Ready. Set. Write 2014!! Goal Setting Time :)

RSWgoldpolaroid

YABbootcamp is over, but that doesn’t mean the writing parties are and writing community is done coming together. It’s time for Ready. Set. Write!  

What’s Ready. Set. WRITE!? It’s a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Today’s the goal-setting post to kick it off. Join in! You know you want to 🙂

Drumroll, please…

My goal(s) for this week/the summer as a whole is:

This week: 

Continue progress on my super secret MS. The MS will only be unveiled after I reach 20,000 words. It’s a little push to do more writing and less talking about writing/what I’m writing.

The summer:

  • Complete Super Secret MS. (yay!!)
  • Query THE DAUPHINE FILES (cue nail bitting). I’m really nervous for this because it’s technically an Urban Fantasy (though with more of a noir & mystery leaning).
  • Read all the books in my room (15 books, maybe?)
  • Revise ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX –> I received some amazing feedback from agents…now to apply it.
  • Celebrate the release of my first Spencer Hill Contemporary client, Dahlia Adler’s YA Debut, BEHIND THE SCENES 🙂
  • Have fun!

I have a lot of goals but I think with a lot of persistence and not stressing, I can reach them. Gotta set ’em high, right?

What are your goals? How is your summer going??

Have a great week!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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Guest Post: “On Loneliness” by Corey Ann Haydu (Author of OCD LOVE STORY & LIFE BY COMMITTEE)

Good Afternoon, Readers! I hope you’re enjoying you day 🙂 Today I have the author of OCD Love Story and the recently published Life by Committee, Corey Ann Haydu who is sharing her thoughts on loneliness, one of the themes of Life by Committee.  Just as a preface, this post actually made me tear up and is a HUGE reason why I bought the book I can relate 100% to Tabitha and the experiences Corey describes in this post (small schools can really suck). I hope it speaks to you as much as it did me! -Patrice

life by commmittee

On Loneliness

I wrote a book about loneliness.

I wrote a book about loneliness at a time in my life when I was very lonely about a time when I was very lonely.

Writing can be really lonely anyway, but I wrote LIFE BY COMMITTEE while I was going through a big break up so it was written in an extra-lonely moment. We get a little used to loneliness, being writers, and sometimes it’s even sort of nice. My apartment is big and with no one else in it I could eat a lot of cheese and watch a lot of Gilmore Girls. Sometimes I’d be out with friends who were working hard to distract me from my loneliness, and I’d leave early thinking, no. I’d rather be lonely. LBC is a book that matters to me partly for that reason. I felt very cuddled up with Tabitha, both of us in our lonely little moments, supporting each other from a far. We understood each other, her and I.

But being lonely at 28 is easier than being lonely at 16. Or it was for me. Being lonely at 28 meant I tried to learn how to use a slow cooker and I abused my Netflix account and I started being more interested in what red wine was the perfect red wine for this type of pasta or this type of chicken or this type of sadness. Being lonely at 28 was satisfying. I had earned it. I could tolerate it. I had a therapist, after all.

More than that, I could complain about it to friends. Which maybe meant I wasn’t so, so lonely after all.

It was not, ultimately, the loneliest I have ever been.

The loneliest I have was in high school. Like Tabitha I had really great friends. Like Tabitha they stopped being my friends because I’d changed. Like Tabitha, I didn’t really feel like I’d changed.

That kind of loneliness was worse. It wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t feel like I’d earned it. I didn’t know where it had come from. I didn’t choose it or feel that it would be short-lived. I didn’t have a slow cooker or red wine or Netflix.

I had the aching sensation that I was unprepared to do it by myself. I had a not great boyfriend who everyone loved and no friends. I couldn’t hide in a room with my loneliness and cheese and coffee and Gilmore Girls. In high school, you have to walk around with it all the time. In hallways. In dress code khakis and the wrong shoes. You have survive with it in this constant way.

There comes a point, at a small school, where you’re not even wishing X or Y or Z person would be your friend. You’re not motivated to make some Herculean effort to change things. You know all the people, you know their friends, and you know that’s not going to happen. You know you’re stuck and that you won’t be unstuck until high school is over.

Or, if you’re me, you become a foreign exchange student and go to a country with a language you’ve never spoken before and live with a family who speaks that language and go to a school that operates in that language, and you do loneliness there. And it feels a little different because there’s risotto for lunch and centuries old cathedrals and girls in track suits and boys with shiny black hair and there are white stone roads and marble statues and the promise of Venice only an hour away.

But it’s still loneliness. And there’s still the expectation that you shouldn’t be feeling loneliness. Because you are in Italy and there is gelato on every corner. And your failure makes you lonelier still.

And these aren’t happy memories or even hopeful ones. I went all the way to Italy and I couldn’t shake the loneliness. I fell in love and couldn’t shake it. I wrote a book of vignettes and took self portraits and was Ophelia in Hamlet and Laura in the Glass Menagerie and Oliver in Oliver and I couldn’t shake it, except for those moments on stage, where I was being someone else, or those moments writing the vignettes, where at least I was being me.

I intended this to be a post about the loneliness of being a writer, and maybe it is. Writing helped, in the sense that I at least had myself, and when I wrote, I felt connected to at least that person.

And I’m lonely sometimes now, even though the break-up is over and life is pretty good. There is a loneliness that comes with full-time writing. You are by yourself, and in it alone and stuck with your thoughts and sometimes there are breakups and family tragedies and fights with friends and feeling misunderstood. But there’s the work. And there are tiny things you are in control of. Coffee, wine, cheese, Netflix, the color of your bedspread and how soft it is.

And there is the loveliness of sadness. And the relief—great and huge and overwhelming and heartbreaking—that you are not in high school anymore.

About the Author

corey ann haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is a young adult novelist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her first novel, OCD LOVE STORY, is coming out July 2013 from Simon Pulse. Her second novel, LIFE BY COMMITTEE will be out in Summer 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books at Harper Collins.

Corey grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts where she learned a deep love for books, cheese, cobblestone streets, cold weather and The Gilmore Girls. She has been living in New York City since 2001, where she has now developed new affections for New Yorky things like downtown bookstores, Brooklyn brownstones, writing in coffee shops, the Modern Love column in the Sunday Times, pilates, leggings, and even fancier cheeses.

Corey graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she got her BFA in Theatre. After college, Corey worked as an actress and playwright (and waitress and telemarketer and real estate broker and nanny and personal assistant) She also spent a lot of time in Starbucks writing short stories.

After working in children’s publishing for a few years, and falling in love with YA literature, Corey received her MFA from The New School in Writing for Children. During graduate school Corey rounded out her list of interests with mochas, evening writing workshops, post-it notes, bi-weekly cheeseburgers, blazers, and board games.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About the Book

life by commmitteeLife by Committee

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Here I am with my copy:
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Add to your Goodreads to-reads! or buy it today! 

Buy Links: IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME by Jessica Verdi

image001The Summer I Wasn’t Me
Sourcebooks Fire, April 1, 2014
ISBN 9781402277887

Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen year old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi- she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feeling is harder than she thinks. And when she falls head over heels for Carolyn, one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

In The Summer I Wasn’t Me, Verdi writes with raw honesty and an open heart, asking the hard questions and exploring emotional depths and difficult truths in her character that no YA author has done before.

Praise for The Summer I Wasn’t Me

“A powerful indictment of reparative therapy- a sweet love story- and an unforgettable main character!.”

– Nancy Garden, author of Annie On my Mind

 

My Review

Owl Rating:

five owls

 

You need to read this book. That could honestly be my entire review.

I finished The Summer I Wasn’t Me in two days. Two because I couldn’t finish it in one because I couldn’t stop crying long enough to read any further. In actuality it only took me a few hours to read the book.

When I was done I gave it to my friend. She was interviewing me for a project on children’s literature and I mentioned it as an example of books, like Speak by Laurie Hale Anderson, that empower teens to act, to speak out, to be the person they want to be, even if others don’t approve. She asked could she borrow it and I gave it to her. She finished it in a few hours, giving me a play-by-play the entire time. Her words, “Oh my goodness, the feelings, it was amazing.”

You see Jessica Verdi has this amazing talent. She’s able to thrust the reader directly into the characters in this way that feels so close up you don’t even realize you’re falling before you’ve fallen and the next thing you know you’re squeezing your childhood stuffed animals for any source of comfort.

You need to read this book.

This book affected me so much. I know my younger self, who was dealing with some of the same things as Lexi, would’ve loved this book. I mean, I’m still dealing with it and having Lexi, no matter how fictional she is, is a godsend.

You will fall deeply in love with these characters. They will become your siblings and you’ll want to protect them from all the bad. Unfortunately you won’t be able to and it will rip you apart but it is so worth it. I often speak of reading as a cathartic experience, this is one of those books that produces that.

There’s a conversation going on now/been going on for years about why we need diversity in children’s literature. We need it because we need more books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me. As Christopher Myers spoke about and as an author I love recently posted about, publishing is a business and as such it pays attention to The Market. If the Market, if the sales don’t show, books like Jessica Verdi’s won’t continue to be published and then where will teens like my younger self be? Alone. When they feel like they can’t talk to anyone else, like no one understands them they won’t even have the characters in the books that helped me get through some rough patches. Not if we don’t show The Market that we, the consumers, want books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me.

So please go out and buy it for your library, gift it to the teens in your life, order it from your indie bookstore, this is a book that will change your life.

Oh, and my interview with the author is definitely worth your time 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

 

What’s Up Wednesday & #YABbootcamp Check-In

wuwspringYAB-Spring-Writing-Challenge-2014

Good Afternoon 🙂 It’s Wednesday and today I’m combining my weekly ‘What’s Up Wednesday’ post with my weekly YABbootcamp Check-in (yay efficiency)!

What I’m Reading

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 Last week I finished reading my ARC of The Summer I Wasn’t Me (which is now out). It was amazing!!! My review and an interview with the author is to come, but I have to say that Jessica Verdi knows how to tell a story. It’s my first book of hers I’ve read, but it won’t be my last. She had me crying one moment and cheering on the characters the next. It was very bittersweet and very hard to read but completely worth it 🙂aa-stormfront

This week I’ve been reading (and watching) a lot of Urban Fantasy more specifically books that fall into the Speculative Noir genre since that’s what I’d define my WIP as (more on that later). 38619I’m currently reading Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher and Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews (not really Speculative Noir but it’s a YA UF I’ve been meaning to read) and then I’m on to re-read an all time favorite of mine, Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton. book13It’s like part of my research in world & character building for my WIP and I’m loving them all so much!

What I’m Writing

I sent the first chapter of my WIP to one of my amazing CPs and just got it back yesterday! I have since then revised the chapter and I think I now have an opening I’m really proud of that sets up the story, protagonist, and world well.

The WIP is a YA Speculative Noir set in NOLA. I’d originally defined it as Urban Fantasy but for various reasons that didn’t capture what the book came off as, how I wanted it to be categorized, and the world and the MC’s viewpoint about the world well enough. Not to mention, though I can be a sucker for flowery language this book seemed to lean more towards a simplistic, simile laden writing style that reminded me so much of books I love like Guilty Pleasures and Storm Front. Interestingly enough it was an agent, Brooks Sherman, who defined my book for me. Read this and you’ll see what I mean. In it he talks about speculative noir and dark YA with noir elements like the TV show Veronica Mars. As soon as I read that I knew he was talking about books like my WIP which I consider to Veronica Mars meets The Dresden Files (book series) & Lost Girl (TV show). And, yes, (if I don’t get an agent from the MS I’m currently querying) I will be querying him once this WIP is nice and polished.

You can read an excerpt from the revised CHAPTER ONE, at my writer website, patricecaldwell.com!

What Else I’ve Been Doing

I’ve had a pretty busy weekend!!

easter brunchSunday was Easter and the society I’m in, Zeta Alpha, put on an Easter Brunch (it was potluck style and I made Texas-style breakfast burritos!).

<–my friends and I (aren’t we cute & so happy (thank you, sun!!))photo (7)

Oh, and then Sage the Gemini kicked off Spring Week (a week of concerts & other festivities) that evening!! He’s a rapper out of the Bay Area and though I only knew a couple of his songs it was really fun. Also, he was a great entertainer. He was hilarious and he took his shirt off 😉

Monday was the Boston Marathon!! My friends and I went out in full force to support the runners. Wellesley has a special tradition, the scream tunnel in which students line the road and try to get kisses from the runners. I got one once and it was really sweaty so although I no longer partake in that part of the tradition, it was still a very fun day!

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<–so cute & happy once again. It was a wonderful Marathon day that concluded with me doing my laundry (finally!) and watching TV with a friend 🙂

Oh, and my bookshelf got a new addition, #BostonStrong!! Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 3.51.16 PM

What Inspires Me Right Now

I’m inspired by a lot of things. The stories about the Marathon runner survivors from last year who were able to complete the race this year, my friends and classmates who are some of the smartest & busiest women I know and yet we still make time to hang out and support one another, my mother who is going back to school to complete her bachelors while working, my father who finally quite his day job to pursue his wellness company full time & become a full-blown Texas farmer (the baby chicks hatched during the Winter and they’re getting so big so fast), my fellow writers who find time to write amongst juggling day jobs, children, and an assortment of other things, and, of course, myself for, even if I forget sometimes/often, I have a lot to be proud of.

Also, there’s some amazing conversations about Diversity in Literature (specifically Children’s Lit) going on right now/the past couple weeks. I have links to a few in my Writer Resources section, but if you’ve ever wanted to join in the conversation or learn more, now is the perfect time 🙂

Happy Wednesday and I hope it’s not so rainy where you are 🙂 Have a great week!!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

What’s Up Wednesday :)

wuwspringWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  If you want to participate you should link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog so that we can all stop by and say, “Hi!” It’s a great way to connect with other writers!

What I’m Reading

photo (4)I received an ARC of Brandy Colbert’s YA Contemporary debut, POINTE, and I’m finishing it up now. It’s such a beautifully written book and the author captures teens so realistically. Also, it focuses a lot around dance, and as someone who did theater forever & almost pursued it professionally (thanks goodness I didn’t) I love performance arts books as I find I can really get into the character’s head because I understood the pressures and the hustle and bustle.

Also, it’s got some great suspense…this is a book that keeps you flipping the pages.

What I’m Writing

Thanks to YABbootcamp, Team Defiance and the other participants have been keeping me accountable with my writing!

I’ve started revisions on what was my NA Urban Fantasy, but is now my YA Urban Fantasy. The revised book blurb is below, but I changed it from NA to YA, because I really enjoy YA. I like writing for that age group and something about it being NA felt too weird for me as I’m in that age group. I started rewriting it as YA and everything started to click in that way that when you’re reading over your own work you get shivers. So excited!!

THE UNALIGNED (The Sup Files #1) – When sixteen-year-old Bria Dauphine sets up shop as a freelance detective she figures, with her abilities, it’ll be easy money and will allow her to save more towards college than working at the local coffee shop—the only job she can get—would. Unfortunately, most of the cases she receives are requests from old ladies asking to her to find their cats, and old ladies don’t pay much, if at all.

But, when her best friend, a witch-in-training, goes missing, on the day of her claiming ceremony—the ceremony that decides whether she’ll belong to the side of the Light or the Dark supernaturals, Bria is New Orleans P.D.’s first go to gal because not only is she unaligned, meaning she’s free to go anywhere she pleases, she’s the best–well, technically, the only–clairvoyant in town. If she can get that nose of hers to work right.

To find her friend, and keep herself from another year staffing the front desk at her father’s hedge fund–a death sentence in itself–Bria teams up with Ty, a human whose life she saves on the first day of school. Together, it’ll be up to them to find the killer, before the case goes public and uncover the truth about Bria’s mother’s recent death—a truth on which the success of their case hinges. That is, of course, if the killer doesn’t find them first.

So much for easy money.

(Status: Rewriting/Revising – YA Urban Fantasy – think Veronica Mars meets The Dresden Files & Lost Girl)

You can view the inspirational Pinterest board here: http://www.pinterest.com/patrice93/the-sup-files/ (It’s one of my finest/favorite ones)

What Else I’ve Been Doing

elections spamMy college just had College Government Elections (which are actually taken quite seriously/run like real campaigns here) and being that I’m the president of our black student union and I’m the Multicultural Presidents Rep, I ended up on Elections Committee. It was a fun/stressful past couple weeks monitoring the candidates, coming up with the rules, etc…, but it’s over and I don’t have to be neutral anymore and my friend won CG President!

Other than that I’m working on freeing my life. I’ve been really busy this semester and last year. But my senior fall promises to be very chill as I won’t have any leadership positions (finally I have learned how to say no) and my classes are no where as difficult as the ones that are currently burying me in assignment after assignment. However, it’s cool because I’ll be at home in Texas this summer, actually I’ll be working in Austin, so I am ready for the summer to begin!

What Inspires Me Right Nowphoto (5)

SUMMMEEEERRRRRRRR! I think that’s about it, LOL. Oh, and my writing…it gets me up in the morning. At this point it is certainly not my classes as they’re killing me. However the week of April 20th starts of Spring Week which is basically a week of concerts, Marathon Monday, etc… it’s pure bliss. After that is finals and then summer 😀 (haha, I think you’ve got the message.) –> The bluebonnets are blooming in Texas (it was a picture I took during Spring Break)!

How is everything going for you? Are you excited for summer!?