Saturday, December 29, 2012

Things I Do Because I Write

I may or may not have spent the last half an hour lying on my face in the middle of my bed with my feet sticking out the wrong end and classic rock blasting in my headphones.

This happens to me sometimes. I was in the middle of editing the first book in Elaine's series, cleaning it up and trying to get it ready to send off to publishers and/or agents, just getting all my ducks in a row, when suddenly, I stopped.

I'm serious. I just stopped.

This happens sometimes. And there's really nothing for it but to plaster my face into the pillow and wait until it passes.

Usually, this means I've got ideas coming, and that's what it meant. I've got a really, really good beginning and ending to a book, but that's it. Like three paragraphs. I don't even know what happens in between.

My life is weird sometimes.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shoutout to my Professors

I've been editing like mad lately. I don't know if it's because I'm sick and the medicine they gave me made me suddenly hyper-aware of everything (which is super helpful for editing, by the way) or if it's because it's Christmas Break, and I figured I needed to do some work while I was on vacation. I don't really know.

But I've been going through and fixing things like dialogue tags, minor punctuation, fixing "showing" versus "telling," all the stuff that my fiction editing professor helped me with over this past semester.

Basically, that decision to switch to an editing minor was a fantastic one.

And who says you don't learn anything in school?


Monday, December 24, 2012

I take a special kind of pleasure in the way people react to my writing. If it's sad, I revel in the upset huffs and the tutting and aggravation. If it's happy, I like to sit back and watch people grin and giggle and spazz. And if it's heartbreaking, there is this special, sadistic pleasure in the single tear you can get from readers even when they try not to cry.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Date a Writer

So I gave this some thought because I've seen a lot out there with different viewpoints, and I thought I would give my take on it as a writer.

Mind you, not all of this will apply to every writer.

But some might, so if you're interested, keep reading.

1. The "alone time." You may not know what started it, but she does. She has something that she needs to work out in her head. Maybe it's a new plot line or something interesting to throw into her characters. But in the same vein, maybe it's that she's trying to figure out you and this new plot development in her own life. Whatever it is, she's thinking about it. And then writing about it, usually. If you find her in a corner with a bag of chips and her laptop, don't try to move her. Don't try to talk to her. Maybe just get her more chips. She's probably running low.

2. The myth of being written about. Oh, the ego of the writer's significant other. She is probably not writing about you on purpose. Maybe she notices something you did and thinks it fits very well with something her characters could do. That's how she operates. She takes something in the real world and pours it into hers. That being said, if you do see something of you, just quietly appreciate it. It means she's paying attention. Don't boast that you are that character; that's her baby and it's weird to be dating her baby.

3. Communication in writing. She is very good at writing down her thoughts. She's meticulous, in fact. Every word, every inflection has a purpose. So when she doesn't say immediately how she feels or what she thinks, it is not because she does not have anything to say. She just has not found the words for it. More often than not, her affection is shown by notes or action; she is better at that.

4. Giving you her time. If a writer is putting aside hours out of her day for you, she likes you. Her time with you could be spent writing. Or organizing her thoughts. Or getting new pens. (Pens are important, by the way.) Or learning new recipes while she battles writer's block. Or doing anything else. But she is spending time with you when it is not "alone time," and what she chooses to do outside "alone time" is very telling of what her priorities are.

5. Spontaneity. She can be spontaneous, but you can't. She is driven by her whims, driven by a desire to write when the fancy takes her and run out into the world when the words stop flowing. She might wake up at the three in the morning and write until morning. (You might find her in her dining room still wearing her pajamas later that day with bags under her eyes but with a triumphant smile.) Or she might burst out of her room and start making food, cleaning the house, playing games, or fingerpainting. There is really no telling what a writer will do when she is not writing, since all that energy has to go somewhere. But you? You can't be spontaneous. What if, heaven forbid, you try to surprise her in the middle of a writing frenzy? What if she is sitting in the corner doing nothing because she is plotting the antagonists' demise, and your ice cream run would be a distraction? Give her at least fifteen minutes to put a bookmark in what she was doing so that she can save that story file for later.

6. Reading her work. If she offers to let you read something, it means she trusts you enough to share a piece of herself. Treat it with respect. Tell her it's beautiful, but also tell her why. Tell her what you think; be sincere. She wants to know what you think of this piece of her. If you ask to read something she's written, be prepared for a "no." Maybe she will let you read it, but maybe it is not yet "perfect." This is a piece of her, after all, ad she doesn't want you to see it in its ugly drafting stages. That would be like going out in public in her pajamas! (PS: She might actually go out in public in her pajamas, but this is only an issue during writing frenzies, so be aware.)

7. Mood swings. One minute, she'll be totally in love with you. The next, she acts like you don't exist. This is normal. Be careful giving your heart to a writer; she doesn't know what to do with it. Look what she does to her characters! She stomps on them and treads them under her feet and kicks them over the finish line until they are polished and perfect. And she doesn't want to do that to you, but she also can't control you or your feelings and background. What is a writer to do with this force beyond her control? Sometimes, she has to retreat and regroup with herself and remind herself that this is not a story.

8. Unpredictability. Disregard everything I've just said. Don't expect any of it to be true. That's the thing about dating a writer. Just when you think you've got her figured out, she might end up sitting upside-down in an armchair eating ice cream while she brainstorms when clearly her usual method is to stand in front of the fireplace and stare at the bricks. She's always changing and evolving as her stories and characters change, and there is no telling when a new fancy will strike. Be patient with her. Love her quirks. Point them out to her and tell her they're adorable.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rejection Letters Research Abstract

And the project is slowly marching on!

An author-editor relationship is key in publishing, and the rejection letter is the beginning of that relationship—it is the only criteria an author has by which to judge a given publishing house or agency. While authors cannot overreact to rejections letters, editors must realize how their letters reflect on them and on their houses. The form of the rejection letter indicates to an author just how invested a publishing house is in a relationship with the author, even if this is not the editor’s intention. Therefore, more detailed forms of rejection letters are preferred to non-responses and form letters. In more detailed rejection letters, the most important part in terms of author relationships is the revision suggestions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

So I'm finally trying to be better about blogging and in November I won't be good at it at all. Because I'm doing NaNoWriMo.

So this year I'm writing a book about Nicholas Anderson. Yeah, I know that was way back a couple years ago but I'm revisiting it because I'm obsessed. He's my most favorite character of all time. Or okay maybe I have a slight crush on him I'm not really sure.

But anyway, I'm going back to before Secrets We Keep (which, by the way, I'm thinking about renaming Vulnerable because this new book is called Expendable). It's the story of Nicholas's security team and the way they discovered what brought them to the events of Vulnerable in the first place.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Inspiration by Paralyzation

I've got this buzzing in the back of my head, this energy. It's the electricity of a thousand ideas bouncing around up there, waiting to get out.

It's a wonder I'm not insane. I can feel my head going five different ways. I want to write. I want to edit. I want to query agents and publishers. I want to market what I have done. I want to write my essay on rejection letters. And I have ideas on how to proceed with each of these.

I'm so inspired, I'm paralyzed. I can't move forward on one because I want to do all of them. How 'bout that?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Started Writing

1. Your book isn't just a work of art anymore. If you want to get it published, you will need to work hard in marketing. You'll need business skills, advertising skills, that sort of thing.
2. There is no substitute for reading every single word of your manuscript.
3. There is no substitute for persistence. A rejection letter is not the end of the world, so don't settle for anything less than what you want.
4. Put some distance between yourself and the book before you try to edit it. If you try to edit too soon after writing the first draft, you hurt. You're too attached still to get rid of things.
5. Sometimes you will write book that will never get published. These books are just for you, and if you don't have the drive to get it published, publishers won't jump on board, either.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Project: How to Write the Perfect Rejection Letter

No, really. I'm doing a research paper about how rejection letters reflect on publishing companies. It's part of the Writing Fellows program here at BYU, and I think it's going to be the most fun I've ever had with a research paper.

First of all, there are three different kinds of rejection letters: non-response, form letter, individualized rejection (sometimes accompanied by the invitation to resubmit).

The individualized rejection letter (which I'm arguing is the best of the three not only for the author but for the reputation of the house) has four key components: status of the author's submission, praise, reason for rejection/revision instructions, encouragement in future endeavors. It is the third component that makes the good letters better than the others.

I'll be arguing that houses whose editors take the time to write even a couple sentences of reasoning behind the rejection letter prove to the author that they have read their work and that they are competent editors who understand what can and cannot work in the publishing industry. They prove to authors that they respect their work but that they also know what good manuscripts are. This makes authors more likely to trust those houses and more likely to submit future works to this house.

A couple sentences, then, can establish the all-important "good impression" that you want to give authors. After all, that's where the money comes from, ultimately: submissions.

I'll be updating you on this project (and trying to post more frequently) but I think this should be fun!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Relaxed?

It's funny, but this is the most relaxed I've felt in a long time.

I've got a test and two projects due next week, not to mention finals (or final papers/portfolios) in all my classes the week after that. I've got to pack and clean and move out of my apartment some time in that mess, and then I'm going to be working various jobs all summer to keep myself alive and paying for groceries.

But I'm so ridiculously relaxed because I've planned for this. I've got most of my homework done so that all that's left is a little bit of reading, a little bit of organizing, and then the big things: the tests, projects, and finals. I'm ticking off the list of things to do in individual classes, and that, my friends, is why I'm relaxed.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So I figure it's probably a good time to sit down and edit and submit a manuscript, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When Things Fall Into Place

There aren't many times when I've been completely sure of something. I'm always Miss Backup Plan. I have Plans A through Z and then maybe some plans with those little letters iii and such. But when I decided I wanted to get into publishing, I knew I had something going for me.

It really started, I guess, when I took my Editing 350 class. At first, it terrified me. We were sitting there editing little sentences that made no sense and that we would probably never see in the real world, and i wasn't all that convinced that I was cut out for this sort of thing. I wasn't making the grades I usually did.

But then we did this activity where we all wrote essays and swapped them with each other for editing. When it became real, when I was actually editing -to- somebody, when I knew there was an author counting on me to catch things, well, I was having the time of my life.

Then I got hired as the student editor for our foreign policy publication, Praemon. Within a week, I was editing happily and looking to the future. I was absolutely thrilled, and I wondered why I ever doubted that this was what I wanted to do.

I've always wanted to be a writer, of course. In fact, I am one. But writing doesn't put groceries on the table, so I needed something else. And this is it. Oh boy, is this it. I love it so much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Beauty of the Unabashedly "Wrong"

I still remember the day I made my choice. I was sitting in class, learning about the difference between a dialect and a language and listening to a description of all the different ways people spoke. It was beautiful to me. I loved the melodies of their voices and the rhythm—the musical rhythm—of their speech patterns. Even their grammatical choices were sweet to the taste of my mouth as I rolled them over on my tongue. I was enamored.

As enamored as I was, though, other people were disgusted. I still remember the heat of the anger boiling up in my veins and clogging my throat as I watched the girl on the screen, the girl who was engaged to a Southern boy and broke it off when she heard his deep accent when they went to visit his family. I had seen that look before. It was the reason I had lost my own Georgia accent after three years in Provo. But when I heard it articulated, when I saw the way she looked down her nose at anyone who might think English could be spoken any other way, something inside me clicked. I understood. There was no right. There was no wrong. There was only the beauty of words and the way they could weave together to make stunning art. I am a descriptivist, a linguistic liberal, a bleeding heart; I am vehemently opposed to imposing “correctness” on others.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

House Hunting

My best friend and I found a gorgeous house to move into. It looks like something out of the 1920s, with huge, high ceilings and wood panel doors. It's absolutely beautiful and yet still in my price range.

I'm just worried that we might have lost it.

She makes fun of me, because I'm very Southern, but one of the advantages of my upbringing is my belief in the importance of manners. But because she wanted the bigger room, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of trying to renegotiate living spaces when the best had already been taken.

I've been upset about it all night and this morning. I'm not a pushy person. I was raised to be respectful and never to impose. I know part of house hunting is the negotiation, but I think I stepped out of line, and now I feel like I've betrayed the way I was raised.

I've called the landlady and apologized profusely and offered to forget the whole thing and just take the tiny side bedroom, but we're still waiting to hear back. I just don't know.

Maybe it's just because I'm so very Southern. It's been pointed out to me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Also Be a College Student

So, there is this thing called homework.

Yes, I know. It's such a foreign term, and why on earth would I be stuck doing it? Sad, huh? Ever since I got published, I've been even less motivated to do anything in school because I keep thinking, "Well, I already know what I'm going to do when I grow up, and I'm already doing that, so why am I here again?"

But that doesn't really matter because I'm still in school and I still have to do homework no matter how pointless I think it is. But like I said, I have no motivation whatsoever.

And even worse, I tend to get into writing moods at about the same time I've got tests, projects, and essays due.

I have a solution! So listen up, all you writers who still have homework!

I have imposed a restriction on myself. I can edit/rewrite/write a grand total of five chapters (per book)for every week's to-do list. The counter restarts every Sunday, but it also restarts when I get through a week's worth of homework.

Ever since I imposed this rule, I have been ridiculously productive. I'm getting things done like you wouldn't believe! (Mostly because I'm on a roll and I want to get back to writing!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend o' Writing

I think I've said before that I write when the fancy takes me, so I tend to write in fits and spurts. Well, this weekend was definitely a fit. On Friday night, I felt the urge to sit down and do some rewriting and polishing. (This is a rare urge. I hate editing my own stuff because I get so attached to the things I write! And because it is so rare, I knew I had to act on this urge before the moment passed.) So, I sat down at my desk, and five hours later, I had finished editing and polishing four chapters. (This is just the first round of editing. The really tedious, must-catch-everything round comes after the first round of "I want everything to flow and make sense and these are the words I'm keeping to help me do that.")

Anyway, Saturday was really busy. I left my house at six in the morning and didn't get back home until almost eight that night. So I only got through one chapter (and that was a feat in and of itself because I was exhausted!) But then yesterday, Sunday, I was on a roll! Three and a half chapters got done, not to mention some serious studying for a test I have this week.

That's another thing: Why is it that I only get these urges on weekends that I have huge tests and projects?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reviews

I got a call from my sister yesterday telling me that my old high school newspaper had just run a story about me being published, and the author of that story had written a review of my book. In that review (which I don't have right now but will put it up once I do) I was praised for my action and absolutely shot down on the romance front.

My sister assured me that the reviewer hates all romance whatsoever, but I'd be okay with it even if she was a romantic and still hated it.

So far, all I've got back from my book is the generic statement of love, though I did have one friend who (bless her) went through and told me the things I did right and the nitpicky things I got wrong, but she liked the plot and the ending, so I hadn't heard anything about romance.

I've always been good at writing action scenes. Anyone who knows any of my writing knows that dialogue and action are my key points, but the emotion is where I really struggle. That's why I write adventure novels and spy novels; it's more about the story and action than the emotion. And it's not that I'm bad at writing characters, either, because these are real people in my head and they are very complex characters. But I'm a young, single adult who, at the time I wrote Lady Thief, had never even been kissed. So I'm going to struggle on the romance front no matter what.

And you know what? I appreciate the criticism. It's something I can use going forward to improve myself.

When a man publishes a book, there are so many stupid things said that he declares he'll never do it again. The praise is almost always worse than the criticism.
- Sherwood Anderson

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beauty

Beauty is relative.
It's the sun peeking out of the clouds after a long, hard rain.
It's the smell of honeysuckle on an elementary school playground.
It's the taste of freshly picked peaches -- sun-dried and warm.
It's running barefoot through the backyard.
It's the sound of an unabashed opinion.
Beauty is warmth.
It's the melodic note of an accent.
It's the gentle breeze of April and the stale warmth of August.
It's watching heat lightning for the first time, drenched in your own sweat.
It's the feeling that the people around you are genuine.
It's the strum of an old guitar and the creak of a rocking chair.
Beauty is familial.
It's the winning move in an outdoor checkers game.
It's the smell of homecooked meals -- mom's specialty
It's the taste of fresh lemonade when you come inside.
It's knowing you are always welcome.
It's the respect you give others out of sheer habit, nothing forced.
Beauty is peaceful.
It's the night sky with no city lights to drown it out.
It's the warmth of a springtime sunrise.
It's the cold rain of winter -- the kind that never freezes.
It's the fresh yellow pollen that descends every year.
It's laughing at your newly yellow car.
Beauty is painful.
It's standing your ground when others don't.
It's the courage to flaunt your independence freely.
It's the strength to be who you are without doubts and shame.
It's the hope that the closed-minded will be enlightened.
It's the solidarity of those who remember what honor is.
Beauty is simple.
It's the exuberance of finally climbing to the top of the tree.
It's the feeling of a mother's hand stroking your hair.
It's the warmth of a January fire and the smell of marshmellows.
It's the sound of laughter reaching every corner of the house.
It's knowing life can't get any better than this.
Beauty is home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Would You Rather

So, the college I go to is a private religious university, and every Monday night, we do this thing called Family Home Evening. A group of apartments (guys and girls) get together and do things for about an hour with a spiritual thought, some treats, and an activity. Last night, we played this game called "Would You Rather."

The premise of the game is simple. You pick a card and pick a "would you rather" statement on the card, and the other people in the group have to guess which of the options you would rather do. It was fun until it was my turn and i saw one of the options:

If you were a writer, would you rather your computer crashed and you lose you life's work or someone stole your work and made a fortune?

It's a mark of how little this group understood my passion for writing that not a single person though I picked the second option.

It's not that I don't want to make a career out of writing. In fact, it's really the only thing I want to do with my life. So, yeah, I would be frustrated if someone stole my ideas and made a fortune. But at least those ideas would be out there! Trust me, I've had mild panic attacks when I had computer programs and almost lost all my writing. That's my life's work! I don't want to lose it to anything, and I don't really care who reads it or who doesn't. It's my passion, and I don't want to lose any of it, awful rough drafts included.

So I gained some insight about myself yesterday. I learned that I'm a very selfish writer and I want to keep all my books and ideas alive.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Problem With Writing on Instinct

When I feel like writing, I do. If I don't feel like it, I don't. It's a good system, and it keeps me from forcing myself into writing something I don't actually like.

There is one tiny flaw in my system, though. Sometimes, when I'm in one of those writing moods, something will interrupt that mood and throw me completely off my game.

It's not usually something small like a conversation, because as my family can attest to, what usually happens when people try to talk to me while I'm writing is that I speak in monosyllables for a few minutes and then excuse myself from the conversation as politely as I can. The distractions are usually bigger. For example, I'm in college. This is the time of my life where I'm making big life decisions. So if, say, I find a place to live over the spring and summer semesters that I really like, that's going to take priority because shelter is one of those basic necessities of life.

Or if a new development comes up in possible job opportunities.

Or a date. Those are distracting.

Point is, I'm starting to see a problem with writing when I'm "in the mood." At this rate, and with the decade of my twenties and all the life decisions associated with it weighing down on me, it's going to be hard to keep my commitment to writing. And that's something that should never happen.

I'm seriously thinking about restrategizing (I don't think that's a word) my writing process....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Writing is Bliss

I sat down at my desk. I had a plan. Now that I was finally caught up on homework that was due while I had been sick for a few weeks, I was going to do the stuff that was due on Monday so that I would be plenty caught up, even if it was only Wednesday.

Instead, I looked at my Word program, smiled, and opened my book.

When I write, I close my eyes so that I'm not paying attention to the spelling or the typos, only to the way the words flow in my head. (I go back and edit later, of course.) But I sat there for two hours, leaning my head back and just enjoying myself as I wrote two chapters of a book that has quickly become everything I love about my choice of career.

When I finished, I wanted to keep going, but it was nearly midnight, and I had to be up in just over five hours so I could work the awful morning shift at the job I got to get me through college. It was the hardest thing to close the laptop and put it aside, and when I went to work this morning, all I could think about was how I was going to write as soon as I got home (and after my usually Thursday exercise session; I've got to be consistent or I'll never stay in shape).

Sometimes, I forget just how much I love writing. But when I take the time to write again, not just in 200-word fits and spurts but in sessions where I just sit down and write until I'm exhausted, I remember just how much I love it. This is beautiful, and even if I never get published again, I'm never going to stop. Nothing else can beat this feeling.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why I Write

(Note: In my defense this time, I had a really, really bad case of the flu. So forgive my absence. Again.)

One of the first things people usually ask me when I tell them my profession of choice is how I decided I was going to be a writer. The first thing I tell them in return is that I didn't ever "decide" to be a writer; it's really the only thing I could possibly have been.

I have lots of stories running around in my head. I also have lots of people running around up there. When I watch a show, read a book, or just generally experience something cool, I like to ask "what if?" questions and to go from there. I guess I'm just hardwired that way.

Sometimes, I feel like there are too many things going on in my head, like if I don't find a release for all the ideas and people running around up there, I'm going to go insane. Or maybe I'm already insane; it's entirely possible. But when I write, it provides that release; it lets the people run and play somewhere other than the inside of my head.

A lot of writers talk about the fact that they write because they "have" to, and we laugh at them. But it's true. There is, within authors who genuinely like what they do, an impulse to write that must be obeyed even if it is three o'clock in the morning.

For me, nothing is more natural than writing. It's all I've ever wanted to do with my life, and I go to college for a secondary career because writing books isn't exactly going to put food on the table. It's never been a question of why I write, it's a question of why I wouldn't let all this writing energy out of my head and onto the paper.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wow, I Already Fell Off the Bandwagon

That was fast.

I knew it was going to be hard to keep up an ongoing online presence, but I didn't realize it was going to be this hard. I haven't written in a while, and while I usually don't post over the weekends, I realized I never came back after the SOPA blackout thing.

Which was cool, by the way. Raised lots of awareness.

Yeah, anyway. Life's just been coming at me pretty hard, and it couldn't have been a worse time. I have all this writing energy. I know what I want to have happen in books four and five of Michael's series, and at the same time, I am rewriting Book One since, you know, it would be a good idea to have a polished draft ready if I ever hear back from that agent. (Not that what I've got isn't good. I just want to make it better.) I have lots of energy, and I want to put it all into writing, but the downside to being a student is this little thing called homework. Homework and essays and tests. Then add any kind of social life and a job... You're seeing where I'm going with this, right?

Anyway, this is all by way of roundabout apology to the, like, one person who probably even sees this. Thank you, Random Person, for reading my apology, I guess?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on the SOPA controversy

So, I'm about to be horribly inconvenienced by some of my favorite research sites (AKA Wikipedia) blacking out, and I figured I should know why I'm being inconvenienced.

Basically, I feel like I come down on both sides of this. On the one hand, I really, really don't want people to be able to get free copies of anything I do. I mean, I put my heart and soul into things like this, and I pour my life into my work. That doesn't mean you get to rip me off once I actually fulfill my dream of getting out there on the market, okay? Okay.

On the other hand, this is totally the wrong way to go about this.

Let me say that again.

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO GO.

So, let me get this straight. We're going to punish websites for the things that people put up? We're really going to come down on Youtube for all the fan videos and music videos and general skullduggery that goes down? Not to mention all the weirdness that people search on Google. Yes, you know what I'm talking about.

On the principle of the thing, I'm against it. Not because I don't totally support anti-piracy, because, you know, I do, but because I don't think we should punish the search engines for what pirates do. Killing the patient may stop the pain in his big toe, but really, that's not the easiest way to go about this. I'm all for making it hard to pirate things. Ten-four! Really! Let's make it harder to access these sites, make them easier to flag, that sort of thing. But then let's blame the pirates and not the rest of us, okay? Okay.

In that spirit, I'm going quiet tomorrow with the rest of the world. So this is Wednesday's blog post on Tuesday instead.

Elaine, Princess of the Underground Rendezvous


So, if you look back far enough in my history, you'll know this story. But I'm assuming you're like me and don't feel like checking that far back and would rather I just tell it to you now. If you're cool enough to go back and check, it's probably more accurate, so good for you!

Anyway, I'm working on a six-book series right now. The title character is Michael Frederickson, but the character that started it all is Elaine.

See, one day, I was just sitting there, hanging out with my family, when I had a sudden flash of inspiration, ran upstairs, and grabbed a notebook, where I drew a picture of a girl wearing a shirt which was too big for her, army boots, a collared shirt, a mesh cap, mesh gloves, and a braid that was mostly falling out on one side. I named her Elaine, and she then declared to me that she was a witch and, more importantly, that she was a princess and she deserved her own story.

I had mentioned this earlier, and while I'm not going to show you the original drawing, because a) it's on lined paper and looks weird b) I can draw much better now and c)it's precious to me and I'll probably frame it if the series ever gets published.

Instead, I'm going to give you a more recent picture of Elaine. So enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dreams

It's a mark of how much I have been thinking about Lady Thief that I've started dreaming about it. After all, I sent it off to a publisher two years ago, and I've been looking at other projects while this one's been on the backburner waiting for editors (except for that stretch of super editing for a few months right before it was published) so I haven't looked at it as often.

Anyway, it's not that uncommon for me to have action movie dreams. Sometimes, I'll wake up in the morning, find my roommate, and tell her that I've just had another epic dream, and she simply smiles at me and asks me what it was about this time. In fact, Secrets We Keep is entirely based on a dream I had, but that's for an entirely different blog post. We'll get to that.

It was an interesting dream because I was Lena Trimble, the Lady Thief, and I was getting very good at infiltrating the houses in the neighborhood where I grew up. (I don't know why I was robbing houses. This is a dream, and not everything has to make sense.) Then one day, I accidentally stumbled upon Devon's house, and he had me cornered in the garage. I grabbed the corner of the garage door and used it to propel myself into the air, where I stayed. Yes, I was flying. I don't know why the Lady Thief was flying, but that's how my dream went.

So, now that I was out of reach, and now that I knew where Devon lived, it was time for me to try out some surveillance techniques. I went back a few hours later to plant some bugs so I could listen in on their plans and their missions, but Devon had anticipated that, and he was waiting there with the entire team. A brilliant chase scene followed, and while I don't remember much of it, I do remember that there were tanks involved.

Finally, Devon caught up to me and grabbed hold of my ankle to anchor me down so I couldn't just fly away. He informed me of my rights and was going to haul me away when suddenly, someone started shooting at us. At that moment, it was more important to have me on their side than to arrest me, and we worked together to track down the shooter, who was one of my old acquaintances gone rogue.

Once everything had settled back down and Devon and his team were busy arresting the shooter, I slipped quietly off into the background, then flew away, glad that they were too distracted to notice.

The end.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Playing with Paint


I know I usually write about writing and such, but this was so much fun!

I'm taking a design class, and we're learning about how to make things pretty. In that spirit...


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Musical Theme Songs

So, I start work at seven in the morning on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and I'm walking for half an hour all the way across campus to get there because I don't have a car. It's dark, and it's cold, and I spend most of the time wondering why I'm not there yet.

So, I put my iPod on and listen to music the whole way.

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately, though, and one of the things I've noticed is that my characters and books have theme songs. Like the Lady Thief's is "Trouble" by Pink, and the book itself is "You Found Me" by Kelly Clarkson.

I don't really know what that says about me other than I have some really good ideas for music videos if my books ever became movies, but there you go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The High of Writing

I know I'm in college for a reason. I really do.

Sometimes it's hard to keep that in mind, to remind myself that I have to do things like buy groceries. This is one of those times. I can see the beginnings of a fledgling career. For a long time, writing was just something I was doing, and publication was something to work towards. Now that I've got a taste, I really like this feeling, and I'm determined to work my fingers to the bone doing rewrites and edits so that I've got the next project ready to send into the black abyss of agents, editors, and publishers.

I'm serious. Suddenly, I'm writing a chapter a day on the rewrite of Michael: Book One. Suddenly, I'm looking at agents and their preferences for things that I hadn't considered marketing until I had someone for Birthright Unknown. (Not that I've give up completely on that particular book, mind you. I just think I've got more of a marketing chance with the Michael series and plus, I like doing this series and there's more work to be done on it. BU just has editing and reworking left to do short of a total rewrite (which, by the way, I just might launch into if I get rejected from the three agents I sent it to, because that would be seven letters and that's when you know it's time to change something up. Maybe just rewrite the first few chapters for more of a hook? Yeah. That might work.)

Anyway, point is, I know I chose the right profession. I'm elated that this all is happening, but it's only launching me further into more projects, more opportunities, and I'm so not stopping.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Both Worlds: Release Date 2012

So, I don't really know what this feeling is, but it's amazing and I don't want it to go away and I just want to write for the rest of my life, so why am I in college again?

Oh, yeah. I need to eat.

Yeah.

Sad.

Anyway, today was the Release Date for Lady Thief, and this morning, the Wild Child Publishing website put up an interview with me on their blog: http://wildchildpublishing.com/blog/?p=146

Then I went to work and was ridiculously happy washing dishes for four hours because hey, nothing could ruin this day for me. I'm getting published. So there.

Anyway, I got home and called/emailed a few local news and radio and other media thingies here in Provo to try and get the word out about my book. I haven't heard back from anyone, and I'm discovering that marketing is really hard, but I'm taking baby steps. Blogging is hard to. See? Baby steps. Then, I get a message from one of my friends: the book isn't downloading.

Oh snap.

So I spend the next hour trying to figure out what's wrong and contacting my editor, the head editor, everyone to try and figure out what happened. And Marci said she'd fix it, so there was that, but I was still a little worried. Anyway, then I started to get restless, and I couldn't stop moving but also didn't want to do homework on my DAY OF PUBLISHING (which I was totally freaking out about all last week, too) so I ended up looking up stuff on Predators and Editors. Lo and behold, I stumbled onto an agent looking for an urban fantasy, young adult series.

I have one. Seriously. I do. I haven't put the info up on this blog yet because I'm an awful blogger and I obviously shouldn't be given any kind of internet power because I fail at using it, but I've been working on it for months and months and it's one of my favorite projects. Just you wait.

So, I cleaned up the first chapter to send it out and realized that I only have the rough draft written of Book One, so I quickly wrote Chapter Two as well and then got distracted by the fact that my book was actually online again and I had to tell people about it, but now I have all this writing energy so here I am blogging about what has definitely been one of the most interesting days of my life. I never stopped being totally loopy and ecstatic all day, but I also stressed. Happy stress. It's an interesting phenomenon.

Anyway, I now officially have feelers out for both Birthright Unknown and Michael of the Underground Rendezvous, so we'll see which one gets an agent and/or publisher first, shall we? And the race is on!

Oooooh yeah. I'm in a weird mood.