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!

kiss me za

<–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

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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!?

What’s Up Wednesday!

Good morning, everyone! This is my first What’s Up Wednesday post in over a month (Junior Spring has not been kind…) so I’m excited to share what’s up!

What’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

 the lost planetYesterday, I received this absolutely beautiful signed hardback of THE LOST PLANET by Rachel Searles (MG Sci-Fi Thriller) (that I won in a YA Buccaneers giveaway). I didn’t get a chance to start reading it yesterday, but since I’m “home sick” I’ll be reading, likely all of it, today!

Also, I recently finished UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan (YA Dystopian), which has two amazing + accurate comp titles, Minority Report meets The Scarlett Letter. I LOVED it. Full review to come!

Oh, and I’m reading a couple MSs for friends & CPs, but that’s been on hold as I don’t want to critique people’s work when I’m sleepy & sick.

What I’m Writing

I’m finishing revising BLOOD OF ISIS (YA Contemporary Fantasy)…yes, again but I have a pretty good feeling this is going to be the final one as everything is clicking beautifully.

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

The sharp smell of spices, meats, and perfumes collided as I walked through the Khan El-Khalili bazaar. People zoomed in and out like cars on a highway, touching trinkets, jingling jewelry, and clinging to cloth. French, English, and Arabic’s many dialects intertwined throughout the aisles while I stood in the middle of the madness, fighting for my sanity.

A car honked and a radio blared reminding me that though the bazaar harkened of a distant time, it was grounded in the twenty-first century. Beside me was a group of tourists, ooing and ahing at the pretty silks hanging from a beam in front of them. The vendor lied to one of the women, telling her in his broken English how one such scarf would complement her fiery hair. On my other side were several children, deep in a game of tag. My eyes flitted over them to the mob of people behind them whose faces blurred until they resembled the Monet landscapes at my favorite museum, the Musee d’Orsay. I sighed as my left hand grazed over the frayed edges of my passport. Hollywood had it all wrong. There was nothing glamorous about having an Egyptologist for a mom. Rarely was there a familiar face anywhere we went.

I pushed through the knotted isles and came out on the other side. I held out my arms as warmth rippled through my skin, encasing me in a golden glow. I smiled. Cairo might not be home, but at least it wasn’t London.

This MS has gone from 1st person to 3rd back to 1st, but I think that’s what made the writing  so much richer. Also, I love how diverse and alive the world and characters are 🙂

In addition, I received some phenomenal critique from an agent and an editor, at the SCBWI Winter Conference this pat weekend (more on that later) that enabled me to make a few tiny yet amazing changes to the beginning of ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX, MG Sci-Fi Thriller (link goes to new beginning).

What Else I’ve Been Doing

Running around everywhere, which has been both good and bad, yet is probably the cause of my sick state (that & the fluctuating Boston weather).

photo 1 (3)However, I won the SCBWI Student Writer Scholarship and got the chance to go to NYC for the Winter Conference!! I couldn’t stay the entire time (started feeling feverish), but I did receive some amazing feedback, met some twitterpeeps (unfortunately left before pictures were taken), and got to eat at my favorite Parisian themed restaurant, outside of Paris, Cafe Lalo.

photo 2 (3)

..more to come in a full post either tomorrow or Friday 🙂

I restarted querying ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX thanks to my now fixed beginning. The full/partial was/is out with a few agents, and I had this feeling that something about the query just wasn’t working for me, but all has been improved so I’m ready to jump through the ring(s) of fire once more!

The literary society I’m in (it’s kind of like a sorority, but with a heavy focus on literature in addition to social events) got ten new ZAbabies (the society is called Zeta Alpha). They’re super amazing, most of them being sophomores & first-years, and I can’t wait to share the traditions of the club with them 🙂

What Inspires Me Right Now

photo (1)I decorated my room (adding a couple quote posters, some decorated with owls <3).

<– This quote stands above the rest and is directly above my desk so when I sit down to write I am eye level with it.

It’s so interesting because the black student org, Ethos, that I’m the president of had a speaker yesterday who during a Q&A session said those exact words (she, Joan Morgan, is a writer). It was like fate. So yeah, that is what inspires me right now.

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

What’s Up Wednesday (Happy 2014!!!)

Good morning, everyone! This is my first What’s Up Wednesday post of the new year, and this year I pledge to actually post them on the morning of 🙂 …What’s What’s Up Wednesday???  It’s 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

I’ve been reading Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, it’s my “slow read” book, meaning I’ve been reading for the past few days, indulging in the language. It’s a beautiful book. It reminds me of the movie Hidalgo, a favorite of mine, mixed with a lot of rare (as in not as popularized) mythology. It harkens of something old and rich. She’s a master storyteller!

I’m also finishing SALT by Danielle Ellison. It’s her YA debut from Entangled Teen, and I highly recommend it for someone looking for a fun read. It has witches and a hot guys! Speaking of hot guys, I’m starting to get into NA. I just bought Kelly Hashway writing as Ashleyn Drake’s Romancing the R.A. I love how the protagonists are around my age, and are going through things I went through/I’m scared about…like finding a job *shudder*.

What I’m Writing

A few days ago I started writing this amazing New Adult Urban Fantasy that I’m absolutely in love with. Like, I LOVE my MC. Now, usually I don’t allow myself to “cheat” as Meg Cabot calls it and follow my shiny new ideas. But, 1. I had just finished some major revisions & rewrites and was having revision/writing in general fatigue 2. so, since I hadn’t worked on my other WIPs in a while I decided why not. It was just what I needed, writing something fun that also challenges me as a writer.

Here’s the working blurb and I’d like to think it’ll become/it was inspired by The Dresden Files meets Lost Girl (a show I’ve been binging on since December).

When recent college grad Bria Thurman sets up shop as a freelance detective she figures, with her abilities, it’ll be easy money and will pay more 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 human cop, goes missing, while working on a set of grisly murders that’s got prominent New Orleanians showing up dead, Bria is the Supernatural, or Sup Council’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 working at her father’s hedge fund–a death sentence in itself–Bria must team up with a Sup cop, Ty, a wizard who’s a little too dark for her liking. Together, it’ll be up to them to find the killer, before the case goes public. That is, of course, if the killer doesn’t find them first.

So much for easy money.

It’s perfect for me as with a little more than one year of school left, post grad is something very present (even when I ignore it, everyone brings it up). Here’s a link to an excerpt if you want to read more!

What Else I’ve Been Doing

me and ponyA lot of wonderful relaxing and the holidays. My mom got me a pair of footie PJs for Christmas, and I’m about to go to Target and buy all of them. It’s so soft and hands down the best Christmas present ever (other than getting to escape the cold North and spend time with my family in TX). I also got some really comfy sweats from Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line. Basically, I’ve been lounging, a lot. I’m currently at my dad’s house in “the country,”, and it’s great. So refreshing & inspiring. I had such a stressful semester, this is just what I needed 🙂

<–there’s me trying to take a selfie in my footie PJs on Christmas Day, and that’s my newest Build-A-Bear (haha, I’m a little obsessed) 🙂 (Yes, I adore My Little Pony, it’s a favorite of me and my sisters.)

Also, I’m now an Associate Publicist at Spencer Hill Contemporary!! I have two clients of my own. I love the company and people so much as well as how, because it’s remote, I have the flexibility to shift my work around as I need to. Deciding to intern there was probably one of my best decisions as I love so many Spencer Hill Press/Contemp books. So, yay!!!

What Inspires Me Right Now

ms firzzle words of wisdomThe new year and the sense of a clean slate that it brings. 2013 was my year of me, and I’m really glad I dedicated last year to taking care of myself and doing more things I love. In addition to that, and working on being a better daughter, friend, etc…I wrote a post that’s up now titled ‘New Year’s Resolution: Making Better Art.’ That’s basically what I want to accomplish this year. My only real, real concrete goal is to be represented by a literary agent by the end of the year.

<–also, Ms. Frizzle’s timeless words from The Magic School Bus, always!

Happy New Year, and I hope it’s everything you want it to be and more! I’m off to go pitch my MG at #PitMad!!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

What’s Up Wednesday!

WUW Winter Holly 1(So pretty!)

It’s What’s Up Wednesday time!  What’s What’s Up Wednesday?  Well… It’s this super cool awesome 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!”

What I’m Reading

13517455I’m finishing up REBOOT by Amy Tintera. This book is everything I hoped it would be (The Republic of Texas…hehe, I love it! *proud Texan*). I’ll have a review up sometime this week but the budding romance feels real, Wren is hilarious yet stoic (she’s my girl), and the world is unfortunately believable. Kudos to Tintera, she rocked this one. I’m not even done with the book and I can confidentially say it’s one of my favorite read of the year, of course, I’m sure by the time I’m done I’ll be crying or something.

I think I’m going to read PIVOT POINT by Kasie West next. Cybils has been just the push I needed to read all these wonderful 2013 reads, here’s hoping my to-read list will decrease!!

What I’m Writing

Today, I’ll be working on my MG, THE ARTIFACT COLLECTOR about two children who inherit a shop with magical artifacts from around the world and are forced to go into the “Otherworld” to find their lost aunt. Here’s a scene from it (I finished this the other day and am pleasantly surprised by how much I like it.):

Kaia is 9, her brother Aaron, is 12, they’re in their aunt’s antique shop…

Kaia stopped when she saw the scene below. Swords fought swords, books did somersaults through the air, vials were pouring out their contents. A sea of madness flowed before them, and Aunt Edith was nowhere.

One lone sword noticed the two siblings and left its post by the front door to charge at them. “Run,” yelled Aaron pushing Kaia up the stairs. She ran, only to have her leg slip through the floorboards. “Aaron,” she called.

Aaron ducked to avoid the sword, causing it to wedge itself into the wall. It wiggled around like a fish caught in a fisherman’s net, trying to set itself free.

Aaron rushed to Kaia and grabbed hold of her hand. He’d almost pulled her out when the sword fell to the ground, flipping and flopping, before charging once more at the two siblings.

Aaron let go of his sister’s hand in order to dodge the sword. He looked around, trying to find something to defend himself. Seconds before the sword attacked, he noticed a loose part of thee stair rail. He yanked at the post and raised it in front of him, just in time. The sword pressed against his wooden stick, he pushed back, swiftly moving it to the left. After this, he was taking up fencing.

The sword swiped again but this time, Aaron wasn’t fast enough and it produced a tiny cut on his cheek. He winced, and the sword knocked the wooden staff from his hand. The sword reared back then charged once more, aiming right for Kaia.

“Stop,” yelled Aaron, throwing his body over her. His body heaved, matching her heavy breaths. He closed his eyes yet nothing happened. Pushing off Kaia, he peeked. The sword had fallen to ground, lying still as if it had never attacked them in the first place. All around them, everything had stopped. Books lay strewn across the floor, one on top of the other. Some with pages ripped, others sliced in half thanks to the lifeless swords lying beside them. Shards of glass blanketed the ground and pieces of jewelry hung from the bookshelves and cabinets like fruit on a tree.

It seemed Aaron had found the magic word. Now if only they could find Aunt Edith. What would they tell her? Would she believe they hadn’t made this mess?

What Else I’ve Been Doing

My friends and I have been getting ready for our Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow! I’m really excited (& nervous) as this is my first time away from home for Turkey Day but I am looking forward to spending it with friends. I’m still recovering from a cold, I really don’t know what’s wrong with my body, but as per usual, I’m blaming it on this weather. The more and more I think I want to live & work in publishing in NYC, the less that becomes a reality as I don’t think my body is suited for this kind of weather. Three weeks until home 🙂

Oh, I’ve also been watching lots of TV. I picked up Arrow. I have a MAJOR problem with the way women are portrayed in some of these shows (e.g. wearing a low buttoned shirt to work…not realistic) But, I think it’s officially time I stop acting like I don’t like the CW’s teen shows. Everyone’s just so pretty (which is a problem in and of itself as personally, I look back on my high school days and cringe). However, I’m about to watch the latest episode of The Originals right after I finish this post 🙂

What Inspires Me Right Now

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I’m inspired by friends and family. As well as by my inner strength. As though as I am with myself, I’m very proud of me. I have no doubt that whatever I chose to do, will turn out right in the end.

I’m also inspired by other writers, their stories (of perseverance and struggle and success) and their books. We’re a pretty boss group of people. It’s wonderful to know that.

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you find ways to inspire yourself and be inspired!! What’s going on with you?