Start Living That Better Life Now!

The reason I love the writing, publishing community so much is that you have a bunch of people who (for the most part) have been passionate about reading, writing, etc…since they were little. They’re honestly the BIGGEST population of people I know who are simply following their dreams and doing the work they want to do. They might not be there yet, ex. many of us want to be published or be a full-time writer but aren’t yet however they do it, they write after putting the kids to bed, they intern/have a job at a publisher they love remotely while still having a day job. These people are incredible…and you can follow suit. I always say if there’s something you really want to do you need to be doing it and working to get there now, as my dad says in this post, “tomorrow isn’t promised.” When life flashes before your eyes, make sure it’s worth watching. -Patrice

Blog, Personal Training, Semi Private Training, Group Fitness, Bootcamp, Bastrop, South Austin

What do you want to do with the rest of life? Whatever it is, today is a good day as any to get started living. Stop worrying about what others (family, friends, co-workers) think, misery loves company, most don’t want you to succeed.

How much time do you think you have? You know tomorrow isn’t promise, so why the hell do you keep procrastinating. Miracles don’t just happen, you work your ass off, and you make miracles happen.

Apply your principles (guiding conduct), work smart and you can start living that better life today. You want to lose weight, start now. What are you waiting on? You hate your job, start your own business, not tomorrow or one day, but today. The longer you wait the harder it gets, shame and regret will settle in, you will hate and resent yourself, because you know you’re capable of so much…

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Sunday Morning Updates!

no post on sudnays(RIP Richard Griffiths)

Goodmorning readers 🙂  This has already been a very exciting & busy weekend, so much that I’d thought I’d post a “midweek” status report before my usual What’s Up Wednesday post.

me eating canoli1. On Friday, I went into Boston (for work) but was able to have some great times with friends at this amazing restaurant called Shabu-Ya.  I got to go to the aquarium (I got a sneak peak at the new top level to their aquarium…can’t show those pictures until after it opens on July 1st).  big turtle side tank

And I had my first canoli & french macaron (so good…more cool pics to come Wednesday).  Before dinner, I went from bookstore to bookstore making it my mission to find a few of the books on my “Diversity in YA” shelf (the link is to my goodreads shelf as my blog page isn’t up to date) I wanted to read first (Found all of them minus Bill Konigsberg’s book Openly Straight…I might have to order that one, also his blog is great too!).  It wasn’t easy, I think that goes to highlight how hard books with main characters who are a person of color and/or queer are to find.

After much searching, here’s what I bought:

gay books

(left to right: Proxy by Alex London (you can read the 1st 3 chapters), Huntress by Malinda Lo (companion to Ash) & Ash by Malinda Lo)

And yes, I did say bought…I don’t buy books often but I’ve decided to make it a rule of mine to support authors who are actively trying to write in diverse characters by reading their books, blogging about them & buying them.  Proxy by Alex London was easy to find, I got it from a B&N however the others weren’t there nor were they at any B&N in Boston.  So, 1. because I’m trying to move toward supporting independent bookstores and 2. because I figured I’d have a better chance in finding it because the store has more freedom (b/c not a part of a chain, etc…).

(Malinda Lo)

malinda lo authorI started reading Ash by Malinda Lo (p.s. she has a great blog & co-founded Diversity in YA site/tumblr) and let me say her writing is seemless, it flows so naturally, I really do feel like I’m reading an old story retold (which it is, it’s a Cinderella retelling with MC falling in love w/huntress not Charming).  I don’t understand how she’s not a NYT bestselling author…well, actually I do (ugh, politics & people) because everything is on point about this book…sadness.  And it’s sad because although we all know bestseller lists like NYT aren’t perfect still, for the author, it does matter I’m sure & it matters in terms of “outsiders” looking at a books worth.  There is honestly no reason why someone shouldn’t read this book because it has lesbians in it, it’s better written, better storytelling than a lot of popular books.

touched and dollhouse SH ARCs-I got my ARC of Stalked by Death (Touch of Death #2) by Kelly Hashway & I’m so excited to read it…loved Touch of Death!! I also got this cool bookmark of The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray (can’t wait for this one!!).  Now that I work for Spencer Hill it’s so interesting to get these things and fully understand (or beginning to) the work that goes into the marketing of them and while I’m biased, I will say that Spencer Hill Press & SH Contemporaryd put a lot of effort into book publicity and working with authors on marketing…you can really tell this with the innovative swag that accompanies some of the ARCs/at conferences, etc…Can’t wait for my ARC of Camp Boyfriend to ship (so pumped!!).

-I finally celebrated finishing my (5th?) draft of BLOOD OF ISIS & my blog birthday (so much that I’m probably am good until my birthday).  AND, today while bumming around I came up with ways to fix/make awesome a few story bumps I knew I needed to address in BOI.  (See, taking a break from your book baby (even if a small one)  really does work wonders)  Now I’m back at it, I’ll most likely finish everything tomorrow, send it off to a couple betas then begin work on my new WIP(if I ever decide which one to start) for Camp NaNoWriMo in July!2013-Participant-Campfire-Circle-Badge

-Oh and I left my phone in a taxi Friday and it would’ve been my third or fourth phone lost this year (bad luck + stupidity) if the driver hadn’t kindly brought it to my school (for which I paid for dearly…).  And I went grocery shopping & decided I’m going to live off books & AB&J (AB = Almond Butter) because groceries are too damn expensive (I don’t know how people can stand to see that much money go away just like that for stuff that has such a short lifespan).

The Power of Introverts

live long and prosper

(live long & prosper)

A couple weeks ago, I watched the below TED talk by Susan Cain, the author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  I haven’t read the book yet but this really got me thinking.  You see, I’m an introvert.  I crave alone time.  But most people wouldn’t know or even be able to guess that about me.  Why?  Because, as Cain talks about, as a young girl, early on I got the message that it was wrong.  That being an introvert meant you were a nerd, shy, possibly even a loser.  As a young girl those just weren’t labels I was ready to put on.  I mean, I knew I wasn’t shy, any of my relatives could’ve told you that, but the school, my peers well to them, that’s what being introverted meant.

So instead of being true to my introvert self, I became the champion of introverts.  Not one myself rather an extrovert who happened to be very good at code-switching aka I was popular, well-liked, in the honest, good sense of the word.  One moment I’d be discussing the newest book the next I’d be with the “cool kids”.  This all was fine and dandy except it created this void.  When I was at school, I was loud, excited, everywhere but when I was at home, I was a recluse…my parents’ hermit crab, as they called me, hiding away with my newest book in my room.  This continued in various forms throughout high school.

Now it worked for me.  Forcing myself to be a people person worked.  I didn’t fool my parents, of course, they knew the truth.  But I’d fooled my peers and even myself.  I say this because this eventually led to me becoming the kind of person I’d never wanted to become.  Instead of being okay with silence, I began to crave not only the presence but attention of others.  By the time I got to college, I’d stopped writing, barely read, and convinced myself that I wanted to be a lawyer or theater type person.  Thankfully I got hit over the head (metaphorically).

If you ask my dad, he’d say this “new groupthink” as Cain defines this “movement”, is for control.  If people seek the approval of others, if they have been conditioned to work, to be with others, if being alone, quiet, removed is taught as bad…you create a individuals who really aren’t individuals after all.  He’s probably right.  It makes sense to me (especially since I didn’t actually ask him, I came up with this myself).  Aside from that though, if “conspiracy theories” or whatever you’d call that are a too much for you, it does reduce creativity.  And creative people are some of the world’s smartest.  It’s kind of hard for me to say this, since I didn’t really rebel from groupness until college (sorta senior year of HS), but be brave enough to be yourself.  For all we know, the cure for cancer or AIDS was lost because we told that child, who liked being alone, they needed to conform or be a loser.  And no child wants to be a loser.  As a writer, I may spend hours alone, and if I want to accomplish my goals (ex. get this book written) I can’t wait/look for the approval of others.

So to all the middle school, high school nerds, losers out there, great job… keep on keeping on for the force is most definitely with you.

Introvert or no?  What’s in your suitcase?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Ruby’s Fire Launch Celebration!!!

Happy Wednesday!!!  Today (in addition to the usual What’s Up Wednesday post) I bring you Ruby’s Fire 🙂

by the wonderful, Catherine Stine

Book Blurb:
If everything about you changes, what remains?Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she?
The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?
When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.
Ruby’s Fire by Catherine Stine
Series: Fireseed, #2 (however, can be read as a stand-alone)
Publication date:  June 26, 2013
Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Visit my Giveaway site to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win various prizes including a $40 Amazon giftcard & a signed paperback  of Ruby’s Fire!

 About the Author 
Catherine Stine writes YA, New Adult and middle grade fiction. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, illustrated by the author won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted a 2013 Bronze Wishing Shelf Book Award and a 2013 Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Middle grade novels include A Girl’s Best Friend.
Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:
“Ruby’s Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: ” It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved…” ”  -YAs the Word
More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.
Author Links:

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Book Excerpt
Seventeen year-old Ruby and her classmate, Armonk have a talk in an abandoned house they find half buried in the sand on their way to the food depot:

 I tell Armonk about my hope to win the prize money in order to rescue my friends and mother from the cult—that’s how I think of it now. “I’ll buy a shiny blue house in Vegas-by-the-Sea and move them all in. We’ll get blue dishes and blue tablecloths and eat blue crabs. Ha! What would you do with the money?”

“Help my sector dig wells. Black Hills has no more drinking water, and most can’t afford enough water pellets. My mom said that George Axiom used to be in the oil business before the border wars. He knows drilling. George Axiom could drill incredibly deep wells that may still actually hit water.” Armonk sighs wearily. “I’d also pay for my mother to get better medical help. She has bad breathing problems, we’re not even sure what it is.”

“That’s terrible,” I say.

“I hope Dr. Varik comes soon.” Armonk adjusts his leg. “So many people need him here.”

I’d like to ask the doctor about the humming in my head, whether it means I’m going insane. And about the strange greenish tint on my bite wound, plus my eating problem, or should I say non-eating problem? I examine the scar. Whatever it was, it’s healed normally. “I should ask him a few things myself,” I say.

Armonk looks over at me. “You’re getting awfully skinny. You could use a check up.”

I hug myself, embarrassed. “I hoped no one would notice. I’m never hungry,” I admit.

“Really? Nevada has such good food at The Greening.”

“Have you spoken to Dr. Varik recently?”

“Sorry to say, I’ve lost touch.”

My gut sinks, and then rises, with an idea. “Let’s ask if anyone’s heard of Dr. Varik at Skull’s Wrath Depot. They’d know of any news, any new residents.”

“Quick thinking, you’re—”

Just then, we hear the whirring of a low-lying hovercraft, as if it’s landing on the roof of this cockeyed house. In a panic, I run toward the door. As I do, I catch my pants leg on a broken doorframe, and go flying, headfirst. My forearm cuts against a sharp edge of a metal scrap, buried in the sand. I brush myself off and spit out a mouthful of grit.

Outside, whatever hovercraft was overhead has zipped away. How is that possible, when it was so incredibly loud only a few seconds ago?

As Armonk and I exchange mystified glances, Blane’s words when he told me about the time he saw that pearl blue hovercraft flit through my mind: when I didn’t answer the guy’s question, his ship disappeared into thin air.

My arm is smarting. I turn it over gingerly to survey the damage, and gasp. It’s not bleeding red—rather some thin, greenish liquid. My insides freeze. “Armonk, I need to find that doctor now.”

He rushes over. His pale, frightened expression tells me he agrees.

Whimsically Yours,
PnC

What’s Up Wednesday

Good Afternoon, Readers!  I hope you’re week is going well so far 🙂  As a part of Ready. Set. Write. and because I’m falling in love with these posts, here’s  my third What’s Up Wednesday!

What I’m Reading

red pyramid
Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid (MG) & Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (NA)!  Random, I know right?  Well, I’m reading the Red Pyramid because of some very exciting news that I’ll talk about below.  Basically, I’m finally to the point where I can read it, and finally!  He’s one of my favorite authors and one of the few my brother and I both love so it has been hard resisting, but I’m back baby 😉
As for Brooklyn Girls, it’s an ARC and it’s NA, which is why I decided to try it (since I’m in the NA age range).  It’s reminds me of Melissa de la Curz’s Au Pairs (probably combined with the TV show Girls, I can’t say because I don’t watch it), …just working girls trying to make it in “the real world”.  It’s really fresh and cute and fun.  Also, though I haven’t graduated college, I relate wholeheartdly with their experiences/struggles in a way I haven’t for a while with YA.
(my brother let me borrow his copy…
he definitely gave me a “aren’t you too old for this” look when I asked, LOL)

What I’m Writing

DRUMROLL PLESE!!!  – After days of not working on my WIP at all, I finally put in mad work Sunday to complete it!!!

BOI cover page

Yes, I repeat complete it.  Now of course, it’s not done but I’m giddy, like really happy.  I have this feeling this is the story I want to tell.  I will say this, a lot has changed.  After a week of hard thinking (post my last What’s Up Wednesday post)  and thanks to a couple other things that occurred (I’ll talk about them in the next section), I finally listened to my main character and wrote her story the way she wanted it, not me.

I wasn’t happy at first, just because I like things going my way, after all this story is my baby.  But sometimes, you have to shut up & stop being so stubborn and let your characters speak.  That was something I was really good at when I started this story a little more than a year ago then everything changed (no, not when the fire nation attacked) but when I “got serious” about being published.  But to hell with it, I love my baby even more now 🙂

The Numbers:  This is my 5th draft of BLOOD OF ISIS.  Not all of them were total drafts, one was just changing the beginning and the last one was the elimination of a character (I’d added in the 4th draft…that was going to be saved for the 2nd book) and bringing another to prominence.

It went from about 47,000 words to this final one being 61, 100 words (ish).  And…I’m still not done.

BOI edited first page20120801-223308.jpg

As I like to do, I did a quick read through, marking grammatical errors and story details/scenes to revise.  Then I’m going to take a break, revise the marked scenes, take a longer break then reread then send to betas.  Throughout these breaks I will be reading/starting another WIP, which one idk yet.  The good thing is, as you can see from the pictures, this read through (on the left) has far improved from my last major revision (on the right) (yay!!!).

And because of this, I am finally able to read Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1).  Why?  When it came out I wasn’t that into MG (thought I’d outgrown it, haha)  Then when I finally wanted to read it I’d started BLOOD OF ISIS but didn’t allow myself because it deals with Egyptian mythology & I swore off everything but straight myths while writing BOI.  It was horrible because I LOVE mythology retellings/based fiction.

It’s okay though, I’m in happy happy reading bliss now!  (And thankfully while our stories have similarities they’re very distinct, whew!)

Also, It feels so weird to be done with my WIP (for now) now I have the fun opportunity to figure out what to write next for Camp NaNoWriMo that I’ll be participating in for July!  I’m thinking I might just start typing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Nothing.  Haha, no, but almost.  I’ve been pulling my hair out (almost) fighting with myself about inevitable story changes and now that I’m all finished, I’m pooped.  Oh but, like I said earlier, part of what led to me allow my story to be told the way Aziza, my main character (& the others) wanted it to be was that I got really heated about the lack of Diversity in YA.

diversity yaWhy now?  I don’t know, when I was younger I craved stories where characters who were black or queer were treated as “normal characters” not only in “issue books” but I also just loved reading so I let it go.   The the topic started popping up a lot, last week when I was reading any/all blogs as I usually do during writing breaks, and I got mad, furious.

I won’t go on and on about it but to say the least, it has really changed my stance on a lot of things.  I’ve always thought people should just write whatever, that the story matters most, and that’s still true but I now feel that as authors, myself an author spanning underrepresented groups in YA, I owe it to my readers, my siblings, and most of all my younger self to write myself and people like me into my books (not all the time and not every character but just to be much more mindful than I have been).

Also, I’m even more in love with Rick Riordan now because the main characters are biracial and I know that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but to have a boy main character who resembles his “black side” in a fantasy novel for middle grade readers is huge (it shouldn’t be but it is).  I almost started crying when I found out, no wonder my brother hoarded these books, they were like his Harry Potter.

P.S. If you want to read the posts check here and here.  And as you might’ve noticed I now have a Diversity in YA book list on my menu (it’s under major construction so 1. that’s not how the final page will look & 2. that’s only like 1/3 of the books I want to include).

P.P.S.  I recently signed on as a publicist intern at Spencer Hill Press under the wonderful Cindy Thomas (I’ll be working with their new Spencer Hill Contemporary imprint as well as the main one)…yeah, this is definitely what heaven looks like.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Falling back in love with writing.  the-write-heartAfter all that’s happened this past week, I feel reinvigorated and like I have this calling of sorts.  You know, writers really do touch their readers and I’m glad to know I’m finally writing the kind of books that would have made my younger (more troubled) self smile.  It’s nice.  Plus there are my sisters, I want to be able to write them into stories, to give them the chance to see themselves wherever they want.  Like Dan, in Gossip Girl (TV Series) did…and yes, I just compared myself to Dan, haha.  (hopefully I don’t become as pompous of a butthead).

Also my blog’s blogoversary was yesterday and I celebrated in true book blogger fashion by reading 🙂

What have you been up to lately?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC