Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Five

1. Right now I am listening to Tony Lucca's performance of Baby One More Time for about the millionth time. I can't get enough of this song. It was just such an awesome performance. I actually had to work on Monday night, which I was not thrilled about, because it meant I had to DVR The Voice. When I got off work, I read a text from my sister saying "OMG! Did you watch The Voice yet? You'll love it." She was right.

Tony is amazing and I really think he could win. I mean, I suppose I might be a little biased, since I've been a fan of his for over 10 years. But still! Funny thing is, my brother was a fan of Dia Frampton long before she was on the Voice. We just have good taste in music! ;)

Go Team Adam!

2. I have always loved lip balm and lip gloss, but I never liked Chapstick. Until now. Their limited edition flavor Orange Cream Burst is so good. It was a little difficult to find, but totally worth it.
3. The other night I was over at my old high school for one of my part-time jobs and I got to talking to the theater teacher about my WIP. He seemed really interested in it, and I liked having an opportunity to talk about it. I liked it so much that I couldn't shut up. ha. He was really supportive and encouraging, which is always helpful. I am always a little nervous about telling people what I'm working on, but so far I have only gotten positive reactions.

4. One of my good friends lives in Omaha and I've been there several times to visit her. I think Omaha is a great city! I always have fun there. We've been talking about getting together sometime this summer, and apparently Orbitz is one step ahead of me. They sent me an email saying:

Got your eye on Omaha? We've already planned a trip for you

Oh really, Orbitz? How did they know?? I haven't even looked up flights recently. Unfortunately, the trip they planned for me will cost $1,000. Um, thanks but no thanks.

5. Hoping to do some major writing this weekend. Having 4 jobs doesn't leave me much time for writing, and I hate that. I am surrounded by inspiration but I'm just so tired. 

One piece of advice I've read is to just write any spare moment you have. I read somewhere that Lauren Oliver wrote Before I Fall on her Blackberry. I am so curious about this. How did she do that? I had a chance to ask her at one of her book signings, and I forgot. I suck! 

How do you find time for writing?

Happy Friday! Hoping to have some changes to the blog soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I haven't done one of these in awhile, and there are SO many books I'm looking forward to reading! But, I will try to pick just one.
From Goodreads:
A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in this novel from the author of Moonglass, whose voice Sarah Dessen says “is fresh and wise, all at once.”

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

I absolutely LOVED Moonglass and road trips are always fun, so I just know I will enjoy this book!

What are you looking forward to reading?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

alphabet survey

A is for age: 33 *sigh* 
B is for breakfast today: blueberry muffin 
C is for currently craving: I really want a Reese's peanut butter cup Blizzard 
D is for dinner tonight: No idea. 
E is for favorite type of exercise: dancing (right now I take tap and Zumba) 
F is for an irrational fear: driving next to one of those trucks with all the new cars piled on it. I hate those! 
G is for gross food: mushrooms and olives 
H is for hometown: Lombard 
I is for something important: my family 
J is for current favorite jam: Like music? Tony Lucca's performance of "Baby One More Time" on the Voice last night. It was awesome! 
K is for kids: none 
L is for current location: work 
M is for the most recent way you spent money: breakfast 
N is for something you need: Money. A new job. 
O is for occupation: Copywriter, journalist, speech language pathology assistant. 
P is for pet peeve: So many. Whistling, bad spelling and grammar, traffic. 
Q is for a quote: I saw this one yesterday and I like it..."Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale." 
R is for random fact about you: I co-hosted my hometown's Lilac Parade twice (it was even on tv!) back in 2004 and 2005. 
S is for favorite healthy snack: apple slices 
T is for favorite treat: ice cream 
U is for something that makes you unique: Um?? When I was asked this during a job interview recently, I said I'm a tap dancer, which turned out to be a good answer (although I did not get the job). Since I've already mentioned that in this survey, I better think of something else. I like to travel and I try to go somewhere new every year. This has included places such as Las Vegas, Egypt, Niagara Falls, Springfield, IL (state capital) and... Iowa. 
V is for favorite vegetable: celery 
W is for today’s workout: tap dance class tonight 
X is for X-rays you’ve had: teeth, knee 
Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Tony Lucca's performance on The Voice 
Z is for your time zone: Central 
Thanks for the survey, Katy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

writing classes

A few months ago, I found a great writing class at my local community college and signed up right away.

Narration: Writing the Young Voice
We will focus on Young Adult Literature and Coming-of-Age Adult Fiction to explore how fiction writers, like Margo Rabb and David Mitchell, use diction and tone to craft believable teen narrators. We will engage in writing exercises where you will be asked NOT to act your age! There will be an opportunity for students to receive feedback on a short piece (500 words).

Sounds pretty awesome, right? It was supposed to start on Thursday. Well, I got a call today. It's been canceled. Not enough people signed up. I'm so disappointed! I was really looking forward to it. I'm hoping to find another writing class to take, maybe this summer.

However, my last attempt at a writing class was not quite what I expected.

Last fall, I took a class called Writing Children's Books.
This beginner-level course will assist you in exploring the field of children’s literature. Emphasis will be placed on the children’s book market and getting published.

Not too bad, right? Each week we focused on a different kind of children's book: from picture books to YA (the reason I was there, obviously). The class consisted of five people, including me. Two much older than me, one probably around my age, and one lady who only showed up like twice and didn't speak much English.

I don't feel like I learned a whole lot in the class that I didn't already know from reading blogs and researching online. However, the class was good in that it forced me to write. We did free writing during class, which at first I thought was a big waste of time. Why are using up class time to write, when I could just do it at home? Because knowing me, I wouldn't do it at home.

I did not mesh well with the people in my class. We had very different writing styles and goals. From the beginning, they knew I was interested in YA and wanted to write a YA novel. Yet when we finally got the YA class, all they talked about was how stupid YA books were and "Why would anyone want to read those books? No wonder teens don't want to read."

Well... they kinda had a point. Our teacher brought in examples of books for each week's theme. For YA she brought in Monster by Walter Dean Myers and Chinese Cinderella. And we talked about Twilight. That was it. When I mentioned authors like Sarah Dessen, John Green and Susane Colasanti, my teacher acted like she had never heard of any of them. I tried to explain that my YA novel is contemporary, and does not include vampires, but by that point, they didn't care.

We talked about how more adults are reading YA now, but that we aren't really sure why. Then the old lady says, "I know why. It's because they are dumb." Now, she knew I read YA and want to write a YA book. I talked about it every single week. I couldn't believe she would say that! So I said to her, "Well I read YA and I'm not dumb." She didn't say anything. Then I said something about how I like to read all kinds of books and I also read adult books and she said "Well that's good" or something like that. UGH!

Later on, we had to do a writing exercise where we described something we experienced when we were younger. First we wrote it in first person and then we wrote the same thing in third person. She wrote both in first person (the second time it was written from a different character's point of view, but still first person). I wanted to say "Now who is dumb?!" But I didn't. I did, however, point out that she wrote in first person both times, but she didn't get it.

However, she redeemed herself at the end of the class when she told me that I was the one from our class who was most likely to actually get a book published. So all was forgiven.

I think the best thing I got out of the class was sharing my writing for the first time. I read the first page of my WIP (the one I'm still working on) and got a lot of good feedback from everyone, including our teacher. They also liked the stuff that I wrote during our free writing time. Overall, I am glad I took the class, but I wish I could find something better, and something more focused on YA.

Well, since I don't have class for the next 4 weeks, my Thursday nights are now free. I am planning on going to trivia night, Zumba, and an information meeting about possibly becoming a sign language interpreter. And try to find time to do some writing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lucky Seven

I wasn't tagged by anyone, but I thought I would do this anyway.

Here are the rules:
Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
Go to line 7
Copy down the next seven lines/sentences as they are–no cheating
Tag 7 other authors (Since I wasn't tagged, I am not going to do this. Besides, I think everyone has done it by now.)

Well, here you go:

What am I doing at her lunch table?
“No, actually, I don’t think we’ve ever met,” I say. “Hi, I’m Claire.”
“Hey,” she says, nonchalantly. Then she turns back to the redheaded girl sitting next to her.
Well, okay then. So much for that.
I eat my lunch as quickly as I can, then excuse myself from the table, with some lame explanation about needing to stop at my locker before my next class. No one notices as I push away from the table, not even Gretchen.

* * *
One other thing. I've recently read two books in a row where the main character's best friend is named Julia. I have always wanted to name MY main character's best friend Julia, after my best friend from high school. (Her name is not actually Julia, but I remember her telling me once that she really liked that name.) Just something I noticed and that made me think of her.

Friday, April 6, 2012

I really need to figure out how to add images to my posts...

My birthday is one month from tomorrow! Even though I'm not looking forward to being another year older, I do still enjoy my birthday. It's the one day of the year when you get to be the center of attention, and everyone has to be nice to you. ;)

Since I don't feel like doing anything right now, and I can't think of anything to write about, I thought I'd share my birthday wish list. What do I want for my birthda
y? Well...a million dollars, a new job, a boyfriend (or even just a date!), a trip somewhere, and my novel to write itself.

Well, as you can imagine, I won't be getting any of those things. So here is a more realistic list.

1. Books! Lucky for me, several books are coming out right around my birthday.
2. A cupcake from my favorite cupcake shop. I love Sugar Cookie the best.

3. These earrings. I just can't decide on a color. I know the picture isn't the best, but help me pick!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

motivation + an award!

Over the past few days, I have revised/written a little over 8,000 words. That is more than I wrote in the entire past year. Why the sudden burst of motivation? Well, there's a few reasons...

1. I found my "dream agent." As I was reading her blog, I just got a good vibe from her. I liked what she had to say. I felt we agreed on a lot of things. Now, I'm not stupid. I know I need to do a lot more research. I know there's a very good chance I'll get rejected. I'm sure I will end up querying a lot of other agents. Who knows if this agent will still even be accepting queries by the time I'm done.

What I do know is that as I was reading her blog, I wished more than anything that I was done with my WIP so that I could send it to her. And that is motivating me, so I'm going to go with it.

2. I found an awesome CP, Kelsey! I am so thankful to my friend Jessica for introducing us. I could not have asked for a more perfect CP. We have a lot in common and our WIPs are similar in some ways. I'm really looking forward to working with her!

3. My job. I went out to dinner with a friend from work last week. After venting about our jobs, I started updating her on my writing process. When I was done, she said something to me like "Your face just lights up when you talk about your writing."

This reminded me of something from the movie "Office Space." (That movie has way too many good quotes.)

Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you'd do if you had a million dollars and you didn't have to work. And invariably what you'd say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you're supposed to be an auto mechanic.

Well, I'd pick writing. Now I know that writing a book is not going to be my ticket out of here, but I think it's important to find something you enjoy. I have 4 jobs and the one I like best is writing for the local newspaper. If I won a million dollars and didn't have to work anymore (I WISH!) I would still write for the newspaper.

In other news...
My blog got an award! :)

How exciting! I was presented with the Liebster Award which is described as follows:

"The Liebster Award has traditionally been awarded to honour those blogs which motivate and inspire us. It is also granted to those blog authors who have accumulated 200 followers or less. Its purpose is to summon new followers and increase awareness of other noteworthy blogs."

Thank you again, Kelsey! I'm supposed to post these rules, and recommend someone else.

So I would like to present the award to...

Clare at Fitting It All In!

I really enjoy reading about her workouts and healthy eating. It's very inspiring.