Thursday, July 29, 2010

In which I bore you to death.

This will likely be one of my last updates for the next week and a half... Like I mentioned a few posts back, I'm going on a road trip! I have bought a TUB of Twizzlers (the essential road-trip food) and am now in the process of cleaning my room, doing a LOT of laundry, finding the discs to all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, and not freaking out over the fact that this trip will likely kill me. If all goes well, all FIVE of us, (Me, my mom, a friend of mine, her mom and younger brother) will climb into our camry-sized car at 9:15 Saturday morning, and magically appear in Lancaster, PA, 9 hours and 15 minutes later. Like I said, scary.

Sunday will be a tour of Princeton,
Monday will cover Yale and Brown,
Tuesday, Wellesley and Harvard,
Wednesday, Dartmouth, Champlain and the Ben & Jerry's factory! :)
Thursday, Middlebury and Vassar,
Friday, The King's College.
Saturday, we're going to Georgetown, and tour the Pentagon.
Sunday, travel home.
This will total 2,350 miles, with 50 hours in the car.

In the mean time, I will be updating (as regularly as I can) our trip blog, found at
As to writing, I have 5,000 words of Alaska Junction to send to a certain pair of Irish Musketeers by tomorrow night, but that's about it. I hope you all have cell service, unlike me! Sorry I'm such a drag/spaz today- much to do, not much time! BUT, to make up for the boredom of this post, I invite you to check out this video I threw together... When Viral Videos Collide!


Monday, July 26, 2010

You ARE a writer.

I received a letter from a friend recently (a real letter, mind you- with a stamp and everything) which said something that completely threw me for a loop. Note that this is a good friend of mine- not close in that he knows all of my dirty laundry or anything, but a good enough friend to give advice, and in this case, admonition. He said something along the lines of:

You are not a professional authoress, and treating this [writing] hobby as such cannot be healthy.

At the core, the statement is not completely untrue. I’m still finishing the third draft of March, though not as full-steam-ahead as I suppose I could? To my credit, I really love writing and the creative outlet it provides me, which is why I’m working on Alaska Junction primarily right now. I need to create something, bring in new scenes, give a relationship and friendships different dynamics, add kissing and coffee and a whole new batch of fun exciting elements. Adding them to March would bring a devastating overload, and any hope I might have of acquiring an agent would be dashed like a ceramic mug, falling off of a counter, splattering French roast hope all over the floor.

His comment basically said that I should remind myself that this is a hobby, not a profession, that I should lighten up about writing and slow down. Up to this point, my own opinion can only be guessed at...

It made me mad.

I’m not a professional, I get that. Sometimes my writing behaviors are less than hobbyish, leaving me with minimal sleep and much caffeine. (Another concern of his, for my health, as I’m apparently writing, over-caffeinating and not sleeping myself to the grave. This is untrue.) I don’t see myself as a wannabe writer. I see myself as a writer working towards publication, which is what we all are, right? I don’t want to be published for the first time at the age of forty, after writing for 23 years. It’s not me. I never liked treading water in swimming lessons, and will not just hang out with a novel or two on my hard drive, waiting for something to happen. I know this sounds foolish and probably pretty naive, but if a manuscript of mine is consistently being rejected, then I need more work, more feedback, more critiques. I will work or my novels until they are usable, and valuable. My friend truly meant well, but my goals are not the same as his (he is a writer as well.) There is something special about emerging yourself into something you love, and watching it bloom. I could give up, I could settle for less structured (another fallacy on his part- there is much less writing and coffee, and way more sleep than he gives me credit for) and more freestyle-hobby work, but that won’t make me happy.

In the movie Julie and Julia, (one of my favorites- cannot watch it enough) Eric, Julie’s husband tells Julie that there are sixty-five messages on their answering machine, all from literary agents, television producers, editors, etc. (man I WISH that would happen, but that’s not my point...) she [Julie] remarks to Eric, “I’m going to be a writer!” and what he says is one of my favorite lines in the movie, of which there are many.

“You are a writer.”

Publication or not, we’re all writers. Full time or not, we all write, we all craft and it’s individual for each of us. A one-size approach does not fit all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Lovely Bones (Movie) an opinion...

I watched The Lovely Bones last night, and several people asked me for a review- or rather an opinion. Here we go!

The plot is relatively simple; Suzie Salmon narrates the story, detailing the events leading up to and the life of her family after her murder.
Yes, I realize this sounds REALLY freaky.
In some parts it is, but as a viewer, you never really see or relate to Suzie as a dead girl, or someone haunting her family- she's more of a trapped onlooker, forced to watch her family (and the boy she likes/liked) deal with their grief.
Yes, I realize this sounds more like a bad romcom or just a tragedy.
It's both.
The Lovely Bones is not for the faint of heart by any means... I would rate it PG13, borderline R.
It's not a traditionally scary movie, so nothing pops out and screams at you, but it IS really creepy, as you follow her killer who lives next door, and plots ways to trap and kill his next victim.
You see a couple of dead bodies, but none of them open their eyes or come alive or anything, and the soundtrack is not this constantly creepy undertone that keeps you on edge for three hours...
There is a definite flip flop, part CREEPY/FREAKY murder scene, part grieving family, part other world, which is rainbow colored and reminds me visually of what I pictured in the Gemma Doyle trilogy.
A big plus for me was the costumes- the story takes place in the 70's and early 80's, so everyone has awesome hair. If you're looking for a sweet movie, this in really not it. If you're looking for a horror film, you might be satisfied, but there aren't any jump-off-the-screen scare your pants off moments. I wouldnt' watch the film again, it's too much, and I'm sure that the book would be a bit intense for my tastes. But it wasn't completely horrible... I'm sure some of you might enjoy it. Hope that helps some of you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

List of threes

Last three books I’ve read:
1. If I Stay, by Gayle Foreman (listened to-still counts!) Five of Five
2. The Lonely Hearts Club, but Elizabeth Eulberg Four of Five
3. Under the Rose, by Diana Peterfreund Four of Five

Three announcements to make:
1. I’m thinking about trying BEDA (blog every day in August)but don't know if I'll be able to with the road trip and all.
2. Live posting will be less frequent until mid-August, as I’m freakishly busy. That is, unless I manage to schedule posts, which will probably make everything more frequent! Scary, huh?
3. A couple of authors and I are planning a livetweet movie night- more details to come!

Three Alaska Updates:
1. There is work being done, alas it is not much work.
2. Abby Stevens and Glenna Walsh are amazing, and not letting me stop, which I have considered.
3. There is a stack of guidebooks by my bed about the PNW; I figure that I can describe both what I know and remember, and what Arthur Frommer says.

Last three movies I watched:
1. Paper Heart (cute)
2. Fame (okay)
3. Whip It (fantastic)

Last three purchases:
1. Iced Latte
2. Baguette
3. Gummy Bears (I know, so sophisticated until number 3...)

Sorry for the delay!

Congrats to the 2nd half of my iBeta contest winner, K! Email me your manuscript, or whatever you’d like me to look over. I enjoyed the process of learning about each of your manuscripts, and wish I could read them all. (Maybe I could? Hmm...) ALSO, I am very excited to say that I WON Myrna Foster’s contest! I’m ridiculously grateful- you should all go send her e-hugs. Check back later today for more updates and... fun stuff, like real blog posts. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I want to win.

And will do anything necessary. What I want to win, is the contest on Myrna Foster's blog, giving away pre-orders of Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins (who I met in PERSON. She is AWESOME) AND Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White, who I (unfortunately) only know through Twitter stalking, but hear is pretty ahmaaazing. And get this: along with the books, she's giving away Nutella. Are you KIDDING ME? It's my dream contest! Check it out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So there's this freakishly awesome author named Hannah Moskowitz that I'm kiiiiinda obsessed with. I invited her over for an interview, and here it is! Enjoy! :)

Hello! Why don’t you tell us about you, who you are, your social security number, and favorite flavor of jam?
I'm a dirty girl with a platform. I have an older sister, two parents,
and either two or six cats, depending on which house you're talking
about. One of the houses also has a completely satanic puppy. I eat a
lot of cereal and ask a lot of questions.

My social security number is 12, and my favorite flavor of jam is grape.

I hear you have a novel coming out pretty soon. Tell me EVERYTHING.
So. Invincible Summer is about a boy named Chase and his relationships
with his family and the girl next door changing over four summers at
his beach house. Unlike BREAK, this one is actually darker than the
cover would have you believe. It's basically very gritty and
sexy--like having sex in the sand, really. There's also sign language,
a ton of philosophy, and one of the weirdest love triangles you'll
probably ever see. Probably because the only love is between the two
brothers on either end.

On an average day at 9AM you are....?
Fast asleep.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A singer. I really want to be a singer. I actually dreamed last night
that I sang MAMA WHO BORE ME for the cast of Work of Art and they were
very, very impressed.

How do you take your coffee?
In the trash. I hate coffee.

What is the worst advice you’ve ever received?

Give up.

Lima Beans or Brussels Sprouts?

I don't like either, so I'll make an executive decision and say that,
while Peru is cool, my best friend lived in Brussels for a while and I
like her very much. So Brussels Sprouts.

Do you have a writing method/routine?

I don't write all the time. When I do, it's in very quick, intense
bursts. I get down the first draft in about a week and edit intensely
for a few weeks after that. Then I'm done, and I get about a month off
before I start again. I'm in a month off right now, and it's lovely.

Who are your super heroes?

My mom.

Out of everything you’ve EVER written, who is your favorite character?

I really like Teeth in my #magicgayfish book. He's been removed from
real society since he was five, so he still has this childlike way
about him, but at the same time he's had to fend for himself for so
long that he has this very pragmatic mind, and he's been through a lot
since his exile, but didn't have anyone to put it into context for
him. Basically his view of the world is very different.

What was the last book you finished (reading)? Be honest, especially if it’s something REALLY embarrassing!
Not embarrassing at all---Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick. I adored it.

What is your favorite candy?
Everlasting Gobstoppers.

Where can we stalk you online? :)

So many places.

My website is, though that's in the process of being redone.
Blog is
I generally blog 3 times a
week--Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday/Sunday.
Twitter is, and I'm there a LOT.
Personal facebook is, if
you also want to see my conversations with my high school friends, and
the fan page is here if you just want book stuff:!/pages/Hannah-Moskowitz/121098598625?ref=ts

Thanks Hannah! For anyone interested [Read: ALL OF YOU] Go vote for Hannah's new novel, Invincible Summer on Goodreads (#38 at the moment, come on- lets get it to #1!), then go enter her ARC contest, right HERE.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The evolution of a blog header. OR, Life as a creative person with ADD.

Not many words, many pictures. :)

Not even going to show the  versions that DIDN'T make the cut.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Alaska Junction. It's the new Forks.

I have a lot going on this week, but have at least ONE other post coming up. For now, enjoy some info on my new project, ALASKA JUNCTION. (Oh, and vote in my contest. I will love you forever) (or at least promise to work on my lying problem) :)


Callie Floyd knows music. Most importantly, Callie knows bands. She’s grown up on the tour circuit all her life, the daughter of a rather notorious band manager. Callie is more at home living out of an RV with a rubber-maid tub dresser than in a house; her home is where she lays her head. She has a bedroom in New York, a living room in Phoenix, a kitchen in Atlanta. But when Callie’s grandmother falls ill, Cal and her mother are forced to abandon the home they both know, to settle down in Alaska Junction, a small town which is DEFINITELY not home.

Hello playlist!

Something That You Said, The Bangles
A Day In The Life, The Beatles
Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles
It's All In Your Mind, Beck
Til Kingdom Come, Coldplay
Dreams, The Cranberries
Mr. Blue Sky, Electric Light Orchestra
This Life, Exit the Ordinary
Learn To Fly, Foo Fighters
Eleanor Put Your Boots On, Franz Ferdinand
Fools In Love, Inara George
Coffee Shop, Landon Pigg
Daydream, The Lovin' Spoonful
Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well, Mike Doughty
Holland, 1945, Neutral Milk Hotel
Hey There Delilah, Plain White T's
Break Me Out 2, Rescues
Junebug, Robert Francis
How To Be Dead, Snow Patrol
Chocolate, Snow Patrol

Sunday, July 4, 2010

May you spend today eating too much watermelon, watching fireworks, celebrating independence and mourning the fact that we missed out on that whole hot accent thing. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The last you'll hear from March for awhile.

March is taking a breather. I’m almost finished with draft #2, and will probably send it to betas once it’s finished. Then, who knows? As a farewell to March, (I’m focusing primarily on Alaska now) I have decided to post a rather tiny excerpt, which I hope you will enjoy.

The dress was a pale pink, with a shimmery later covering up white filmy panels underneath. There was a contrasting wrap around the waist of the dress, and the neckline was a square, with fabric gathered at the bodice.
I changed quickly, and Olivia helped me slip the dress over my head. I held my breath and closed my eyes tight, as she continued to adjust the dress in the back, and slowly zipped it up. The fabric was silky and the hem hit me right at the knee; I could feel the dress closing as the zipper climbed my spine, without stopping. I let out a breath, but kept my eyes shut.
“Well? How does it look?”
 She was quiet, then she finally said, “You have to see this.”
I kept my eyes shut, and she led me down the hall to be the big mirror which always makes everyone look fat. We stopped, she took my hair out of its pony tail, and stepped back.
“Open your eyes.”
I did, albeit slowly, and what I saw in reflection caught me completely off guard. It was amazing.
“You’re stunning!” She moved to my side, picked up the price tag, and began to laugh. “Not only does this baby fit you like a charm, it also happens to be 25 percent off!”
“No way!” I grabbed the sliver of card stock, and looked it over.
“It’s a sign,” she said. “It’s a sign, that this summer is going to be different. This summer is going to be... magic.”  She smiled, and with an overly dramatic sigh, waltzed back to the dressing room.
“We won’t be needing these!” She handed the remaining still-on-the-hanger dresses to the attendant, and went back in.
 I stood in the hallway a few seconds longer, just staring. There was a faint hope inside me that this dress would work some kind of magic spell. If there was ever a time, ever a summer, this would be it. I felt the buttery fabric at my waist, and slowly walked back to the dressing room, my best friend, the summer of my perfect pink dress, and an Orange Julius waiting for me.

Coming up Monday: ALASKA!

Friday, July 2, 2010

How to choose your next project; at least how I chose mine!

(Didn’t I start my last post with this?) If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll be able to see (sorrysorrysorry) that I had a sort of hissy fit/freakout last night. For those who DON’T follow me on Twitter, don’t care, or look me over as inconsequential (been there- no hard feelings) my hissy fit was about not-so-top-secret project #2. (No hashtag intended.)

 I had three options, which I will now refer to by their short titles: Darcy, Foodie and Alaska. The way I get my ideas is best described by Elizabeth Gilbert, in a video I posted awhile back.  My ideas come like a charging bull, running either straight at me, or close by. My job is to grab that bull by the horns and capture the idea. Sometimes I miss the bull, and it keeps charging ahead to find some other writer willing to pay attention.

The problem that I was having, is that all three of these ideas are different, and I really could go either way. They all three take place in different cities; Foodie’s about food, (thank you captain obvious) Alaska’s about music, and Darcy is about writer. I can distinctly remember when I got all three ideas, Darcy while brushing my teeth, Alaska while visiting a small town in Washington (The town is called Alaska Junction, if anyone’s curious... Thus the title), and Foodie while in the car late one night on my way to the beach. Darcy is more chick-lit, while Alaska and Foodie are both YA. Each of them has a really cute boy, and I can see each character clearly in my head. Are you seeing my problem?! I care enough about these three ideas that I can’t imagine choosing one just by randomly pointing, or drawing a slip of paper out of a hat.


I chose Alaska.

For those of you asking how, I’m still figuring that out myself. I compared all three to choose which was the most UNLIKE March. Callie (MC of Alaska, and my new BFF.) is younger than most of the characters I’ve written before, and younger than Erin. Callie is an only child, Erin has three siblings, a brother-in-law and a niece or nephew on the way.

If I could get any author to blurb the cover of March, it would be Sarah Dessen- it’s that kind of book. If anyone blurbed Alaska, I’d like to hope it would be Hannah Moskowitz, John Green, Lauren Myracle, or Libba Bray. Bit of a difference. (For those curious, Darcy would probably be Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner or Jodi Piccoult, and Foodie would be more Maureen Johnson, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, maybe Meg Cabot?)

All of my ideas (can’t call them novels just yet) deal with friendship. Darcy and March both focus on the sometimes negative parts, and both have friendships that are (spoiler) bruised, even destroyed. As I was looking for something DIFFERENT than March, that was a strike against Darcy.  Then there were two.

Foodie is definitely a “me” book. Fiona (yes, that’s her name. No, you can’t convince me to change it. She named herself. Leave me alone.) is the daughter of a chef, and is surrounded by LOTS of really good food. Molly (yes, that’s my name. I’d like to change it. My parents named me. Leave me alone.) is the daughter of a chef, and is surrounded by LOTS of really good food. Erin had some major friendship trouble, a penchant for Twizzlers, I Love Lucy and Washington D.C. So did/does Molly, and Fiona can definitely relate. Molly, Erin and Fiona would be TOTALLY close.

CALLIE, on the other hand doesn’t have time for TV. Her wardrobe is almost 90% black, and her best friends live through her computer. Callie plays pickup basketball like one of the guys, has a blog and is constantly surrounded by music. Constantly. I can relate to certain elements, but Alaska will be a challenge, which I'm definitely ready for.

So THAT is how I chose. I’m really lucky that I was able to whittle everything down to those three... I have a document with 20 other ideas. They all have character names, plots, snippets of dialogue, locations, whatever comes to me at the time. I write them all down, and go back when I need inspiration, or a new project.

I chose Alaska this time, but you better believe that the MAJORITY of those 20 will be written. So here is my question: how do YOU choose what your next project will be, especially when you have multiple choices?

 Tomorrow will be an excerpt post from March, and then Monday I’ll have some goodies for Alaska, stuff like a playlist and pictures. But here’s something that you might find amusing right now:

Alaska is the story of a teenage girl who moves to a small town in Washington.

Sound familiar? ;)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Updates and advice, from me to YOU. (Oh, and some self-made cover art)

I’m exhausted, and it was worth it. In November of 2009, I wrote a novel. That novel has evolved and become the manuscript that I’m working on now. If you’ve followed me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you will know that I’ve been major deadlining the past few days. That deadline was for a free proof copy of my NaNo novel, from CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. I successfully uploaded all of my files, including my own cover art, (which I will show below, hold your horses) BUT there’s a review window or something... I should have checked the website out earlier to go over their policy, but there’s been other stuff on my head recently. If I get the free proof copy, FANTASTIC. If I don’t, nothing will have changed.

At ten pm, I realized something vital- which is the advice I mentioned in the title. I love hearing writing advice, because I’m still so new at this whole thing, and knowing what works for you might  work for me, and vice versa. But I’m pretty confident in this one, and I hope you can use it too.

Stay connected.

I think this is important in many aspects of life, but especially when it comes to writing. There is definitely a time for breaks, but if your novel is important to you, the best thing for it is to breathe your style and soul into its’ words. The way you do this is to be passionate about what you’re writing, and I believe that the way to do THAT is to keep in touch with your novel. I might even be so bold as to say that you want to emotionally connect yourself so that the novel is something you want to finish for YOU. Involving yourself in the writing process is vital for anyone, and this is one of my biggest mistakes. There was a point where I was writing the novel I thought would sell, or what agents would enjoy. In that process, my words became just words, and not the story I so desperately wanted to tell. I don’t think that writing every day is the best plan for everyone; I try to get some writing done, but have a no-guilt policy if I don’t.

 But here’s the thing. When I connect myself to my work,  really care about what happens, and want to meet my characters in real life, I want to write. I want to get the story on paper, I want to get it right, and I do it because I love what I can accomplish. It’s hard not to be fixated on word counts and deadlines, but my novel was not as complete as I’d like, and I’m not speaking as any kind of perfectionist. As I was driving home from the coffee shop where I worked on March, I commented to my mom the one thing I hope you’ll take away from this post:

“I submitted the manuscript. Guess what I’m going to do when I get home?”
“Go to bed?” My mother asked.
“No. Keep writing.”

I came home and kept writing because I wanted to, and because I believe that with hard work, I’ll be able to finish the novel that I want. I want to write because I love it, and the power I have (literally!) at my fingertips. That is the key to success. Write what you love, write what you hate, but in the end, write you.

Housekeeping! Today is the LAST DAY to enter my iBeta contest, before I open the voting.. Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW, and I’ll have the voting page up soon. My family was in town Sunday through today, so I was able to spend a nice amount of time with them getting sunburnt and swimming. I went to the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) book sale and came out with a complete steal. I bought:

Marley and Me, by John Grogan
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
Weekend in Paris, by Robyn Sisman

College/College related books
Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition Complete Course
American College English, by Warfel, Mathews and Bushman
Introductory Algebra 1, by Russell F. Jacobs
How to Solve Word Problems in Algebra A Solved Problem Approach, by Mildred Johnson
A History of English Literature by Moody and Lovett
Colleges That Change Lives, by Loren Pope
The Best Way to Save For College by Joseph Hurley

Writings on writing:
McCrimmon Writing with a Purpose, 6th edition
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, paperback edition
Writing Down the Bones Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Get Ready, Get Set, Go! A Young Traveler’s guide to Europe by Stan Raiff
Seattle Discovered by Bob Peterson

Beverly Cleary, A Girl from Yamhill

Emily Post’s Etiquette, Eleventh edition

Total number of books, 21. Total cost, $3.00.

They’re not all super-modern novels, or even the most recent additions of anything. But the math hater in me figured math books couldn’t hurt, the English dork in me figures there’s something to learn from any book, and the college-bound rising senior in me is, well- obviously- looking into college. Speaking of college, I am going to be going on a road trip with a friend at the end of the month for nine days. We’ll be visiting a billion colleges all on the East Coast, starting at Georgetown, and heading up to a school in Vermont, called Champlain. If any of you are near a major Ivy League school (not necessarily for me- I'm looking at smaller schools, my friend is looking IL) I'd love to maybe try and meet up for coffee or something. It will be fun, but pretty intense. I’m looking forward to it.

Also, MAJOR SHOUTOUT to Gloria Tangerine (aka Abbey) because it's her BIRTHDAY TODAY! Fellow well-wishes encouraged. And so, as I promised- here is my proof copy cover art, and a picture of me writing with a special helper..