Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy Old Year: Reflecting on A Year in #Writing

Image

Courtesy Jmvkrecords

Reflecting on A Year in Writing*

 

Should old manuscripts be forgot

And never brought to light?

Should old manuscripts be forgot

And WIPs we didn’t write?

 

For Works-In-Progress, do I mean?

For Works-In-Progress, yes!

We’ll need some Scrivener or MS Word

For novels that weren’t the best.

 

We have worn pathways in our floors

And torn every hair out

But we have poured our hearts into

Our books that caused us doubt.

 

And surely we’ll pay to be in print

With money, blood, or sanity!

And we’ll take every crumb of encouragement

To think our work’s not a calamity.**

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

*NOTE: I make no claims to be a poet OR a songwriter.

**Hey, you try rhyming with sanity!

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Write Every Day! And other unrealistic expectations

I WON! I WON!

Yes, I “won” NaNoWriMo. My manuscript needs work. A lotta work. But I made it to 50k words (technically 50,001).* And there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. I do believe in this premise and the characters. But I don’t even want to think about it right now (or even share all of its badness with my CPs yet). And all of the most brilliant writing gurus say we should put away the NaNo novels for at least a month to let them simmer, so that works fine for me.

I was able to keep up writing virtually every day while I was doing NaNo, and then the moment December 1 rolled around, I said, BASTA.** Then I tortured myself reading all of these blogs that said how such-and-such writer finished NaNo in eight days! Or three days! And how important it is to write your $%# off Every. Single. Day. No matter what!

Or you’ll never be successful, they all seem to suggest.

Well, fugheddaboudit. I’ve decided that everyone works differently. I need the crowd, “let’s do it together!” mentality of NaNo to push myself to write everyday. Otherwise I lose my focus and get too easily distracted with other projects.

But–let’s say it together–that’s okay. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.***

And I realized something anyway. Just because I’m not working on a new novel everyday doesn’t mean I’m not practicing my writing. It’s just sometimes my writing consists of blog posts (hi there!), or a book review, or a report for Inklings, or even finishing my edits for Three Wishes (hurrah!).

Words are prevalent for me all day, every day. I don’t have to prove to anyone–not even myself–that I’m a writer by holding myself up to unrealistic expectations. It’s plain old writing that makes me a writer.

Hey, this is completely random, but as we are deep in the holiday season, here’s a link to my new favorite holiday song. Ignore the fact that it’s from Glade. (You read that right.)

http://www.glade.com/en/this-is-my-wish

*Not kidding! I wrote only until I didn’t have to.

**Which means “enough” in Spanish, Dad. Not just me misspelling pasta.

***Please tell me if you know this reference.

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Book Review #NewRelease – #OneMoreDay

One More Day

It was my pleasure to read and review One More Day, which just released from J. Taylor Publishing!

In the interests of disclosure, the publisher provided me with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for an unbiased review. Please scroll down to the end of the post for my take on the book.

From the Publisher’s Website

One More Day

by Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, L.S. Murphy, Danielle E. Shipley, Anna Simpson

Release Date: December 2, 2013

Target Reader: Young Adult

Keywords: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Fiction, Romantic, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Description

What if today never ends?

What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens?

Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.

Unless …

In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.

How do we restart time?

How do we make everything go back to normal?

The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could, maybe, happen today.

Right now.

What would you do if this happened … to you?

My take on the book:

When I was asked to review this anthology, I was intrigued by its premise, and agreed right away. Notwithstanding the Wilson Phillips earworm that the title inspires (am I dating myself?), I found it overall a great read, and entirely appropriate for its Young Adult audience.

In Time Piece by Anna Simpson, the main character has to destroy a time machine before the world is completely destroyed. This machine, built by her uncle, put time into an ever-smaller loop, and the loop is almost done. The frenetic pace was perfect for this plot-driven story, and though I would have liked a little more character-building, I thought it was a great pick for the anthology’s starting position.

Dark Rose by Marissa Halvorson has three parallel worlds intersecting, where the same character in each world has distinct character traits, one of them seeking to destroy the other two worlds. While I loved the concept, I found the story a little tough to follow, with two of the three versions of the main character less relatable. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I thought the ending could have had more of a psychological explanation that would have been extra-cool.

I thoroughly enjoyed Amber, the scrappy main character in Dragon Flight by J. Keller Ford. She’s trying to overcome her fear of heights so she can go on a romantic roller coaster ride with her crush when time stops at the top of the biggest drop. The descriptions of this odd, stopped world were awesome and I got a huge kick out of the ending.

The writing is beautiful in The 13th Month by L. S. Murphy. Two angels engage in their latest cycle of an ongoing death-fight to determine the fate of life in the world. The voice in here is so strong it deserves its own reality show, and the ending gave me the chills.

I am a sucker for retold fairy tales, so Sleepless Beauty by Kimberly Kay was right up my alley. Though the ending was predictable (who here doesn’t know the ending of Sleeping Beauty?) the way we got there was adorable and fun to read.

Hannah, the main character in Erika Beebe’s Stage Fright, is very deep, and I love the tidbits Beebe drops in there about Hannah’s backstory. Where I got hung up was in the introduction of the love interest, who emerges from the pages of a magazine. Somehow, with Hannah’s setup, she didn’t strike me as someone who would be so obsessed with teen magazines. So while I liked the world- and character-building, I did think the love story could have been developed better.

A Morrow More by Danielle E. Shipley starts off as a fairly typical fantasy story but takes a sharp turn around the mid-point and leads us into a quirky interaction that determines the rest of the plot. It has a sweet climax and end—as a writer myself, I totally get it!—but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else.

I recommend this anthology to anyone who is interested in YA speculative fiction. You won’t be sorry!

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