Saturday, October 23, 2010

Me on A New Blog

i have a new blog called Me on Books.

it's pretty much just me talking about books while here will be more me talking about writing.

check it out at

Me on Blogging

so not a lot of people read my blog and no one really comments.

i think it's hard to get people to read your blog on a regular basis, unless you've got tons of friends who read it or you talk about something interesting every day.

or it looks all pretty and professional & you link to a lot of similar stuff.

or you use buzz search words like famous or celebrity sighting or win free stuff. or view live (something, i think you can guess what it might be) here where the girls might or might not be legal.

a lot of the time blogging is like venting or arguing with someone, but it provides the anonymity of the Internet. do you guys really know where i live?? i doubt it.

there's always talking about the news, but it's all depressing. riots, sicko murderers, economy in the dump, unemployment skyrocketing, boring election stuff, teen suicides. i've started to tune it out and am currently waiting for one of those happy puppy or kitten stories. ;) or a story that talks about what i'm interested in.

writing. publication opportunities. TV shows i like. books i like (we so need Book TV). music i like (vaguely punk/pop alternative). podcasts i like (lots of comedy ones, some book ones, one really progressive one that every so often surprises me but in a good way).

later this evening i'm going to set up a blog for reviewing books, then work on another review. i think i'm going to have to review a book almost every day for weeks, maybe months, to have it viewed as a legitimate review blog.

*long exhale* i think i'll review Freefall.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me on NaNoWriMo

i like the whole idea of it, but i understand why some people don't like it.

it's more about quantity than quality, you could totally fake it and use a novel you already wrote, it's too hard to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and so on and so forth.

when i first did it in 2006, i hit 50,000 words in less than 30 days, then hit the wall & only got another 5,000 more before the end of the month. of course, i wasn't going to school then, or working.

well, i'm not doing either of those right now. ;)

finishing the first time showed me i could write a novel, even if there were plot holes and typos and bits that didn't really make sense. that didn't matter. i just needed the ego boost and the knowledge that i really could do it if i tried.

i'm doing it this year because when i came up with the GhostIdea i was writing out ideas for my next YA novel. i'd just finished the draft of the WerewolfIdea and started quick plotting different ideas. most were one or two lines that would be the core of the story.

then i got to the GhostIdea and it became a page and a half of plot bits and weird bits and character bits.

yeah, i was excited about this one.

so i'm working on the GhostIdea. instead of the 50,000 words, i'm looking more to finishing the whole novel at about 70 to 75,000 words. it's a first draft, it doesn't have to be perfect. this is about getting the bones of the story down and working out characters and their motivations, figuring out where the twisty bits and secret bits go and where to leave something hanging right in my MC's face so she has to suffer until she figures it all out.

if you want to friend me, click on the NaNoWriMo thing on the right side. it should go to my user page. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Me on Bleeding Violet

my first attempt at a book review. hopefully i don't suck too bad at it. ;)

i picked Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet because i think it's an underrated book. on Goodreads it's been rated 737 times with 224 reviews. most friends and people i follow on Goodreads have it marked as 'to-read.'

it's dark and twisted, haunting and mysterious, gorgeous, unique. it's a great book.

i've even bumped up my Goodreads rating from 4 to 5 stars because i keep coming back to read different parts of this book. it's sucked me in.

the cover blurb, also the summary on Goodreads, raised questions that drew me in.

love can be a dangerous thing.... ooooo, interesting. :)
hallucinations?? pills?? frilly, violet dresses?? hmmm, that's different.
a strange town filled with dark secrets?? *hypnotized face* tell me more.
anything can happen and no one is safe?? yup, i'm hooked.

first, Hanna. i love Hanna *book hug*. i'm curious if it's odd to say that reading a book about a bi-racial, bi-cultural, bipolar teenager is refreshing. characters need to be unique to draw in readers, they have to be believeable, they have to be flawed. Hanna is both unique and flawed. not every girl in every high school all over the world is going to be a bubbly blonde cheerleader that's mentally stable. teens are all different people, they're manic or depressed or bipolar or anorexic or bulimic or a cutter or a jock or a nerd or a drama queen. teen characters need these flaws to make the reader connect, to make the reader believe them.

with the added twist in regards to Hanna's bipolar state, it altered how i read the book through her eyes. Hanna is very brazen, blunt and rather calm, "charming and rational" as one psychiatrist puts it (pg.22), and i guess maybe not controlling but she knows what she wants. she wants her mother Rosalee to accept her and love her, she wants the town to accept her, she wants to fit in at school.

but her mother wants her gone, the town sees her as an outsider, and the kids at school think she's a nutcase that wears bright purple. clearly, they have no fashion sense. ;)

then there's Hanna's father, either a side-effect hallucination brought on by her bi-polar disorder or an actual ghost that's haunting her and her mother. i'm torn between the two.

and Portero. this town clearly has some demons, but what town doesn't?? these ones are just creepy and bizarre and supernatural/paranormal and outrageous. what i enjoyed about Portero is that no one in town lied to themselves about the creepy stuff. they all knew it was there and they accepted it. the weird stuff is normal.

i understand the purpose of the Mortmaine: they're there to help the town when the creepy stuff pops up and tries to kill someone, like paranormal cops. i did think that they were both afraid of change and puppets of the Mayor. Wyatt's resistance is welcome, as are the cards he makes. with the arrival of Hanna, the town changes a little. her weirdness gives them fresh eyes on which to look at the town, and if the town is going to survive, the Mortmaine have to change how they go about stopping and killing the dark creatures.

i would've been upset if there wasn't a romantic aspect to this book. it would've added even more for Hanna to deal with, which it did, even with the bizarre start to their relationship that Hanna and Wyatt had. and then there was Hanna's view of sex and how it seemed to be her decision for her and Wyatt to have sex. it was a little surprising, but teens have sex. it's true. not writing about it isn't going to make it not true. now, Hanna's not promiscuous, she's only interested in Wyatt, and it just seemed to fit with her character. she's brazen and bold, and adult enough to use condoms.

i hope this next part was intentional because it makes spots of the book so vivid: the focus on colour. the purple, the splashes of red everywhere (not always blood, but sometimes), the green of the Mortmaine, the white-blue of Rosalee's kitchen. whenever a colour appeared it popped into my head and filled my vision. the purple of Hanna's dresses, the lipstick red of Rosalee's kitchen chair. gorgeous. :)

in the end, after Hanna fights her way to become a part of Portero, breaking through the barriers established by Rosalee, the evil (and dead) Runyon, and the controlling Mayor. it's one of those 'over for now' endings, which i'm happy to find. not everything is wrapped up. it's Portero, there's still weird creatures and monsters creeping around in parks and windows, and that's fine. i never expected that to be the end. i did hope that the end would include Hanna making some kind of peace with Rosalee, badass and brutal as she is. i wouldn't have Rosalee any other way, because then she wouldn't be believable. she didn't have to melt like butter under Hanna's love, just soften the tiniest bit.

in conclusion, go read this book. i saw a (negative, unfortunately) review that said this book was a hot mess. i will agree, but that's what made it so good. nothing's perfect, and nothing's ever going to be perfect in Portero. what town is perfect?? what adult?? what teenager??

Bleeding Violet
is freakishly awesome. thank you, Dia Reeves. i can't wait for Slice of Cherry to come out in January.

also, i love Swan and Little Swan and Ragsie. like a splash of adorableness mixed in with the blood. :)

so, that was my first ever book review. i hope you like it. i hope Dia Reeves likes it, if she ever reads it (which would make me kinda nervous, eeeep). maybe i'll do another one in a couple of days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Me on The Hard Truth of My Life

this one's going to be hard.

i had a job interview last week, and over the weekend i debated with myself why i might or might not get it. as i found out today, i didn't get it. i'm not upset. i have experience, but not with children that young, and i have no formal training. my experience comes from accidentally falling into it, like i was the only option left.

some days i wonder if i've picked the wrong career to get into.

it's hard to stomach that it'll take years for a book of mine to be published, especially for my family because i think they think i'm ruining my life by picking writing straight out of university. i don't want to upset them.

but this is what i want to do. i hope they can accept that.

so, while i work on my YA novel writing and talk to wonderful authors and agents and editors online and soak up all the info and tips they give out, i'll write more short stories to send out to magazines, and i'll write book reviews.

maybe i'll look into getting more recognition for Canadian writers and those who want to be writers. do you know how many literary agents there are in Canada?? according to The Writer's Union of Canada website (link here), approximately 30.

30. that's shocking. if i had contacts in publishing and personally knew other agents, i'd become an agent.

maybe i'll become an advocate for books in print. i understand why e-books exist, i have e-books that i've bought and read and enjoyed, but my first love will always be books in paper form.

maybe i'll offer editing services. my English degree must count for something.

or maybe i'll forget all about this tomorrow and huddle under the covers and cry because i'll think i'm wasting my life.

if you see me blog tomorrow, you'll know i made it out of bed and found some tissues.

i was right, this was hard.

but it had to be said. i have to be honest with myself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Me on Giving Away a Signed Book

yay! :D

last night, Sunday, i drove almost 3 hours (including a 20 to 30 minute wait at the border) down to Lake Forest Park, WA (which looked very pretty from what i saw when i was busy focusing on driving the right speed limit) to go to Mindi Scott's book launch event party thing for her debut YA novel, Freefall.

and because i'm a dork and didn't remember until i was on the highway leaving Blaine, i didn't take a camera and so i don't have pictures. *head-desk*

so, i drove down. first time ever driving in the US. i was more worried about crossing the border than anything else, like the difference in speed limits. but i had our GPS and a little thing would pop up telling me what the speed limit would be in KPH, so all was good.

the event was fun. Mindi was adorable. i don't think she expected so many people to be there. :) i don't think the book store expected so many people, cause they soon ran out of books. i was lucky enough to grab my 2 copies before the people around me took 4 or 5 or 6.

why 2 copies, you ask?? well, while talking with Laina the other day on Twitter, she asked about getting some signed bookmarks, and i said i could get a signed copy of Freefall to give away on Twitter.

so i got 2 copies and they got signed. :D

this one's mine, though. ;) the other copy just has Mindi's blue pen signature in it. probably should've asked her to doodle in it, but i was a total goober and forgot after already forgetting to bring a camera.

after i post this, i'm going to Tweet something about win a signed copy of Freefall. RT it to enter. you'll have until next Sunday night at 11:59pm Pacific or Monday morning at 2:59am Eastern. i'm giving it so long cause it's my 1st giveaway and no one really follows my blog or RT's what i say.

this is open to Canadian addresses (cause i have 1). i've been wary of saying people with US addresses can enter because of how much shipping might cost me, but because it's 1 book and a paperback, i'll say yes to US addresses.

now i'm off to read my copy of Freefall after reading Mandy Hubbard's You Wish earlier this morning. very funny. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Me on ARCs

i know i blogged yesterday, but something came in the mail today which reminded me about a semi-rant i've had building since i returned to Twitter earlier this year.

i'm talking about ARCs, or advance reader copies.

if you follow me on Twitter, you noticed me gushing last week about winning an ARC of Becca Fitzpatrick's Crescendo from the nice people at Simon & Schuster Canada, or at least, the people who run their @SimonPulseCA Twitter account.

isn't this proof that Canada cares about YA and wants more authors to visit on book tours?? ;) that's another semi-rant for another time.

now, i know about ARCs because i read agent blogs and writer blogs and i know mostly how the publishing process works. i am not against ARCs, i think they're a great idea.

i'm just getting tired of people gushing over and over on Twitter and their blogs about all the cool ARCs they get sent straight from the publisher sometimes 6 months before the book is published.

i'm not published, i'm not a reviewer or book blogger, and i don't work in publishing, which means i never get to read an advance copy. this is a special circumstance (did i mention how much i love you for it, S&S Canada?? :)) that i never thought would happen. i've RT'd bunches of stuff on Twitter and got nothing.

i'm not against book bloggers and reviewers. actually, Madeleine Rex's review of Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement pushed me even more towards buying and reading (and loving) the book. i like Madeleine. she's funny. her reviews are really good. her book in progress is called The Lemonites. such a cool title. :D

i guess it's just a pet peeve of mine. there are books i want to read, like Andrea Cremer's Nightshade, or Ally Condie's Matched, or Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, or Mandy Hubbard's Ripple, or Lauren Oliver's Delerium, or Bree Despain's The Lost Saint, and because i want to read them so much because they sound so cool and interesting, i don't plan to read any early reviews by bloggers about them. i don't want anything ruined for me.

maybe this is just me whining about having to wait until the release date to buy a book i want to read, or to borrow from the library 3 months after it comes out, but i don't care. i'm (at the moment) unemployed and close to broke; if i got boxes of ARCs free from publishers that i got to review, i'd be all gushy, too.

i want to read the book, not have someone else read it and gush and talk about it while i have to wait.

reviewers and bloggers i follow on Twitter have Delerium. it comes out in February, 4 months from now. right now, that feels like forever.

it feels like i've wanted to read Anna and the French Kiss for years. it's going to be really really really good, but i have to wait like all the regular people to buy it in December. and i don't usually read contemporary YA, Stephanie Perkins. romance, yes. contemporary, no. somehow you've lured me in with promises of kissing and a cute boy with an irresistible accent and how romantic Paris can be. you are a genius. i bow to your genius. (ok, maybe i'm sucking up a bit, but can you blame me??)

maybe i'm just bitter. i still like you, book bloggers and reviewers. maybe you could gush a little less, or maybe let me read one once in a while?? i get it, shipping to Canada can get expensive, but me shipping it back to you is also expensive, so we're even. ;)

and even though i have the ARC, i'm still buying a finished copy of Crescendo. it looks so good. :D

oh, and i'm very anti-selling and buying ARCs on eBay. i may be grouchy and upset, but that is not cool. and not fair. i hope you get papercuts that get infected and all puss-filled and gross, ARC sellers.

keep an eye out for other semi-rants in the future, including one on how rare it is for YA authors to visit Canada on book tour and why i don't want to have to drive 3 to 6 hours south to Seattle or Portland to go to a signing.

(i saw Sherrilyn Kenyon once. it was in Vancouver (thank God i could stay in my province) at a Chapters. maybe 30 people were there. this was either March or April or May or June of 2006. not YA, but i like her books.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Me on Writing Groups

after finishing the first draft of what is the Werewolf Idea at the end of July, then waffling for a month, then starting the first draft of Ghost Idea in September and noticing that it's mid-October and i'm only at 6500 words, i've come to realize that i think i need a critique partner or group.

i loved the writing class i took in the spring because everyone shared and we fiddled and worked out kinks and rough spots, and i liked getting feedback from people on how to fine-tune the story.

grammar crap aside (boo on grammar, what teen in YA uses proper grammar when they talk??), i think i need someone, or some someones, to point out weak spots and strong spots in terms of plot ideas, and where i need to cut back on background and info dumps.

of course, i'm wary of searching for crit partners because the Ghost Idea is small right now and the Werewolf Idea first draft has holes i haven't fixed yet that i plan to fix in the second draft.

*head-desk* maybe i'm just lonely. writing a book is solitary, especially when you don't have anyone to talk about it with.

so, i'm putting this out there for anyone who's writing and looking for a crit partner or group. i'm not sure about a limit, right now it would be about 10 people, but i'm thinking that's a bit much. maybe 5 or 6.

you know what i write: YA urban fantasy/romance that includes the hell that high school can be. you don't have to, but i guess you have to like it, or at least be interested in reading it. i'm open to lots of genres (i'm not big on westerns, though ;)), i read a bunch of romance, contemporary & paranormal, plus lots of YA. :)

this would be an online thing, not a bi-weekly face to face meeting in a cafe kind of deal. i live in Canada. odds are, you don't (no offence :)). since NaNoWriMo is on its way (where you can find me, check the link on the right), i'm not looking to start this seriously until December. right now, i'm just putting the word out, looking for people who might be interested and are looking for crit partners.

you can comment here if you're interested, or find me on Twitter. if you've got a group but you know someone who doesn't, then feel free to spread the word. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Me on Recent Books I've Read Part 3

or as i've been calling it in my head, "Quick & Dirty Book Reviews that Mostly Say How Much I Liked the Book." ;)

i went to the library on Saturday & walked away with 9 books. score. :) but i've only finished 4 books since then. boo. :(

my reviews are spoilery, but what review isn't, basically?? that's why i've avoided all Crescendo, Nightshade, Beautiful Darkness, Matched, The Lost Saint and Anna and the French Kiss reviews. no spoilers.

Take Me There by Carolee Dean: i'll admit, i saw the cover & went, ooo, happy ending, yay. and i read the summary & thought, ooo, bad boy & nice girl, yay. i was wrong. sorta. kinda. when i realized what it was about, how it was all the dark side of life (-ish) & juvie & prison & gangs & violence, but i still liked it. i think this made ReadingTeen very happy. the book was brutal & gritty, it was surprisingly (to me) realistic, & maybe practical. there isn't always a happy ending in life, especially if you get dragged into the kind of situation Dylan & Jess get dragged into. i'll admit, if i knew what really happened, i might not have read it, but i think i needed to. just to be reminded that life isn't always perfect, no matter how much you try, but it's not supposed to be. besides, it's really hard to make your life perfect.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien: i kept thinking of the Hunger Games books mixed with a genetics lesson when i was reading this. it was interesting, it was okay, but i wasn't totally sold on the idea. it seemed kind of long to me, but maybe it just needs to grow on me. the situation with Gaia's mom seemed a bit cliched to me, and Gaia herself seemed really wimpy until close to the end when she had to take charge or she and her (SPOILER) newborn sister were going to die. i'll read the next one, it's an interesting concept. as someone who's pale and freckled (i blame the faint Irish genes), i liked the whole birthmark/freckle idea of Gaia's mother. it was cute. :)

Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh: wow, a grown-up book. ;) in high school, i read a lot of romance, both contemporary & paranormal, then in university i added YA to that list so now i read both. this would be more urban fantasy, more action & less romance. i think that's what put me off. not quite enough romance for me, & even then Elena spent most of the book pissed off at Raphael for one reason or another. i'll admit, the angel/vampire thing was different, and it was a little interesting. i'm not sure if i'll read the next book in the series, this was just an interim read while i wait for the 1 copy of book 1 in Singh's Psy/Changling series (i know, i'm behind on it, i just wasn't sure if i would like them).

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev: gorgeous and magical, just like Eyes Like Stars. if you haven't read the first book yet, then avoid this very spoilery review. :) i loved it. Bertie is determined & smart, & very creative. Ariel was... Ariel, of course. sometimes a jerk, sometimes caring, almost always smouldering. ;) Nate was missed, i really like his pirate accent (accents are so hot ;)). and the little faeries were funny as always. i love Peaseblossom & her little marzipan boyfriend. :D i didn't see that coming with Bertie's father (she sure did meet him quickly, but i didn't have a problem with that), and Mantchev clearly knows of my love of pie (& @mstohl, if you've ever seen the #ITSALRIGHTTOPIE hashtag on Twitter) because i loved the pie car on the train. the triangle with Bertie, Nate, & Ariel is the best evenly matched love triangle i've seen. she clearly loves them both, even with the little detail about Ariel sometimes being a jerk. now i'm on pins and needles waiting for book 3, So Silver Bright.

i've got 8 books to read, plus i have to go up to the library again before Thursday cause another book is waiting for me. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Me on Writing in Sections

well, more like chapters & prologues & aside bits & dreams & so on.

i don't mind all these things in books. prologues can be helpful, can hint at what happens later in the book (Hawthorne's Dark Guardian series comes to mind, as does everyone's favourite to be hated Twilight series). dream bits are neat. i like the chat room bits in Alex Flinn's Beastly, they were funny. :)

in the Werewolf WIP i started to add dream bits that hinted at a past life, but then took them out (not deleted totally, i saved them in an extra file) because i thought they were cheesy.

in the Ghost Idea WIP, i'm going to shove in e-mails & journal bits, mostly because it's 2010 and e-mail & blogging are everywhere. most blogs are journals. i've done one like that before.

i'm also trying to cut down on the size of my chapters, maybe between 5 to 9 pages. i like Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series & those books have some short chapters, like 6 or 8 pages, but then there's 1 or 2 15 to 20 page chapters.

there's also a prologue, but it's barely a page & a half. don't judge me for sticking in a baby prologue. ;) it's choppy (i hope) & happens before the story, it's not a preview prologue, & it raises some questions that get brought up & revealed later on.

everyone had their own method of chapters & letters & prologues & epilogues. i don't mind them. i get a little confused when some agents & editors say they don't like them. i get that not every book needs them, but what's wrong with them?

i like epilogues when it's a single book & not part of a series, or if it's a romance novel & each book is about a single couple (thinking of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books, they're so good, even with all the rap music & 'ghetto speak,') & there's a concluding epilogue at the end when it wraps everything up. Lisa Kleypas' The Hathaways also has this. those books are really good, too. :) i'm apparently a sucker for a happy ending, like other single girls. ;)

come back Monday when i try to do an In My Mailbox post. i went to the library today and ended up on a 9-book book high. :D