Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What books are on my nightstand?

A question proposed by the Forward Motion Writing community Merry-Go-Round Blog tour for the month of July:  what books are on your nightstand.  Like many others, I do not have a nightstand.  My bedroom is just too small.  However, I have a 4" tall bookshelf in my living room that I call "To be read".  As I sit here and write tonight, I see this shelf packed full of all the books I want to read.  Each one seems like it should be next.  The decisions are tough at the end of each book.

My tastes in books vary widely.  I have classics, women's fiction, young adult fiction and lots of craft books.  On the list right now is the Artemis Fowl series, the last two Jodi Picoult books, the Demon-hunting Soccer mom books, several books by Ally Carter, Sue William Silverman's memoirs plus craft book and other craft books.  There is no rhyme or reason to this collection.

I just finished reading Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga which was quite interesting.  Lyga can write a teenage girl like no other man I have ever read.  I learn a lot everytime I read one of his books.  He nails the mind-set of a girl messed up by the circumstances of her life.  If you want to write in the first person or like young adult, give Barry Lyga a try.

I am currently reading Things we didn't say by Kristina Riggle.  She is a local author from Grand Rapids, MI.  She will be doing an author sign this Thursday in a local bookstore a little north of my hometown.  She is a wonderful speaker and educated about things aspiring authors would like to know.  She will be answering questions about the process and this book in particular.

Not on my shelf:  World War Z by Max Brooks.  I believe this is the next book to read.  It is for a friend but I want to read it first.  So, what is everyone else reading these days?

Follow me and other writers who blog at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday

This week has been eventful for me.  I hit the publish button at createspace for the personal essay collection I have been working on for two years.  It has been a heart-wrenching time.  The essays cover the highlights of my life with my older brother.  He passed away on April 22, 2009.  The book includes color pictures and space at the end to journal your own memories about him.  I gave the first copy to my mom and it was awesome to see the pleasure of the cover followed by the emotion of the manuscript.  The Scorpion Guardian has it's own page: https://www.createspace.com/3633583

I have finished researching cutting and eating disorders for the mental health series.  My next step is to research the Chicago area.  I am still tossing around names for the town that the series will take place in right now.  I am thinking of some place that resembles Schaumberg, IL.  The city has wonderful memories.  The atmosphere and people make you feel welcome.  I welcome suggestions for town names.

I have been playing a lot of Shadowrun RPG the last few months, especially this week.  I am now thinking about writing about the future and living life as an outcast.  I am better at Young Adult but some Sci-Fi might be out there in the future.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Death and other stuff

I have ignored this blog for ten days and even missed WIP Wednesday.  Not really how I wanted to start out with this endeavor.  It seems like every time you get a groove going, life throws curve balls right straight at you.  That has been the last week.

Yesterday, we finally laid to rest the ashes of my mother-in-law.  It has been a sad and lonely time for my husband and I.  She is deeply missed but it feels good to have closure.  But the closure of one emotion opens the flood gates for the What if's and How do we go on without her.  It is a process.  Grief, like many things, is a journey.  I have buried two grandfathers and my older brother in the last two years.  The unexpected deaths are the hard ones.  My brother was only 37.  My mother-in-law was 67.  Both died too young.  It is time to pick ourselves up, dust of our legs and move on with our lives.  Enough of the sad stuff.

Writing has been going alright too.  I started meeting with some fellow, local writers at the cutest little book store called the Book Nook and Java Shop.  It is a cozy atmosphere and the employees are very nice.  The people I meet are totally different than my critique group.  Different lifestyles and backgrounds offer vast variety of opinions.  I am looking forward to next Saturday when we meet again.

This week has been research week.  I spent time looking into flashbacks and prologues.  All things I struggle with on the mechanics end.  I spent even more time working through the depths of websites on cutting and eating disorders.  Some of the stuff out there is down right scary.  The thoughts in young girls minds are hard to believe and our society planted them there.  Absolutely amazing!!!!!  It made me take a hard look in the mirror as I am struggling with weight loss.  It seems like everything I do for my writing comes full circle back to my life.  May I never need to go to a pro-ana or pro-mia site for myself!

Come back Wednesday for an new installment of WIP Wednesday and on July 26th, I will be guest blogging for http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/ which is a project started by the fabulous folks at Forward Motion Writers Community.  Check in with them often as well.  There are guest most days of the month.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Okay, so I stole the concept from a writing buddy. (Thanks, Ray)  I think it is a good idea so I am going to run with it.  Each Wednesday I will try to update what things I am working on for the week and where I am at in my process.  This week is a good news/bad news week for me.

Good news:  I ordered final proof copies on a secret project that I have been working on in my spare time.  I am not sure if I will let Createspace sell it or if I will try to go the traditional publishing route.  We will see when the proofs are here and I give it more thought.

Bad news:  I wrote a novel and a sequel.  Then thought they should go into one book as two parts.  So I started to edit and had my awesome critique group read it for me.  Today I realized that they need to be separate and the second part needs to be overhauled, adding a larger plot through out the book so that it can stand alone.  On the bright side, this will allow me to turn this project into exactly what I wanted from the beginning: a setting and a group of friends that would each get a book dealing with the problem they are struggling with at the time.

Good news:  This will allow my mental health project to start from the ground up and be a better set of novels in the end.  World building here I come.  (Good news doesn't always come out of bad news but today is the exception.)

This next week will bring lots of world building and research about the Chicago area.  Also more about the cutting behaviors that plague so many teens in our society.  I have my own experiences and reasons for cutting but I want to find other girls' reasons.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blog Tour and July goals

As I prepare for the holiday festivities, I am overwhelmed with all I want to accomplish this month.  So, I will start with the easiest one.  I belong to an online writing community called Forward Motion and we are doing a monthly blog tour.  The website is: http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/ and I will be posting on the 26th of each month.  The other writers are amazing so check them out each day.  I fully intend to!

My personal writing goals are as follows:
1. Finish my preliminary read through with line edits of The Cutting Edge
2. Go through critique group's comments and figure out which ones to incorporate
3. Read Proof copy my secret writing project and order more copies
4. Read and comment on a critique group member's novel
5. Make a new electronic copy of The Cutting Edge and enter edits

This seems like a long list and a bit overzealous.  I am hoping I have not bitten off more than I can chew.  I will let you all know on August 1st!

UPDATE: As of July 5th I have ordered my proofs.  One item knocked off the list.  Four more to go!!!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

On Monday, I set a goal for this week.  The week isn't over yet but my goal is far from being reached.  My nephew is visiting and my roommate's daughter is here.  This sucks the motivation to edit right out of me, until today.  The thunderstorms rolled in off Lake Michigan last night and the need to hibernate overwhelmed me.

This morning I woke to more rumbling thunder and the great desire to curl up in the chair with my book and edit.  This afternoon should be quite productive!  The next step is to start all over again next week.  Set another goal and challenge myself to reach it.  Offer myself an indulgence to keep on target.  Whatever works to keep the forward movement of my writing career.  Thank you to my online community at Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com/) and National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/).  Both give me the push to become the best writer I can be.

My goal is within reach.  Given Sunday is my 12th wedding anniversary and Monday is the 4th of July, I have confidence.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and can meet their goals by the end of the week.