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Gobble Gobble Day, Writing Workshop & Books

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HAPPY GOBBLE GOBBLE WEEK!

Hello bloggers! Happy Monday and happy holidays! This week is Thanksgiving Week! What are you thankful for this year?

Some people are excited and back home for this week’s holiday, while others are attending work this week and can’t wait till Wednesday, when they’ll be set free for the rest of the week till next Monday. So, how are you planning on spending this LONG weekend?

I’m still in denial. The fact that, four days from now is Thanksgiving, baffles me. Completely and utterly baffles me. I have never, and I mean, NEVER in my life, gotten this close to the holidays and not felt it. I’m telling you, I feel nothing. I feel as though my city has gone crazy putting Christmas decor and discussing Thanksgiving recipes in July. It doesn’t help that I live in South Florida where it is HOT, and HUMID, and RAINY, and feels NOTHING like the Holidays.

It’s really bizarre because if you knew me, you’d probably want to send me in for a medical evaluation. I’m THAT person. The one who LOVES Christmas music and decorations November 1st. THAT girl, whose cheery and jolly and comes to life during this season. It’s MY season. It’s my favorite time of year. You have Thanksgiving, then my birthday, then Christmas, then New Years. I relish in this time and yet…NOTHING. I am dumbfounded that 2013 is over. This makes absolutely NO sense to me.

Okay, I’m going to stop before I drive myself crazy, and before driving y’all crazy with my denial.

Anyway! A couple things…

Remember I mentioned in my last blog, I’d attempt the “Ariel needs coffee” picture and would post it? Well, I did it. By NO MEANS whatsoever did it come out identical but hey, I tried. Ignore the weird hand, that was my attempt at emulating her Disney hands of frustration and I failed.

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I pat myself on the back about one thing though, I think the hair similarities were pretty sweet.

So every year now, I make one contribution for Thanksgiving. I can’t cook or technically bake, but one year I became ambitious after a commercial tutorial from Food Network. I blame you Sunny, and my family thanks you! *wink* Deep Dish Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie, ladies and gentlemen!

I don’t know what possessed me to think I could pull it off but I did, and I’m proud of it. Now everyone demands that I make it every year.

Here’s the Food Network picture of the pie:

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So yummy! It’s like a Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake. Here are the additions I put to it:

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I make fresh whipped cream from scratch and dollop it over the pie. Then I caramelize crushed pecans, let them cool and candy over, then sprinkle them on top. One year, when I was REALLY being bad, I lastly drizzled, lightly, Caramel and Chocolate syrup on top.

DE-LI-CIOUS!

Here’s the recipe, in case you’re interested in impressing your family this year with not just another ordinary Pumpkin Pie, but a twist and sprinkle of pizazz Pumpkin Pie!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/sunnys-hazelnut-pumpkin-pie/video/index.html

Watch the quick video tutorial and find the detailed recipe and instructions on the “Recipe” tab where the video displays.

Writing Workshop with Lauren Oliver:

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Writing YA: Spark, Structure and a little bit of Sparkle @BookFair

1) The Spark: conceiving of ideas that are both marketable and meaningful.
2) The Structure: understanding plot and building solid narrative architecture.
3) The Sparkle: the importance of a great first sentence, and the way to achieve voice through specificity.

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I didn’t know what to expect, meeting Lauren Oliver. I knew she was a New Yorker, and seemed cool on her weekly vlogs, but still, sometimes you wonder how nice, or chill, or down to earth these authors might be.

It was so refreshing and wonderful to see how she was all of those things. As you see in picture #2 she just hopped onto that desk, crossed her legs and got cozy with her fuzzy slippers.

I truly enjoyed this workshop. I feel so privilege to have been able to be a part of this class. I learned SO much and feel more confident attacking my new draft of my manuscript after this. She gave such clear understanding and step by step direction on approaching your story. She helped us understand not only what steps to take to make a story your own and good but about marketability as well.

This is an experience I’ll always treasure as one of my big “firsts”.

Reading Books:

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For this long weekend, as much as my fingers are itching to get back to writing, I intentionally want to put A LOT of time aside to reading. I have so many books I am dying to read! I have a stack of books that are taunting me with their pretty covers. I need to officially make a dent in that pile ASAP!

I’m finally reading Mockingjay, so for all of you awaiting my review, I’ll make sure as soon as I finish it, I’ll dedicate a blog post to it. I am sadly NOT a part of the group who have already seen Catching Fire in theaters, but I’m hoping to join my niece the Friday after Thanksgiving to finally watch it! I’ve heard such amazing things about it.

So that is all for today. May everyone have an amazing week and Holiday weekend! May you all eat lots of yummy turkey, pies, and read tons of books this week.

May you all find someone, if not family to spend this Thankful holiday with. It’s the little things in life, even when life has been difficult and felt as though it is falling apart, that I need to remember are the true joys in life. Hold on to them (the little things) and don’t lessen their impact because they “pale” in comparison to the big things.

It has been a very difficult year for me and my family. It’s been a year of coping, and recovering, reinventing, remembering, and holding on to one another to get by another day. It’s probably why I don’t feel the holidays for the first time ever, and this year flew by. We’re still dealing with events of the last year. In all that muck, I have to remind myself that, I have a family–though small, they’re here–and we went through hell, but we went through it together. I have to be thankful for that. We love each other and support one another–I have to be thankful for that. We still have a home, and food on our table every day and have little luxuries still–I have to be thankful for that. I have finally defined a passion I carried all my life but shied away from for years and though I fear I waited too long, that’s a lie–it’s never too late. I have much to be thankful for this year. How about you? Count the ways *grin*

Happy Thanksgiving bloggers! And if you’re from another country, take the time this week still to count the things you’re thankful for. Pay it forward perhaps.

You all are awesome!

Happy Reading!

 

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Unravel Me, Delirium Reviews & Sinus Colds

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The Sinus Cold Blues…and a little Reading

Hello everyone out there. Nice to see many new passersby that I am sure is only due to my two Hunger Games posts since today is…Happy Catching Fire Day! Everyone is so excited about today’s premiere and are prepping to line up in the midst of a hundred others to see this film. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty darn excited myself. It didn’t help that last night I suddenly hopped onto Youtube and found all these cast interviews and it was over…I was now officially fangirling. I also came to the realization of why everyone’s all

“Jlaw OMG” “Jennifer Lawrence tots!”

That girl is hilarious and very down to earth, screaming at the Victoria Secret model commercials on TV, telling them to get off her television.

That was it–Sold! I became a fan.

Finally, someone in Hollywood who is real or if there are others, is vocal and not ashamed to point out the truths and flaws about the industry she works in. What I love is, she has no fear of losing opportunities so she doesn’t keep her mouth shut about it. She relies on her talent and it’s paying off. Ok, wow, anyway, that was not the point of this post. *chuckles* But I guess  I gave my little tribute to the tribute of today’s premiere event. (Did you see what I did there? The little pun I did there? *cracks herself up…notices…she’s only one laughing…clears throat and continues*)

SO! I have been M.I.A. first, because I was busy being less introverted and having girl’s night out with the in-town bestie. It was good but unfortunately, the two week battle I was engaged in with this cold that tried to creep up on me but I kept swatting away, finally pinned me down like a wrestler. *Waves fist* “Why I outta….”

I have spent the last three days–today is day four–sick in bed with a sinus cold. (cue in the “boo”‘s) And get this…are you ready? I have not had coffee…in THREE. DAYS.

*TIME OUT*

So I went to go find an image to display my feelings about this and ran into too many good ones…I will share them now

*TIME IN*

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This picture seems so appropriate right now cause I’m a redhead again and I’m wearing my glasses. I’ll see if I can reenact this in a photo soon-lol

Well, today is day four and dag-nab-bit! I will NOT continue to be sick! Tomorrow is a very important day. Tomorrow, I paid to be in Lauren Oliver’s writing for YA workshop. *does a little dance*

I’m excited and a little nervous. I’m nervous, not because of the author. She’s cool but a person like all of us who once was just like me–not yet published with starry-eyed hopes and dreams. I’m nervous because I still don’t feel like I “belong” or “fit in” with the writer’s community. I haven’t “proven” myself yet. Who am I to even call myself a “Writer”. I think, “what kind of people will be there? English majors? English master degrees? Other already published authors? Authors who’ve written for 10, 20, 30 years trying to make it in the industry and who I am to stroll in–completely naive still to this world–and claim to have ideas, skills, talent?”

*breathe*

This will be my first Writer’s workshop and it’s with someone big in the YA community. Lauren Oliver is the author of the YA series, Delirium (Pandemonium follows, then Requiem ends the trilogy). In addition to that, she’s written a couple Middle Grade novels, her YA debut novel–Before I Fall–several short story (novellas) featuring secondary characters from the Delirium series and has a new YA standalone being released I believe it is early next year–Panic. All in all to say–this is a biggie. Our city is having a Book Fair which began this week and concludes this weekend. Tomorrow the workshop and then the rest of the weekend, out door canopies filled with authors and books of all kinds!

In the meantime, while I was cradled in the fetal position, in pain and migraine, wanting to take my FACE off, I turned to book binging. As some of you know, I was focused on writing these last few months but especially in the last month–working on changing my drafts–books had taken a bit of a back seat, which made me sad because I missed them. When my head wasnt throbbing, I reached over and grabbed the book I knew I would fly through. I had read the first four chapters and had to will myself to put it down because I was in the middle of reading other books at the moment. Three days ago, I was sick so, I didn’t care.

1459157_10152402995384768_1152035908_nUnravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

I believe I wrote a short opinion–not so much a review–of the first book of this trilogy, Shatter Me. These too will be short “Reviews” but wanted to just let you all know what I thought about these two books.

Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this sequel. I feel as though many things weren’t fully developed, giving us only pieces to a puzzle, which was probably on purpose in regards to setting up the final book of the trilogy, Ignite Me. The much anticipated CHAPTER 62 did not disappoint,

“Bravo Mrs. Mafi-Riggs *wink* Bravo”.

The new developments from where book one left off were interesting and had you wanting to understand where they were, and what’s really going on. The ending was unexpected, leaving you with the “grabbie hands” over Ignite Me that is taking TOO long to come home to me.

From here on out, I will be going into more details with SPOILERSyou have been warned 🙂 The next book Delirium review will also contain SPOILERS

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So! Adam kind of went down a notch for me here, which might have been Mafi’s intention so she could elevate Warner in our eyes after the TERRIBLE impression we were left of him in book one.

Adam finds out he’s got an ability but they didnt know what it was. Juliette was mourning the hope that it was just a fluke in humanity that gave her one person who could touch her in this life. Turns out, Adam could turn off someone’s ability but not knowing yet how to control it, had started weakening around Juliette, losing control of the turn off switch of her death touch which meant…Juliette was now able to hurt and kill Adam. Poor Juliette, I get her here. This really SUCKED for her. The only other person she knew who could touch her, she loathed–Warner.

So Adam, being the boy he is, tried at first keeping this from her, causing them tensions in their relationship, then she breaks up with him because she loves him and wont risk hurting him or worse, killing him. Right when Adam thought it would be okay, he goes for it. They have a steamy make out session and then…he gets hurt. Juliette’s done. She won’t do  this to him and walks away. Then enters Warner. Oh Warner. So apparently, before reading Unravel Me, Destroy Me–Warner’s novella–gives you insight to Warner and certain misunderstandings in Juliette’s point of view. Warner is that a jacked up, mistreated puppy, starving for love (Oh, yea, those who’ve read it…I just correlated Warner and the puppy…you know which one *wink*) whose been forced to do some terrible things since childhood. Warner and Juliette start bonding.

THEN! The thing I NEVER saw coming.

Warner’s dad–the evil Anderson–is ADAM’S FATHER!!! WARNER….AND ADAM…ARE BROTHERS! What! The! Heck!?
*drops book on lap-eye’s bulge*

 

I mean, wow. That just threw everything for a loop. Things just got VERY complicated…especially after that steamy almost more than a make out scene with Warner and Juliette in chapter 62.

The end when Juliette got shot shocked me. Her waking up next to Warner taking care of her was interesting and then…Mafi leaves us there.

So much of this book left MANY things unanswered. I will say, more than anything I am invested in the relationships here. What the heck is going to happen with Warner and Juliette, Juliette and Adam, Warner and Adam, because Warner still doesn’t know that they’re related. I was frustrated with Adam and Juliette’s relationship hence why it must have been so easy to hop on the Warner and Juliette train here. I read the rest of that book in one day. It was a great, quick read that pulled your emotions, made ya blush a couple times and left you very much wanting to know more after.

I generally liked this book very much and eagerly anticipate it’s finale. Apparently, before it comes out, Fracture Me–Adam’s POV novella will be coming out.

Next!

DeliriumSpecialEdit#131B687-1Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Sadly, this book has been LONG overdue. I knew I needed to read at least the first book of the trilogy before Friday–writer’s workshop. Since my head was throbbing, day two–sick in bed–I luckily had the audio book. I began listening where I had left off reading–chapter 12. I listened to the entire book all day and finished it. It was cool listening to the actress narrating Lena’s voice and doing the voices for the other characters so you knew who was speaking when. The only voice I wasn’t very fond of was Alex’s. She gave him this boyish surfer dude’s voice that irritated me after a while. I felt it was ruining my view of Alex.

This book took me some time to get into. I had started this book months ago and put it down. It was after reading Divergent and Insurgent that I attempted reading this one. Lena’s voice and life just hadn’t grabbed at me yet. The concept was very interesting and I heard SO many people have read and loved this series that I wanted to get into it. In the end, I put it down and continued reading other books. Finally, a month ago, I tried again and got only a little bit further to chapter 9. To it’s defense, I was still reading another book and then Allegiant also had come out, leaving all other books ignored till the end of this one.

Then I bought the audio book over a week ago and listened for a bit while in the kitchen till chapter 12. I had also received four other books that week in the mail and bought the Legend audio book by Marie Lu which all stole my attention away again. Book in general took a back seat because I had been focused on writing as well.

Finally, being sick, I closed my eyes and let the audio book play. My interest was getting peaked at this point because

*SPOILERS*

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Lena and Alex danced together at that secret music concert location, then they met at the beach and had cute moments together. Then Alex revealed the truth that he was never cured, he’s an Invalid from the Wilds who joined a resistance who live in Portland pretending to be cured. Lena freaked out and went back to her resolution to focus on getting cured…in seven more weeks. Lena needed to chose her match, who’d she marry and spend the rest of her “disease-free” self with. She decided on someone and tried forcing the idea of Alex out of her mind.

I enjoyed when her guard was finally down and her and Alex began getting closer. They’re love was that cute, fresh, innocent, young, summer love. Hana was now on her side, the three of them hanging out together or just Alex and Lena with Hana as their cover. Then the ending was intense. It all came spiraling downwards into a crashing halt!

Alex…he could not be…dead. I wouldve been more in shock if I wasn’t already anticipating it. I was previous spoiled by a vlog reviewer. Thankfully, after finishing this book, the first two chapters of the next in the series, Pandemonium was on the back.

All in all, from midpoint of the book to the end really grabbed my attention and pulled me in. It is beautifully written. Lauren Oliver describes moments and emotions well and gives them a poetic air without seeming pretentious or trying too hard. The language flows out naturally in seems and I enjoyed it very much. I am very much wanting to read the second book which I hear is the better of the three but then fear the third and last which I have heard okay reviews on. Most say it’s not a bad book but it just felt incomplete, without proper closure of the series. That makes me apprehensive because I dislike closing a series and not feeling satisfied with it as a whole… *cough cough* “Allegiant, I’m looking at you” *cough cough*

I have yet to finish a series where I read the last line, on the last page of the last book, close it, happy sigh pensively and float away.

Those were my two book reads on two of the three days I was sick in bed.

Yesterday I grabbed Mockingjay and finally started reading it. I’m hoping to feel satisfied at the end of it.

In the midst of my sickiness, a suprise goodie arrived for me in the mail! I think in my book haul, I mentioned winning a book over twitter through a HarperCollins teen division editor but I didn’t know which one.

Well, fate sent me the exact one I wanted!

Elusion book

Isn’t the cover beautiful? I’m a “judge book by its cover” girl. *throws hands up* I’m sorry. I can’t lie. A cover to a book I find is so important because it dictates 98% of the time, whether or not I’ll buy it. The 2% is due to it being highly recommended by other booknerds I trust.

Well, I think I have rambled on enough. Apologies if it’s a jumbled mess of thoughts. I am still coming out of my sick stupor. This is the most productive I’ve been all week.

Have a great week! I envy you all watching Catching Fire today! I may not get to seeing it for a while. Oh, the anticipation of awesomeness!

The End. Bye!

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First Draft Idea…Out the Window!

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“Perhaps you should forget about ____ all together?” -Bestie says cautiously over the phone

to which I responded:

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And I sat there, as she went on and on over the phone about the possibilities that could happen instead…and I continued…in silence…biting the tip of my thumb nail, remembering the breathe.

The thoughts going through my head?

“So…what she’s saying is–my story is not working as is. It isn’t, I have to admit. I can’t figure out how to end it. Every possible scenario we throw at the dang story, spits back a ‘Negative Captain’ at me. But…but…I was almost done with my story. I was practically finished with the first draft. I was starting the 2nd draft–changed the first chapter–we had a FLOW going on here…and..and now…what she is suggesting…is…Start. From. Scratch. All. Over. Again…Write. A. New. Completely. Different. Story…”

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Happy Monday everyone! Happy Veteran’s Day! Happy Day-Off Day! Happy Grateful to Our Men & Woman Serving America!

So how are you? *she sings*

Me? Oh, I’m perfectly fine *eye twitches*

No really! I’m great, just pushing forward, positive Patty, life has been great *pushes noose out of sight*

Remember when I mentioned my going to Writer’s Critique Group, reading my pages for the first time, I read them the first chapter of my first draft? No? You didn’t read it? Oh, you’re new? WELCOME!

Anyway, I took two days to process everything they suggested which in fact, was valid. The one thing I felt I needed to fight for, though they HIGHLY discouraged it, was my having 2 POV’s in my story. I vented and bounced ideas off of my best friend in Missouri. One night, I sat my aunt fanny (my buttocks) on the chair and began typing, rewriting, revising, rearranging and came up with a brand new 1st chapter. The first half of the new first chapter, I had to admit, was pretty good. I really liked how it came out. I had action now, I had the inciting incident in the beginning. (What’s that? Don’t be ashamed about not knowing…I didn’t know what it was. Oh Google–you drive me insane all the time, trying to know my private life and whereabouts and all, but man, I’m grateful you exist *wink*)

An inciting incident is an essential plot element in a work of fiction, where an event is struck upon the protagonist(s) where their life changes from the norm to adapt to the story’s plot. It could be as simple as meeting someone new in a romantic comedy, or as complicated as witnessing a murder.

The second half of the new and shorter chapter one, I was satisfied with it. My instinct deep down was telling me it wasn’t satisfactory but I punched it (my instinct), knocking it out, and stuffed it under my bed to shut up because, let’s be honest…I was wounded. I was sensitive about my story that I’ve been working months on. Then I called the bestie–the best beta reading critique partner ever! So grateful for her, especially during this process. (shoutout: Love you Therlee) She LOVED the first half.

“YAY” *high five myself*

Then I heard the hesitation in her voice, and since I know her well, I braced myself. She was about to solidify that instinct voice I punched out and stuffed away. I felt that instinct voice…hmm…let’s name her…Penelope. (She looks a bit librarian-ish with big circle glasses). Anyway, I felt Penelope creeping up behind me, about to pounce, yelling

“Ha! I was RIGHT!”

Heather (the bestie) mentioned the last half not working, to which I sighed and hung my head…knowing she was right. But I didn’t know how else to approach introducing certain characters I felt necessary or the background information, I believe was needed to set up the story. I felt discouraged. So we talked and talked for I think it was an hour.

We discussed the story. I discussed my insecurities and in the end, I finally blurted out–how out of everything in the story, there were three elements I feel passionate about. One being the premise the idea and story came from in the very beginning, to which she then…DROPPED THE BOMB.

I’m paraphrasing because to be honest, I was in shell shock. I probably can’t remember the exact words she used since I was not fully there after she said them. And to this; we reference the gif’s above…

“Well then…what if you take out _____(which is what I based the entire first book around. The conflicting worlds, this world was one of them, and a vital part to my Main Character. The title of the first book for goodness sake was the name of this world I created, in order to present conflict to the other world which began as the premise of the story.) take out _____ all together?”

she cautiously continues, gently, elaborating.

“Maybe you should just stick to this one world, and that’s it”

she says and I’m freaking out in silence. She can’t see my face but she knows me even through the phone. I’m thinking at this point…”But then…that means…changing…EVERYTHING…the story I’m almost finished writing. I have months of research and images for inspiration…all of it…Trash Bin?”

She continued, trying to encourage me and give me other options. I kept saying “Uh-huh” dryly, over and over.

Nothing she was saying to me created that…you know…I mentioned it back in the day (I believe it was the post “Plot Twist! Writing a Book) that…SPARK. The baby cupid of writing, shooting that arrow in your butt moment, where a story blooms in your mind. Nothing. I was getting nothing. I was panicking. I’ve heard of authors writing 2, 3, 7 Drafts before getting the final product of their story. I understood things would change, rearrange, etc…I just did not foresee this…Changing the Story Entirely.

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I worried about ever getting a new story. I worried about saying goodbye to these people in my head I’ve grown to love. The scenes I wrote. Many scenes that I loved, now gone. Tossed into a pile of deleted scenes no one will ever see or know about. My heart broke a little.

Right when we were about to hang up, she said something. My ears perked like an animal and I got up to pace a bit. My “uh-huh”‘s were less dry. I started contributing scenario ideas. EU-freaking-REKA! The SPARK!

Oh thank GOD! I was beginning to worry and panic. Ok…I was already worrying and panicking.

I sat down and wrote out a brief synopsis idea, went to bed, slept on it and woke the next morning with a new world moving into my brain. I mean, they had full on mover’s and a moving truck, parade of people and all.

I spent the next day researching 9 hours in front of my IPad, other author’s drafting process. God bless Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate series. She has an amazing blog series of posts about her writing process, drafting her second and third book of her now trilogy. The third book is due January *skips around–happy dance*

If you are writing a book and are like me; completely ignorant to the rules of this industry. If you have ideas bursting and don’t know how to plan or organize them before or during the writing process, I HIGHLY recommend you spending a day just reading ALL of these posts about her advice to writers…click….HERE

Life saver, my friends. I was determined to approach this new story premise and draft completely differently. I would know the ending and the entire idea, before tackling the first chapter. I spend the next two days, between research and outlining, looking like this:

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I spent all of yesterday world-building, character profiling, writing out the premise, then a beginning synopsis–it all started coming together! I got really excited when I was able to do something I previously couldn’t with my first drafted story. Jodi says she would have herself write a “query letter style blurb” to help her put focus to the central theme, conflict of the story before writing it. I thought, “Hm. I like it. Let’s try it.” When it came to me and was approved by two critique partners…Heck to the yeah! I was excited again.

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In the end, go figure, many ideas and characters I had in my first draft, were still relevant to the new story. It wasn’t all a waste. My two main characters, that I love dearly, are still my MC’s. Now, my critique group will be happy to know that my story went from  two POV’s to one. This new story can be effectively told just through my female MC’s POV. My previous story was big and complex (hence it was going to be a trilogy) to tell it through one person’s view from only one of the two complex worlds. Now, the story may even just be a stand-alone.

This writing a book journey is definitely an emotional one. You’re giving of yourself, completely to something. It’s all you, there’s no hiding behind let’s say as an Actor, you can say “Uh, well…the script sucked. Not my fault?” Here, it’s ALL you. It’s vulnerable. It’s personal. And I love it and wouldn’t change a thing. *smiles*

Again, if you’re writing a fiction story; especially if it’s not a contemporary story, check out Jodi Meadow’s posts on drafting from the “idea seed” as she called it, to writing the first chapter, and everything in between.

If you too have had to toss out an ENTIRE manuscript draft, you spent a long time creating, don’t be discouraged. This was the best decision I could have made. It hurt like hell but my story is a better story so far, because of it. It has a tighter construction than before. It has a possible, or even a few possible endings now.

Enjoy your writing process folks! I’m there with ya. Thanks for reading my crazy ramble on tossing out my “practically-completed-67,000-word-draft-only-to-start-all-over-from-almost-scratch” story. The point is, don’t quit!

You get up, dust yourself off, swallow your pride and get back to writing! Don’t give up, I keep reminding myself. I need to…every day! So now I’m telling you…

“Dont give up!”

Time is a tricky tricky thing that will sneak up on you very quickly. Don’t give up or procrastinate. Time is going to keep moving, with or without you. Take advantage and make things happen! You can only control in this life, your part of things. Do your part, and regret nothing!

Happy Writing and Reading and Living Life everyone!

<3, Des

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Book Haul: November 2013

Omylanta, let’s talk about BOOK HAUL

*book shimmy*

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Ok, Tumblr-slightly disappointment there weren’t more options and better quality of Ally McBeal dancing baby gifs.

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Target revamped their YA section 🙂

Hello blog world, bookish friends, writers and all! I rarely have the opportunity for a Book Haul because, well, my pocket is not very deep, if you catch my drift. Every once in a while, a paycheck will allot me the opportunity for a splurge here and there. I had no intention of making Fall November 2013, a big Bookish splurge but…well…here it is *giggles nervously*

First, I went on Amazon and found four books I have really wanted for months now. So…I purchased them! Next week is going to feel like Christmas in November *squeals*

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

(2nd book of the Shatter Me series)

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Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

(1st book of the trilogy)

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The Elite by Kiera Cass

(2nd book of The Selection trilogy)

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Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

(1st book of the trilogy)

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*happy dance* Can’t wait to get these in my hands. I am going to need to do a book reading binge soon. So many books, so little time. So here I was thinking, I got books to last me for a bit when all of a sudden, I did something I shouldn’t. I went to Target. Oh, Target, you dangerous wonderland of goodness. The picture above is from Target. They upgraded their Young Adult literature section and added a Middle Grade section. I went to Target for some needed errands and found my way passing through this dangerous and wonderful section. Then…this happened.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

(final book of the Hunger Games trilogy)

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Legend by Marie Lu

(1st of the trilogy)

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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That makes a grand total of: 7 books!

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, today a Harper Collins editor had a giveaway celebrating her 5 years with Harper. She was giving away books she’s edited…and…I WON A BOOK! (Thanks for much @sarahshum!!!)

*book shimmy & moonwalk*

I don’t know what book I won, *chuckles* but HarperCollins and their HarperTeen division (Epic Reads, ya know) is my favorite publishing house. I love their books! So that brings a total of EIGHT books for this unexpected Fall November 2013 Book Haul!

In the next couple of weeks, I may be planning a book reading binge weekend! I will disappear from the world, put aside my writing, and just binge on books! I’ll let you all know when that happens. Wanna join me? I’m hoping if I focus the entire three days on reading, I can finish a book a day and have three knocked off the TBR (to-be-read) list! Ambitious, I know. The thing is, since I’ve been focusing on finishing the first draft of my book, I’ve been spending my days writing more than reading. Now, with all these goodies in my possession, I miss getting lost and just devouring some good books, finding new book boyfriends, escaping to other worlds, lives…you know! *winks*

I’ll call it:

BOOK BINGE NOVEMBER-WEEKEND!

All books, 72 hours. Of course with breaks to eat and I assume fitting in a shower a day…maybe. Hmm, I’m processing as I’m writing this. I may want to make this a monthly event in my life. I’m a hermit by nature-Introverted. This might work splendidly. Again, I’ll let you all know. Then I can focus on giving reviews on each book from that weekend and something else fun…I need to brainstorm.

Any-hoo, that’s all folks! Hope you all have a great weekend!

SHOUT OUT TO NaNoWriMo BOOKNERDS!

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Sending some love and positive writing juices to all those awesome people tackling NaNoWriMo this month! I seriously admire you all for attacking those manuscripts. Perhaps I will join the next one!

Alright folks! Happy Reading, Writing and well, just have fun! I hear Thor’s out *squeals*

 

 

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Bookish Days: Many Adventures

Booknerd in a Bookstore’s quick update 🙂

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Booknerd in a Bookstore here, coming to you all after weeks of radio silence.

It’s been a crazy few weeks since I had started at the Bookstore. Much has happened. Here are some updates of my bookish adventures. There has been author signings, local author night’s, book clubs and today even, is a Wimpy Kid Party celebrating the release of “Hard Luck” book #8 of The Wimpy Kid series.

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Author Events:

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Lori St. John wrote a non-fiction legal thriller about her own experience as a lawyer, fighting for Justice. October 30th, Lori St. John graced the bookstore for an author presentation and book signing!

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Halloween!

IMG_20131022_171954Halloween was a busy and very cute day! Lots of little ones came in with their parents, decked out in their costumes. We accepted all Tricker Treaters, giving them candy as they came. We saw all…

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Writing, Critique Groups, Playing Publisher’s Game

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Writing, Critique Groups and Playing the Publisher’s Game, Oh My!

Last night was my second time attending a SCBWI (Society of Children Books Writers & Illustrator’s) writer’s critique group. We meet monthly. The first time I met them, I was a bubble of nerves.

“Will they like me? Will I belong? Will they believe I have any talent or ability at all to pursue this career or will they look at my blood, sweat, and tears, pat me on the back and say, “That was a cute attempt…don’t quit your day job kid”?

Of course, I was NOT reading anything from my manuscript the first time around. I wanted to get a feel for them first. I heard others read on my first day and yes, became intimidated. Most in the group are already published authors, and unlike other groups in my city, I do appreciate my group for taking in newbies like me.

A month past and I received the email.

“Who’s attending and who’s reading?” *swallowing sand paper*

I told myself to just rip off the band aid off, get it over with and read the dang chapter already. I’m only 12-15 chapters away from finishing my first draft, so might as well get this critique, editing process started. No time like the present, they say, right?

It’s interesting because, after I read my chapter out loud, they all doodled their thoughts on their copies and verbally critiqued, they gave me interesting advice about the Publishing world.

First, let me just say, they were very kind. *chuckles* I’m sure, they could have been more brutally honest. There were valid points they made about my first chapter. It must always be hard to have your story one way, being it’s your baby, you hold it dear, and then be given valid advice that requires you to change completely your first chapter, leading to more editing of the rest that follow.

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 I now understand how 2nd, 3rd, and etc drafts are made. I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t expecting it this soon.

So the Publishing world: Apparently there are “rules.” There’s a set look, feel and formula they desire. They will pretty much bypass anything else. They know what’s marketable. They’re business people who need to sell. I was told, you need to learn the rules, follow them, then in time, once you’ve proven marketable, then maybe you can break the rules.

Now, I grew up pursuing the entertainment industry through many outlets. (Music, Acting, Dance, Beauty, etc) I’m well aware of the game within the Entertainment Industry that you must play and sometimes, it can make your skin crawl. Now I’m realizing that all Creative industries, run the same way. It’s about knowing who’s who, playing by the rules to even get your foot in to be seen for a millisecond and then...chance. You fight, you kick, you bleed your arse off and then…the rest is up to chance.

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Encountering this light bulb last night, thanks to these writers who have been in the industry, some for over 30 years; made my pursuing Writing become very real all of a sudden. I knew this journey would be long. I knew this journey would be hard. I knew…in theory. I got a dose of understanding and reality last night.

I was given “homework” sort of speak from the leader of my critique group. Grab all the dystopian novels I have in my possession, and read all their chapter ones. Read them and emulate them. The first chapter is crucial. The first sentence is dire. There’s a way of doing things with chapter ones, with the dystopian genre and if I want any hope of an agent or editor to even glance at my manucript, I need to emulate the formula; follow the “rules.”

2nd Drafts:

(took a twitter break…I’m back)

I called the bestie and verbally processed last night. I’m almost done with my first draft but am now feeling conflicted about just focusing on finishing the last few chapters first or start a new version of the manuscript-2nd Draft-and start hacking at it.

First drafts, especially when it’s your first official one, I’m sure; are such a big vulnerable part of you. The thought of it not working as is, and needing to take it, deconstruct it and make it work now, can feel daunting. My mind wouldn’t shut up last night. Dozing off, my every last thought, as much as I attempted shutting it up, dealt with reworking my novel in my head.

I almost tackled my “homework” late last night, as my eyes were closing. The bestie talked me into putting everything away, going to sleep and starting fresh in the morning.

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Yeah, it was a good idea. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.

So today, I am going to look like a mad woman, with books spread all throughout the floor,reading chapter ones, and jotting down notes. I’ll probably be mumbling to myself as well. Don’t act like you’ve never done it!

There are certain things I believe, one should still fight for. There may be aspects to the “rules” that are highly discouraged for beginners, but hey! What if it works out in the end? Many authors were told their story, concepts, etc wouldn’t work. They were rejected countless times and in the end, became published and some of them are now the big, well-known books out there today.

Apparently, a big “No-No” for beginners is tackling two POV’s. (Point of View’s). You are not expected, unless you’re an experienced author, to do this well, because they said it is very difficult to do, and do it with consistency that aids the flow of the story.

I was HIGHLY discouraged from doing so. I was being told in a nice cryptic way, “Don’t do it. Change it to one POV.”

I will have to say (and thanks to my bestie’s encouragement last night. She knows the entire story-manuscript), this may be the one point I feel strong about fighting for, at this present time. My story would be incomplete without both perspectives. There would be an emotional lacking. My main character’s developing relationship rides on misunderstandings and misguided first impressions. I need both of their views. I will continue to do so and wait and see. Hoping and wishing, it all works out in the end.

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Off I go to research, full on mad woman style. Thanks for hearing the ramble.

Good luck writers! Happy Reading!

Des 🙂

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Catching Fire…Oh Yeah

Catching Fire

 

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Okay, seriously? Why did it take me so long to read this series? I believe when the movie first came out (Hunger Games), I was in my reading slump. Then, as you all (who’ve read my rant after reading the first book, Hunger Games) may know, seeing the movie first, then later on, finally reading the book, kind of messed up the book for me. The pace felt slower and dull because I already knew what was going to happen. I applaud the movie for that. Other than the last few pages of the book, the movie was pretty true to it.

I LOVED the ending of the first book. I loved it more, because I didn’t see it coming, since the movie didn’t show those details. The movie didn’t need to, they did a good job. For me, it was an extra bonus to enjoy, which saved the series for me. I was now in “need” *grabbie hands* of the next book.

Having learned my lesson from this first experience, I bought the second book and determined myself to read it before watching the second movie, “Catching Fire”.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth came out right when I was in the middle of reading Catching Fire. Of course, Catching Fire had to wait. After the mourning period for Allegiant was over and I regained my sanity, I finally picked up this book to finish it. Last night, after a LONG day of writing, I picked up the book and told myself at midnight, “You are going to finish it.”

4:30am came around and I now “needed” Mockingjay in my life, ASAP!

I was excited for the movie already, Oh my, was I excited. Now, after reading this book… excuse me for a moment… *kermit flails*

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I loved the second book. This book has made me a Suzanne Collins fan. So much happened in this book, that by the time the Quell Games began, that alone could have been a book on it’s own. I love how well rounded everything felt. She touched everything. Gave you intentional encounters with everyone you needed Katniss to interact with that left you feeling satisfied by the end. Let’s just say, I needed more Gale in book one. I wanted to understand him more. I wanted to understand his relationship with Katniss more. I needed to understand her and her reasons for most of her inner dialogue within the first book, and the second book gave that to us.

The ending, I will NOT spoil for anyone, but let me just say…Nicely done Suzanne Collins. Again, I am in “NEED” of Mockingjay, now!

The movie posters make so much more sense now. I can appreciate them in a whole different way, where as before, I just thought they were pretty or cool. They did an amazing job capturing key themes and moments within the book through these movie posters.

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The movie stills are great as well. I can tell they stayed true to the books again, which elevates my excitement levels for this movie.

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I am so glad they cast Jennifer Lawrence for this role. I don’t believe another actress could have done the role of Katniss justice. I wish Josh Hutchinson was just a wee bit taller than her. I can’t help but laugh a bit and hope his shortness doesn’t translate much in the film.

In book one, I was team Gale. Now in book two, I’m team Peeta.

*small SPOILER below…look away*:

I fell in love with Peeta during the interview before the Games with Ceasar. When he busted out the “pregnancy” bit, I was laughing literally out loud. I couldn’t believe he did that.

*End of Spoiler*

I love how protective Peeta was. In book one, he was protective but it was a little boy protecting a girl he likes. In book two, I felt he grew up a bit and became more wise. Casting a character can affect the character in your head. Since I saw the movie first, Peeta was now Josh Hutchinson in my head. I’m not personally attracted to him and he looks like a little boy, especially in the first movie. That ruined Peeta for me a bit. Then in book two, I was able to look past the actor, and see the character Suzanne Collins created, and I was suddenly now on his team.

i couldn’t rate book one, because like I mentioned in one of my blog posts (Hunger Games: Movie before Book Impression) watching the movie before, ruined the reading experience for me. This book I will say, even if that hadn’t happened; movie tainting my book experience with the first one, I can still say, Catching Fire is my favorite book of the series thus far.

I give this a

*****5 out of 5 Stars! *****

So there it is. My impression of Catching Fire the book. 4:30am people….I was up till then finishing the book. I’m exhausted *chuckles* but it was well worth it. On to the next read! *bursts through doors like a boss*

Happy Reading and Writing to everyone, this fine November day. I hear it’s “cool” outside today. I live in South Florida. It becomes a big deal to us folks here, having a “cool” day and all .

Let us end with some more Catching Fire picture goodness shall we?

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