft was finished, I slept for about two days. Was it a terrible first draft? Yup, it was terrible, but it was on paper.
I didn't realize how terrible it was until I had finished, set it aside, and then waited about a week. My husband wanted to know what the story was about and I decided to read part of it too him. I only got to about chapter 3 before we were both lost - and extremely amused by the sequence of events. I had seen the story so vividly in my head that I forgot to add all the information to the page - therefore making an extremely amusing, and terrible, and confusing story line. The rewrite was much better but I keep that original first draft to remind me that I'm still learning. It keeps me humble!
But let's be honest. Fifteen years of writing does not make me anywhere near an expert. It makes me passionate (or insane) about what I do. I still write some pretty terrible first drafts - and I still sometimes laugh until I cry when I reread them. I always keep a copy of a first draft. I have a filing cabinet completely devoted to my writing, and folders upon folders of story idea and first attempts at creating those ideas. Some I absolutely adore and I can't wait to return and finish writing them. But others I use for my own amusement - on those days I just need to laugh until I cry. And sometimes, when a friend or family member has a bad day, I share my amusing attempts with them. Because who can help but laugh at someone who is so willing to laugh at their own terrible first drafts?

Tell me about your first draft stories ..... ?

Monday, December 3, 2012

First Conference

Thanks to the many people who have come over to meet me and my blog! I appreciate the comments, the followers, and the support from everyone as I attempt to move to the next stage in my writing career!

And other updates from me?

This is it! I have officially registered for my first writer's conference! (http://anwa-lds.com/conference)
I have never been in a position to attend a writer's conference before now, and I am super excited. But I need advice! I want to make the absolute most out of the conference! The fun part is that this conference falls on my Birthday! So my wonderful husband paid for registration as an early (super early) Birthday present to me! he's so wonderful!
As a newbie to this sort of event - give me any advice you have! Any at all!  I graciously received some great advice from several people on the Author's Think Tank, but I am always open for more!
Ready ..... GO!