Oct 29, 2014

Cozy

So, I found this link up over at Chronicles of Chaos called Write or Die Wednesday geared for (you guessed it) writers with writing prompt and all.  Umm…okay I guess it sounds fine or whatever.

Write or Die Wednesdays


Yeah, I'm so in.

So, today's prompt is the word: Cozy.

This seems like the perfect time for me to share with you one of the very greatest things about living in Germany.


So, I'm not a zealous lover of winter.  The snow is lovely and sledding can be fun, but given the option, I'd probably pass on freezing temps, heavy boats and having to shovel anything off my driveway.
But there is one part of winter that I look forward to all year living here in Germany.

Christmas Markets

These country-wide, wildly popular events are magical in a way that I almost cannot describe.  It's the only time that I stop caring that I am freezing, bundled from head to toe in knitted yarn and wool everything.  Whether I'm there to shop for handmade ornaments, gifts for the kids or just to laugh with friends, there is no better place to capture that cozy Christmas feeling.
Every city celebrates, each tiny village and city square adorned with unique Christmas trees and decorations.  The local church coordinates music and performances, and for a moment we forget the work and stress of the holiday season to just cuddle up together in small spaces and get subtly drunk on warm wine and hot food with our neighbors.
No Weihnachtmarkt would be complete without the help of a piping hot mug of gl├╝hwein (mulled wine) held tight between my gloves, gently warming my fingers as I clutch it to my chest.  I slowly meander through crowded aisles and booths selling Christmas treasures and local crafts.  The aroma of roasting chestnuts and grilled brats fill the air.  And every time the cold seeps into my bones, I take a big hot sip from my mug and feel the cider warm me from the inside out.


Oh, Christmas markets.  Please catch on in the states.


This feeling.

As a writer (and this may apply to any creative career) they're come a series of moments, I've found.
The moment you decide to stop screwing around and just do it already.
The moment you realize it's harder than you thought it would be.
The moment you think you suck so bad at this and why (WHY) are you doing this?
The moment you think you are the single most talented creature who ever touched a keyboard in the world.
Then, the moment you complete your first manuscript.

I expect there are many greater moments to come, (getting published, per say) but I'm wholly convinced that nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something only you could do.  Whether or not you get published or sign an agent or reach the NYT Bestseller status all depend on the actions of others in some way.  Finishing that first novel depends on you and you alone.

Yesterday, I walked on clouds for every blinking minute after 4:00pm because I had finally, for the first time in my life, declared my novel done and believed it.

So, after a full twenty-four hours of doing the "it's done" happy dance, as well as re-read (x10) some overwhelmingly wonderful reviews from beta readers, I'm ready to buckle down and pony up to the query letters.

Okay, maybe I'll soak in my euphoria for just one more minute.  I don't want to let this feeling go.


Oct 26, 2014

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo again.

It's that time of year again!  National Novel Writing Month.  I'm so excited this year and for good reason.

1. I have a stellar local writing group.  Last November, a local writer contacted me wanting to put together a group.  We are in a strange situation here because our "region" on the NaNoWriMo site is Germany.  All well and good except those meeting and forum threads are in, you guessed it, German.  I asked the NaNo admins to give us "Military Writers Abroad" our own region, but they declined.
So, in January, we created our own little writing group and there are four of us that meet once a month and talk about writing, publishing, editing, proofreading, blogging and much much more.  I've never known other writers or met with people to talk about writing at all.  In fact, before last year, I've never owned up to being a writer at all, so this is really so, so great to meet with writers and chat the way we do.  They are so good for my soul.  Words can't describe.  In fact, one of them is actually a published novelist, and ridiculously talented.  Check her out!


2. This will be my SECOND novel.  Yes, it's true, my first novel, Hereafter is complete.  Sort of.  It's complete, but as far as first novels go, I don't know if I'll ever feel it's really complete.  I'm 25% through my "final" round of revisions.  Know one really knows before writing that first novel how incredibly hard it is, or how complex it will be, or how frightening it is to let it go into the world.  My friend, the published one, has assured me that the first one takes the most time, years in her case.  And years in mine too really.  If you had told me in November of last year that I would still be revising Hereafter a year later, I would have frowned, aggressively.  I had dreams of having that thing revised and queried by April.  But writers learn the lessons the hard way.  I rushed it and was too excited.  Now, I'm taking my time.  I'm running it through revisions relentlessly before even sending it back out to Beta readers.  Patience, my friends.  When it does make it into your hands, I want it to be perfect.

3. I have a degree in this shiz.  I did it!  In April, I officially became a college graduate with a fancy diploma saying I have been trained in the ways of writing creatively.  In short, this doesn't mean much. Few other degrees mean less than a creative writing degree.  But I don't care.  I did it and I have the piece of paper to prove it.  I got a degree in the craft that means the very, very most to me.

So, that is why I'm excited about this November.  And I'm so ready.  More ready than I have ever been.   I have been Pinteresting, outlining, character sketching and getting so ready.

Now, the question you've all been waiting for.  What is the novel I'm going to write?

Well, there's a little Steampunk.  In a futuristic Prague.  With street performers.  Some magic, some love, some cute boys playing fiddles and hot ones doing magic.  Pretty girls dressed like angels and gypsies.  Creepy clock-makers and wicked, people-chasing gargoyles.

The working title is The Fiddler and the Angel, and it's the first book in the series: The Bohemia Chronicles.

I'm very excited about this project.  To read the official blurb, check out my NaNoWriMo profile here.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Tell me about your project and your username so we can be writing buddies!


Jul 8, 2014

The Writer Within (Looking for writers)

Hey there, fellow bloggers and writers!  I'm looking for a few good writers for my new blog series.

Why?
I'm currently in the process of curving my blog toward writers and aspiring authors.  I hope to include more posts on the writing process as well as getting published, finding an agent and all other areas of the industry.  
But mostly, I want to open up a discussion on the topic.  In an effort to include as many perspectives and stories as possible, I am starting a series on my blog entitled, The Writer Within.  The idea here is to share our stories as writers, authors and poets no matter how much you write or if you’ve published or not.  

There is a certain pressure placed on writers and it causes many of us to hesitate before proclaiming our scribe status.  Maybe you're a hobby-writer, or a career-driven writer.  Are you a secret writer keeping journals and stories hidden in the closet...or are you an outed public writer?  Do you blog about writing, and if not, here's your chance.  The idea here is to unveil the writer within.  No pressure.  No judgement.  Just writers supporting other writers.

It will be as simple as answering some interview-style questions and hopefully sharing some insight and/or experience.  


So if you're a writer, or an aspiring one, I'd love to have you!  If you’d like to answer a few of the questions and be showcased on The Tangerine, please let me know!  The beauty of it is that you will also have the chance to promote your work and yourself!

Won’t you join me?

Email me and include in the email:
Name
Email
Blog
A little about yourself, the writer.

I cannot wait to hear from you!



Jul 1, 2014

Book Review: Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Title: Adaptation
By: Malinda Lo
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal / Sci-Fi / Contemporary
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Source: Netgalley (Thanks!)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The story:
Reese is about to get on an airplane when the world goes nuts and birds start taking down planes all over the world.  Suddenly, it turns into a post-apocolyptic nightmare and Reese and David are on the run until they crash their car near Area 51.
From there, life returns to mostly normal...that is until Reese meets Amber.

My thoughts:
Adaptation had a great start!  For the first quarter of the book, I was hooked.  It was fast paced, mysterious, intriguing and a little bit scary.  Then, there was an entire change of pace.

This book is really broken into three parts: thriller, contemporary, paranormal.  The crazy, action packed first part.  The goose-bump inducing romantic and rule-breaking second part.  Then, the dystopian, strange and un-expected third part.

I liked each part independently.  I liked the action when there was action.  I liked the romance between Reese and Amber (yes, two girls).  I liked the tension between Reese and David.

I can't wait to see where this story is going and I want Amber back!

What I didn't like...

I spent most of the book not knowing what was going on.  What are we dealing with here?  Aliens?  Robots?  Super humans?  But honestly, I was so distracted by Amber and Reese that I didn't care about aliens or adaptations or whatever.  And I probably should have.

Malinda Lo is a great writer with a great story here.  I love, love, love that she fearlessly ventured into a girl/girl romance.  I connected with Reese and empathized with her struggle.  Lo proved that a female love connection can be just as hot as a male/female and that the female love interest can be just as swoon-worthy.  For every reader.

Fist-bump, Malinda.

Find it here:
Goodreads / Amazon / B&N