Library Speaker – Marissa Meyer

I’m excited to say that at 7:30pm on 4/30/14 Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles, is coming to Wenatchee, WA to speak at my local library!

Meyer is from Tacoma, WA and lives with her husband and 3 cats. Her first novel, Cinder, debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. Her subsequent novels, Scarlet and Cress, have done the same.

The Lunar Chronicles is set to be a Young Adult quartet with the 4th book, Winter, coming out sometime in 2015.

Meyer has taken fairy tales and warped them in a wonderfully original way. The descriptions may sound weird and a bit on the dumb side but if you enjoy fairy tales and young adult books, then I believe I can say in all safety that you’ll enjoy these books. The chapters are on the short side and the writing is simple yet descriptive and strong – all of this makes for a fast read.

Meyer has a knack for writing. The way she builds the world of her stories, her pacing, her descriptions – I wouldn’t ask for more. In fact, I was worried that I was reading Scarlet too slowly and wouldn’t be able to finish in time (started it late) for Meyer’s visit but the pacing was smooth and kept me reading till I hit the serious action toward the end.

I didn’t even realize I was nearing the end when I was bombarded with action. It wasn’t a bad bombardment. It was the kind that kept me glued to the book despite the ever-increasing lateness of the hour and my husband asking me at regular intervals if I was going to bed soon. My answer was always, “I have 2 pages left of this chapter.”

Inevitably when I reached the chapter’s end I would keep reading because the ending drew me onward. It was irresistible.

Finally I found the willpower to drag myself away and go to bed but I didn’t want to. And actually when I stopped the first time my husband had gotten glued to the first Lord of the Rings movie so I pounced on the book to devour more before bedtime. I would’ve kept reading but I had to wake up early this morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACinder – Set in a futuristic world some years after World War 4, Earth has advanced in a humungous way with technology. Androids abound, cyborgs are second-class citizens, people have ID chips embedded in their wrist, a plague is wiping people out, and the moon has been colonized. The moon colony, however, has evolved into something not quite human and are now called Lunars.

The evil Lunar queen, Queen Levana, is the villain throughout all books. Don’t remember her in Cinderella? That’s because she wasn’t there! Queen Levana is the evil queen from Snow White.

Imagine the story of Cinderella and you have this book’s basic plot. But now we’ll add in the fact that Cinder lives in the Eastern Commonwealth (China), is a gifted mechanic, a cyborg, and has a mysterious past. That’s all I can say without giving away spoilers.

Bonus features included in this book are a short story about Cinder, Q&A with Marissa Meyer, a reader’s guide, and a sneak peak of Scarlet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAScarlet – Same world, continued. Now we’re dealing with Little Red Riding Hood…except Scarlet is a farmer and lives with her grandmother in France. Until her grandmother is kidnapped that is and Scarlet, along with a street fighter who goes by the name of Wolf, has to fight to survive while she searches for her. This book flits in regular intervals between Cinder and Scarlet’s stories until they collide at the end.

Prince Kai retains some time in the sun but not nearly as much as our heroines as the story doesn’t evolve around him. His POV helps us keep tabs on Queen Levana among other things.

Bonus features included in this book are a short story about Wolf, a reader’s guide, Q&A with Marissa Meyer, and a sneak peak of Cress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACress – We’ve entered into Rapunzel’s story here but, like with the previous two fairy tales, there is a huge twist. Cress has been imprisoned on a satellite since childhood and has had only netscreens (computers and such) to keep her company in all that time. What does that make her? Why the world’s best hacker of course! Well, Lunar’s best hacker actually.

Though Cress is supposed to be working for Queen Levana, she prefers not to. Cinder and Scarlet (along with their male companions, Captain Thorne and Wolf) team up with Cress and try to rescue her. I have not read the book yet so cannot give more information than that.

Winter – Scheduled to come out sometime in 2015. Snow White is finally going to make an appearance as Winter, the step daughter of Queen Levana! Before Snow White can have a happy ending, her evil step mother must be disposed of. It’ll take the combined efforts of all 4 heroines along with their guys to conquer Queen Levana and her army.

Do you enjoy fairy tales? What ones do you like?

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Getting Organized and My Editing Progress

I’m finally getting organized and apparently not a moment too soon. I wrote up a list of things I needed to do today because I had so many I was sure I’d forget the most important ones.

One item on my list was to get a planner. I intended to use it as an easy way to keep track of what days I write and how much etc. I’ve been doing that on notecards, true, but this appealed to my sense of organization and I hadn’t spent any of my allowance so I figured what the hey.

(On a side note, Office Debot had the most boring planners. I swear. If they weren’t “Academic Planners” which go from July-June instead of Jan-Dec, they were boring and ugly. Luckily I found some cool artsy tape to spruce it up and make it mine. I may have to get some later.)

Thank goodness I got it because I also went to my son’s future Kindergarten to register him for the Fall. There’s an orientation I have to go to and a screening. I started thinking about what else I need to remember.

  • Providing snacks to our next United Marriage class
  • Speaker at the library
  • 5k race
  • Write on the River Conference
  • Memoir Writing Workshop
  • Husband’s Seattle Conference
  • Visiting parents
  • Renaissance Faire

I wonder if I’ve forgotten anything…?

On another note, I can now easily see how productive I’ve been with my writing lately.

  • 4/10 – 5pgs 54min – CH 4 DONE
  • 4/15 – 1pg 37min
  • 4/16 – 2pgs 40min
  • 4/17 – 4pgs 1hr26min
  • 4/18 – 10pgs 1hr22min – CH 5 DONE
  • 4/21 – 7pgs 1hr10min
  • 4/22 – 13pgs 1hr8min – CH 6 DONE
  • 4/23 – 2pgs 55min

Wow! How am I getting so many pages done in so little time on one day and so few pages done on other days? Less to change the long days.

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Adverbs. They remain an issue with me. Commas too but I’m getting better with both.

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Which draft am I on now? I’ve lost count but hopefully it no longer stinks like poopy-caca.

How do you stay organized?

Ways to Brainstorm and Carrying Paper/Pen at all Times

Everyone has their own way of brainstorming. We all do it even if we don’t realize it. Anyone who’s considering different ideas or different possibilities for whatever reason is brainstorming. Some people enjoy this activity while others consider it a means to an end and do it for the simple fact that they must.

Let’s face it, sometimes brainstorming sucks. We sit there staring at the wall, a blank piece of paper, a blinking cursor – our minds empty. Or maybe ideas are coming but they’re total trash or they don’t interest us.

Maybe the problem that we’re trying to figure out is so difficult we can’t think of an appropriate solution.

Sometimes the solution to this problem is simple – change the way you’re brainstorming.

Now, some of the “techniques” listed below aren’t techniques – they’re questions to ask yourself. But I’m putting this up because all questions are useful when it comes to brainstorming.

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That being said, sometimes the best ideas come in a flash of insight when you’re not doing anything connected with writing. Write those ideas down. Don’t let them escape. You can always look at them later and brainstorm their details or how they can work on a larger or smaller scale.

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I don’t normally get ideas when I’m out and about away from paper or a computer but when I do it’s been frustrating to lose the feel of it later because I haven’t been able to write it down. I tend to daydream a lot and semi-cement ideas in my head but sometimes it’s not enough. Now I carry around a small notepad I got from a writing workshop I recently attended.

How do you like to brainstorm? Do you carry around something to record your ideas?

Rules for Writing Romance

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I love writing steamy scenes. Maybe even better are the non-steamy but horribly romantic scenes – scenes that make me giggle like a teenage girl with a crush. It’s as if I get to live vicariously through my characters.

Well, it’s not “as if” I get to live vicariously through them, I actually do.

Writing romance scenes allows my romantic side to rule the roost for awhile without my practical side butting in and being cynical or reminding me of reason.

But can we write whatever we want when it comes to romance?

Sure. Just don’t expect it to be any good or sell.

Not like I know what sells or what’s appropriate to write when it comes to romance. I may have romantic scenes, but my writing (as of this point) can’t be catagorized as Romance. But there are others out there who I’m sure know what they’re talking about.

Here are 5 things I agree with Jody Hedlund about:

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This goes against a pin I saw on Pinterest recently…

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I agree with putting obstacles in lovers’ paths, but I hate it when a romance makes the heroine’s life miserable. My heart breaks for her, for both of them really, and when the “happy” ending comes it almost doesn’t seem worth it or good enough.

Granted, in a movie, you need misery and major conflict. Maybe even a sadish ending. But a romance book?

Romances are fluff. Pure and simple. Storyline-wise they can be entertaining fluff but they’re fluff all the same.

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Check out Nora Roberts for some of the best romances out there (in my opinion anyway). She’s written oodles of books. Remember, though, that there are only so many ways to tell a story. After that, nothing’s original…even if Nora Roberts wrote it.

51ahc8dEMpL__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Some of her books (one in particular – Born In Fire) seem to have sex scenes for the sake of having sex scenes. I commented about it to my mom while I raved about the book (it was really good despite the thrown-in sex – awesome descriptions of art and glass-blowing) and she said that romance publishers most likely have a prerequisite for how much sex is in any book they publish.

For example:

  • Put in too much sex or make it too erotic and you may have Erotica
  • Too little sex and perhaps you no longer have a romance at all in any kind of romance subgenre

That brings me to the question of: what are the subgenres of romance writing?

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Holy cow! If I ever needed a reason to write romance other than for the sake of letting out my inner romantic, all I need to do is look at the estimated revenue from romance fiction in 2011! $1.368 BILLION!!

Sign me up! Woo!

I love Leigh Michaels above quote about romance books assuring the reader that happy endings are possible.

…No matter how bleak things sometimes look, in the end everything will turn out right and true love will triumph…

That makes me sigh. I literally sighed with dreamy happiness after typing that quote.

And now to get on with my own writing. The scene I’m currently writing is the next best thing to romance – Horror!

And I sighed again out of pure happiness!

What’s your favorite genre to write? Or, if not genre, what’s your favorite kind of scene to write?

Disordered Schedule and (Un)Hopeless Romantic

Spring break threw me into complete disorder with all my daily activities. I didn’t get my normal exercise in; I didn’t get my writing in. I did get sleep and then had the craziest dreams. In one dream my sister and I pooped on the floor and then she ate it all!

I told my husband about the dream and he said, in South Korea, poop dreams are considered good. But my sister eating the poop? He had no idea what that meant.

A couple days later one of the gift cards I received from Victoria’s Secret turned out to be worth a ton of money. I couldn’t exchange it for cash so I went on a gigantic spending spree. My husband hoped that I’d have more dreams of my sister eating poop.

One would think that I’d buy tons of sexy lingerie or alluring perfume or makeup with that gift card. Did I? Alas, I’m too practical. I bought functional items.

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The least functional was the swimsuit but, sadly, it wasn’t a skimpy bikini. I’d blind people if I wore one of those tiny things. It was a tankini.

Speaking of being unromantic, I added green food coloring about a week ago to the last of the carnations I got for my birthday last month. I wanted to see how long it would take them to start turning green. So much for keeping flowers for the romance of flowers. No, I have to play with them and see if I can change their color.

My romantic side is confined to books, songs, and movies. When confronted with romance in real life, I find myself laughing or cynically wondering what the guy’s ulterior motive is. Well, not anymore because I’m married and my husband isn’t romantic but I still have memories.

But writing romance? Ah! I love writing out love scenes! Anything steamy or girlishly exciting. A dizzying first kiss, a smoldering gaze… I lose myself in my writing when I plunge into those scenes.

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I have plans to try my hand at a romance novel in the future but not for a while.

Oo! Here’s a heads-up for my next post – romance writing.

What do you enjoy writing most?

Writer’s Workshop at My Local Library

Yay! I get to stress and prepare for a writing event at my local library this Saturday!  I’m happy to give a few pages from my novel to Donna Lee Anderson so she can perhaps rip it apart? Huh. Go figure.

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Nah, I’m actually really excited about this. She’s a published author and columnist among other things.

Here’s her blog: Well Told Tales. She’s also been featured on the Independent Northwest Authors website.

For those out there who live in the Wenatchee, WA area the event is free and requires pre-registration. You can call the library at 509-662-5021.

WRITERS! HOW-TO  Saturday, April 12 from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Need to know how to get started? Local author Donna Lee Anderson can help you put your ideas on paper. From children’s fiction to adult non-fiction…let’s get started. Bring a notebook and two to three pages of a story you’re working on. Event for teens and adults. Pre-registration required. Call 662-5021.

Gone to any writing workshops lately? How was it?

“Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier

cfb31ee55d96720d7efb3ea9b142bdb8“Nature had come into her own again and, little by little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers.”

Holy cow! Do people still write like that? If they do, their writing has not come in my way.

“The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end.  They crowded, dark and uncontrolled, to the borders of the drive.  The beeches with white, naked limbs leant close to one another, their branches intermingled in a strange embrace, making a vault above my head like the archway of a church.  And there were other trees as well, trees that I did not recognize, squat oaks and tortured elms that straggled cheek by jowl with the beeches, and had thrust themselves out of the quiet earth, along with monster shrubs and plants, none of which I remembered.”

I’m convinced I’ve never read anything so eerily beautiful on the first page of a book. I think no one would imagine this to be a happy, safe place even without the word “menace” in there.

Sometimes I wonder if writing like this has become a lost art form.

With a beginning like that, it’s pointless to say I’m looking forward to reading this book. It’s also an understatement.

In case you were wondering, the book is entitled “Rebecca” and was written by Daphne Du Maurier.

“The unsurpassed modern masterpiece of romantic suspense.”  I don’t know if it’s unsurpassed or anything but I’m eager to give it a try.

What kind of writing grabs you attention and sends you reeling? Read any good books lately?