Friday, December 30, 2011

Things that Kept Me Sane(ish) in 2011

It's that time of year again; the yule tide time. A time for friends and family and food--oh the glorious food! While I would love to recount the numerous (14 to be exact) flavors of pie I sampled this holiday season, I thought it might be more relevant to commemorate 2011 with a list of favorites. So here they are, in no particular order, the Things that Kept Me Sane(ish) in 2011:

1. Holiday card from my literary mgmt team- This one came late in the year, but man did it kick me into finish-this-draft-so-I-can-submit-it-to-my-fabulous-agent-before-Dick-Clark-rings-us-into '12 gear. Note to DGLM: you may want to start sending out Arbor Day cards or Autumnal Equinox cards to keep your authors motivated.
2. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks- This book on writing craft opened my eyes to why I landed my agent, but not yet an editor. And, more importantly, empowered me to change that (hopefully!).
3. Adele's "Someone Like You" -I must've listened to this song 478 times to capture the mood I needed to be in to feel out my characters. Plus, bonus, the video is a Paris-based Scorsese (although I linked to the live version 'cause I love hearing her delicious accent as she discusses).
4. Metric , Kelly Clarkson, The Joy Formidable - Again, mood capture-ers. And the occasional procrastination station dance party.
5. The return of Libby Gelman-Waxner to EW- Libby's new/old column, If You Ask Me... is witty, honest without being mean spirited, girlie without apologizing and pop culture hungry. This is what inspired me to start writing. (See Dec. 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly for the IYAM glory.)
6. - As you can tell from #3 & 4, music inspires me. My obsession with learning the lyrics to every song I hear--even the cringer-worthy crappers--makes for lengthy playlists for every novel I write (and read). Grooveshark had me rockin' to literary soundtracks all year.
7. The non-twangy side of Taylor Swift -My (new) main character likes pop-country. There, I said it. *The video I linked to is not Taylor Swift, nor the official video, but damn if this girl didn't commit to twirling that Miss Sparkle Girl Autumn--that's a real title. Check it out--dress to it's lyrical lengths. Kudos Noelle248!
8. Sour Gummy worms- Brain food. YUM!

9. I was disappointed when I realized it was only an Animal Planet special, not a series.

10.Sons of Anarchy -Bikers aren't my thing, but solid story telling and Charlie Hunnam are (proof below).

It's on Tuesdays on FX. You're welcome.

And Things that will Surely Get Me Through 2012:
Ryan Gosling Reads YA- Who says your Canadian-turned-Hollywood crush doesn't totally get the books you read (and is Team Gale)? One more reason to want the final item on my list.

(Fingers crossed) Getting published!!! I may be shooting my book karma in the foot just by typing this, but I want it and have been working hard for it, so I'm saying it. So it is written, so it shall be...pretty please with grinning baby sloths on top.

What's on your lists? I'd love to hear so I can add it to my 2012 list. HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL!!!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hello Normal World--I'm Baaack (for now)!

Today at Day Job we did dominance profiling to see how individuals learn and what their strengths/weaknesses are (which was truly fascinating btw) and color me surprised when I read that my profile included: "A tendency to think big lacking details and an inability to explain the big picture in a logical, linear path." Hmm. Have the gurus of dominance profiling read drafts #1, 2, 3 or 4 of my current novel? Could this explain why I'm a NOP ("no outline person" according to my trusty copy of Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell) despite all my ripping-hair-out efforts to streamline my writing technique?

The good news, fifth times the charm! I finished my draft and recovered from (this particular) spout of insanity.  Cue celebratory dance party.



As ecstatic as I am to 1) have a relevant use for that clip of Elaine from Seinfeld doing "little kicks" and 2) be done(ish) with my current novel, my timing kinda sucks. Finishing an almost there draft on November 3rd means missing out on NaNoWriMo. Again. National Novel Writing Month is, well, insane, but if you've read my About Me blurb you know I loves me some creatively juiced insanity.

Since the day I gave myself a daily word count goal, wrangled up a fantabulous literary agent, and got serious about this whole writing thing, I've looked upon NaNoWriMo with the sort of whimsy that Van Gogh must have looked upon his poor ear. Alas, I must forge ahead and get my current novel done--without the ish tagged on. It can and will be done before 2012 brings on the apocalypse.

But for now, I bask in the glory of actually having a life outside the Writertorium. Hello normal world; how I've missed you.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why I Haven't Blogged (or left the house) Lately

Allow the following picture to explain why I haven't blogged (or left my house, talked to humans, seen the light of day--which is overrated in my opinion. I much prefer the glow of night) lately.

Obviously I've taken up serial killery as a hobby, right? No, no no! I swear my propensity to dead girl books has not led me down a sinister path...yet. That wall of (let's hope temporary and organized) insanity is me revising. I'm so close to completing this novel that I can almost taste the dinners I'll actually have time to consume when I'm done. Now, do not get me wrong, I condone in no way the skipping of meals. Food and me are BFFs, but if it takes more than 10 minutes to prepare, it's not getting chowed while I'm in a funky writing groove. And I've been bustin' it!

So there's my explanation. I would go into more detail, but I have approximately 8 minutes left in this "human time" block of my day to consume a packet of Tinkerbell fruit snacks and a cheese quesadilla (2 mins prep/cook time). Some people count calories, I count prep time. To each her crazy own. With any luck, I'll have a publishable stack of pages to show for mine soon!


Friday, July 22, 2011

My Hair is Bluuuue! hair is bluuuue! And like all good things it happened sometime around midnight at the response of 3 days spent locked in the Writertorium on the floor (don't ask me why I edit best on all fours) with a box of animal crackers, bottle of ice water, a fan on low to drown out "distractions," and a first, er, rough draft.

Was the dye job reward for working my authorly magic on the draft and molding it into a tastey second draft treat in under a week? ...No. But writing is hard, and sometimes a little encouragement is needed to forge ahead. This particular brand of encouragement can be credited to The Mockingbirds author extraordinaire, Daisy Whitney when she tweeted a pic of her pink hair. I've been talking about dying my hair blue (according to my mom) since I was 4-years-old, and seeing Daisy take the follicle plunge I thought to myself, self, it's about time you stop stalling by saying you'll go blue when you get published and realize going blue might be the edge you need to get published! (Okay, I realized that is twisty, midnight logic, but it was convincing.) Plus now that my crazy's on the outside, people can stop giving me that look when I start talking.

So, what do you think? Has anyone else made a decision so bad it turned out good?


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Killin' My Darlings

Drum roll please...I am finally moved in to my new house and new Writertorium! I have to say that I miss the wood floors in Writertorium Uno and Number Two is significantly smaller, but it exists with functioning internet and a desk with all it's legs screwed on and everything. (Although there was a tragic loss of keyboard tray that I don't feel comfortable talking about.) This, of course, means I'm back to escaping reality on a daily basis i.e. writing.
(Loveseat not included in joy jumping. Disclaimer: New Writertorium is too small for my "thinking couch". It now sadly resides in the basement.)

Evidently stifling my creative flow for three odd weeks with signing and resigning a bagillion documents three different times for two different companies (how does that make sense?) and having to pack and unpack and paint and budget for a new furnace (gah!) has brought upon some revelations. 1) Reality sucks. But we already knew this. 2) I'm a shell of a human (and a ton more cranky) when I'm not writing. 3) Taking a couple weeks to gel after one finishes a first draft is equal parts painful and helpful.

I've read it a hundred times in countless writing craft books that you should "Let it cool" and "Do something else" after you complete your first draft. I've never been able to do this. I have this freakish interior motivator that tells me if I'm not writing daily I'm wasting time and thus any potential success I may have in the future. Real rational, huh?

Now that I've been forced into letting my first draft cool, I'm sing a lively chorus of "Killin' my darlings, killin' my darlings, killin' my darlings all the time..." (which is in reference to a William Faulkner quote if you got confused by my sing-a-long lyrics.) I am typing away (sans keyboard tray), changing my male lead, onioning out minor characters (my totally professional way of saying character development) and basically starting from crumbs for the second draft of my new project that you will have to be patient to hear about in lieu of previously mentioned massive rewrites. All this wreckage and reconstruction is making me a little...giddy, actually. I missed writing so much that I must get back to it. Now!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4 Days and Counting (Unfortunately)

The saga that is my buying a house (for the first time) continues. I spent over 3 weeks dealing with mortgage lenders and realtors--not a punctual or friendly/helpful lot on the whole--only to be saddled with 4 more days (and counting) of non-stop physical labor, sweat, and bruises. (I was going to insert pics of my multi-hued legs here before I realized they look like they belong to an overworked stripper.) As you can tell by my over usage of parenthesis in this post, I am wrought and a big part of my woes is that I have not been able to write--or read--in two weeks!!!

*Serena from Sailor Moon will illustrate my head spinny scream now.*
*Thank you, Serena.*

I had to end the madness somehow, but I have a box spring to get out of my kitchen. Alas, this post will have to hold me over until my kitchen is box spring-less and my bookcases are reassembled and refilled with my lovelies. (I feel like a bad foster parent keeping them locked away in suitcases this long.) Okay, that's my last parenthetical passage. (They're comforting. I can't help it.) Until then, wish me luck and tell my manuscript, computer, cat, hair, wardrobe, REM cycle, etc. that I'm not mad at them; just bogged down with reality.

P.S. Reality sucks! I want back in the pseudo reality of the Writertorium.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Ya lit invades Hollywood...ish!

As much as I despise when Hollywood throws around the phrase "the next Twilight!" with it's giddy-greedy green teeth showing because all YA lit that's worthy of film adaptation has to involve vampires and werewolves and para overloaded normal plot points, (Sorry, that's my Team Contemporary --thanks for the term Gayle Forman --ranty side venting. She's a little on edge as of late.) I did a fan-girl dance when I read the Find Me A Twilight! article in Entertainment Weekly's May 24 issue (article excerpt on left). But EW has inadvertently proven my point that all big screen worthy YA is not broody vampires and hunky werewolves...well, some broody werewolves are in attendance with Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy, but Sam (said broody werewolf) isn't exactly waging epic battles for Grace's mortal life. And I think that's more to my point. An epic battle is not necessary to capture that Twilight-esque theatric magic.

The novel with the best chance at proving that, in my opinion, is Lauren Oliver 's Delirium series, which has not a one broody creature of the night. Instead an oppressive society where love has been declared a curable disease threatens the characters.

When I first heard about this series (from Ms. Oliver herself!) last year, she pitched it as a "dystopian Romeo & Juliet." I pretty much set aside the $17.99 to pre-order the hardcover right then. It's epic emotionally. Lena, the main character, doesn't need a visit from the Volturi to create tension and havoc in her life, she has a date to be "cured" of Amor Deliria Nervosa aka her freewill! I'd face off with Demetri over that life sentence any day.

My second runner up for proving my point is Ally Condie's Matched. Among the new crop of other soon-to-be-adapted YAs that support the paranormal stigma is Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures, Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series and Veronica Roth's Divergent.

Despite my rant, I do enjoy the occasional paranormal YA. Anyone who's read this blog, or basically met me, knows I'm a TWI-hard for life--or eternity as soon as Edward agrees to change me. But as someone who writes contemporary YA, I can't help feeling misrepresented in pop culture. It's encouraging to see novels like Before I Fall , Oliver's debut novel which is neither paranormal or dystopian *gasp*, earning some prime Entertainment Weekly real estate. What do you guys think? Is YA seen as a vamp/wolf/zombie fluff fest in the eyes of Hollywood? 


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jordan Catalano is baaack!

Something miraculous has occurred and I feel I would be doing the entire TV viewership an injustice if I did not share. The miraculous event I speak of is the reemergence of  My So-called Life in syndication! (Airing Mondays at 11pm on Sundance channel.)

Go ahead Generation X-ers and Y-ers, screaming is merited here because this means two essentially amazing things. 1) We get to relive our Jordan Catalano teenage dreams through the never aging Jared Leto. I'll give you a sec to let the picture below stir up some of those memories...

OK, and 2) A whole new generation of girls will be exposed to the fabulous insanity of Angela's identity shifting dye job (hello red!) and friends like Rayanne and Rickie and, er, Brian Krakow and the oh so angst filled relationship with the blissfully monosyllabic Jordan.

The cast was of the time and just plain real in an era before "reality" TV sunk that word into the crapper. But the thing that keeps this show on my Best Ever On TV list is the honesty of creator Winnie Holzman's  (and many others) writing. The anti-quipy-without-trying dialogue is a lesson to anyone who is writing anything. Period. I proclaim (until proven otherwise--go ahead, try me!) the modern YA genre was born in the pages of her pilot script. I say this because the story is still relevant, the characters are still relatible, albeit questionable in the wardrobe department. 17 years later--2 years elder the series main character Angela Chase--the mere mention of this show when I inevitably bring it up at someone mentioning starting a band (possibly named Frozen Embryos?) still gets a hand over the heart, "Omigod I looove that show!" response.

The premature cancellation of this gem is one of the lingering pop cultural travesties of our time. How can a show that is called "the most extraordinary show of the new TV season" by Entertainment Weekly be canceled after only 19 episodes and The Bachelor is on it's 15th season?! I am beyond grateful to Sundance channel for rectifying a tiny piece of this wrong.

P.S. I'm buying this shirt.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Rockin' and Droppin'

In honor of YALSA’s Support Teen Lit Day the crew at has created a share-the-wealth campaign aptly named Rock the Drop. The idea is to share a book with a stranger in the most random, altruistic way possible--leaving it in a public place. A surprise book-o-gram would brighten anyone's day, especially if said book-o-gram was say an ARC of the fabulous debut author Amy Plum’s  DIE FOR ME . (Not my drop of the day, but kinda wish it was. Check out her Facebook page for the pic.)

Make sure to take a picture of your drop, and, if you're like me, hide behind a bush/tree/lamppost/dog until your lucky drop recipient comes along. They usually give this shady scan of the area before cautiously picking up the book and glancing at the back cover. Then they either slyly slip it under their arm or bolt. (Seriously. I saw no in between.) It's pretty entertaining, but also kind of a sad reflection on our culture. Hmm...serious thoughts... 

For more details, visit


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rock & Read

In case you missed the slew of Facebook posts/Tweets I rattled off this week, Gayle Forman's sequel to 2009's If I Stay called Where She Went came out on Tuesday and I went into full on Tortured-Smexy Rocker Obsession mode. The sequel switches POVs so we get (Stay's main character, Mia's then BF) Adam's side of the story that began three years earlier (in book time) when she was in a comma debating whether to die or stay.

So, I've spent all week trying to figure out why I have TSRO (Tormented-Smexy Rocker Obsession) and why there is no cure (of which I would refuse if it existed). I mean, if you break it down, the TSR is an overly sensitive pretty boy that will most likely use up your $30 Bedhead products without asking. He'll pull off the just-got-out-of-bed look that will have you cursing the hour long daily getting ready regiment that is required of a rock girlfriend and wear sunglasses everywhere. (Ok, I have to admit that part is hot.) At some point in his career he will become a smoker/over drinker/pill popper, which would be an unequivocal deal breaker with any normal guy. And there's always that looming question: does he love "the music" more than me?

Even after rattling off TSR's faults, I find myself twisting them into enduring vulnerabilities that only make me love him more. I actually feel bad for the TSRO clean now! So, I plan to infect you with a highly contagious strain of TSR eye candy. And...go!

(Jared Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars should pretty much seal the deal, but I'll keep going.)

(Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill's voice. 'Nuf said.)

(Gavin Rossdale may be the source of my infection back in 1998 when Bush inexplicably played Michigan four times in one tour. Yes, he was shirtless for all four shows.)

(Maroon 5's Adam Levine is pretty much TSRO rolled up in a tat'd piano/guitar playing smokin' package.)

To thank me for the eye candy, you can tell me about your TSROs. Who's your fav fictitiously delish literary (or real) rocker guy? (Oh come, on, you know you're rockin' the infection after those pics!) Mine are Cole St. Clair of NARKOTIKA in Maggie Stiefcater's Linger and, of course, Adam Wilde of Shooting Star in If I Stay/Where She Went. Now hit me with yours.

P.S. I highly recommend reading all mentioned novels!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Loss of Glitter May Occur

This warning label (see picture) on my kick-errific new Converse is pretty much my daily nightmare. I'm standing in the middle of a room with hundreds of expectant eyes staring at me with a blaring white sign draped around my neck: Due to the Unique Characteristics of Material, Some Loss of Glitter May Occur During Wear. You will loose your ability to write quip-y dialogue and glitter no longer!

Nooooo! I need all my glitter to concoct YA fabulousness! Ahhh!!!!

Just let me dry the cold sweat from my brow. Okay, I'm back. I was so happy when I got this glittery  purple pair of shoes from my lovely mom (who still takes me on sporadic shopping trips ☺), but now I feel like they're glaring at me from my closet, implanting irrational tones of self-doubt in my head as I write.
*I have since instated a closet shut rule in the Writertorium.

I know I'm not the only person who suffers from self-doubt, but mine seems to come at the most unexpected times. Like when everything is (seemingly) going to plan, which makes the self-doubt also irrational and baffling. Does anyone else feel unjustly confident up until the moment when justification finally comes along?  Sorry that was a bit Seussical; it must be all the glitter tongue tying me up. Simple version: When does self-doubt wear off your glitter and how do you deal?


Friday, March 11, 2011

Leaning Tower of Pisa Syndrome

Ok, so I admit staying up until 3:30am last night was probably not the wisest decision since now the back of my head is doing this dull ache thing and I go all Leaning Tower of Pisa every time my eyes close for more than 10 seconds. But I didn't have to go in to Day Job today (AWESOME!), and I really wanted to respond to the "I'm getting ready to send out the manuscript, but" email I got from my agent yesterday.

I needed to do a read through to catch embarrassing typos like "I walked threw the open door" before officially sending off my little bundle of pages to the world. It'd been almost two months since I'd looked at my bundle because I've been keeping myself sane during the publishing waiting game by working on a new novel--which I am totally excited about, finally. Of course, now the process will be waylaid by Leaning Tower of Pisa Syndrome, but that usually only lasts a day...two tops.

I have to say, though, the read through was a little like biting into a candy from one of those unlabeled boxes of chocolates without a chart of flavors. (I'll spare you the rant I have stored up for the lazy confectioners that manufacture said boxes.) I kept getting all these little surprises along the way that I'd forgotten I'd added or changed along the revision road. And even though I knew the ending--which even the lucky few who got to read previous drafts don't know!--it was a little like not reading my own book. I kinda dug that.

Anyone else recently re-read something they'd written or just a fav book and gotten a coconut surprise with the familiar chocolate coating? If not, take a bite. I promise no praline crap moose filling. Really, unlabeled box of chocolates, praline?


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Potato, pot-ah-to...wait, no one says pot-ah-to

The farther I get into the process of (hopefully) publishing my first novel the more I realize how clueless I am about said process, and not in the posh "Whatever" Alicia Silverstone kind of way. Like when I asked my agent--who is fabulous FYI--to let me know when the manuscript is officially out on submittal to which she replied, "Out on submission!" (Exclamation point and everything.) Potato, pot-ah-to, right? Um yeah...except no one says pot-ah-to. My bad.

Moral of the story, I'm a newbie to the publishing world. We're talking hangin' with the lowdies on the grassy knoll new. (Bonus points if you get that Clueless reference.) Which is why I'm incredibly grateful to have such an understanding group of fellow writers/crit partners and friends & family that take my quirky newbie-ness as least that's what I assume when they laugh and say, "You're crazy." To which I grin and reply, "Yes, I am and it's fabulous!"

I sure hope there are other people out there that take "crazy" as a compliment, and I hope they comment on this post so we can skip 7th & 8th and see the new Christian Slater movie together. (Sorry, had to sneak in one more Clueless reference for good measure.)


Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome to The Writertorium!

First off, HI! Welcome to The Writertorium which is, of course, a virtual snidbit of my real Writertorium where I spend entirely too much time (according to "other" people) writing and happily pretending my reality is the real one.

Secondly, I feel, right off the bat, I have some explaining to do. It involves that silly little photo up there. Yup, take a quick glance, attempt to figure out why I chose to post a very poor quality photo of the dazzling Edward Cullen a.k.a Robert Pattinson in all his cardboard cutout glory on my very first blog post. Then come back down here, and I'll explain.

There are two reasons: One, he has a word bubble that says: "I promise to love you every moment of forever. Just don't forget to return your library books." Which is what I hope to hear from every sultry mythological creature after my heart. Two, I owe a great writerly debt to this vampire.

I'm not like the writers I've had the privilege to meet or hear speak. I was not a reader my whole life. In fact, I used to find all sorts of creative ways not to read that I'm sure will make my old English teachers' heads implode. (My favorite is making up authors and stories and writing entire Book-It! reports on said fictitious fiction so I could get my holographic purple button and free personal pizza.) I know that sounds terrible coming from an author, but if you think about it, I was doing exactly what an author should. I was writing new stories. Right? That's what we do, so it makes it okay, right? I realize that's a bit of a stretch, but I'm giving myself that one 'cause it's my blog, and I have a tendency to choose the truth. It's fun. You should try it.

So, anyways, the point here is, when I read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight--and this is beyond unforgivable because I did see the movie first--I genuinely enjoyed reading for the first time in my life. Thankfully, there were three more mondo sized novels in the saga to quench my new thirst for literature, but when I finished page 754 of Breaking Dawn I was completely dazzled and consumed by a world that I'd accepted as reality and obsessed with getting more of. So I made up for lost time and got to reading my skinny butt off. But I just couldn't get over the blissful feeling of losing myself in fiction. So, I did what I always do, started making my own fiction.

I wrote for months and turned out two very...novice novels before anyone even knew I was writing. (And, no, it was not about vampires or werewolves or any other para-sexy-normal creatures.) But, as they say, third time's a charm. That charmer landed me an agent and a legitimate reason to lock myself in my Writertorium for days on end.

Which brings us back to the point of my ramblings, my brand spanking new blog! I will be writing regularly about (hopefully) getting my debut novel published and the crazy process that entails as well as all the other fabulous things that stumble across my path in The Writertorium.


P.S. I am a comment junkie and I respond to every one, so bring 'em on!