Saturday, July 30, 2011

Help! I'm becoming a cat lady!

Not really. But that is the name of the show I've just discovered and instantly decided to make my favorite. All in the name of research. When my fiance timidly hinted that he might want to change the channel I replied "I can't! This is good for my book!"

Why? The show is about a dating coach who helps women who are on the verge of becoming crazy cat ladies whose only human interaction is when they go to PETCO. She gets into the psychology of why they prefer cats, teaches them how to interact/meet men, makes them over, sets them up on dates, etc. And it just so happens that my MC is a dating coach/match maker (minus the only dealing with cat ladies part). This show just gave me a whole bunch of ideas of things I need to include in my book.

I love that about writing. Finding inspiration/ideas or things that relate to your writing at random times and in random places, like Animal Planet.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Unfairness of Weddings

As my wedding approaches (94 days in case you are wondering) I find myself turning into a ball of tension and frayed nerves. My neck muscles have seized up to being rock hard as only happens when I am extremely stressed. I can't sleep, and when I do I have nightmares of every possible thing going wrong on my wedding day.

Let me just say, I wasn't always like this. I started out in complete control of my wedding. Within 3 months of being engaged, I had my dress, my venue, my photographer, my DJ, my bagpiper. I laughed at the women on TV who were freaking out over their weddings. This was so easy! Who needed a wedding planner? Why had I ever thought planning a wedding was difficult?

Things were going smoothly up until about a month ago. The invitations were a nightmare, literally. There was a mistake and they had to be reprinted. The RSVP cards were missing. More printing issues. Finally thought I had them altogether, only to realize as I assembled I only had enough vellum cover sheets for half. Another run-around trying to get the rest.

Then I had to reschedule my hair trial 3 times. Then the expensive personalized memorial candle holder I ordered broke. My in-laws spent days agonizing over the perfect place for the rehearsal dinner and by the way, we can only invite 30 people. Wedding bands are ridiculously expensive. Bridesmaid is MIA. Wedding shower hasn't been planned. Mom wants to hire a videographer. Should look into the marriage license, do they still do blood tests??

This is when it hit me. I'm getting married. This is it.

And now, I turn into a pathetic, cliched Bridezilla. I'm spending thousands of dollars on this one day that I'll never get to have again. It has to be perfect. The unfairness of weddings is the amount of pressure and expectation. It's not like a birthday. If you have a bad one, well, there's always next year. This is every person that you know watching you for an entire day. Judging every detail. These are the pictures and the video that you're going to look back on, going to show your kids, going to remember for the rest of your life.

In one of my nightmares, the ceremony did not go the way I wanted to and in the middle of it I demanded that we start over again. I got up and ran back down the aisle. I always thought the women who stressed over every little detail were ridiculous. It's about the marriage, about what the wedding represents, that's what's important! I thought. Who cares about favors and personalized beverage napkins?

Joke is on me. Because suddenly....I do.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Going Off Track

The hardest part of writing ( of them, anyway) for me is figuring out what to write next. When I start writing, I have a general idea of where I want the book to go. I have the characters, the plot, conflict, motivation, etc., but I don't have a scene by scene outline. I don't have specifics or little details. Usually, they come to me as I'm writing. But sometimes... I go off track.

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You're happily writing along, but you know in the back of your mind this isn't what you should be writing. It's not where the story should be going. In fact, it's not moving the story forward at all. Maybe you know where you need to be, but not quite how to get there. You have a scene in your head that is not quite ready to happen yet and you need a way to bridge to it. But you end up just getting lost. Sometimes you can find your way out and sometimes you have to hit the delete button.

Bribery: A writer's best motivation

I have found a new way of making myself write. I am easily distracted. I procrastinate. I just plain don't feel like writing even when I should and have nothing stopping me. Which has led me to a new plan of attack: bribery.

The other night, I had promised myself I would write. My fiance works from 7:00 at night til 4:30 in the morning. Meaning most nights I am sitting at home alone. The ideal time to write. But I didn't feel like it. I stalked people from high school on facebook. I looked at wedding stuff. I read. When it suddenly occurred to me I had a package of refrigerated cookie dough in the kitchen which I had bought under the guise of baking them and putting them in my fiances lunch that he takes to work (it's more like late night 2nd dinner, but whatever). But if I baked them now, I could eat one or two when they were gooey and warm. I debated for a while. Then I decided, if I wrote a certain number of pages, I would be completely deserving of a cookie.

So I wrote. And I glanced at the kitchen. I wrote some more. I checked the page number. I'd done it! Warm cookies were in my near future.

Last night, I bought chips and dip and Coke for girls movie night. If I write 5 pages after I post this blog, I'm giving myself free rein to indulge.

This tactic might not be so good for my wedding diet, but my writing has never been faster.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

REVIEW: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares


Having read the other books when they came out (I was 14? 15?) I couldn't resist reading the last book. I'm a sucker for a series. I love not having to let go of characters as soon as a book ends.

I have to admit, this book frustrated me. It bothered me. I wanted to stop reading. I wanted to throw it (neatly contained in my Kindle) against the wall. I don't want to include any spoilers, but this book was depressing. Flat-out, depressing. The girls (women, I should say because they are almost 30) experience an extreme tragedy and react to it in extreme ways. That was my first complaint. I think I have experienced more grief than the average person, and I still can't see anyone acting the way they did in the book. It came off as very unrealistic and out of character for me. The sisterhood hasn't played a significant role in any of their lives in years and they have all grown apart to the point where you might not even classify them as friends, yet when they finally realize the sisterhood has truly been destroyed they act like it was the only thing worthwhile in their lives.

I kept reading for two reasons: the writing itself was beautiful, and I knew that everything would be resolved in the end. Which of course, it was. I wanted it to be, I was waiting for it to happen, but every story line getting wrapped up in a neat little bow was off-putting. The audience for these books has grown up, I would've thought the story could grow up too. This book wasn't meant for teenagers who can't handle the fact that life is messy and things are unfair and not everyone gets a happy ending. But that's what it felt like at the end, that she just couldn't end the series without everyone being happy and content even though throughout the book they've all been miserable and whiny and depressed. I think she could've ended it on a happy but more realistic note.

In all honesty, I couldn't in my head connect the women in these books to the girls from the first few. It felt like I was reading about completely different people who just happened to have the same names. Maybe it's because it's been so long since I read the other books, but I also think that the author took all of their personality traits to the extreme in this book.

Overall, if you have read the rest of the series and want to know how it ends, I'd say read it. But have a giant hershey's bar and a box of kleenex in easy reach.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why isn't it easier...

To forget people who have hurt you? To leave them in the past where they belong and not let them come back, creeping into a future they no longer have a part in? Even when they aren't the ones doing it. When it's you who brings them back, over and over again without them even knowing it?

To remember the people who left too soon? Why do the most important memories fade, slip away, faster and faster the harder you try to hold on to them?

To be honest? With yourself. With the people around you. Why do so many people lie, and lie, and lie?

To stop yourself from being morbid and depressing in blog posts?

To go to the grocery store and not buy chocolate?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Epic Publishing Fail

Lit Agent Needed (Anywhere)

Date: 2011-07-16, 8:15AM EDT
[Errors when replying to ads?]

I have several concepts for books and need the right agent to help facilitate them.

Please send your qualifications showing results.

  • Location: Anywhere
  • Compensation: TBD
  • Telecommuting is ok.
  • This is a part-time job.
  • This is a contract job.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
This is a real ad I found on craigslist. Uh, wow. Just wow. I love the "concept" for books part. Agents love representing people who haven't written the books yet. I hope this person writes (or probably just has a concept for) fantasy, because they live in one.

REVIEW: He's so not worth it by Kieran Scott

Dear. God. I just finished reading this book, like, literally, 2 seconds ago. Why does Kieran Scott insist on leaving me hanging in utter shock and desperation? It is one of the things I both love and hate about her books.

I read this as quickly, or quicker, than I read the first book in the series, She's so dead to us. I have to say, Ally Ryan is one of my favorite YA heroines ever. Top 10, at least. She's so authentic and so easy to relate to. I felt so frustrated for her and all the things that were not going her way. This book and Ally's narration captured perfectly the angst of being a teenager. Hating your parents, backstabbing friends, awkward boy situations...I wish I'd read this book when I was 16 because it would've made me feel much better about screaming at my mom. I'd probably have thrown the book at her and gone "See, this is how I'm supposed to be acting!" Luckily for me, I've left adolescence and shoved all the painful memories way, way down. And my mom has forgiven me for my outbursts. I think.

The book was fast-paced and I raced through it. The narration switches between Ally and her crush Jake, and each chapter is headed with the name of who is narrating it, although a couple of times the names were wrong which threw me off for a second. Jake is a good narrator too and I think she did a decent job of writing like a teenage boy would think. I thought the way Jake and Ally resolve their issues was a tad unrealistic, but I loved it anyway. Everything else, the way things don't get wrapped up in neat little packages, was spot on. Especially when you're a teenager, I recall nothing and no one ever doing what I wanted.

Kieran Scott is an awesome writer and I would absolutely recommend reading this book.

Friday, July 15, 2011

E-readers: Great invention, or greatest invention ever?

I love my kindle. To be honest, it's my 3rd Kindle. (The reasons why will be revealed later.) For you who don't have an e-reader yet, I have just two words for you. WHY NOT?

Convenience. I have the kindle that has the ability to download books anywhere, wireless network or not. Ah-mazing.

Portability. Pre-kindle, I had to bring an extra suitcase on vacation just for my books. I'm the type of person who can read a book in a day, and 1 or 2 books for a week long vacation where I have nothing to do but read is not going to cut it.

Affordability. After the initial expense which can seem steep (but which I never experienced because mine was a gift) the books on kindle are much cheaper than print books. If you read as many books as I do, I think it definitely is worth it. Especially because there are so many books in the .99-2.99 range (although quality is not always guaranteed).

Variety. And ease of finding what you want. Beats a book store any day.

This list could go on and on and on. Battery life. Adjustable font sizes. Lack of glare in sunlight. Instant reviews of books. Etc, etc.

Now, to be seen as unbiased (although clearly I am not) and to be honest, I have to admit there are some cons to the greatest invention ever. Ahem.
Durability. I am on my 3rd kindle. My first, a Christmas gift, broke a few days after receiving. The screen suddenly went wonky, lines going through it, etc. Fiance, who had purchased it for me, called up Amazon and new one (free) was on it's way to me that day. At the time, Kindle was extremely new and I chalked it up to a glitch in the technology as many people had problems, but fiance confessed months later that he had sat on it and possibly caused the damage. My 2nd, the replacement, met a similar fate when fiance stepped on it and again destroyed the screen. Which was, although a tragedy, also a blessing because I got the newer, sleeker version this time which has yet to be crushed.

In addition to a somewhat delicate screen (although, not so delicate as my smartphone which has chunks of glass missing) I have a habit which makes my fiance cringe. I like to read my kindle in the bathtub. Now, dropping a paper back in the water is certainly not ideal, with a kindle, might be a bigger problem. But I am supremely careful. Usually.

Next con: New releases. Are not always on the kindle. For example, I was tearing through the Pretty Little Liars series, when I discovered that the next book wasn't available on Kindle. In my desperation, I was forced to buy it in hardcover, which meant I had the entire series but one book on my Kindle. Annoying.

Those are my biggest gripes about my Kindle, and while there may be a few more little ones, overall I would highly recommend everyone get an e-reader. Stat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do Less

To me, this is how writing should be. You can't try to be a writer.

Don't try to write. Just write. "Just do it, feel it!"