#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour! (with help from Holmes & Watson…Elementary style)

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It’s true 🙂

Good Afternoon Readers 😀 It’s a Monday, yay!! (I’m only excited because I’m officially on Summer Brreeakkk!!!) Anyway, last Monday the wonderfully talented Jayme Woods tagged me to participate in this blog tour. Definitely check out her post as it’s hilarious & this one is a bit of a spin-off in that I use gifs too, for the first time! 1) What am I working on? I’m focused on a project I’ve been describing as The Dresden Files meets Veronica Mars. Yeah, you heard that right…it’s freaking awesome! Of course that means you likely have some high expectations just by hearing that…luckily, a CP of mine, before me even telling her said it reminded her of Veronica Mars with a supernatural twist…so I guess I’m on the right track, heh? 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I’ve read a lot in my genre and out of it. The great thing with having such strong comp titles is that they provide lots of inspiration and links to other similar stories, e.g. Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Brick, Marlowe, Lost Girl, Anita Blake, etc… I don’t think, actually I’m pretty positive while there’s YA Urban Fantasy there’s not much YA Speculative Noir which is what my book sets out to be. I hope that fans of Adult Speculative Noir like Anita Blake & The Dresden Files & to some extent TV shows like Lost Girl and fans of YA books/TV shows/movies like Sarah Rees Breenan’s Unspoken (Veronica Mars was a sort of inspiration for her heroine), Brick, Holly Black’s White Cat, Libba Bray’s The Diviners, and, of course, Veronica Mars can find a second love in my story. Oh, and did I mention it’s set in New Orleans and has voodoo? (now that was a lot of research in and of itself) 3) Why do I write what I do? I really can’t live without writing. I’ve been writing for a long time, stopped for a while as high school took over, then started back up in college and I’m not willing to let it go again. I’ve found that when I don’t allow my creativity to flow as it does while writing I get crabby and I don’t work as hard on other things. I actually bribe myself with writing time in order to get me to finish assignments. I have such a large imaginative…I think everyone does at some point, we just learn to shut it down. I haven’t/won’t. My inner child is thriving and we work well together. I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. (Aside from reading & watching TV…I really like those.) 4) How does your writing process work? Well…I’ve called on my friends on the show Elementary for some assistance: At first I’m a bit like Holmes and Watson waiting for an idea…a clue, any hint of what lead to follow, what I’m to write next:

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‘Tis true…my current project is part murder mystery.

When I get that idea, I indulge it. I start researching everything related to that idea…my desk/room starts looking a bit like this:

elementary-premiere-johnny-lee-millerwho knows when the last time he showered was…

Of course, I need the mess because without it:

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I start to write and I continue to research…I’m a pantser all the way, much like Sherlock I drive right into the middle of a snowstorm, erm, the story…

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I’m not much of a planner

Tea is a necessity.

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…unfortunately I have no Watson so I have to get it myself. It’s okay, exercise is good for the creative mind.

I feel like this when I get to the middle of the story:

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But then, I have a breakthrough!

Heroine

I have solved it Watson! …now the race to find the killer, ahem, finish the novel 😉

I start feeling a bit like this:

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Yeah…about that modesty…

From there on out it’s all:

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that’s me to my finished draft

Then I send it out to my CPs and I’m back to:

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While I wait I tell myself:

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And I do. Sometimes that leads to a Shiny New Idea that I, of course, ignore…

But then their comments come back and it’s not so bad after all ❀ I read them over then I let them sit while I figure out what to tackle first:

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Eventually I finish revisions and it’s all:

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I’m almost at this point, yay!

Until I’m back to this:

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Again.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my writing process through the lens of one of my favorite shows (Veronica Mars, Lost Girl, Gossip Girl, and GoT being the others). Luckily the fun doesn’t end here! You can check out #MyWritingProcess for more whimsical tales and next Monday, 5/26, you can check out these amazing writers who I’ve tagged next:

Lisa Aldin

aldin-11-e13983015583881Lisa is one of my amazing Spencer Hill Contemporary clients (they’re a talented group). She’s a YA & MG writer and the author of YA novel ONE OF THE GUYS (Spencer Hill Contemporary, Feb 2015). She currently lives in Indiana and she has a baby girl, Charlotte, who was born last Halloween. You can find her on Tumblr, her website, or Twitter! Also, her book has cute boys and monster so you’re definitely going to want to read about her writing process!   Julia Byers julia-byers (1)Julia is a twenty-year-old part time writer and full time dreamer. She’s also a junior at the University of Michigan, majoring in creative writing. Her work has appeared in Teen Ink magazine, the RC Review, the White Ash Literary Magazine, the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection, and the 17th Annual Café Shapiro Anthology. She won the Children’s/Young Adult category of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, a 2014 Hopwood Underclassmen Fiction Award, and the 2014 Arthur Miller Award, among other honors. She recently completed an internship with a literary agent, has attended numerous writing conferences around the country, and is working on her sixth novel. Her hobbies include Netflix and not going outside. In addition, she’s the founder of Chapter One Young Writers Conference, a Chicago based writing conference for young writers, where I will be speaking come June. You can find Julia at her blog, which has a collection of some of her amazing writing, or Twitter. Kaye M. vcaBUj3AKaye is a twenty-something Muslim girl who reads a lot of books, writes a lot more, and wears a lot of (figurative) hats. She is the creator of the hashtag #NotYourStockMuslim, a reporter for YA Interrobang and intern under agent Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron and Associates. In her spare time (read: when she has time to breathe), she is your typical overworked college student, avid YA reader and book blogger, and fantasy writer. You can find Kaye on Twitter or her blog.   Whimsically Yours, PnC

#YABbootcamp Month Two Goals!!

YAB-Spring-Writing-Challenge-2014Month One (March) of the YA Bucaneers’ Spring Writing Bootcamp is over, yay!! Now that the sun’s finally out (I wore capris today around Boston!!), it’s time to let the words flow 🙂

During March I began a new story and was able to write over 20,000 words of it!! I had set out to write 10,000 words/week, but I fell short every week and then Spring Break came and all I did was bask in the Texas sun so, it’s time to set some more realistic goals.

April Goals

  • write 30 minutes- 1 hour every day (much more easy to track/meet than 10,000 words/week)
  • read 30 minutes-1 hour every day (so many amazing books, especially debuts, coming out…I have to keep up!)
  • do my class assignments/end of semester assignments ahead of time so that when the end of April/May comes aka Spring Week and all the other college spring shenanigans, I can have no worries.

Basically April 20th is the date by which I want to have my life back and order and my manuscript complete, woohoo!!!

Gosh, April is going to be crazy…I think it just hit me that I’m graduating in 2015. It’s almost time to pick where I want to live next year & the courses I want to take next semester and it all seems so very final. I can’t believe I’ve been in college for three going on four years. That being said, I wouldn’t go back, I’m excited for the future, but, for now, I really need to get writing & turn in an assignment I was supposed to complete before Spring Break…oops (it’s getting to that time in the year when you start not caring/I’m pretty much done with my major so senior year is going to be great)!

Good luck on your April goals everyone 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

 

WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren

Hello readers, I hope your Monday is off to a great start! Today I have my review of WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren up (my first MG on the blog!) and a giveaway. Enjoy!

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WHAT THE MOON SAID
Hardcover, 224 pages
Publication Date: February 20th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
ISBN: 0399163522

Book Blurb:

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can’t keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther’s family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

Add to your Goodreads to-reads!

Buy Links: IndieBound | Amazon | B&N | Signed Copy from A Room of One’s Own

My Review

Owl Rating

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It seems these days I’m giving a lot more 5 owls than I used to…keep the good books coming, y’all!

A while back, I had the honor of connecting with author Gayle Rosengren, thanks to Dahlia Adler! When Gayle received ARCs of her MG book, WHAT THE MOON SAID, she sent me one.

I was apprehensive at first about reading this book. It’s not the type of book I’d normally pick up these days, but on the back cover it said that fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder would love it and her books were some of my favorite books growing up–so much so that I found & bought a set of classic paperbacks–so I said, what the heck and started reading.

After part of a flight and a bus ride later, I’d finished reading WHAT THE MOON SAID. I have to say the ending brought tears to my eyes and had me underlining so many sentences because they were beautiful and rang so true! WHAT THE MOON SAID is one of those books that sneak up on you. At first, it was kinda slow, not really but as someone who reads mostly speci-fic MG when I do read MG, there wasn’t a big beginning. In fact, I had to stop at one point and recalibrate myself so to say as a way of “getting in the zone” because I was reading something different and I didn’t want to discredit the book because it didn’t fit into a genre it never promised to fit in to. After that, I was hooked.

Esther, the protagonist, deals a lot with her not believing that her mother loves her for she doesn’t show the same affection that she sees other mothers showing their daughters. When I was little, I used to think my mom hated me…that something was wrong with me because I felt she loved my younger brother more, other moms would kiss and hug their daughters and mine didn’t. Until I realized, one day, that she really does love me it’s just that as the oldest daughter she put a lot of stress and expectations on me because she wanted my life to be easier than hers was. Like Esther, I was the child who was most likely to not listen to her, I was the mischievous one. It wasn’t until I accepted that my mom would never be like other moms and those other moms weren’t as perfect as they seemed that I was able to see the many ways that my mom loves me…and though she still isn’t one to declare her love every day like I do, we’ve gotten closer because of it.

That’s what drew me to Esther and her story. It was so much like mine and I was so sure children would relate to it because childhood is that time during which we wonder things like that because we’re so raw and open. It’s beautiful in some weird way and Gayle managed to capture that with her book. The end was so satisfying because though I found myself wondering what would happen to Esther, I was comforted that she’d turn out all right because I did.

Also, the wanting a dog bit…so my life, my dad was actually the anti-dog one. I had one when I was little, but he ran away (my mom thinks my dad let him out). Now that my dad has a farm out in “Texas farm country” he has two, LOL. And I LOVED reading about Esther’s love for Louisa May Alcott’s books, favorites of mine, and the Nancy Drew series, another favorite, which were just coming out when Esther was little!

I wanted to leave you with this quote from Esther. It’s one of those things that everyone has to learn sooner or later:

Home was more than a place. Home was family.

And with that, I hope you’re always able to find or build a home for yourself as Esther’s story truly does prove that home is everlasting as long as you’re with the ones you love and that love is more than just saying I love you, the actions of those around you, not the words, are what’s most important.

**I received the book to read & review from the author, Gayle Rosengren (thank you!!). This is a 100% honest review.**

Because I loved WHAT THE MOON SAID so much (& because my ARC has my scribbles everywhere) I’m giving away 1 hardcover copy of WHAT THE MOON SAID.

It’s open to U.S. & international residents (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!

About the Author

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Gayle grew up in Chicago.  Like Esther, she enjoyed school, was an avid reader, and loved dogs and horses.  She attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where she majored in Creative Writing and was the editor of the literary magazine. Gayle never outgrew her passion for children’s books, and she worked as a children’s and young adult librarian at a public library for several years in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, enthusiastically sharing her love of books with young people.

Also like Esther, Gayle eventually moved to Wisconsin, but by then she was a mother with three children.  She worked in the reference library, and later as a copy-editor, at American Girl.  During this time period she published short stories for children in Cricket, Ladybug, Jack and Jill and Children’s Digest magazines.

Now Gayle writes full-time in her home just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband, Don, and slightly neurotic rescue dog, Fiona.  Gayle is living her dream, she says, writing books she hopes will make the same difference in children’s lives as her favorite books and authors made in hers.  What the Moon Said is her first novel.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Esther loves to read Louisa May Alcott’s books & the Nancy Drew series, what’s your favorite childhood book(s)?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

A (public) note to myself on the “eve” of my 21st birthday

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As I sit in this chair I can’t help but think about how far I’ve come. I’m about to turn 21, officially in less than thirty minutes, and I’m already almost in tears. A friend just brought me a gift, a beautifully decorated container (pictured above…it has an owl!!!) and a card. In the card, along with her well wishes for my birthday was this sentence:

I know it seems like an empty little box, but believing in the obscure and unseen is what faith is all about.

My childhood was filled with adventure, hope, and endless possibilities…it wasn’t perfect, yet I had full faith I could achieve anything. My teens were filled with a lack of faith in myself, others, constant anxiety, and fear that I wouldn’t be prepared or good enough. My 20s, thus far, have also been filled with anxiety but of a different kind. The anxiety that comes with “stepping out on a limb” and creating a life for myself, one that does/will bring me joy and one I’ve been striving for regardless of how afraid of failure I am. In fact, I might argue that it’s my fears that have pushed me to once again have faith in myself.

I’m proud of myself, yet even more importantly I know my younger self, the girl who believed she could be anything she wanted if she worked hard at it, would be proud of me, too. That is something I don’t know I could’ve said and believed a few years ago.

Life is like writing a book. You should choose the life you want/have always wanted to live just like you should write the book you want/have always wanted to read. As I’ve come to realize, the beginning will always seem brighter and happier and easier while the middle is a murky swamp. However, in the end, it’ll be worth it. I have faith in that and in myself just as I have faith that my characters will iron out their problems and “get their shit together.” Maybe not the first time around and maybe not the fifth, as I’m also learning, but eventually I’ll get there and will forget about that murky swam. At that point, I’ll probably want to start all over so for now, I’ll just keep smelling the nonexistent roses.

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

P.S. Now it’s three minutes past my “official” time of birth so the title is no longer relevant yet I like the sound of it so it shall stay.

-Patrice

Making Better Art: A New Year’s Resolution

Happy Hump Day!

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(credit: freelance cartoonist Gavin Aung Than)

I love listening to this commencement this speech by bestselling author (& many other things) Neil Gaiman, addressing the 2012 University of the Arts graduating class. The above cartoon shows the gist of it. It’s one of those great things to listen to when you’re down or when you just want to hear some great advice. It’s aimed at those who wish to pursue a creative lifestyle/profession, but I believe all can use his words of wisdom.

When I was thinking about my first post of the year, my first me post, not counting cover reveals etc…, I wanted it to be something that becomes strong foundation for 2014. Three days ago, I read what would become the inspiration for this post. The post was from a speech given by another bestselling author, Junot Diaz, at World Up Bookshop in 2012. I reblogged the post onto my Tumblr, and you can read the full speech here.

In the speech, he talks about writing and how admitting your privilege is crucial to becoming a better writer. He cites the writing community as a way to “check your privilege,” saying it’s important to have others read over your work because while you might not catch a stereotype etc…(because you grew up thinking it was okay) someone else might.

My favorite passages are these:

The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons.

As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track.

The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real…All these things [cliches, stereotypes, etc…] are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.

-Junot Diaz, World Up Bookshop, 2012

In 2013, I created (a lot) of good art. In 2014, I aim to create better art. I’ll never forget my first writing award. I was in third grade, it was a regional UIL competition, and I won third place. As a note was the phrase “good, better, best,” for I had misused some grammar throughout the essay. I’ve made good art, I aim to make better so that I can be my best. 

Recognizing our privileges isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of self reflectiveness that most don’t want to begin. It’s not pretty process or a neat one. I know because I’ve started, and I’ve been shocked how many stereotypes and such appear in my writing that I’ve sworn I don’t use. As Junot Diaz says, “[writers] want [cliches, stereotypes] in there because they feel lost without it.”

We all rely on cliches and stereotypes and shortcuts. It’s human nature, but it doesn’t have to be your nature. And so as I close this post, I encourage you to push yourself past what you know into a land of the unknown where we, together, can kill these mundane narratives and shed these received formulas. This isn’t about diversity or tolerance or acceptance, it’s so much more than that. This is a way of life and a growing into an artist, one that makes better art.

Happy New Year! I hope it’s one that makes you very happy 🙂