Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Funky but Not in a Good Way...

I've been in a bit of a writing funk lately. After the craziness of November, working on edits for book 1 and dictating book 2, I've been burnt out. Add to that a lot of stress and not feeling well, and I've accomplished little during the month of December. Well, I got a short story edited and submitted, but that's about all.

Thanks to one of my fabulous friends from #amwritingparty on Twitter, the amazing L.K. Gardner-Griffie, I realized that I needed to get over this funk and put my butt in the writing chair. (BTW- please go to L.K.'s website here and read samples of her awesome work and buy her books!) In order to motivate myself, I realized that I needed a deadline. That's why I like NaNoWriMo so much- it keeps me accountable because I will not lose face with everyone by quitting! lol

So, I'm creating my own little "writing month" to get me out of this funk and get my butt in the writing chair. If I ever want to do this full-time (which I do), I have to get used to writing every day like it's my job. Even if it's only a page, I need to be consistent. Not having a set work schedule this year has been great for me in some ways but has really hurt me in other ways. It makes it so much easier to be lazy and procrastinate.

I love book 1, but now that I'm halfway through book 2, I realized that I want to change a few things in book 1. I know my characters and where I want the story to go better than I did when I started. I'm at 65,000 words now, but I'd like to be at 70,000. I think there's a lot of places where I can make the book stronger by increasing tension, adding some foreshadowing, and adding some scenes that give more "meat" to the story, including some that were originally going to be in book 2 but I feel will fit better if I move them to book 1.

So here's where I need help. I must have a deadline to keep me accountable. I need everyone to encourage and support me and (gently) kick me in the butt to meet my goal. By the end of the night on January 25, I will be done with additions, edits, and changes to book 1, including any comments from my critique people and beta readers. By the end of the night on January 31, the first batch of query letters to agents will go out.

I'm making these goals public so that I will force myself to meet them! lol Sometime in the next few days I'll be posting my overall writing goals for 2010, as well as a look back at the books I read this year. There will even be a contest in which I'll be giving away some of the books I read in 2009, new and old.

Here's to a great end to 2009 and start to 2010. It's gonna be a great year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Watch Where You're Going

The other day I saw a great post on creating visual tools to help you stay inspired as you move from that spark of an idea for a story to the finished product. You can read the post here.

This is a technique I've used for years for various things in my life. Call it visualization, The Secret, law of attraction... it really doesn't matter. I've used it to stay focused on my goals, such as saving money for a trip or getting through school, but I've also used it try to attract certain qualities into my life, like a job that has flexible hours or an apartment with both a fireplace and a safe place outside for my cats. The more I focus on the things I want, the better things always seem to go.

Since I've always used pictures, vision boards, or vision notebooks representing what I want in my life, when I began writing my first novel, it made sense to me to have some visual "representation" to keep my goal in mind. I did what I had always done when I had a big goal- made a vision board. I cut out pictures of people reading books and smiling, headings from review magazines, and witty sayings related to writing that I'd find in magazines like "Do You Have the Write Stuff". I taped them to posterboard along with handwritten cards saying "Welcome to our guest author, Jessica Capelle" or "Ascending Angel, the debut novel by Jessica Capelle, will be released in the Fall". This board was my dream for my writing life, showing people enjoying my writing, showing myself successful and published. And that was a great vision to focus on, but I just didn't know how to get to that dream without a visual picture of the book that I hoped would take me there someday.

Starting with a blank piece of paper and an idea, even an idea you've had for 8 years like mine, is a bit daunting. So of course I made an outline, but it wasn't visual enough for me to "see" the book. I then started collecting pictures that reminded me of my story or the characters and (poorly) drew pictures of key scenes in the book and items that were unique to my world. I found a beautiful picture (wish I could figure out the artist) that looked almost exactly like my main character and essentially summed her up perfectly. That picture became my desktop background on my laptop. While writing book 2, I even wore an ring shaped like angel wings (my story is about angels) that a friend gave me. When the ring went on, typing was on the book. If I'd veer over to Twitter or Facebook, I'd notice the ring and be reminded to head back into Word. All of these strategies helped me stay focused on where I wanted to go, who my characters were, and what I wanted in the world I'd created for them.

But I was writing a series, so I also needed to know where I was headed in the future, even though I was a ways away from that. I didn't want to have inconsistencies to deal with later, so I needed a plan. The brief outlines I'd written (like 2 paragraphs) for each future book were great, but I couldn't see the whole story arc at one time. Then I had the idea to put up a board for each book in my office. I'd be surrounded by my world (literally) and be able to see all the books at the same time, so I could change things easily. I used dark purple post-its for the big themes that ran through each book and light purple post-its for key plot points and action.

Everything I did served as a visual reminder of my goal and the fact that I need to be working towards it. Having the picture of the book to keep in front of me has been so valuable in making my writing stronger and more consistent. It has kept me focused on wrapping up loose ends and making sure if I don't explain something now that I sure know the answer for later. I believe that when (not if, but when) I become a successful writer, the hard work that went into creating the "visual book" will be a big part of what got me there.

You can see my initial boards for Book 1 and 2 in the picture below (there are a lot more purple post-its now!), as well as one of my notebooks for the series on the desk (how cool that my friend found a notebook that had a heart with angel wings on it?!)

Are there any visual representations you use for your book or characters?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What are YOU reading?

When people find out that I’ve written a book, one of the first questions I get is about what I’m reading. So, from time to time I’ll post a list of what I’m reading and what I’ve got in the pile that’s lined up next. Some are new, some old. A lot are YA or MG books. I read what I like, and my tastes vary wildly. I also read multiple books at the same time. :-) People are always lending or giving me books, I pick a lot up in the bargain bins at various bookstores, I buy some that I know I’ll want to keep at full price, and I get the rest from the library. I’ve even got readers on my iPhone and audiobooks, but nothing beats flipping the pages…

Didn’t get to post for November, mainly because I wasn’t reading much. I was working on edits for Book 1 and doing NaNoWriMo also, so November was a “read my own stuff” month! Lol

Here’s what I’m currently reading for December:

1) The Golden Compass(His Dark Materials book 1) by Philip Pullman: I have heard about this book for years but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Enter a $2.99 paperback copy from Borders, and the rest is history. I saw most of the movie but wasn’t in the right frame of mind to watch it so I was pretty confused. I’m thinking the book is a better intro to his world.

2) Paper Towns by John Green: I’m finally reading this after months of having my SAT students tell me I needed to because he had nailed YA language. And he definitely did. The characters sound very much like some of my students…

3) The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor: alternate Alice in Wonderland story? I’m SO there! I rushed to get this as soon as I heard about it.

4) Tempted by P.C. and Kristen Cast: I’ve read the whole House of Night series, so of course this was on the list. Always love vamp books.

5) Go Ask Alice by Anonymous: Reading this as part of my Banned Books Challenge.

Just Finished:

- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- I have read this several times over the last couple months. It’s just SO good. It’s an amazing example of world-building. The details are fantastic, and her descriptions are vivid. I fell in love with Katniss, Prim, Gale, Peeta, and Rue. I’m holding off on reading Catching Fire (book 2) until I can let my anticipation die down a bit. I don’t want to be disappointed, and I’m so in love with THG that I fear I will be. If you haven’t read it, you must!

Some of the books coming up next:

- The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: One of the first genres I fell in love with was horror, and I’m finding myself drawn back to it a lot right now as I’m writing a series very grounded in the light that needs to touch on the darkness. Vampire virus run rampant? YES!!

- Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim by Anne Rice: I’ve always been a huge Anne Rice fan but haven’t read any of her recent work that’s focused on religious themes. Since I’m writing about angels in a VERY different way, I’m really curious to read her take.

- City of Bones (Mortal Instruments book 1) by Cassandra Clare: I’ve heard great things about this paranormal series and it’s been in the TBR pile for a while now.

So, there you go. I’m never without a book or twenty to read! I’d love to hear what other people are reading or want to read so comment or send me a message.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What I Learned on My Twittercation (and Facebook Fast)

In the spirit of elementary school teachers everywhere that make you write about your summer vacation, I'm writing about my vacation from Twitter and Facebook! Hee hee. :-)

Being off of Twitter for a week and Facebook for a week and a half was very hard. I seriously had become addicted to both. At least I could admit I had a problem. I did cheat by checking briefly what was going on while I was stuck somewhere waiting with nothing to do. I didn't post though. But, my lesson learned from that is never go anywhere without a book or notebook. That's what I SHOULD have been doing.

I did get a lot of writing done during this vacation, which was the major point of the exercise. Would have gotten a lot more done if I hadn't gotten the flu, but I digress.

As much as I love chatting on both Twitter and Facebook, this break was good for me because I realized just how much time I truly spend that could be spent writing, napping, or even (eek!) cleaning.

So what did I do on my Twittercation?
1) Edited, revised, edited, revised some more, wrote a new scene, edited, and revised, all in hopes of making Book 1 better and ready for querying.
2) Re-wrote my query letter a couple of times and now, IMHO, it is quite awesome!
3) Worked on my synopsis since I feel like it's too dry.
4) Worked on evil day job work.
5) Had a 3 hour lunch with some fab YA writers to talk about our plans for world domination.
6) Watched WAY too much tv while sick in bed with the flu.
7) Watched Wolverine and swooned over Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds.
8) Snuggled with the fur kids.
9) Napped.

I missed all my fabulous Twitter and Facebook buddies! But now I'm back, although I probably won't be around as much as before. Got lots of writing to get done. :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On NaNo Eve... A Look Back

In honor of starting NaNoWriMo today, I decided to re-visit something I wrote after I finished last year’s NaNo (my first). I learned a lot while writing my first book, which I am finishing final edits on as we speak. It will be going out to my critique peeps for a final look in the next day or two, and then query letters will go out mid-month. I think it’s quite appropriate that I’m finishing book 1 as NaNo is starting. NaNo got me to put my butt in the chair and write. I’d had the idea for the book for 8 years, but it was always something I’d do “one day”. Thank you to the NaNo gang for getting me to finally write that book!!

If you want to track my progress or be my NaNo buddy, my NaNo page is: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/433001

Tonight at 6:45pm, I finished with 50,229 words. I met my personal deadline of finishing by 7pm so I could watch a movie and relax in front of the fire tonight. There is no way to describe how I'm feeling right now. I've had the idea for this book for years. I had done some outlining and character development and a lot of research but hadn't really written much. The NaNo challenge was my opportunity to force myself to do it- if I told people about it and gave myself a deadline, I'd have to write it, right?

My novel is not terribly pretty right now. It's like a diamond when it comes out of the mine- dirty, a little yellowed, and needs to be cut. But then the master jeweler starts cleaving, polishing,and cutting... and before you know it, it's sitting in the window at Tiffany's as a flawless piece of art. I have a lot of chipping, polishing, and cutting to do. I have to beef up wimpy sections,rework awkward transitions, and break up lengthy dialogue passages. But I have a diamond in the rough. I have the raw material to shape now. I'm no longer sitting there with the map and shovel planning my dig. And you know what? A lot of it is pretty darn good! :-)

What did I learn along the way?

- 50,000 is a lot of words. Supposedly 50,000 words is a 175 page book. Think Catcher in the Rye sized.

- The first sentence is the hardest (I knew that, but this cemented it).

-The last sentence is the easiest.

- The first 10K words go by really quickly. The last 10K feel like eons.

-17K to 18K, 27K to 28K, 37K to 38K, 47K to 48K were the hardest sections for me to write. Every time. Don't know why that particular set, but so it goes.

- There are a thousand things a day that will keep you from your novel. Don't let them.

- You can consume too much coffee, tea, apple cider, coke, vitamin water, root beer, etc., etc.

- Novel writing requires crunchy and salty things (and lots of them), as well as creamy and sweet things. You must have all on hand because you never know which craving will strike.

- Having a writing cap helps tremendously. It keeps all the ideas contained so they don't fly away.

- Cats do not like it when you spend too long typing on the computer. Just saying.

- Electronica music is surprisingly good for writing.

- Something I knew already, but need reminding of constantly : Anything you dream of doing, you can do. You just have to take the first step and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Even if this novel never were to be published, I am a novelist. No one can take that away from me. I think that's pretty cool. It will be cooler when I can say "published novelist" though! :-)

So now, I’m embarking on NaNo number 2 with book number 2. I’m revisiting all my lovely characters and throwing a few new ones in along the way. This year, though, I don’t think I need the writing cap. Instead, I’ve got a sparkly writing ring that a friend gave me in honor of my angel book. :-) And yes, I'm a NaNo Rebel this year because working on a sequel is breaking the rules. At least I'm a rebel WITH a cause! lol

I’m stocked up on drinks and snacks, have told everyone I’m on a Twitter and Facebook fast for the first week, and figured out a way for Cat 2 to snooze in my lap while I still type on the laptop. Now to put on my writing ring and get to work!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Absent, But In a Good Way

Yes, I have been horribly remiss in updating my fledging blog. I know that I need to post regularly if I'm going to get more followers, build my writing platform, etc. But, you see, there's this book I'm writing...

The book has been taking up my time lately... okay, life stuff has too, especially as the Fibro/CFS has been acting up, but I digress. I've been going through final revisions and edits before sending off the finished product to my critique peeps. Once that's done (first half minimum out tomorrow, rest to follow 2-3 days later), I will be revising my query letter and will send agent queries out mid-November. I'm also getting ready to start National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) again to work on Book 2 of my series.

Because of all this going on, I took a self-imposed exile from Facebook for several days. I stayed on Twitter because I have support from other writers, especially through #amwriting, #wordathon, and other hashtags. Being off of Facebook for a few days freed up some time to write (no more Bejeweled! no more watching funny You Tube vids posted by my friends!). One thing I've learned from dealing with Fibro/CFS is that I have to pace myself and manage my time well, and I hadn't been doing so hot with that the last few months.

In the spirit of putting my biggest priorities first, I have decided to join my Twitter buddy Nova Ren and many others in a Twitter and Facebook break from November 1 through November 7. A lot of the time when I'm not working goes to resting and doing things I need to do to manage my health, and that amount of time has increased over the last few months since I've had a lot of flare-ups. So, with the free time I have left, I have to put my writing first. NaNoWriMo is great for doing that, but I also can't afford to get behind on it. Twitter and Facebook are huge time sucks for me, so I'm admitting my addiction and facing the problem head on. :-)

If you want to read more about the break, I've posted the link to Nova's blog here: http://novaren.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/twitter-break-november-1-7-2009/#comment-43750 If you want to check out my NaNoWriMo page, I've posted that link here: www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/433001 I'll be checking email (jesscapelle at aol dot com) and NaNo mail during the week, as well as direct messages that come through to my email from the two social networking sites that shall not be named!

I'll also be blogging here during November about NaNo if you want to check in from time to time. Would love to have you stop by! :-)


Monday, October 12, 2009

My Little Banned Books Protest

I know we already had Banned Books Week, but I'm a little behind the eight ball since I've been busy and not feeling great. A couple days ago, I saw a post about the American Library Association's list of the most banned books from 1990-2000. The list is here: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/1990_2000.cfm

I was quite surprised by some of the books on the list, like Where's Waldo?, To Kill a Mockingbird, and How to Eat Fried Worms. Others, I was not so shocked to see because of their subject matter, like Madonna's Sex, Curses Hexes and Spells, and The Anarchist's Cookbook. I have read quite a number of these books but was surprised by how many I had not. So, I decided to read them... all of them... as my personal protest to people trying to tell us what we cannot read. No, I don't think kids should have access to be able to read some of the adult books on the list, but I don't think books should be banned from libraries because someone deems them controversional or against their own morals and beliefs.

So, over the next year, I am going to read these books under the following guidelines:
1) If a series is mentioned, I will read at least one of the books.
2) I will re-read books that I have already read.
3) I will not read the following books, only because they don't apply to me now or never did: The New Joy of Gay Sex, What's Happening to My Body: Book for Girls, Asking About Sex and Growing Up, Boys and Sex, What's Happening to My Body: Book for Boys, Girls and Sex.
4) I will keep a list of the books on this blog and will update it as I cross them off. I will report on these books and their appropriateness from time to time.

Anyone who cares to join me in reading the books on this list is welcome to. Now I just have to pick which one to start with! :-)

P.S. Why are the books "What's Happening to My Body" banned so frequently?! Maybe if kids had more information on what was going on with their bodies they wouldn't "experiment" on each other at the age of 10!

Update- have decided to start with A Wrinkle in Time. Have no idea what happened to my original copy but saw it at Half Price Books a few weeks ago and picked it up. I figure it's a good start!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What are YOU reading?

What is "What are YOU reading?" all about? When people find out that I’ve written a book, one of the first questions I get is about what I’m reading. So, from time to time I’ll post a list of what I’m reading and what I’ve got in the pile that’s lined up next. Some are new, some old. A lot are YA or MG books. I read what I like, and my tastes vary wildly. I also read multiple books at the same time. :-) People are always lending or giving me books, I pick a lot up in the bargain bins at various bookstores, I buy some that I know I’ll want to keep at full price, and I get the rest from the library. I’ve even got readers on my iPhone and audiobooks, but nothing beats flipping the pages…

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: He's one of my fave authors, so of course I'm reading this, just can't believe it took me so long to get to it! :-) It's beautifully written (duh!) and I love the mood the illustrations make.

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis: Won a signed copy on the Bees' Blog http://yawriters.blogspot.com/ and just started it. Why was I so excited to read? 1) Debut book and 2) werewolves. Cool.

Story by Robert McKee: The guru of screenwriting has a lot to say about how to write, and I've been told by everyone who's anyone to read it. It's helping me tremendously so far.

Planet India by Mira Kamdar: (carried over from last month)

The Host by Stephenie Meyer: (carried over from last month and will probably carry over into next year)

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: (carried over from last month)

Just Finished:

Gone by Michael Grant: I am obsessed with this book. It's like Lord of the Flies meets X-Men as everyone 15 and over disappears and Perdido Beach is cut off from the rest of the world. And then kids start developing powers. It's awesome. Go buy it now. As soon as I can allow myself to buy another book (I'm on a book buying freeze for a bit till the pile gets lower) I'm getting the next in the series, Hunger, and will probably finish it in one sitting. SO GOOD! Are you at the bookstore buying it yet?!

Some of the books coming up next:

My Life in France by Julia Child: Gift from a friend since I'm a definite Francophile and love to cook.

Geektastic- Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci: anthology of short stories about geekiness by a great group of YA authors.

The Shack by William P. Young: It's been in the pile for quite some time because I've been told I will bawl like a baby.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe: She had me at Salem Witch Trials.


Not sure how much actual reading I'll get done this month. I'm prepping the WIP so I can send queries to agents later this month, and then it's time to prep for NaNoWriMo. Here's my NaNo page if you're doing it this year- I need some buddies!! http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/433001

And now, off to write...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why can't writers follow the rules?

So I'm finishing edits on my first full manuscript (eek!) and therefore working on my query letter and synopsis. Accordingly, I am soaking up the information on agent blogs like a sponge. There's some darn good information on agent blogs, including some truly important items... rules for submission. However it appears that many writers have some kind of visual blockage that doesn't allow them to see those rules. Hmmm- writers can read just fine until it comes to following rules for sending in their writing. Maybe the AMA needs to coin a new disease name for it: "Writer-itis"

I see so many blogs by agents reminding everyone what NOT to send. On every one of these blogs, I've looked at the rules for submission/submission guidelines. The rules always include the EXACT items they want submitted and the EXACT way they want them submitted. One wants just a query letter, another wants the query plus the first 10 pages. One doesn't accept fantasy, another doesn't accept picture books. Everything is clearly spelled out on the submissions page.

So why do the agents have to keep reminding us what NOT to do?! Why can't writers follow the rules? Every time someone sends in things outside the guidelines, it makes things harder for the rest of us. I for one don't want my submission to be read the same day that an agent has to wade through 50 submissions for adult fantasty when he/she only represents YA and 45 queries with no sample pages. That would be enough to put me in a foul mood, and I'm not an agent. I personally want my agent to read lots of wonderfully compliant submissions, grab a bottle of Chianti and some good chocolate, and then sit down to read my submission in front of a nice fire.

Why would a writer want to do that anyway? Why would you spend all those hours of perfecting and polishing your "baby" and then send it out to someone who isn't going to look at it? And why would you submit something they specifically said not to send and risk them rejecting you on that alone?

Do yourself and the rest of us writers a favor- learn to read the guidelines and follow them. Oh, and one more thing- don't rely on old copies of Writer's Digest from the library. Look up the agent's website and see what they currently are looking for, how they want submissions, and for goodness sakes make sure their bio doesn't say they're closed for submissions!

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of unagented writers everywhere. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Thank you for your attention!

Oh, and agents... I've got a nice submission for you with only things you want in it that I'll be happy to send along when you're sitting in front of that fire.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

So I haven't posted since the 1st (boo, hiss on me), but this month has not quite gone as planned! :-)

Been hearing about lots of book sales, paperback releases, foreign releases, etc. SO happy for my fellow writers. Their success is all of our success, because it means publishers are buying books. Anything to get publishers buying more books is a good thing for writers, right?! So it disheartens me to see so much negativity all over the Internet with writers criticizing other writers who are selling a lot of books. I'm not talking constructive criticism here people- I'm talking downright attacking.

It definitely puts an ugly spin on things. Now, to be fair, not all writers bash others, and I am not talking about someone saying "I just don't like that book". We're all entitled to our opinion, but over the last couple of years I've seen a lot of "this person can't write at all" or "his/her writing just absolutely sucks". Obviously there is a market out there for everyone, from high literary concept to trashy beach reading. There's a time and place for all of it.

There are plenty of books that I have enjoyed despite poor writing. Those authors know how to tell a good story, even if the characters aren't developed that well, the grammar stinks, or the history is a little "off". In my mind, someone who can keep me interested in the story and focused on it instead of the errors and problems is a great storyteller. Not a great writer, maybe, but a great storyteller.

Compare it to movies... I love David Fincher's directing style, and I love Michael Bay's as well. They are two completely different directors in style and genre. Fincher is very dark, artistic, and symbolic in his directing. The setting is another character in his movies, and his genius continually amazes me. Michael Bay, on the other hand, directs movies that require an "in your face", blunt style. They're over the top and have lots going on at the same time, with things blowing up everywhere. He has signature camera shots that are just cool, and the colors are always vivid.

Would I say that Michael Bay deserves to win an Oscar? No- he doesn't do that type of film. What he does is give me an escape from the stress of the real world. His movies aren't the best written or acted, but I don't focus on that when I watch them. The effects, music, and visuals distract me from the flaws. His movies are candy for my brain.

When I watch a David Fincher film, I think and analyze and pay attention to the symbolism. He directs movies that are complex, nuanced, and layered in the storyline. His way of directing makes me appreciate the story and the acting even more. His movies are gourmet meals for my brain.

Gourmet meals and candy both have their place in life, and both are to be enjoyed and savored. Why should writing be any different? So embrace the "guilty pleasure" book, just like you do movies and t.v. shows. I find my mom's comment the other day pretty relevant here- "most people buying books don't care about how perfect the writing is, they just want to be entertained". I think it's time for us to lighten up on ourselves and each other and write things we enjoy. Hopefully others will get the chance to enjoy our writing too, even if we misuse commas sometimes. :-)

My favorite guilty pleasures at the moment:
T.V. Show- Gossip Girl
Book- Dan Brown- The Lost Symbol (just started it)
Movie- Any movie where things blow up or there are zombies

Got an opinion? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What are YOU reading?

When people find out that I’ve written a book, one of the first questions I get is about what I’m reading. So, from time to time I’ll post a list of what I’m reading and what I’ve got in the pile that’s lined up next. Some are new, some old. A lot are YA or MG books. I read what I like, and my tastes vary wildly. I also read multiple books at the same time. :-) People are always lending or giving me books, I pick a lot up in the bargain bins at various bookstores, I buy some that I know I’ll want to keep at full price, and I get the rest from the library. I’ve even got readers on my iPhone and audiobooks, but nothing beats flipping the pages…

Here’s what I’m currently reading:
  • Planet India by Mira Kamdar: I have a fascination with India and its culture. This is an interesting book about the rise of India as a global power. I just started it, but it’s very good so far.
  • Never Give Up by Joyce Meyer: I really enjoy Joyce’s books. They give me the kick in the butt that I need sometimes. This book is all about staying determined to follow your goals and dreams. She intertwines scriptural references and personal stories with profiles of great men and women in history that refused to give up despite overwhelming odds. Very inspiring.
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer: I’m still trying to get through The Host. I’m determined. I keep putting it down so it’s going very slowly. I hear that it gets better towards the middle. One day I’ll get there.
  • How I Write by Janet Evanovich: I’m reading this very slowly and soaking in all the great tips. Janet is a writer I admire very much. Her writing is fun and so descriptive. She always conveys a lightness to her world, even in dark scenes. I’m enjoying “picking her brain” in this book.
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: When people hear that my book is told from the POV of a dead girl, they always tell me to read this book. So I finally am.

Just Finished:
  • I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter: I learned about this book several months ago on an agent blog. I thought it was a great cover and neat concept. The story is about a school for girls that is actually a school for spies. It’s a fantastic book, and I wish I had written it! I’m going to scoop up the next book in the series as soon as possible.
Some of the books coming up next:
  • The Good Guy by Dean Koontz: Love the suspense and mystery in Dean’s books. They’re a fun roller coaster ride. I’ve read most of his work, but this is one book I missed. My mom gave it to me for Christmas so it needs to be read!
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton: Really liked the movie with Gillian Anderson so I scooped this up when I saw it in a bargain bin a few months ago.
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke: The Thief Lord is one of my all-time favorite YA books, so of course I was curious about Inkheart. Just hadn’t gotten around to it yet!
  • Oh.My.Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs: Part of a series about a normal girl who travels to an island where the kids are all descendants of Greek gods. Too cool.
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund: How can you not want to read a story about killer unicorns?!

    So, there you go. I’m never without a book or twenty to read ! I’d love to hear what other people are reading or want to read so comment or send me a message.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chapter One- all about ME

So, here I am, putting all the mess that is in my head into cyberspace. I almost called the blog Jessica's Mess, but thought that was putting out the wrong energy into the world.

So why am I here and why should you care?

Why I'm here is pretty simple actually. I've writen my first book, and I want to document the triumphs and frustrations of getting published and trying to transition to making a living as a writer. My focus is on writing fun novels for mid-grade (MG) and young adult (YA) readers. My first series is for YA and it's action-packed with angels, demons, and a little romance thrown in. The next series in my brain is MG and is a mystery/thriller story. I'm also working on a children's book with a friend of mine that will be for probably 2nd-5th grade. I haven't left the adults out though: my first series is smart enough to be adult-friendly, and I'm working on a horror story for my writing group anthology that will scare your pants off!

You should care, because I'll be on the bestseller list before too long and you can say you knew me when! Kidding, kidding. Maybe you shouldn't care, but I appreciate the support, for sure. :-)

Since you asked , here's more about me: By day I practice law and tutor high school students. I'd love to hang up my law license soon and just teach and write. It's coming along slowly, but I'll get there eventually. I'm a native Texan, and make my home in Houston with the two best cats in the whole world, Dolcebello ("Bello") and Zucca. Both are learning Italian in anticipation of moving to Lake Como and getting George Clooney to come visit.

This blog will of course talk about books and writing in general and my progress in the publication machine, but I'll also ramble on about legal news, music, movies, and other assorted things. If you ever have something you want me to post for you and publicize, pass it on. You can email, Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter me (hey- watch yourself buddy).

Grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage, curl up in a comfy chair in front of the fire, and stay a while. More to come...