Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stone Angel Review

Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence was another of the re-reads on my list of books to read. When I read it in high school, Stone Angel was my independent study novel. I chose it by default - my sister already had a copy. I read through it in a day (yes, I did the same the first time I read Who Has Seen the Wind as well - I admit I was a bit of a procrastinator!)  and gave my presentation the next day. That I earned an A was amazing, that my class voted my presentation as the best in class was even better!

Stone Angel is the story of Hagar Shipley an elderly yet stubborn and acrimonious woman. The novel gives insight into the early days of Hagar's life as seen through her eyes in her last days. Laurence manages to give the reader a perfect anti-hero. Hagar is in no way a sympathetic character. She's prejudiced and unfriendly to everyone, starting as a child. But by the end of the book, you feel sorry for her, because as much as she and the reader realize that she's lost so much because of her actions and words, it's too late and she knows it. Even in her dying days she can't find a way to tell those around her, those who care for her the most that she loves them.

The book starts out slow and I wondered where the plot was going, but about halfway through I figured out that this was not a story but a character study. Everything we see is through Hagar and until our eyes open and see like her we can't understand what the Laurence wants us to.

I'm not giving Stone Angel a rating, since I this time around i read it as a writer, and for that purpose Laurence succeeded. Character's hold a book together. They don't always have to be likable, or be saved in the end, or even changed in a way other's can see. they only have to change in a way the reader can understand.

As for the presentation I did I dressed as Hagar and gave her review of the book. Letting her character speak for herself.

On my  iPod:

Little Sparrow by David Cook

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Lucky Agent Contest!

Guide to Literary Agents is have another "Dear Lucky Agent Contest" through their blog. And this month it's YA!!!

I'm definitely going to enter this time. Each time they have a contest I consider entering, but so far I keep missing the ones for YA and the others haven't really screamed at me to enter. Mainly because they've been for categories where I didn't think any of my work fits neatly. So, wish me luck and it you're interested in checking out the details for yourself either click on the link in my blogroll or just click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's been 1 year!

Wow! It's been one year since I started my blog, well, okay one year and one day. I can distinctly remember a time when I was anti-blog. I refused to blog and apart from my sister's short-lived Polar Penny blog I never read them. I just didn't see the point. When I started blogging last year, I was driven to it by the shere number of other writers in tNBW and Absolute Water Cooler that had blogs. Suddenly, blogging seemed like a good idea. An easy way to get some web exposure for myself and promote my writing.

When I started the blog, I wasn't sure exactly what I was going for. And even now I think my blogs are pretty much me rambling about writing and how it relates to my life. Sometimes when I read others' blogs I realize how inadequate my own is. I wish I had the time and patience and inspiration to write long blogs about how to improve one's ability to write, but since I'm still learning I don't really see myself as qualified to dish out writing tips. I also don't have time to do in-depth book reviews that detail how writers and readers can learn from an amazing (or crappy) book.

but I'm okay with that. My blog is what it is - a growing document, chronicling my journey to becoming a published author. One day, I'll be able to post advice on finding an agent, on signing a book deal, on marketing a book. One day, this blog will be about my journey to becoming a NY Times best selling author.

Make me Wanna Die by Pretty Reckless

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reading YA

I write YA. I love reviewing YA on tNBW. I work with YAs. But for some reason I don't read YA, well at least the ones that are selling.

3 years ago, writing YA was probably the furthest thing from my mind. I hadn't picked up a YA book since Sweet Valley High was the big seller. Then the movie Twilight came out and I'm a sucker of cheesy teen romance movies. I dragged my husband and infant daughter to see it. And I loved it. The fact that it came from a book was even better, because to me reading was and still is one of my favorite things to do.

The next day, I picked up Twilight and was done before the end of the day. By the end of the week I had read all four books. And yes, I admit it. I loved the books. Not because they were amazingly well written, and not because Edward and Jacob were so beautiful and perfect. I loved them because they were an easy read, yet managed to give that feeling of being a teenager again.

About two weeks after I finished the series, I started writing. Stephenie Meyer made it look so easy.

It wasn't. I wrote and then scrapped the first 30,000 words I wrote, starting over again. When I joined tNBW, I thought I had some great piece of writing - Uh, NOT! Since then I've grown so much in my writing from all the feedback I've had. Just as significantly, I've seen better YA then Twilight. I'm not going to rag on the issues I now see with Twilight, because it doesn't matter - teens/people read it, she's a millionaire. The point is that on tNBW I've managed to read a number of YA books - fantasy, paranormal, romance, realistic - that I never would have read before. Yet, I know I need to read more. I can usually tear through a book in a couple of days, why not use it t broaden my knowledge of what I'm writing.

So, if you have a favorite YA book/series or you've written one, pimp it out here and I'll add it to my list to read.

Monday, October 11, 2010


For those of you who really know me, you know that I'm not a planner. I love he idea of it and occasionally I get a burst of energy  and think - Wow! How cool would it be to have my plans done for once. I do them and it's great until I have to do it again. That's where I fall apart.

Well, this past week I was struck by the planning bug twice! Yes, TWICE! First I decided to get ready for NaNoWriMo. Last year I just wrote and I ended up with Songbird, so glad I did it and I am very proud of what I accomplished with it. For me I feel Songbird is a much strong, and yes, better story than Evolution of Janie. I'm just not working on it because I know the rejections will hurt more. But it was hard to stay focused last year, because I never knew what I was going to write until I sat down each day and started typing.

For this year, I'm going to work on an idea I have called The Pass this is the one I posted the poll on a couple weeks ago. I currently have the opening scenes written, but I'm not going to touch it again until November 1st. The exciting part is that I have the first few chapters planned. Not sure after that, but it's more than I had last year!

The other great thing is that I lost my headphones. What does that have to do with planning? Well, I get really bored on the elliptical at the gym if I don't have music or the tele to watch, so instead I decided to take my notebook. I spent 20 minutes planning out the rest of Liar. It's still pretty vague but I know where it's going and some general chapter points.

I'm not expecting this planning phase to last too much longer, but for now I'm really enjoying knowing what I'm going to write about. :)

On my iPod

Billionaire by Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars

Monday, October 4, 2010


I keep getting ideas for blog posts. When I'm at work, in the car, laying in bed at night they just seem to come naturally.

Great, right?


The second I actually sit down at the computer to write one up, they're gone! I completely forget what I was going to write about and then when I finally remember I can't do it in a way that brings to mind the way I wanted to say it. I was thinking about Wales today and now I don't know what it was that I felt was so important to me, or funny. ARGH!!

Goal for the week - get a blog journal to write this crap down!!

On a positive note, I'm getting some actual writing done on Liar and sometime this month I've decided to start another revision of Evolution, focusing on pacing and cleaning up a few details.

On my iPod:

Haven't Got a Care by The Barra McNeils 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the Beginning...

I'm not sure what actually triggered my thoughts today but I was suddenly overwhelmed by the memory of how I felt when I first started writing The Evolution of Janie. It was a heady feeling, my chest tightened and a surge of excitement filled me. I can clearly remember sitting in the Barnes and noble bookstore in The Woodlands, flipping through pages of a Montana tour guide, hoping to find the perfect location for my story.

It was a feeling that I want to recapture. That rush of starting something completely new, that was going to change my life in a way that I never anticipated. Before starting Evolution I'd never seriously considered writing a novel. But once I started I found that the thrill of creating something of my own, where I could direct the characters to be what I wanted and to do what I wanted them to do, was better than reading what another had put down on paper.

I suppose now my goal is to find that feeling again and keep it going. So many times I sit at the computer and try to figure out what I'm doing. I've been too focused on trying to get an agent and get published that I've lost my love of creating. Since putting my querying on the back burner I've been feeling freer, but I know that to really get back to where I started I'm going to have to find a way to write for me first and my audience second.

There's always going to be a part of me that desires to get published, and when I had a full request on Evolution earlier this week, I did get a tingle in my stomach. But that needs to be second to the actual writing.

On my iPod:

Adam's Song by Blink 182