Wednesday, 30 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

Well, I finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I don’t want to say too much, seeing as I know some of you are either currently reading it or hoping to soon, but I’ll admit that I think it should have been much shorter. This is just my opinion, but I felt there was too much reflection and the plot never really gained momentum. So I guess Daughter of Smoke and Bone is still my favourite in the series.

Now I’m reading the first Veronica Mars mystery, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and Rae Carson’s novella, The Shadow Cats.

What I’m Writing:

I revised another six scenes this week, plus did some research that involved listening to a lot of classical music. I also scribbled down some new details for the third book in my trilogy. I already know most of what will happen in it but was able to flesh out one major plot point. I’m hoping to sit down, sort through my notes and do some official planning on it soon. But first…more revisions.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Rainy days.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Every year our local symphony holds a used book sale for a fundraiser, and every year for the last dozen years, we’ve gone. We even have our own little collapsible book cart that we bring along and fill to the brim. So far this year, we’ve bought 76 books. Not too shabby! That’s actually low compared to some years, but we’ve learned to be choosier. When the books are generally only a dollar or two, it’s easy to go wild and buy too many that will never get read. Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved shopping for used books. It feels like an adventure because you never know what gems you’ll find. And there’s something very satisfying about “rescuing” books that might otherwise end up in the recycling. As usual, we found a little bit of everything. My son hit the jackpot on the Star Wars novels this year, so that should keep him busy for a good, long while. My favourite find was a lovely, old copy of Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Now, to find space on our shelves for this load!


Also, I fell in love with coconut bubble tea this week, which I’d never tried before. I foresee more of it as my summer writing fuel. Mmmm...

Well, that’s about it for me. How was your week?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

Still poking away at Dreams of Gods & Monsters.  I’m about three quarters of the way through.

What I’m Writing:

Round two of revisions got underway this week, and I checked nine scenes off the list. I’m now fiddling with the prose and TRYING to trim out words. I have a long way to go, but I love this stage of the process where I can tweak and shape and polish and really make the story come alive.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

I’ve been listening to Ingrid Michaelson’s fantastic new album, Lights Out. It’s typical Ingrid, with her usual mix of delightfully quirky and beautifully heartfelt songs, and yet it’s fresh and different for her too. I’m having a tough time narrowing down a favourite song off this album, but I love Open Hands, Over You, and Afterlife to name a few.


So why does she inspire me? Two big reasons. First of all, her music is a perfect metaphor for what “voice” means in writing. When you listen to an artist like Ingrid Michaelson, her style sounds unique, distinctly her. She can come out with another album and while it’s brand-new material, it’s still easy to recognize as her work. There’s a consistency to it, yet it brings something previously unexplored to her listeners. That’s what I should strive for as a writer trying to define my voice. Does it sound distinctly me? Is there a thread of consistency that runs through all my work and brands it as my own?

The other reason Lights Out inspires me is because it’s rejuvenating my love for a WIP I shunted to the backburner a couple years ago. I had a few of Ingrid’s songs on my playlist for that one, a contemporary YA romance that sort of morphed into an NA story instead. It isn’t the right time to pull that WIP out now, but it’s still percolating in the back of my mind and I’m reminded that I shouldn’t give up on it.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Finley and Flowers
Seeing as it was Easter weekend, we had a lot of relaxing family time around here: enjoying turkey dinner, watching Eureka, eating homemade chocolate chip cookies, listening to Lights Out, discovering the awesome show Suits, making delicious pica de gallo, watching The Dark Knight Rises, the boys running and me walking, the boys watching hockey while I revised my WIP, enjoying the mini carnations my hubby gave me just because, hiding from the gross weather. We got dumped on AGAIN with snow, but it fittingly disappeared on time for a nice, sunny Earth Day.

Also, it suddenly occurred to my husband and me that this was a milestone weekend for us. Twenty years ago, we started dating at Easter. We were only teenagers, and we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart. Is it any wonder everything I write has an element of romance in it?

So how was your week?


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

I’m still reading Dreams of Gods & Monsters, which should come as no surprise considering the size of it. Some of that reading took place by candlelight since our power not so conveniently went out the other night. Very atmospheric.

What I’m Writing:

This has been one of those odds and ends sorts of weeks. I finished up my book map (which is kind of gargantuan) and I’ll hopefully sit down and give that a much more thorough look soon. I went through my notebooks and compiled a list of details I need to add or change in my ms. Most of these are little things that aren’t essential to the plot but still need to be incorporated or fixed. I also did some research and started tackling some overused words and phrases. Like I said, I fiddled with a little bit of everything. Now I’m ready for round two of revisions to officially get underway.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

My new Lenovo ideapad (see below).

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Well, because I’m a clumsy idiot, I poured tea all over my laptop and fried it. That resulted in wild beeping noises, certain keys no longer working, and chunks of open files randomly deleting. Oh, and me going into panic mode. At 1:00 in the morning. Fortunately, the hard drive was all right, and I back up my Scrivener files religiously, so I didn’t lose any of my manuscript. Still, being without my own laptop to work on was problematic, so my boys (who are both big computer nerds) and I went on a whirlwind laptop shopping trip. I was very picky about what I was looking for but managed to find just the right one. It’s super slim, types like a dream, and even has a touch screen—not one of my criteria but an awesome bonus. My old laptop was on its last leg, so this new one is a huge improvement, and I’m looking forward to seeing what stories I can conjure up on it. And yes, I still drink tea while I’m working (come on, it’s my writing fuel) but I’m paranoid about spilling again.

The hubby and I finished the third season of Veronica Mars, and then watched the movie while snacking on mini Mars bars. That seemed like the most fitting treat for the occasion (besides marshmallows). We both enjoyed it and really hope they come out with another one. I’m sad that we burned through this crazy good show so quickly. Question: Why is there no Team Wallace? C’mon Veronica, you can’t tell me you didn’t at least consider it once or twice!

We also went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier and loved it. Then we got caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., something we couldn’t do before because we’d been warned that it contained major movie spoilers. Last week’s episode was unbelievable. I was so-so on parts of the season (although overall I love the show), but now they’ve really amped up the plot. I’m still feeling kind of gobsmacked to be honest.

So that was my week. How's yours going?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

This past week, I finished Unhinged by A.G. Howard and Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Now I’m reading Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor, which is aptly named, because wow, at 613 pages this book is a monster!  I’ve only peeked at the first few pages, but Laini’s prose grabs me every time. I’m hoping for an epic ending to this trilogy.

My husband picked up a copy of Dreams of Gods & Monsters for me without even realizing there was a Karou art print inside, illustrated and autographed by Laini Taylor. What a cool surprise to open the book and find this…

What I’m Writing:

I finished my first round of revisions on Saturday, after what may or may not have been a sixteen hour writing session. My boys were out, so I had the house to myself and once I got on a roll, well, I just kept rolling. So now I’ve rewritten any large segments that needed work and smoothed out all the major plot issues—most of the minor ones too, although I find those have a nasty tendency to crop up like annoying little weeds throughout the process,.

I finally got around to filling in my index cards on Scrivener, which I should’ve done ages ago. Before delving into round two of revisions, I’m going to map my book and see what insight that gives me. After working on that for a few hours last night, I’m realizing that’s going to be a big task but one I think will be well worth the effort.

Other than that, I did some research on brain networks, which was actually much more fascinating than it sounds. At least the bits I could understand anyway. It's amazing how much effort goes into researching one tiny explanation in a story just to make it plausible. Fascinating or not, I'd still rather be writing kissing scenes. :D


What Inspires Me Right Now:

Fiction University. Seriously, if you haven’t checked out that site (formerly known as The Other Side of the Story), you should make a point of it. Janice Hardy and her crew hand out a ton of useful writing advice. I won’t list specific links because there have been far too many helpful articles lately, but I recommend taking a browse over there. Writing is a lot less daunting with resources like this just a click away.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Yesterday, I participated in the cover reveal for One, Two, Three by Elodie Nowodazkij. If you haven’t seen Elodie’s lovely cover yet, you can check out my post here or Elodie's blog here. And just to entice you even more, she's doing an awesome giveaway, so be sure to enter that!

Besides the usual daily stuff, I’ve been cheering over the fact that spring is FINALLY here and our snow is almost melted. There were many episodes of Veronica Mars this week, dates with the treadmill, plus a delicious Japanese meal during my enormous revision session. Nothing clears the brain for writing like wasabi. I think my sinuses are still burning.

So what’s up with you fine people?



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

COVER REVEAL: One, Two, Three...by Elodie Nowodazkij



Today, I'm thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for One, Two, Three by Elodie Nowodazkij. Elodie was one of the first people to welcome me to the blogs. When I needed beta readers, not only did she volunteer, but she went the extra mile in making me feel great about my WIP. You'd be hard pressed to find a more encouraging person in the writing community. I know she's put her heart and soul into this book, and I'm so happy that soon it'll be in the hands of readers. I haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet, but I'll be one of the first in line (or rather online) to buy it on June 26, 2014!


Cover design by CreativIndie Covers
One, Two, Three is a YA contemporary romance. Here's the synopsis:

When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.

Last year, Natalya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.

But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.

At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present, and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell.

But when upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?

If you think that sounds moving and swoony and overall awesome (you know you do) then you can add One, Two, Three to your "to-read" shelf on Goodreads here.

And now, a few tidbits about Elodie:


Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Germany with her husband and their cat (who doesn’t seem to realize he’s not human), and uses her commuting time to write the stories swirling in my head. She's also a serial smiley user. ONE TWO THREE is her first novel. 



Learn more about her upcoming releases by subscribing to her newsletter. You can also follow Elodie at these links:


To celebrate her cover reveal, Elodie is hosting a special giveaway! You can enter on the rafflecopter below. 

*Cover reveal organized by Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours and Xpresso Reads


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday


In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

I’m about two thirds of the way through Unhinged. It was another slow reading week for me, but I’m sneaking in a few pages here and there.

What I’m Writing:

This week I revised a few key scenes. I’m right in the heart of the good stuff, and I’ve been taking my time rewriting the end of one chapter in particular. These are the scenes that make me love revising, the ones I get stuck in for all the best reasons. I have a feeling I’ll need to hack some of the next couple scenes down, which is painful to even think about. For the time being, I’m letting myself get lost in them though.

I also finally got around to naming some new characters. When you have a large cast, it can be hard to find a wide variety of names, especially when you’re looking for just the right ones. It’s a huge relief to me that, as small as some of these characters are, they’re finally more than blanks in my manuscript.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Over at YA Buccaneers, Ghenet (aka Curly McGee) recently did a post about book mapping. I took one look at it and realized this is EXACTLY what I need to do to get my WIP in shape. I’d had something like this in mind but wasn’t really sure how to go about it. In her post, Ghenet goes through the basics of book mapping and suggests Cheryl Klein’s book, Second Sight, as a further resource. Once I’m done this first round of revisions, I’m going to sit down and map this sucker out, which should give me some much needed guidance for round two. If you aren’t familiar with book mapping, I suggest you take a look: here. Thanks again to Ghenet for sharing what she learned at her book mapping workshop!

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Same old same old, only with more chocolate and lemon tarts. I know that kind of defeats the purpose of my Roswell Challenge, but I made sure I did extra time on the treadmill to make up for the dessert and craft brews consumed this weekend. I haven’t been limiting my exercise to a single episode of Roswell either. Lately, I’ve been tossing in some M83 and Ellie Goulding for kicks. There’s something rather fitting about listening to Ellie sing “Burn” while I’m trying to burn off calories. Take that calories!

I also received a couple treats from the hubby this week. Recently, he bought me some wild cherry black tea from McQuarries, our favourite tea shop. I immediately fell in love with it, and it’s become my writing tea. I managed to slurp it all down in record time, so he was thoughtful enough to surprise me with a new supply the other day. Must keep the brain fuelled! And then, on Monday, a Veronica Mars BOOK arrived in the mail for me! I had no idea there even was a book, but my husband happened to find out about it and ordered me a copy. In case you live under a rock like me, it’s called The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Seeing as it takes place ten years after the TV series (like the movie) I need to finish watching the show before I read it. I can’t wait, but at the same time I’ll be devastated when I’m done. We’re part way through season 3 now. Sniff.


So what’s up with you this week?