Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Up, Wednesday?

Well, it's been a busy week.

WHAT I'M READING:
Hmm. What did I read this week?
The Only Exception by Magan Vernon
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter: started this (as in, only a couple of pages.)
A bunch of free books from Amazon. Don't remember names. Sweet, nothing incredibly memorable that I feel the need to tell all of you to GO READ IT NOW.
Some FABULOUS partial mss. (Because I am the luckiest girl ever.)

WHAT I DID NOT READ:
Everything magical that came out this week. *sniff*
Harry Potter. Last Friday was the tenth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and it got me all in the mood of re-reading the HPs, which were possibly my favorite books ever in fifth grade. (which is a little over ten years ago. dear god, where does time go?) I thought we owned all HPs, but the only ones I've found were 5-7. Apparently everyone else in the neighborhood had the same idea, because they were cleaned out.
Sigh.
I will reread them all by the end of the summer, please God.

Ready. Set. Write!
WHAT I'M WRITING:
All the sad things right now.
Why do I do these things to myself?
While I'm primarily working on two different WiPs, I'm also bouncing between a third, and all of them are emotional rollercoasters. It's HARD, y'all, to write things that make you have all the feelings. Writing always feels like you're ripping your heart out and putting it on a page, but the intensity level of that cranks up when it's not just happiness and sunshine. These three WiPs are all fiction, but there are parts of me in all of them- parts of me that are scarred and hurt and not yet healed, and writing about them sometimes feels like I'm reopening all the wounds.
It's painful and healing at the same time.
*buys more tissues*

THINGS I ACCOMPLISHED THIS PAST WEEK:
MS1: Uh, oops. That would have involved tracking the number I was at last Weds. Which, genius me did not. But going with the last number I remember (Saturday night), I wrote around 5700 words. The actual number probably isn't much higher than that, I didn't do much writing Thursday/Friday.
MS2: Did some writing due to a certain someone (ahem, Alex) who has peer pressured me into working on this one. Word count added: around 2700 words.
MS3: Nothing really.
TOTAL: around 8400 words this week. :)
There probably would have been more, but all the news happened this week, and that was kind of distracting. (SCOTUS & Texas, I'm talking about you.) And the grandparents were here for the weekend and the brothers came home, which was a cause for much celebrating and trips to 7-Eleven. Because we live on the edge, y'all.

GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK:
MS 1: Hit 25k
MS 2: Hit 20k
Revisions: I'm in the revision stage of two different mss, and hopefully will be getting some notes this week. So more revising, I suppose.
Find a job :)

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO:
Well, I've been compiling a new playlist for the WiPs I'm working on. And it's magical- full of all kinds of feels. Thank you to all the magical people on Twitter who suggested songs to be added to it.
There's one problem.
Due to complicated Jewish backstories, I'm not going to be listening to music for the next three weeks. So while I now have a wonderful playlist with all the right feels in all the right places, I'm going to have to wait three weeks to use it again.
In the meanwhile, I'm going to be listening to a smidge of a capella, but mostly going to be writing to the hum of the air conditioner.

OTHER STUFF!
I got on Pinterest.
And Tumblr.
I'm donating a writerly care package at the #FundsForFeaky auction.
My sister watched Les Mis.
I am still jobless.
I love y'all. *GROUP HUG!!!*

Happy Wednesday!

What's Up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jamie and Erin- a way to keep up with people by letting them know what's up with your Wednesday ;)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Homes But Not Houses

One of my favorite books as a kid was the Boxcar Children.
Not the series.
Only the first book.
Another favorite was Little House on the Prairie.
The Elevator Family.
Eloise at the Plaza. (And yes, I do want to be Eloise when I grow up. I am not embarrassed by this in the slightest.)

And a whole lot of other books, which, at the moment, aren’t important to today’s ramblings.
I loved the books, primarily because of where the people lived.
The Boxcar Children were so much fun BECAUSE they lived in a boxcar.
Little House on the Prarie? When they lived in the side of a hill? And the cow walked over their roof? Man, good times.
The Elevator Family? Hello! They LIVED IN AN ELEVATOR.
And Eloise needs no explanation in the slightest. Because it’s Eloise. Really.
I don’t know what exactly is with my fascination with houses that aren’t the normative houses. It started pretty early on- I remember drawing pictures of all kinds of homes- ones that were very far from the house with two windows and a chimney. Homes built into flowers were a favorite for a while.

The obsession hasn’t waned- there was an article a little while ago about an entire community that was built in South America where all of the homes were IN TREES.

To say I lost my mind a little bit is an under exaggeration.
And then THIS ONE ALSO?? AAAHHH.

Crossville, TN. I SHOULD GO AND VISIT. image via
Seriously? I would have been on the next plane moving there if not for small things like finishing school semesters and lack of money.
(AND GUYS, LOOK AT ALL THIS FUN STUFF ON PINTEREST.)
One of the highlights of my childhood was going camping with my grandparents- and I, to this day, love, love, love going camping.

But when they got an RV a few years ago?
Let me just say that if I could just travel around in that RV for a year, that would be the GREATEST THING EVER.
EVER.
No, we will talk about my need to travel a different time. (And whoo boy, will we.)

I’m working on a new WIP now (well, I was working on around six and I’ve finally narrowed it down to one for now, which makes writing a lot easier), and I’ve realized that every story I’ve written, recently and in general, all have one similarity.
Probably more than one, but one glaring one.
Every single one of them has a character who lives in something that isn’t exactly the regular house.
The not-house obsession isn’t just me- I’ve had the conversation with many people, and all of them have said the same thing.

Why are we so fascinated by homes that don’t look like the homes we’re used to? Is it the fascination of the unknown? Of the foreign and exotic?
Is all of it some sort of projection of our ability to make a home anywhere we go?

So I'm just going to sit here and psychoanalyze myself. Feel free to join :)
Hope y'all are having a fabulous week!
xo


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This is a Thursday's Children blog post- a weekly blog hop in which we blog about what has inspired us this week. Feel free to check out what everyone else is doing by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Up, Wednesday?

Well, hi!

So, a few weeks back, I saw Elodie (aka @commutinggirl) tweet about a fabulous summer writing party of excellent and fun called Ready, Set, Write, and I was so super excited, because it's always so much more fun to write with friends than to write alone.


Whoever said writing is a solitary profession has obviously never been on Twitter.

And then, of course, like the spazz I am, I totally forgot to sign up on time.
Oops.
But better late than never, right? Right.


WHAT I'M READING:
I'm actually between books right now, and have to pay another visit to the library. I've blocked myself from Amazon for the time being, because I has no money and no self-control when it comes to one-clicking. So, if you have any recommendations that my library has or is free on Amazon, let me know. My recently read stack of books is a combination of memoirs, cookbooks, NA, and social commentary. There's a box of my books stored somewhere in my garage back from when I wasn't living at home, and it would be so much fun if I found it. Because it's a big box of books. And I miss them.
Since that was super not really informative, I'm going to add a WHAT I'M LISTENING TO.
What am I listening to? Pandora, my old buddy and pal has been doing an excellent job as my background music recently.
*clicks over to Pandora to see what I've thumbed up recently*

Marry Me by Train
Dare You to Move by Switchfoot
Superman by Five For Fighting
Collide by Howie Day
Brave by Sara Bareilles
Fix You by Coldplay
and lots and lots of Billy Joel.

BONUS: Single Ladies, covered by Sara Bareilles. Because it's unexpected and fun.


WHAT I'M WRITING:
Uh.... well, technically the SNI/WIP, but it needs a bit more plotting and figuring out than I thought. So, not so much of that got done this week. I got back some amazing notes on one of my two mss that I'm revising, so I've been doing bits and pieces of revisions, too.
Honestly, I haven't done so much writing this week because of the fact that the vast majority of my time is spent looking for a job. The starving artist thing may work for other people, but I'd prefer to not live in a cardboard box. I know the weather's nice and everything, but the mosquitos will never let me survive the summer.
But hopefully this week, now that I've told y'all that I've neglected my writing, maybe some of it will get done this week! And maybe I'll find a job too!
OFFICIAL GOAL(S) FOR THE WEEK:
Finish outlining/plotting/ironing out general weirdness for WIP.
Possibly find people to bother with many questions for research.
Google so much that the NSA will think I'm dying. And possibly diagnose myself with a disease or two. (Yes, there are medical issues in the new WIP.)
Write 7,000 words on WIP.
Do some more ms2 revisions.

WHAT INSPIRES ME NOW:
All sorts of everythings. Actually, tomorrow's Thursday's Children blogpost covers one of the random inspirations and epiphanies of the week.
Pinterest. I've mostly avoided it like the plague, because I know once I start I'll probably never, never, ever leave. But a fabulous author pal showed me her pinterest page for her new WIP, and I may just cave and go on Pinterest. It's a great place for visual inspiration boards and for having a better idea of what you're trying to communicate in your writing.
And this beautiful post by Amanda Palmer. And this one. (Okay, everything she writes.)
Twitter. I can not say it enough times. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the incredible people on Twitter. Probably cry and never write anything ever again.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO:
Still looking for a job, so that's been super fun (read: not so much. although having company of other job hunters makes for excellent entertainment). Craigslist is a fascinating rabbit hole. And I am in no way qualified for a lot of those jobs. Like financial analyst, 'social butterfly' (I didn't even know that was a job title. But apparently it is), car detailer, armed guard, or a Japanese actor.
Oh well.
School's pretty much out around here, so everyone's home now- which is fun until they all start beating each other and me up. It also makes it a little louder during the day. But school being out for the summer means all my friends who work in schools, and that is a lot of them, are finishing up the year and that means eleventy million report cards, and then vacation. So partying has partially commenced due to the college semester over (and THANK YOU LORD), but elementary school is ending this week.
YAY!


And I think that's about it for this week. I hope. I don't know.
It's an ungodly hour right now when I'm writing this, because apparently unemployment has led me to live the life of an owl.

Possibly I should go to sleep now so job hunting, plotting, revising, writing, reading, reviewing and drinking much coffee can returned at it's regularly scheduled times.

What's going on with you? How super productive or not has your week been? Tell me tell me tell me!

Monday, June 17, 2013

That One Time I Went To The America's Got Talent Audition & What I Learned About Writing

So, a couple of months ago, they were filming auditions for America's Got Talent in NYC. And tickets were free.
My sister and her friends needed a chaperone (almost 18 isn't 18), and so I, as the OLD FART big sister, got to accompany them.
DISCLAIMER: nobody checked ID's. Nobody cared.
But I love my sister and her friends (she has good taste) so I was totally okay going.
She took it as a win to Project-Get-KK-To-Stop-Hermitting, so it was a win for all.

I had never been to a taping of any TV show, so all of it was super new for me. Besides the part that I got to watch auditions of some seriously talented people, I got somewhat of a backstage view on the taping of TV shows.


Before taping started- all kinds of people were running over that stage. (Too bad I don't have a picture of the parade of sweepers. That was awesome.)
And while I learned many, many, many things at the taping (it was four hours long. There was plenty of time to learn things), here are a few of them. Coincidentally, they can all be applied to writers and creators.

1. It always takes a village.
You think Mel B's hair is that perfect? She had three people working on it between each act. Personally, I would have LOST MY FREAKIN MIND WITH ALL THE PEOPLE TOUCHING ME ALL THE TIME, but she's used to it. Howie had his head shined. Everyone's makeup was touched up between takes.

The judges!
You may see a finished product, but rarely does it have the amount of work you think it does.
And more importantly, there is always a team of super wonderful people behind the wings.

2. You can't just say you're the next star of AGT/whatever, you need to back it up with proof.
Honey, by going on the show, we know you THINK you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. But confidence when backed up by nothing is just misplaced ego.
 
3. Sometimes, going the tried and true path will get you nowhere. And sometimes stretching TOO far out of your comfort zone will get you nowhere.
Don't try to be exactly like the last person who won. Copycatting will not get you anywhere. Be yourself. Conversely, don't try too hard to be SO SUPER DIFFERENT!!! Because then you're focusing more on being different than on the actual content, which will ultimately flop.

4. Know your audience.
Know what they like. It's okay if everyone isn't in your group of audience, but make sure that those who are are the ones who LOVE what you do. (Marketing tips FTW!)

5. You've only got a limited time to make your impression.
On AGT, you've got a minute and a half. With writing, you've got the first paragraph. Your Twitter bio.
In short, not that much time or space.
Take time to make sure your first impression is a great one.

6. Show them the most exciting part. KNOW what the most exciting parts are.
One of the biggest disappointments of the night was a group of musicians- they were practicing onstage before the taping began, and they were really awesome. But then when they actually performed, we realized that the bit we saw was the only good part. They had potential- but it was hidden in all the boring parts that if we hadn't seen it before, we never would have known.

7. Everyone's idea of talent is going to be a little different.
There's singing, there's dancing, there's instrumental. Finding a way to make them uniquely magical is where you'll shine. Finding a way to leverage your talent and your ideas into something uniquely magical will bring the peoples to your door. Complete with cookies and chocolate and admiration. And booze. Because. 

8. Sometimes they'll laugh at the beginning, only to gape in shock at the end.
Example: This weird creepy guy who suddenly was floating in air (Special Head).
NOTE: this is not something you should rely on, because while it may get cool, there will be that part that remembers the weird in the beginning. (See #6)

9. You may think you're telling one story, may think you've got one message and what winds up happening is it's a completely different message- but one you needed to send the world.
I'M DYING TO TELL YOU exactly which act I'm talking about, but they haven't shown it yet, and I know they will, and I don't want to go all spoilery on you.
Because it is magical, beautiful, and earth-shatteringly inspiring.
It involves two boys and a hoop.

10. Sometimes, they might say no. And that's not always a bad thing.
Exhibit A, of course, being Lindsey Sterling.
For those of you who don't know who Lindsey Sterling is (please remedy that right now thank you), she's an incredible violinist-hip-hop-dancer. She didn't end up winning AGT, but she has a significant audience of crazed fans.
(Comprised of many people, including writers who use her music as background when they write.)

11. Talents can be expressed in all kinds of bizarre ways. But please, for the love of God and all things that are holy, please don't recite erotic poetry.
Really. Please. Please. Please.
Just.... don't.
I'm still traumatized, and therapy don't come cheap.

12. If you work hard, maximize your talent, know who you're talking to and they know you're talking to them? You'll be going to Vegas, baby!
Yeah, that one is pretty self-explanatory.

I finally watched the first episode last night, and thankfully, my goofy mug was not plastered all over the internets for the whole freakin' universe to see.
Fame and fortune will come a different way, I suppose.

Happiest of Mondays!
xo

Monday, June 10, 2013

More Teasing.... (Courtesy, Once Again, of Leigh Ann Kopans)

We're baaaaaack!
And by we, of course, I mean the party of fun that is #TeamONE. (WOO!!!)

I know you've been teased for the past two weeks about the awesome that will be released into the universe tomorrow- ONE!
(Trust me when I say it is truly awesome.)
So, for some last bit of teasing, here is the final installment of the preview of ONE.

 
 
I KNOW!!!!!!!!
(THEY KISSED! AND FLEW!)
AND OMG YOU GUYS IT ONLY GETS BETTER!
 
 
So, set your timers, have your one-click fingers ready- ONE is going to be out in the universe TOMORROW.
In one day from today.
One.
(Just like the book title! Yeah, that wasn't funny.)
 
 
So, hop back over to Leigh Ann's blog, and feel free to go back and look at the magic that is Francesca Zappia and Leigh Ann Kopans. Magic, I tells you. Magic.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

THURSDAY'S CHILDREN: Our Take On History

Well, it has been a most interesting week- one weirdly productive and incredibly unproductive at the same time.
I know. I’m confused also.
But I will not be pulling out the therapy couch today, because it is not time for such things. (Later, perhaps. Today? Nope.)

I’ve been revising and editing my MS recently (which I wrote in less than a month. Because I’m nuts, mostly), which has involved me doing some research.
Not just any research- research into very specific geographical locations in a very tight time frame. (And no, I will not tell you more, because it will give things away and we’re not there yet.) There isn’t that much information to be found about it, which has been fascinating and frustrating all at the same time.

Okay, there probably is a lot more information that Googling may not find.
It’s been said that history is told by winners.
I’m not so sure as it’s told by winners, or that it’s the story of the winners that are remembered. That the winners tend to be dramatized and romanticized.

Stories of heroism very often miss the not so exciting parts of the story. The life of a soldier is nine parts excruciating boredom and one part terror and action, as is the life of a firefighter.
As with fiction, people don’t necessarily want to hear about the ‘boring’ parts of history- only the interesting and the entertaining. So you end up with girls imagining what it must have been like to live in Regency England- gowns and dresses and dashing and handsome Dukes and Princes and Earls and Barons and maybe the occasional *GASP!* working man. Like Regency England was just one big fairy tale of tea and scones and the occasional fainting couch.

Statistically speaking, most of the people who are reading about Regency England, should they have lived there themselves, would, if they were lucky, be working as a maid in the Duke’s home. Personally? Depending on the year, I probably wouldn’t have been legally able to live in England at all. (Yay Jewish diaspora and exile from most European countries!)

Everyone always talks about the good old days. We like to romanticize our pasts, when really, things tend not to be as rosy and wonderful as we remember them to be. Read an old diary or journal just to remind yourself that your whole childhood wasn’t all wonderful and fabulous. (A lot of it may have been- but not all of it.) Historical fiction, a lot of times is the same way. Saying that all of history, before we came along, was the good ol’ days. The downsides of history are oftentimes, just ignored. Like how gross it probably was to have a chamber pot. And getting your period, if you were a woman (no pads, no tampons, no advil, no chocolate). And childbirth, for that matter. And how if you, with the mind you have now, were actually thrown back to Victorian England, you’d probably be banished from polite society so fast your head would fall off. That sitting around embroidering things (a FAVORITE pastime of the privileged woman) would make you want to stab your eyes out. That women’s lib didn’t really exist at all, and those who thought that women had equal rights were not really that popular. That knighthood was not always that heroic and magnificent, and that pillaging through people’s villages because they could is not really that chivalrous. That living in a small town in Middle America back during the 1800s was no picnic, and the chances of you getting shot by a random drunk were pretty high. That not all slave owners in the South had gigantic, humongous plantations and a lot were really not very wealthy at all (unequal distribution of wealth, holla!). We forget that statistically, most people during most of history were REALLY, REALLY, REALLY POOR.

I’m not trying to be the Debbie Downer pessimistic voice of BLAH here, just trying to keep things a bit realistic in our referencing our pasts.
And then we can tackle things like the rest of the world’s history, and not just the few white little countries that can have somewhat of a glamorized past. What was happening in China in the 1700s? What was really going on in South America? Australia? Malaysia? Africa? I can go on and on and on (history is quite a long time, darlings) but I will spare you from all of that today.

In our looking back at history, we forget what things were probably like. How long people lived back then. Of the spread of diseases, of the way people thought and acted, and that just like us, people from the past were far from perfect.
The MS I’m editing now isn’t historical fiction. And I’m trying as much as I can that I’m giving a fair portrayal of history in it. Because history, when told wrong, when not doing as much as you can to uncover a full picture of what happened, isn’t really history anymore.

It’s a one-sided account of a story.
Every story has two sides, at the very least.
Why should the past of humanity be any different?

Question time, should you so wish: What period in history do you think REALLY needs some other views? What time period would you like to read about more in fiction, and in non-fiction, too? I was in the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan on Monday with a friend of mine, and that got me thinking- which time periods in history do you think we’ve kind of forgotten about? Which countries did we forget about? (Because Britain was not the only country during the 1700s and 1800s, although they may have thought so…) And what historical cliché/inaccuracy would you like to never, ever, ever hear about again?
As always, thanks for reading my rambles, and have a Happy Thursday! xo




Thursday's Children is a weekly blog hop in which fabulous writers blog about what inspires them. Click HERE to see what everyone else is up to this week, and feel free to join too. :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I AM A TERRIBLE TEASE. (And so is Leigh Ann Kopans.)

So even though I don’t like when other people tease (really, really, really, as discussed yesterday), I love teasing other people.
Double standard?
YEAH BABY.
Oh well.

Y’all know how excited I am for the release of ONE (June 11!! June 11!! WOOOO!!)- and I am lucky enough to be part of the fabulous #TeamONE. Be Jealous.
ONE is a magical book about a girl who has a half a superpower, and learns that there is superpower in love and friendship.

If you have not added it to Goodreads, well, I’m not really sure I know what to say to you.
So if you haven’t (GASP!!), rectify that NOW.
You’re back? Great.

To celebrate the upcoming release of ONE, Leigh Ann has teamed up with the magical and talented Francesca Zappia, writer and artist extraordinaire, to bring you the first eight chapters of ONE in comic format.

 
FEAST YOUR EYES, MORTALS.
(I don’t know. That sounded comic-book-like.)

 

 I KNOW.
Sometimes, people are so incredibly talented I want to rip my eyeballs out.
That didn’t make much sense.
I see your eyes wandering back up to gaze at the fabulousness of ONE, the comic.
Do you want even MORE fabulousness?
You do.
I know you do.
You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t.

Once you’re finished drooling over the gorgeousness (wipe the drool off your keyboard or screen, it’s not good for the electronics), toddle yourself over to www.leighannkopans.blogspot.com, where you can find the full schedule of comic reveals, starting back from MAY 28th and going allllll the way to June 10th.

BE EXCITED, people.
Magic like this don’t come around too often.

Happy Tuesday!
xo