Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sweet Book Child of Mine


 Hello, new world. Pic from Wikicommons.

                A quick post tonight..it's been so busy here with Halloween, a friend's baby shower and still trying to settle into our new house. Yet so much of the time my brain is in another world trying to figure out what happens to my characters next. I'm in the dense, unknown part of my story where the conflict needs to take a leading role and all the stakes need to be raised. It's taking a lot of brain power. I'm not a great storyteller but I'm a good writer so I'm hoping I can camouflage my weakness with great writing and an interesting premise with likable characters. After all, isn't fiction about twisting the truth!?

            You know that part where you're the new person so everyone comes and introduces themselves to you, invites you over for lunches etc and you pretty much get to sit back and just try to remember everyone's names? Well, I feel like that phase is waning and I need to get on the bandwagon and become more social. But my big problem is that with such little free-time the more I spend away from my notebook/computer the longer it will take to get published. Is that a selfish thought? Is that all work and no play? Or is that what it takes to get the job done? I was at a friend's house and realized that if I want to have friends here, if I want to be included in things and be a member of society, I might need to shortchange this dream I've been working so hard to achieve. And yet, if I do, it feels like someone's asking me to spend less time with my child. These past few years my work has become like one of my children..it takes up so much of my time, it really doesn't give a lot back, as soon as I fix certain issues, new problems arise...and yet I'm devoted to it, love it and can see the potential simmering just under the surface; of what it can become with some tlc. (Or rather, grinding my nose to powder with all the nose to the grindstone that really goes into writing a book).

         I guess tonight I feel a little overwhelmed with life and with trying to become a best-selling author. And with the news that Penguin and Random house merged, it reminds me that the publishing business is an industry I'm trying to hold onto with my fingertips because it's barreling through change faster than I think any of us can keep up with.

  I hope I'm not complaining because no one likes to read about that. I guess my question is...how do you balance the home/work life? Esp as a writer when you constantly feel that pull towards that made-up world where you  live half the time anyway. Or when your characters rove around your brain demanding to be heard but you don't have the time to write down everything they say?

         I don't want to be anti-social or give up on making new friends. But the fact is, this book-child of mine won't let me be until its story has been told. And we've got a ways to go yet. ::shivers with excitement::

Friday, October 26, 2012

What's New in Books Week: Oct 26th

Flying out the door, quick list:

 Author Kiersten White reveals the Secret to Getting Published!

Watch Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket and others read chapters of Coraline.

Nathan Bransford asks, Can good writing really be taught?

Two of the biggest publishing houses to merge? What does it mean for publishing HERE

The 13 Worst Classic Book Reviews HERE

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #2

 Another week, another wishlist. What I wish for this Wednesday:

1. Tom Hardy would know of my existence.

2. That I could go back and erase that time in 8th grade when our class read the Diary of Anne Frank from our textbooks and I thought it would be cool to use different voices and inflection when I read aloud. This will not get you friends.

3. That next time that I buy a box of hair dye I don't decide to just "wing it".

But onto what you're really here to read about.. BOOKS!

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we  post about a book that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our bookshelves. Virtual or otherwise. It's hosted by the fabulous PentoPaperblog HERE

My book for the week?  Ta daaaaaa!

 It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe. Out Feb 2013.

I really liked the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series (confession, I need to read the rest so pretend I have all those books listed here as well). Alexia was such a funny and likeable character for me that I'm hoping Gail does it again and Sophronia -(sweet name, right)-is equally as appealing. Plus, call me a sucker for a school that teaches you cool things..I know it's been done a lot since we all graduated Hogwarts but I think I'll always give a book with that premise a go. 

What are your thoughts about the book? Anyone read it yet?

Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Be Creative

       I can't believe it but I'm officially on Twitter. Me, the girl who hates tv and facebook (did that confession just lose me all my readers?)  I'd LOVE to meet some more twitter friends so if you're on Twitter, find me so I can follow you! Plus I'd love for someone to explain to me how it all works..wait, let me try. #howtheheckdoItweetlikejustinbieber. Hmm maybe I'm learning already.

     Long story short, Tweet me and I will follow you. If you want to follow Foolscap Fool, you can also follow me on Twitter where I will update posts, retweet pub news and try to find funny things to keep you entertained. Or at least RT other people's funnies. I think I'm going to be a great re-tweeter.

    That said, today's post is a MUST WATCH for anyone trying to be creative. If you listen to This American Life you'll love it. I do love me some Ira Glass. He says he wishes someone would have told him this in the beginning. I was lucky enough to find it in time so I'd like to share it here with you:

What do you think? Do you agree with what he says? Do you have an experience about what he's talking about?

Friday, October 19, 2012

What's Happening in Books: Week Oct 19th!


Listening to: Dog Days are Over Florence + the Machines

Happy Friday Hallelujah it's the end of the week! And we finally ordered a couch and bought a kitchen table so we're not living off the floor! Yay! Because I love link roundups, here are a few articles I've noticed myself around the websphere lately..

YALSA Teens Top Ten Winners have been announced! I'm sure you can guess half of the list but if you're looking for a new read, try a Top Ten!

Author Natalie Whipple talks about other people having your story ideas (that idea terrifies me!) Read HERE.

 Nathan Bransford follows up with his post "Ideas Aren't Sacred" (but it sure feels like it when you're drafting, doesn't it!?) Read HERE

Should teen novels have ratings? Imho we should rate author photos bc this one seems a bit come hither-like..The Telegraph HERE

NYTimes interview with the author everyone's been crapping on lately, J.K Rowling on favorite books and authors(my thoughts on that next week..) HERE

Bookshelves Anonymous Talks about the best places to visit in books HERE.  Oh that they were real places....

The Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature but Publishers Weekly. The Godfather..got it.. Pand P, the Bennets?

Q and A with Lemony Snicket (best name EVER.) HERE

Johnny Depp's production company Infinitum Nihil, starting Publishing Imprint. (Johnny + books= major swoon-age!)

This poster to carry you into the weekend:

 Or creep you out forever if you saw the last movie..Gaah!
(Thanks Wandering Librarians for movie poster! HERE)

  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to my first Wishilist Wednesday, a meme by Pen to Paper! It's a blog hop where we all post about a book in our TBR pile or that we're dying to get onto our bookshelves. Here is one I've been wanting to read for a long time:

 Book Description: 

   Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Michael Grant, Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, and nine more of the hottest YA authors to hit the shelves explore the concepts of prophecy and prediction in this story collection edited by NYT bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan.

Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate? It's human nature to wonder about life's twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?

From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life's unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction's brightest stars.

This collection includes works from:
Malinda Lo (Ash)
Lisa McMann (Wake)
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures)
Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures)
Laini Taylor (The Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Michael Grant (Gone)
Saundra Mitchell (The Vespertine)
Richelle Mead (the Vampire Academy)
Matt de la Pena (I Will Save You)
Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries)
Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)
Diana Peterfreund (Rampant)
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry)
Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) 


K, first off, this cover looks sweet. It has the perfect spooky, haunted feel to it which matches the title perfectly.  Also, a big reason for my initial interest in the book is the fact that one of my fav authors Laini Taylor contributed to it. Here is the opening line from her contribution "Gentlemen Send Phantoms" (which you can read on Amazon preview. Do NOT read if you are in the drafting process or you will be cast into the pit of despair unable to lift head or limb.  You'll also have visions where being a garbage worker or an accountant in April might be better suited to your skills because obviously you'll never be able to write anything comparable to Laini. Not that I've ever felt this way. Ahem.)

 "Once, when the moon was younger than tonight and not as plump, three girls gathered by the hearth to bake a dreamcake"

 Ahh. That is great writing in the way only Laini Taylor knows how to do. And how awesome is that title? And the boy is totally swoon worthy.. which, they always are. (DofSandB?!) There are so many other stellar authors contributing to this book it's a must-have for my bookshelf.

What books are on your wishlist?

Your own bookshelf looking a little thin? Find more wish-list books at our host blog Pen to Paper!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Library Fail

    Today I loaded up my two-year old and 2-month old and we drove 20 mins to the nearest library. It was also pouring rain which I was all about because coming from the desert, there is nothing more exciting than a booming downpour to shake up the weather.
  So we're soaking wet by the time I get them loaded into the car and then out of the car and into the library. But it's worth it because there's a little cafe off the front foyer that I'm dying to go back to and write in, and a flat screen tv behind the information desk with advertisements for tots' reading time, adult book club in the fireplace room etc. I'm standing there with a big grin on my face because I love libraries and this one is sweet.

   Then I get up to the counter dripping water everywhere and present my change of address form to get a card. I totally get REJECTED. Because it didn't have my first name, only my last on the page. I tried to tell the kindly lady that my license has my former address printed on it which is also printed on the change of address form but it was a no-go. I seriously got all teary and it was embarrassing and I hope the lady didn't notice and I wheeled us back out to the rain.

 Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's my still-newborn-stage-lack-of-sleep. Or maybe it was the feeling that heaven's doors were closed before me after I had tried to live a worthy life. Anyway, it was horrible. The library is in my top three favorite places to be in the entire world and all of that goodness was closed to me and my little'ins. So, back out into the pouring rain which had somehow (or maybe it was just me) seemed to be pouring even harder and colder. Suck.

 So now we're home eating lunch. In my new "I love to clean. I'm all about cleaning" mantra I'm trying hard to embrace, I have of course thrown out every envelope that might possibly, probably had my name on it. Then I found a receipt from when I signed up for electricity. Does that count? Has my full name on it..it's a receipt for payment for turning on electricity and my address right there under my name. I am going to call and see. I'm determined to get in there. They can't shut me out! haha.

 That said, I'm slightly lagging behind on my ms. I've gotten it into my head to build most of the furniture we are needing. Such as bookshelves, a tv console, a dresser etc.. I just can't find what I like on the market and am unwilling to pay $400 for a cheap dresser glued together and glazed. So I'm really psyched about it but there goes most of my free time when I was already trying to claw out as much time for writing. I've decided to set some concrete goals:

   End of Nov (and Nanowrimo) MS complete
   End of Dec: Round 1 Crit partners finished
   Jan: Proffessionl edit and personal edits from Crit partners, cover design an formatting, scrounging up advertising/marketing.
   Feb: Marketing, ARCs, release info, reviewers selected.
   Mar: Book release, home-town book release party.

 I hope that's plausible. I've been working and re-working this story for over a year now. I've found that I need a few days of just planning the next set of scenes without any writing. Then, I take a week of great writing until I get to the end of my planning. Then it's back to the drawing board. It makes for slow work but I believe that's the best way I work. At least for this story.

  I do feel a little anxious trying to get all of this done. I mean, we don't have ANY furniture in our house. (Well, the girls have their cribs and I have our old queen size bed and we have a tiny kitchen set that's falling apart. But we need a king size bed and a new kitchen set so not sure I count it!) And when I was talking about how to prioritize everything meaning, "do I put my book on the back burner until we're more settled in?" Or, "do I put building furniture on the back burner until my book is done?" To me, they are both needs. I go crazy if I don't write. And, frankly, I'm a little nervous that the elements that make up my book will go out of style and a new wave will come in and all this work will be passe. Dystopian. Paranormal. Magic. Those have been around for a bit and sniffing the wind, I wonder if they are starting to fade? Agents are looking for epic fantasies and sci-fi these days. So maybe I'm still good.

Well, better go. More later!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Writing Wednesday and I Totally Suck

      We've been 8 days without any furniture or any belongs besides what we fit into our luggage, a few camp chairs and a blow up mattress. It really makes me wonder why we have so much STUFF when really, you can get by with so little. Finally, today the movers came with our belongings.Two nice gentlemen probably in their late 40's. They made good conversation with me, assembled everything they could and wouldn't let met help etc.. Capital fellows.

       6 hours, two broken bookshelves and a broken desk later the movers finally left. I was a little bugged about the broken furniture, about the fact that while the door was open a million flies swarmed in. But mostly I was bugged about myself.  That I didn't mark the rooms to make it easier on the movers like I'd thought too last night but was too lazy to do. That I didn't have any energy drinks on hand, nor anything but peanut butter sandwhiches to offer them for lunch. I'm new in town and our 2nd car, my car is still somewhere between  here and Las Vegas so I couldn't even go pick them up something.

    BUT all of that is so small compared to the big kicker...I had NO cash on me for a tip. 6 HOURS of work. I know they get paid but it really bugged me that they worked so hard and were so nice to me and I had nothing but change in my purse. I feel like such a schmuck. The embarassing part is that I hid out in the bedroom peering out the window to make sure they drove away and weren't coming back to bang on my door and demand their rightful thanks. This was so that I could finally take a breath. See how pathetic I am?!

  ::sighs:: THEN it was school bus hour so every time a big vehicle would pass the house I'd hold my breath feeling like they really were coming back with missing paperwork or something else in the truck so I'd have to face them again. A guilty conscience I tell you....

 So that's my confession and I'm probably over-reacting but they worked hard and hard work deserves something extra. Is it too much to stop by the home moving office to drop off a few $20s? Too weird?

  This whole move I've tried so hard to see it as an adventure. It's been huge and patience-testing with a 2-yr old and 2 month old baby on my hip. Only now as I sit here in my new living room surrounded by boxes, broken furniture and a million flies do I feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm not an interior decorator by any means. We've got so many things we have to buy...a couch, new bedroom set, drawers for the girls, kitchen towels etc..I'm not a spender. (Which is why we need to buy new things..the old ones are just plain too old now). And I really want to have a sophisticated grown up pad. This is our first kind of official place we're going to spend some time at and we're already making friends so I really want to have a place that reflects where we are in life. I think I'm still so geeky and weird and socially awkward. I don't mind sleeping on a blow up mattress. But girls my age should have a proper bed with proper matching bedding and a real sidetable instead of some  that maybe I don't want people to see that so much as the other side -the confident-in-my-skin person I'm trying hard to be or maybe are becoming more. The art lover, the collector, the cleaner. Actually I never see the cleaner in me so that personality just might not exist. So these next few weeks are going to be challenging to say the least.

   Now, moving past me and my whiny meanderings...Beth Revis has a blog series "Writing Wednesdays" that totally rocks.

   Oh Beth Revis why are you so cool? You probably never leave your movers hanging out to dry.If Beth Revis offered online writing classes I would so sign up. She spins each "lesson" in her own way that makes each topic refreshingly new and actually applicable. Case in point? The last few paragraphs of today's lesson totally blew me away:

  This is what separates the very best of the best YA. Good YA has the character realize everyone wears a mask. Great YA has the character realize he wears a mask, too.

The best YA lifts the mask off the reader.

There is no greater accomplishment than a book that can make the reader realize who he is behind his mask.

I'm telling you, sooooooo goood! So check out her blog post today HERE. Your writing will be better for it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The "Exploratory" Draft

  I have a love/hate relationship with writing. I love the idea of it. I love reading words written or "having written" as you've probably heard before. I love going down to the art store and buying a sketchbook full of empty blank pages of beautiful paper and filling it with little scene ideas, dialogue snippets, character profiles and histories etc and sometimes I get carried away in that stage until one day it hits me. 

    I cannot sell this book. This is not, in fact, a novel. You're not actually writing.


    Which means Drafting must begin. Which means gallons of ice cream will be consumed. There will be much throwing of oneself onto the bed wailing that "it's just not mean to be!" followed by well-intentioned consuling from one's husband.After a half dozen times he turns on the tough love and you schlep yourself back together to begin again. And again. And again.

 At least that's how it is for me. You're probably an ubber-galactic steller writer who churns out books in mere days. You suck.

Drafting is by far the HARDEST part for me.

The part where I feel most hopeless of ever becoming a writer. The task of taking all of these random bits and turning them into a full-fledged novel is daunting to say the least. What's the method? How does one bridge the gap between pure imagining and the finished work with all the elements? This is where the published writers out work the dreamers. Key word: WORK.

Laini Taylor (author of the Dreamdark series and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, LOVELOVELOVELOVE) describes the first draft as an exploratory one: (I hope it's okay Laini to post your words here instead of mine because they're so much better!):

                Imagine you’re standing at the edge of a jungle in, let’s say, Borneo (because I have a fascination with Borneo). You have a rough idea of how big this jungle is -- you’ve flown over it in a helicopter and seen dense green treecover, and you know what’s on the other side. You know where you want to get to, and you have a very vague idea of what’s IN the jungle, but you have no map, and as of yet there is no trail. What you do have is a machete, a blank roll of paper, and a grease pencil.

                There’s only one way to get to the other side of the jungle: take out your machete and start whacking. Carve your way forward and forward, sometimes sideways and sometimes back, until you get to the other side. That first time through, you’re going to come across ravines, swamps, viper nests, rivers, all sorts of things you didn’t expect and you’ll deal with them and get around them, over them, through them, in all manner of resourceful ways. And when you step out of the jungle on the far side, what you’ll have in your hand is a sprawling, wrinkled, sweat-stained mess of a map of the territory you’ve just discovered. It might not look very pretty, but it is a glorious thing, a document of discovery. You clutch it to you, and after you’ve rested and healed for a while, you go back to the far side of the jungle and. . . you start again. (Source here)

Isn't that awesome? I love all the bush wacking involved and really, isn't that how it feels a lot of the time? You day dream and mentally interact with your characters, you see things in real life that spawn a mini scene in your brain that makes your hands itch to write down.You have all this beauty and intrigue and pure potential rolling around in your brain so hard it makes you want to explode and then comes the painstaking process of adequately transcribing those feelings and mental images into WORDS. It's like trying to strain pudding.
  But Laini's words bring a measure of comfort.These first few drafts are exploratory, getting to know the lay of the story land. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to write horribly. Set an impossibly high word count as your goal and set a timer and write and write and write. It will come together. Slowly but surely.

You'll probably write a lot of what won't make it into the finished novel. But this helps two ways:

1. You have tons of great back story that helps you write a more dimensional, believable character
2. You're getting so much practice writing that subsequent drafts will be THAT. MUCH. BETTER.

And in the end, those who write, publish. It can be as simple as that. Keep writing my friends!

Bookstores only for Elite?

                                                           Wikicommons photo: by Phillip Capper here

    Read THIS article. It's about Marc Jacobs opening new bookstores in Europe. On the heels of bookstores closing all around us, I can't help but wonder if the future of bookstores lies in the pocketbooks of the ubber wealthy. The rest of us will be downloading our books for 99 cents-$3.99 per copy.

 Your thoughts? Please comment below! More on this later, the afternoon sunshine is calling my name!