Saturday, 28 December 2013

2013 Road Trip Wrap-Up (3)



YA Highway's Year End Road Trip series is a five part series in which we tell you about some of our favorite YA moments and invite you to do the same. To participate, simply answer the short prompts in each of the five posts on the 22nd, 26th, 28th, 29th and 31st of December. Then link to your post in the comments section.

Best Guilty Pleasure Book

I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU a.k.a. Gossip Girl 12, which does not touch the magnificence of the early GG books and did some very strange things to Blair et al that I prefer not to think about, but good lord, I still love it all.

Books Not Normally In My Wheelhouse That I Still Enjoyed*

SHADOW AND BONE/SIEGE AND STORM--I don't read a lot of fantasy, but I intend to try harder next year. Mostly because how bad ass is Alina? I loved GONE GIRL, too.


Best Book Cover

I adore the UK cover of DANGEROUS GIRLS, plus 17 & GONE and AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE both have creepy covers that perfectly reflect their insides.



    




xoxo

Thursday, 26 December 2013

2013 Road Trip Wrap-Up (2)



YA Highway's Year End Road Trip series is a five part series in which we tell you about some of our favorite YA moments and invite you to do the same. To participate, simply answer the short prompts in each of the five posts on the 22nd, 26th, 28th, 29th and 31st of December. Then link to your post in the comments section.



Best “New To Me” YA Author

Sara Zarr--I'm working my way backwards (and forwards--how good does ROOMIES sound?) through all her books.

Best Sequel

SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo.

Best Debut

Can I have a three-way tie? CHARM AND STRANGE, USES FOR BOYS, and THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY.

Most Anticipated Book Releases in 2014

POINTE by Brandy Colbert, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy, WICKED LITTLE SECRETS by Kara Taylor, SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson, EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour and many, many more!

xoxo

Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 Road Trip Wrap-Up (1)


YA Highway's Year End Road Trip series is a five part series in which we tell you about some of our favorite YA moments and invite you to do the same. To participate, simply answer the short prompts in each of the five posts on the 22nd, 26th, 28th, 29th and 31st of December. Then link to your post in the comments section.

Y'know, I really suck at blogging. I mean, getting myself organised to do it. Which is why I didn't participate in the YA Superlatives Blogfest even though I really wanted to, why there are a hundred and one half-written posts in my drafts, and why I'm putting this post up at 1am.
But who cares! Let's talk books! (As always!)
Best Book Of The Year
I loved, loved, loved JELLICOE ROAD (it really is so worth all the hype). Okay, okay, I know it didn't come out this year, so…DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas. It's the book I most recommend and also I lose all my words when recommending it because there are no words to describe my feelings about this book.

Most Unexpectedly Delightful Book Of The Year
THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin--we read it for the YA Book Club and I adored how witty and sharp it was.

Book I Wanted To Hate But Couldn’t Because Game Recognize Game*
EVERY DAY by David Levithan. I mean, I didn't want to hate it; I just didn't see how it would work. But...it did. Go figure.

Book I Can’t Get Out Of My Mind
Oh, so many: THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay and HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour, CHARM AND STRANGE by Steph Kuehn and USES FOR BOYS by Erica Lorraine Scheidt, FALL FOR ANYTHING by Courtney Summers and 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma…they're all stuck in there.

xoxo

Monday, 18 November 2013

YA Book Club: ALLEGIANT

Today the YA Book Club is discussing ALLEGIANT, the third book in Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy. Want to join in? Eitherwrite a post and link it up on Tracey's blog, then jump around to see what everyone else has to say, OR join the discussion in the comments over there!

{Created by Excellent Supreme Leader Tracey Neithercott}


So. ALLEGIANT. This book needs no introduction, I'm sure. So I'll skip it and get right to the good stuff.

Okay. I liked it. I really liked it. And I have to say, it's mostly because of the [spoiler] that I guess a lot of people are upset about.

Don't get me wrong, this way definitely not a perfect book. No, I didn't really buy the whole genetic-purity thing as the reason for Tris' world being the way it was. I didn't really get how they could leave the city and join the outside world so easily. I would have loved some more explanation as to how the world got to a point where these kinds of experiments could take place, where parts of the US were just abandoned and things were completely and utterly broken.

But.

I loved seeing Tris through Four's eyes. I loved that their relationship was not all we-are-destined or he-is-my-soulmate or I-would-die-without-her. They had problems that they worked through together. They made choices.

I loved that Veronica Roth was (get ready for the cheese) brave enough to write an ending that she probably knew a lot of people wouldn't like. I mean...I can't do it anymore, I'm going to have to drop the BIGGEST SPOILER WARNING DO NOT READ AHEAD IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW, OKAY?

I loved that she killed Tris off. And kept her dead. No magical serums to bring her back, no twists to get out of it...and a real ending. A like a happily ever after as much as the next romcom lover, but life doesn't always wrap up in magical special ways, and great stories don't, either. I mean, I'm seriously fangirling right now because I have so much respect for V. Roth actually killing off her protagonist and--well, I don't know if that's the way she always planned the story to go, but if she did (and even if she didn't), she went with it. She really went for it, and I am so happy to have read a series where the ending didn't leave me feeling like the author wussed out and gave the ending she thought fans would want.

So yeah, some things didn't work for me; I found it hard to get used to the switching POVs, and I couldn't keep all the characters straight in my head (Cara, Caleb, Christina...Tris, Tobias, Tori...is it just me?!), and for such a long book there still seemed to be a ton of stuff crammed in so that the story felt rushed.

But the fact that this story did not wrap up with a nice pretty bow, that there was loss and pain and sacrifice, won me over.

So what did you think of the final installment in the series? Don't forget to swing by Tracey's blog and find out what the rest of the Book Club thought!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What's Up Wednesday: First Draft Dunzo Edition

{click here for a full list of participants!}

What I’m Reading:

I’m kind of in a reading slump at the moment—I have a ton of library books that I keep renewing and new books waiting to be read, but somehow I’m rereading an old favourite: SHRIMP by Rachel Cohn. I love rereading books that I know so well I can recite them from memory; it’s like slipping into a well-worn t-shirt after being trapped in stiff new clothes. (SHRIMP is the sequel to the forever-fave GINGERBREAD which you should definitely, definitely check out if you haven’t already.)



What I’m Writing:

Right now I’m writing nothing, because I FINALLY FINISHED DRAFTING!

 photo tumblr_lmpkt2ZkiR1qclt3z_zpsd7c0c112.gif

Yes, on Sunday, after months of writing 500-1000 words a day, I banged out 7.5k so I could just get to the end already. That’s the most I’ve ever written in one day and I’m pretty sure it’ll never happen again. I was just that desperate to finish.

My total wordcount was 101k. Looking at that on Sunday was the very first time I knew my wordcount since I started writing. I didn’t get to celebrate any milestones, no 10k cheering, no 50k relief, but I have learnt that really, it doesn’t matter. It’s nice to have those moments for yourself, as a way to celebrate and feel good during the awful drafting phase, but as the same time it doesn’t make a difference to where the story ends up. And I’m really glad I didn’t know when I was at 50k because apparently that was only the halfway point for this story and that would have sucked the life out of me if I’d known.

Query update: oh, you guys are the best. In my last WUW I was all “Querying sucks, rejections suck, I suck” and you were all “Yeah, querying sucks, rejections suck, but keep going anyway!” Which I am. And that same week, I got another request, so…swings and roundabouts, I guess.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

I love this essay on The Rumpus, this writing advice from Courtney Summers, this song by Placebo/Kate Bush, and this picture which is perfect for Future WIP 3.



What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Learning a fun/difficult piece in dance class for a show; taking my first ever pilates class; roadtripping with friends; watching Orange is the New Black; looking at houses I will never be able to afford; dreaming of this horizontal shower. Oh good heavens.

And that’s about it. Tell me, what have you been up to lately?

xoxo

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Query Exhaustion Edition

{click here for a full list of participants!}
What I'm Reading:

Like everyone else in the (YA) world, I read ALLEGIANT over the weekend. More thoughts to come since it's our YA Book Club pick for November (join us!) but I'll just say that although the book as a whole wasn't completely perfect for me, I definitely found the ending very satisfying.



Now I'm reading FAULT LINE by the wonderful Christa Desir which I'm fully prepared to weep/rage over.

What I'm Writing:

I have eleven (and a half) scenes left to write. However, every scene I think is going to be short turns out not to be, and I keep adding scenes all over the place, so who knows? Maybe I'll be done by Christmas!

Querying-wise...man, I'm kind of burned out right now. I got two rejections on my birthday (ouch, right?!) and I'm feeling very much in need of some good news right now. Nothing big necessarily (although I wouldn't turn down some big good news--hint, hint, agents), but a little something to tell me that yes, I am on the right path, I should keep going, and one day it will happen for me. I probably don't need to tell any of you this, but when you see good things happening to other people, it can sometimes be hard to remember that 1. we're all taking different paths and 2. we have no idea what they went through before the good things finally started happening for them. Actually, it's probably good to imagine that at one point, they were all feeling as burned out and weary as I am right now, because look where they are now! One day that could be me with the six-figure three-book deal* and movie rights optioned**!

So, on I go. (And anyone that's feeling the same way as me right now: keep going.)

What Inspires Me Right Now:

This song by Banks is definitely going to soundtrack a story one day.



What Else I've Been Up To:

Like I mentioned, it was my birthday this week, and I turned 22. Which feels weird because in my head I'm either forty (I get a lot of enjoyment from homeware and I refer to teenagers as "youths") or sixteen (I really like glitter and I don't understand taxes). Speaking of homeware, I got a lot a baking-related presents: stackable three-tier cooling rack (ooh), rainbow measuring spoons (aah), a heart-shaped cake tin...looks like I'll be doing some baking soon!



Until next time,

xoxo


*yeah, that's never going to happen.
**probably not going to happen either.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Cheating

{click here for a full list of participants!}
What I'm Reading:

After finishing OUT OF THE EASY, which I thought was great but lacking the ending it needed (which is the same way I felt about BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY, actually), I made about a thousand reservations at the library. I'm trying to cut back on buying books (and other things). (So please ignore the fact that I did actually buy two books on Friday and may be waiting on a book delivery...)



Anyway, one of the books I reserved was Cora Carmack's FAKING IT, because I was super surprised that it was even available in our library system. Of course I hadn't actually read LOSING IT yet, so that's what I did last week. (Yes, I downloaded it, but that doesn't count as buying a book, does it? It does? Oh.) Well, LOSING IT was not the best but it was a pleasant and quick enough read. FAKING IT, however, is showing much more promise. There's more character development, much more backstory, more world building...yes, it's another romance with a heap of drama thrown in, but what's so bad about that?

What I'm Writing:

Rewriting, 500 words a day, nearing the end, blah blah blah you don't care because you've heard it all before!

Here's something new: I'm cheating on my WIP.

 photo tumblr_m39lf6hTEf1qgiqcpo1_250.gif

Yes, you read that right. See, the first YA story I wrote/queried/shelved featured these two characters who I adore. I still write snippets of pointless scenes with them, find myself typing their names instead of the characters in my WIP, and trying to come up with ways to rework that MS and fix everything that's wrong with it. Which is impossible.

But I thought those characters and a scene the other day, and I started writing. A couple hundred words, I think,  so it's not like I'm suddenly 5K into a unexpected story and woo! Of course not, that's not how I work. And I'm not writing this as a Thing, anyway. I think I (and others) can get caught up in the idea of writing towards publication: the draft always needs to be finished faster, the revision always needs to be cleaner, the characters and the plot and the romance all need to follow an established pattern but be different enough to entice readers at the same time...God, it's exhausting. So writing something where I don't need to worry about any of those things is nice.

Oh! Epiphany as I write this: perhaps I will turn it into a short story, linking into other short stories...yes, that sounds fun. Yay writing!

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Okay, this is going to sound seriously cheesy, but: YOU.

I was at work (the library) yesterday tidying the teen section, and I suddenly thought: one day I'm going to know the people on here.

Like, right now I look at the books and feel as if I know some of those authors from reading all of their books or following their blog/twitter/instagram, and it's kind of cool. But one day I'm going to see a book on the shelves of libraries and bookstores that bears the name of one of you and I'll be able to say, "I know her!"

"I knew her when she got an agent!"

"I knew her when she was writing her first manuscript ever!"

"She read my work and made me a better writer and is THE BEST!"

And I just got all verklempt knowing that one day I'll see all your names up in (figurative) lights. How amazing is that?

What Else I've Been Up To:

Baking, dancing, playing this game Dots on my phone which you've probably all heard about and seriously I am addicted, listening to my boo Drake's new album, video chatting with my transatlantic twin Jess, wishing I could sleep, drinking a ton of water because I'm determined to kick my Coke Zero habit....huuurrrrgh but I love it so! Sigh.




xoxo


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

What's Up Wednesday: It's October!

{click here for a full list of participants!}


What I'm Reading:

This weekend I finished THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay. I wept. And then I gave up on writing (for an hour or two). This has definitely earned a place on my favourites list: dark, intense, emotional, beautifully written...I could go on and on. Oh, and Nastya? Josh, Drew? All such vivid and layered characters, flawed and fucked up and okay I really will stop now.



Now I'm about a hundred pages into OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys, which I'm finding really different to BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY but enjoying just as much.

What I'm Writing:

When will this draft/ ever end /seriously it's been like/ a month or ten/ writing is hard/ plots are dumb/writing is hard wait did I already say that

I am nearing the end. I can feel it. The drama is coming. (Well, as dramatic as my stories get.) I would like nothing more than to give myself a break right now, but I'm so close to finishing and so on a roll with knowing what I'm writing that I don't want to stop. Hopefully it won't be too much longer!

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Y'all remember JoJo? Of "Leave (Get Out)" and "Too Little, Too Late" fame? You're probably thinking, "Yes, Becky, I remember her, but she disappeared years ago...so why exactly are you talking about her?"

Yes, I follow JoJo on IG, and what?


I'm a big fan of JoJo's and I've been listening to her latest mixtape a ton this last week. You see, JoJo still puts out music, but she has to do it on her own and for free, because her label won't put out any music from her. They also won't release her from her contract. You read that right: her label won't release any music by her, but they won't let her go so that someone else can. And this has been going on for years.

But JoJo does not give up: she makes music, releases mix tapes, plays live, and keeps on going. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty inspiring.



What Else I've Been Up To:

Mostly, I've been car shopping. My car just about passed its MOT with a long-ass list of advisories which would cost more to fix than I paid for the car, so I decided to upgrade. And when I say upgrade, I mean that my new car has a radio that doesn't pop out, and a blippidy thing to lock it. Whee! I'm going to pick it up on Friday. Whee again!

Also, now that Breaking Bad is over it seems like the perfect time for me to start watching it again. Right? Only 51 episodes to go!

Also, it's October which is my favourite month because 1. Autumn and 2. birthday! Yes, it's my birthday at the end of the month which means I'm allowed to start freaking out about all the things I said I'd do since my last birthday but haven't yet. Yikes.

xoxo

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Yearning

 I want a lot. What I mean by that is two thing: I want a lot of things, and I also want a great deal--I feel the physical sensation of want day in, day out.

I don't want things so much as...places, people, experiences. I mean, yes I want material things: the Charlotte Olympia pumps with the gold deco heel, and a holiday to one of those fancy places with a bar in the pool, and diamond earrings. But those are things that maybe I'll have one day and maybe I won't. They're money things, stuff I can live without even if I do dream of them.

Mostly, I yearn. I yearn for somewhere more exciting to go, new people to meet, things to happen. I daydream about living in a big city and writing all day, going out to dinner at night and walking home in my heels to my tiny apartment. About boys with green eyes who draw or cook or dance. I fall asleep to stories I want to write and worlds I want to create.

I think we all are like this. It starts when we're young and it never stops. I think that's what I love about YA fiction, why I write it: there's just so much want bursting from the pages. First loves or independence or a sense of something great out there, waiting. When you're a kid you hold onto the thought of a future where things are going to better. It's like this: you're fourteen and you hate school or your parents, but when you're sixteen it'll all be different, you think.

You're sixteen and you still hate your parents and now also that boy who you liked until he called your best friend ugly. When you're eighteen, though, things will be better: you'll be an adult then, living on your own maybe, going out to cocktail bars and emulating Carrie Bradshaw but swearing that you're not.

Then you're twenty-six and Jesus, you can't keep your bedroom tidy for love nor money, you're still not quite sure how to iron your clothes and all those things you thought you would have under control by now are still running wild around you. But nobody tells you that there's no magic number at which life kicks in. You go through it all thinking "Just a few more years, a few more years," over and over. I don't know, but I'm going to guess that all this yearning never goes away. Maybe for some people, but for others, no. For me, I don't think it will ever leave.

The thing that you want might change: when you have kids and a career, you could want that fancy holiday or fun city life. Maybe you're fifty and living in a paradise with the love of your life, running around to art galleries and restaurant openings, but you dream of a cottage in the country and a quiet routine. Whatever it is, I think it stays with you.

YA is full of yearning and so am I. Always will be. And even now when that yearning is almost more than I can bear, I'm grateful for it. Because at least I know there are things I want out there and maybe, one day, I'll find them.

xoxo

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

What's Up Wednesday, DANGEROUS GIRLS Edition

{click here for a full list of participants!}

What I'm Reading:

HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS I read DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas/Abby McDonald and I just cannot even with the what and the words and how and...wow. Someone please read this so I can discuss it with you. Crazy good. Seriously, my heart is pounding now just thinking about it.



Now I'm reading BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver which is one of those books I always see on people's favourites lists, so I'm hoping it lives up to all the hype!

What I'm Writing:

Surprise! I'm still drafting! Will it ever end?! Who knows!

Query update: I sent out more queries last week, which have gotten me one request so far, plus I did a teeny bit of pitching on #PitMad, which got me another request! It was actually really scary pitching but fun at the same time. Did anyone else have success on the pitching front? I hope so!

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Fashion week, DANGEROUS GIRLS, Meg Myers. I could write a whole story from her song "Heart Heart Head".



What Else I've Been Up To:

Seeing friends before they go back to university, baking cupcakes, finishing Game of Thrones...oh, I'm so bereft. Arya is still my favourite, but I do have a soft spot for the villainous ladies Cersei and Melisandre. I can't help it, I just love evil female characters. Even (especially) when I hate them.

So don't forget--your assignment is to read DG and report back to me so we can discuss, okay? Okay,

xoxo


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Things from NYFW

I probably don't need to tell you it's fashion week because nowadays you can't go anywhere without getting fashion week all up in your face. But it is, and I am somewhat of a...well, I like to daydream about being in a girl gang with Taylor Tomasi Hill, Miroslava Duma, and Emmaneulle Alt, is one way to put it. So now that London is up and running I thought I'd show you some things from New York that are super sweet. Because I know you're all so totally interested. Whatever, who doesn't like pretty clothes?!


{All photos taken from Style.com}


{J. Mendel}

Love that beautiful gold peeking through alongside that pink piping.

{Monique Lhuillier} 

Sweet detachable embellished collars at Monique Lhuillier.

Ballgowns = out. Bandeaus and full skirts = in.

{BCBG Max Azria}

As a winter girl, this is the kind of spring fashion I can get into. Sleeveless biker on the wishlist immediately.

{Erin Fetherston}

For the wood nymph in you--plissé pleats are always perfection.


{Marchesa}

For the gothic I've-seen-bad-things wood nymph in you.

I can't imagine how beautiful this is in real life! Stunning pearls and sheer and oh, just gorgeous.

{Altuzarra}

I'm in love with this simple top/luxe skirt look. And for us poor style mavens, this look is easily recreatable.

xoxo

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Kitten Edition!

{click here for a full list of participants!}

 What I'm Reading:

Last week I read BURN FOR BURN by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, which wasn't perfect (for example, there's a serious issue that gets kind of glossed over--hopefully it'll be dealt with properly in the next book) but which I really enjoyed. It's such a Becky book--rich girls, revenge, tons of voice...of course I was going to enjoy it. Right now I'm halfway through INFINITE SKY by C.J. Flood which got a glowing review from my friend Sarah Wedgbrow and is definitely living up its reputation.



What I'm Writing:

Same old, same old. I think I might be getting close-ish to getting towards the home stretch of this draft, if that makes any sense. And I will be glad when I finish, because I HATE drafting.

On the querying side, I've had a couple more rejections...and that's about it. I'm thinking I might attempt some Twitter pitching tomorrow, which I've never done before, so that might be fun? And I'm going to throw some more queries out into the world because--well, just because sometimes you get rejections but sometimes you get requests and I can't get either without actually sending any!

What Inspires Me Right Now:

I won't lie, the latest rejections I got really bummed me out. But just when I was feeling all wallow-y and mopey, along comes one of my favourite authors with some words of wisdom for everyone feeling the same way:
I know what it’s like to go through periods where the bad stuff is louder, when you can’t find the joy, when the tunnel just keeps getting longer and longer.  Sometimes the lows have been so crushing, I have days where I truly wonder what I do this for… but then I’ll get a new idea.  Start a new book.  Or I’ll have a breakthrough with the one I’m working on.  A scene that’s been bugging me will finally come together and I remember…
Every book holds a world of possibilities, creatively and professionally.  I’m hooked on that.  I may not always get what I want (and I don’t always get what I want—rejection continues even after you’re published), but I feel better for having tried.  When I write, I feel like I’m making doors.  Maybe this will be the one that opens up to the place I want to be.  If it’s not that one, maybe it’s the next one.  I can keep making doors.  That’s what makes it okay for me. 
So keep making doors.  Don’t let anyone stop you.
 Courtney Summers, everyone. Kicking ass and making us feel better about feeling shit. (I highly recommend you check out her tumblr because she gives the most excellent answers to questions like these. And also loves zombies.)

What Else I've Been Up To:

I got a kitten! She's is a very playful (VERY playful) teeny-tiny white and ginger thing, who I have called Milly. (Her middle name is Khaleesi. Oh, yes.) She is, as I write this, asleep on my shoulder.



I also went to a murder mystery party a couple of weeks ago. It was the first murder mystery party I've ever been to and the whole thing was very entertaining--I sadly was not the murderer, but I was a major suspect for quite a while. I felt very Velma Kelly!



That's about all. I hope everyone has had an excellent past couple of week and that the whole back-to-school back-to-work grind isn't getting everyone down too much. Also, I hope anyone who participated in Pitch Madness had a good experience (lots of requests, too!), and maybe I'll see some of you tomorrow on #PitMad :)

xoxo

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Ready. Set. Write! #11...or #12

{Click here for a full list of participants!}

I didn't post last week so I guess this is my RSW week 11 and 12 update...and it's going to be short because I'm exhausted right now. Summer fatigue? Depression? Too much Coke Zero in my system? It couldn't possibly be the last one, right? RIGHT?!

 Onwards...

What I'm Reading:

1. SISTER ASSASSIN by Kiersten White--I really got into it. I like not-entirely-nice characters and I think Fia falls somewhere along that spectrum.

2. KEEP HOLDING ON by Susane Colosanti--this was a little heavy handed re: Bullying Is Bad (and the last page or thereabouts sounded like the author preaching to readers) but it was a quick read and decent enough.

3. SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo--oh, middle books. You are so slow and strangely paced, yet you are so vital to the last book's existence. Not that I'm saying S&S wasn't great, but it was definitely slow. THe ending picked up, though. And worryingly, I'm still crushing on the Darkling...

4. POP PRINCESS by Rachel Cohn--an oldie and a goodie, I'm re-reading this for the billionth time. It's still just as great, and I'm finding myself getting caught up in examining the voice in the story--Rachel Cohn is an absolute voice master. Definitely check out one of her books if that's an area that gives you trouble.

What I'm Writing:

My 500-words-a-day goal has been suffering a bit because I've had days when I just haven't managed to find the time or when I've been too tired to even think about it or lazing around doing nothing just seemed like way more fun. I did, however, get down a rough outline from where I was two weeks ago to the end of the story, and yesterday I finished off a scene that's waaaay too long and had sucked me in completely. Hopefully I'll be back on track soon...or I might take a couple of weeks off because I really. am. exhausted.


Have we really come to the end of RSW? Say it isn't so! I guess summer is coming to an end (although England always seems to get great weather in September when school starts up again). To recap, my goals at the beginning were:
  1. Finish revisions on my MS FATE AND OTHER GAMES, 
  2. Start querying.
  3. Make good progress on my rewrite.

Snaps for me because I've done all those things! I think I did a couple of rounds of revisions before I started querying, and I've had a few requests and a few rejections so far. As for the rewrite, it's coming along. Slowly, but at least it's coming. I guess I've been experimenting with my drafting process this time around, with the whole not-watching-my-word-count thing, and I'm also writing knowing that once this draft is done I can start the real work and revise! I love revising so much more than drafting. 

This summer has been really inspiring; it's been so awesome seeing everyone's progress and cheering people on :) Confetti explosion for the brilliant minds behind this: Alison, Elodie, Katy, Erin, and Jaime. Next summer, ladies? :)

What Inspires Me Right Now:

A year behind everyone else but I don't care:


(UGH all these playback restrictions are pissing me off but I'm too lazy to go find another video...you get the idea, though.)

What Else I've Been Up To:

Got a tattoo (from HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour):


Ate my first scone:




Also dyed my hair, spent some time in McDonald's, one BFF turned 21, I learned that late night FaceTime is the best, and Game of Thrones is my New Thing. WINTER IS COMING!

xoxo

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Ready. Set. Write! #10

{Click here for a full list of participants!}
What I'm Reading:

(Sidenote: I'm having real issues remembering what I'm reading lately...too many books? Too little sleep?!)

I got a late (very late, birthday-was-ten-months-ago late) present from a friend in the form of STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr. This one really surprised me--not with how good it was, just with how the story unfolded. It was just different to what I was expecting, in a really good way. I think it's safe to say I'm a pretty big Sara Zarr fan now :)

I also read something I picked up from the library on a whim, called LIFE ON THE REFRIGERATOR DOOR by Alice Kuipers. I mostly got it because I thought it would be a quick and interesting read, and the format seemed similar to Jaclyn Moriarty's FEELING SORRY FOR CELIA. It was alright, but kind of underwhelming--I think it didn't deliver the emotional impact it was going for. Still, it was fast and I do like books in different formats like this was (literally all in letters between a mother and a daughter).

I've just started another library book, my first Kiersten White! I follow her on Twitter and she is a delight, so I thought it was time I actually read something of hers. At work yesterday I spotted SISTER ASSASSIN (a.k.a. MIND GAMES--UK edition, yo!), so that's what I'm reading now

What I'm Writing:

You may or may not know that it's WriteOnCon right now, and yesterday I had some time to kill when I was stranded in my broken down car, so I took the plunge and threw my query up on the forums. Not only have I gotten some excellent feedback, but I also got a request from one of the ninja agents! Probably the most fun request I've ever gotten. (Also, if you're on the forums, direct me to your posts--I want to check out everyone's work!)


As for actual writing, it's back to the grind...I picked up my rewrite on Sunday and got around 1k down. Yay! So now I'm back to my regular 500-a-day goal. I still don't know my overall word count and I honestly have no idea whether I'm nearer the beginning or the middle or what is really happening at all...so, pretty much business as usual!

What's Inspiring Me Right Now:

Uh, if you haven't been to the WriteOnCon forums you really should, because there's hella good stuff going on over there. I love seeing everyone helping each other, being gracious about accepting that help (look, if you get a crit from someone, even if you don't like it, you should still say THANK YOU!) and learning. What can I say--I don't like school but I do love to learn.

I also was super inspired by the live Twitter pitch session yesterday, with Suzie Townsend and Kathleen Ortiz. It was so cool to be able to see their instant reactions to all the pitches, and also to see how true "every agent is different" really is in all their different opinions, or comments that the pitch was great but they're not particularly into -blah-. If you didn't watch, I definitely recommend checking it out.

What Else I've Been Up To:

My friends and I were bored last week, so we decided...why not go to the beach?! On Friday we set off for Swansea (with me driving, of course, because the three people I went with haven't got their acts together to get their licences yet), crappy Google directions in hand, plenty of change to pay the toll on the bridge [insert "You have to PAY to get into WALES?!" joke here] and about a million things we didn't really need weighing down the car.

Us being us, we did get lost. We did end up taking the stupidest route back to where we needed to be, down a single lane road where we thought we were going to die. We did follow the satnav basically into someone's house. Of course we did--nothing we do ever goes completely to plan. (That's half the fun.)

But! Eventually we found the beach, and the tanning/reading/eating/swimming/sleeping commenced.





 Yeah, we might not have the pretty golden sand and clear blue sea, but grey and moody is what we get, so grey and moody is what I'll take. There's nothing quite like the British seaside.


Catch you on the flipside,

xoxo


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Ready. Set. Write! #9

{Click here for a full list of participants!}
What I'm Reading:

Okay, SHADOW AND BONE? Totally worth the hype. Alina is pretty badass, and even though I'm pretty sure the Darkling is a psychopath, I think I'm in love with him.

I picked up a few books from the library, including DO NO HARM by Carol Topolski. I read her book MONSTER LOVE a few years ago and it was amazing. Disturbing and sickening and terrifying, but amazing. Her latest, though? Did not work for me. It skipped backwards and forwards in time, switched between third and first person, between past and present tense, and it did nothing but confuse me. Plus, I found the plot pretty lacklustre.



I needed something excellent after that, and lucky me, because the Amazon fairy delivered the perfect book: PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor. I haven't been so excited for a book in forever--I'm a sucker for anything involving prep/private/boarding school, the Upper East Side, rich kids, New England fancy, and/or the Hamptons. PSC has four of those things, plus a murder mystery. I mean, come on. How was I not going to read it?! Which I did all in one go, by the way, because it was that good and I had to know how the mystery unraveled. I cannot wait for the next book, WICKED LITTLE SECRETS--Anne Dowling is my new book bestie, for sure.

What I'm Writing:




Nothing! I haven't written since last Thursday (on purpose) and it's nice to have a break. I did get some good words down before that, though, and I left off in the middle of a scene where I knew I could pick it up easily. (At least, I hope I can.) So my goal this week is only to get back into the swing of things on Monday. And also to map out the next few scenes, because I'm not a plotter, but writing without at least a few notes on what's happening next only leads to trouble. For me. In revisions.

What's Inspiring Me Right Now:

I'm reading a biography/coffee table book about Lucille Ball. She was quite the HBIC. I am crazy inspired by the women of Old Hollywood because of the way a lot of them gamed the system that was supposed to keep them down without anyone ever knowing. People might look on the Marilyns and Veronicas and Avas as just pretty little things, but they were smart in so many ways as well as being wonderfully beautiful. Sigh.



What Else I've Been Up To:

Hanging out with my girls at a tea-tail party. "But what is that?" I hear you ask. Well, a tea-tail party is when you want to drink cocktails but it's the afternoon and you also want a snack. We're nothing if not classy!

{Look at me getitng hammered on...lemonade!}


Now back to enjoying my "holiday" and pretending I'm sitting by a pool somewhere hot. If only.

xoxo