Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Host

Well, I did it.

I joined many others and switched my blog over to wordpress. I would love it if you all would keep reading me over there!

Here's the link!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Remember When Writing Was Fun?

I might've written something like this before...

Anyway, I've hit this wall.  This wall of just not caring about my craft and it totally sucks.

Writing used to be my passion. I mean, I used to have so many ideas and just such energy that I filled notebooks up with scrawling. Seriously, everywhere I went, I spent 90% of the time writing. Restaurant: wrote on the back of paper napkins. Church: Wrote all over the bulletin. School: well...notebooks. I even wrote fanfiction.

But now...

Now it's like another job. I have contests I want to enter. Samples I'm preparing as samples for Agents. Articles that I write for I'm trying to build a web presence, a publishing history, and maybe even make a little money along the way (because isn't that part of why I got an MFA?).

So, in other words, now there's all this ....pressure. And it's all from me! I'm putting all this pressure on me and my craft. That it has to work out. That it has to be done. And just thinking about it all is exhausting. Then, I sit down to write and nothing comes out.

...Which freaks me out even more.

I know what it all comes from.

I'm not writing for me anymore. I'm writing for my career. It's become work, and it's less fun. Which is also scary and freaks me out. (I think this is why authors do writing retreats, but I can't afford a writing retreat so what's a girl to do? Push through it.)

This big question here is: HOW DO I MAKE IT FUN AGAIN?

The answer: *shrug* I don't know.

My plan for now is to just power through it. That's all I can do. It'll be fun again one day. I'm not going to give up on that day.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Agents: Why Do Writers Need Them?

As mentioned in my last post, I am looking for finding an agent so I can get my book published. But agents aren't editors. They don't work for publishing companies. Then, why do I need one?

Well, the short answer is that because they work for me.

Okay, that's a super short answer. An agent is the support staff for a writer. One thing that I've heard from countless lectures I've gone to with editor/agent speakers, is that the publishing business would crumble without the writer. Therefore, everything is pretty much built upon what the writer produces. Publishers want you to produce something awesome that will sell. Editors, and mostly agents, are the ones that help the author do this.

This is the breakdown of what an agent does as far as I know:

  • They support the writer
  • Help the writer manage their career
  • Manage the rights to the books
  • Be the writer's advocate
  • Act as a bridge between you and the editor 
The agents are going to be the star quarterback for team Writer. A legit agent doesn't get paid until you, the writer, does. They take a small percentage, but for what they do it seems worth it. They're the ones who help you with revision. They're the ones with the connections in the publishing world. They make sure they you get the most you can for your work.

Finding the right agent is like dating. You want to make sure that you click with one another. So, when you're looking for an agent, make sure you do your research. This is some great advice that one of my professors passed on to me this summer. Literary Rambles is a great resource. They've got links to various agents and have collections of interviews and articles with the agent listed online.

Lastly, two things to keep in mind.

  1. Most publishing houses won't look at manuscripts if a writer doesn't have an agent
  2. Even with an agent, there is a chance that your book won't be picked up for publication
So that's what I got. Agents = good. As writers we need them, and they need us. When I finally get an agent, cookies will be sent.

In a little while, I'll post about the querying process (the process of trying to get an agent to take you on), so until then, have a good one!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Life After Grad School

*waves sheepishly from slumped down position in chair*

Hello. I know it's been FOREVER since I posted here. I haven't forgotten about my blog. Nope. I've just been super busy. Not a fantastic excuse, but when you're working on a thesis it's what happens. 

Well, I am totally done with my thesis! 

Some of you may have forgotten or are new here and may be asking, "What was your thesis?"

It was (and it still exists but now as my WIP) a YA novel that is a little bit urban fantasy. I say a little bit because it's not so much urban, but its not high fantasy. However, that is a discussion for another day! (Along with writing a YA novel, I also had to write a 12-15 page paper that went with it. That got me doing a good bit of research on the whole "urban fantasy" category).

Okay, so my thesis is done. What have I been doing since then?

Trying to figure life out. And reading whatever I want! 

So.... trying to figure life out is not super fun. I mean, I love life. I love my husband and where we are in our lives right now, but I have this thesis and MFA and I need to do something with it. That means trying to figure life (as a future author) out. 

I am starting the querying process and trying to find an agent. Why do I need an agent? Why not just straight to an editor? Well, the market keeps changing and it's good to have someone on your team. I'll write a whole blog post about why you need an agent and my querying process. 

Now, reading whatever I want.

Holy crap. I haven't been able to do that since... I don't know, like, middle school. I've always gone to fairly competitive schools and have always had a pretty heavy reading list handed out to me at the beginning of each semester or summer.

But now. Now I don't. 

It's been amazing! Right, so there's a phrase "happy as a kid in a candy store." That's me. It's not candy though. It's books. If you'd like to keep up with my reviews and whatnot you should check out my articles on CultureMass. Also, I have a goodreads widget that keeps track of what books I'm reading this year (just incase you're dying to know....)

So. Now that I have free time I'm planning on posting a good bit more. I promise. For real this time.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

What I Learned Today

It's been rainy today.

Any yesterday.

And for like the last couple of weeks.

BUT - I had today off and I needed to get work done on the thesis. So after running some errands, I came to my local library. I love this place. It's just... amazing.

Anyway, I learned several things today. I thought I'd share...

  1. I learned how swords were made/ forged way back in the day. Surprise, they were made by swordsmiths that had to mix up their own steel alloys and whatnot. How intense is that? From the essay I read, it was all very complicated. 
  2. I discovered a plethora of webpages on how to make a sword at home. None of them were helpful for what I was researching for thesis, but it was intriguing to know that my next DIY project could me making myself a sword. 
  3. This:
    4. ANNNND that I can checkout as many CDs and video games from my library. From what I understand I can check out 10 DVDs at a time, as many CDs, games, and books as I want. This is dangerous knowledge but AWESOME since I'm trying to save money. No I don't need to download Florence + The Machine's new CD from iTunes - I can check it out! Holla!

    5. Also, turns out I get a lot more homework done on rainy days and when I force myself to go the the library where my bird and the TV can't tempt me. 

    6. Back to swords and smart things: I now know what steel is made of and the best type to make a sword out of. You want carbon steel. That stainless steel is fine for a blade under 12" but for anything longer than that you want carbon steel (which is made up of iron and carbon). Ha! Look at me, being all scientific. Also, the steel needs to be heat treated so it's not too brittle. 

    Hmmm.... I wonder what I'll learn about tomorrow

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Book Review: Paper Valentine

I did it! I'm so very proud of myself. I read one of my books on my Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Debuts 2013 and Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want to Read in 2013 lists. 

And now, now I'm going to review it.

Why I do book reviews, I really have no idea. They aren't really anything in-depth. If I was an outsider reading it, I'm not sure it would sway me one way or the other to read the actual book... but here I go anyway.

So, Paper Valentine. I had pretty high hopes for it. It promised super natural elements (Hannah the main character is being haunted by her dead best friend), romance, and suspense (someone is going around killing girls - of course our narrator is going to get mixed up in it). 

Buuuut, I found this book oddly disappointing. The little blurb on the book jacket made it sound so fun. There was even an intense heat wave and some weird disease going around killing birds -- that could totally be awesome if it lead back into the overall plot. But it didn't. So, I feel like I was set up to be disappointed. I mean, why put that in the hook if it really doesn't relate back to the plot at all? Sure, it sets the scene. But it's not like the weather is influencing the killer. 

And then there's Hannah's best friend that's a ghost. I mean, it was weird, and the relationship that the two of them had (when Lillian was alive) was pretty complicated, but Lillian's death doesn't really relate back to the killer at all. (Not much of a spoiler - you find out pretty early on what happened to her). And, I don't know, that just rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, the way that she died, and her death, are important to the development of Hannah's character, but not the driving force behind her growth. Again, I felt like I was set up a bit.

What I did really like about this book though was how it was written. The main reason that I kept reading it was to observe the character dynamics (they are very similar to the ones I'm trying to produce in my thesis/novel) and just the flow of her writing. It was pretty amazing, in describing lover boy Finny Boone's hair we get a memory of the day he first died it that also correspondes with a big moment in Hannah's life. Also, in this memory, we get character insight into more than one main character. So, I found the way that she interwove her backstory and details and whatnot all together pretty fascinating. 

Also, she did a really great job of incorporating all the senses in her scenes. Another thing that I'm trying to work on - thus I noticed it. She did it so well, that I think, only if you were looking for it, you would notice that in some cases she weaves all 5 senses onto one page without throwing it in your face. 

So... yes, that was a bit better than I've given before... I think. Anyway, I don't think I would recommend this book. I mean, the aspects that I enjoyed in it were all craft related and mostly things I wanted to do better that she did well. If I hadn't been looking for those things and found them in this book, I would've returned it to the library before I finished it. Just saying. 

However, this is all a matter of personal taste. Lot's of people on GoodReads loved it - so you can check out reviews there, but this wasn't a favorite of mine. You win some, you loose some.

BUT! Please, if you've read the book and disagree or agree let me know. Or, you know, other thoughts are welcome. Leave a comment and if you hit me up with a link to you're blog I'll try and comment back. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Okay, so this is me freaking out a bit.

I really wanted to keep up with the Top Ten Tuesday. I really did. It's been super fun and easy to do several posts at once in advance... but I just can't commit to it anymore.

I'm sorry to say, but I really just can't commit to my blog right now. Here's a list of what on my plate....

  • Thesis (research, reading models, planning, writing, thinking...)
  • Reading
  • This writing project I'm doing with some Peace Core Volunteers where I write a short story (in English) based on the town/village that these children live in in Ethiopia
  • The 12-15 page paper that goes along with the novel portion of my thesis
  • Housework/ being a non-slacker partner to Husband (who has been working 12 hour shifts on top of school and is just plain worn out) and trying to keep some order in the house to balance the chaos of his schedule
  • My job
  • Having a life
  • Oh... and sleep
That's a lot on one plate. And look, my blog isn't even on it. Oh, and I'm going to be helping my buddy Cameron and some others out with a new entertainment blog that launches in March. The only reason that that isn't stressing me out is that it's not a whole blog/project that is on my shoulders alone. I get to make up lists and whatnot. On this blog I feel that I have a bit of a difference audience. I know that some of you enjoy the personal aspects of the blog and I do to...

I also enjoy writing about the books I've been reading. But that's not happening.

Last night I did finish Paper Valentine one of the books on my 2013 Top Ten that's being released this year. It was...okay. I stuck with it because a lot of the relationships in the book were similar to ones in mine and I wanted to see how the author went about showing these relationships and not just telling

Okay... whew. I would say I feel better but it's late, I need to unload the dishwasher and write one more chapter before tomorrow and all I want to do is sleep.