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

Advertisements

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?

What’s Up Wednesday!!!

WUWAutumn60

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

THIS: Haha, not really.

books my room

I need to read faster as I’m running out of space in my room!

#bookpeopleproblems #Cybils (…The whole purpose of the Kindle my dad got me before I left for college was so I could stop buying physical copies (because they take up space), so much for that.)

photo 1Currently, I’m reading SORROW’S KNOT by Erin Bow. I’ve heard some amazing things about this book and its author. It’s wonderful, beautiful, and rich. Also, take this for a first sentence, “The girl who remade the world was born in winter.” Who wouldn’t keep reading after an opening like that?!

I think I’m going to start doing a weekly roundup of YA books from 2013 I’m reading/have read. Maybe with some giveaways or five? Haha, I love books but I need to get rid of some of these…I am a college student after all. (LOL, I would love to see my parents faces if I shipped home a box of books…they’d probably tell me I need to start renting storage for all my books. My dad would “joke” about giving them away and my mom would ask what’s the point in having all of them.)

What I’m Writing

This should be renamed What I’m Revising (-__-).

Okay, it’s not that bad, I actually love revisions, yeah, I’m one of those writers…

photo 31. I’m revising ALEX DE VEGA. It hurts to say this, especially since I did get a request from the query (that’s still out on consideration!!! (I’m *trying* not to think about it)), but I think I might have jumped into querying too soon. I mean, it did go through revisions and reads but it was hands down my fastest write/read/revision cycle for a MS. That being said, I don’t think a lot needs to be changed, mainly the beginning which, when you’re querying, is everything…

2. I’ve been MS hoping a lot. I started writing this MG Fantasy/Adventure then a YA High Fantasy then a YA Sci-Fi Snow White Retelling (oh, yeah, it’s as good as it sounds…no biases here of course ;)). But then, thanks to Meg Cabot I was able to get back on track. You see, there’s this thing I do, that Meg knows about all too well…cheating. I have a tendancy to start one MS, preach about how I’m sososo in love with it then start another, “better” one, then another. Eventually I’m “working” on two to three projects and I say “working” because in reality, I’m not making any real progress with any of them. So, I’m back to the MG, it’s tentatively titles THE ARTIFACT COLLECTOR. I’m in love with it, I’ve received some amazing feedback from my Writing For Children class (more on this later), and though the story at time is hard the characters came so easily, as with Alex, because I have two siblings who are just like Kaia & Aaron.

The Blurb

After the disappearance of his batty yet kind aunt, Aaron Claremont and his sister Kaia inherit an antique shop holding artifacts from myths and fairy tales.  Now, in order to save her, they must journey to the Otherworld, a place where creatures/gods of myth and magic live, to defeat an evil sorcerer who wishes to take over the shop and thus the two worlds.

See the inspirational/companion Pinterest board! Also, if you want to check out my other WIPs, visit my writer website!

What Else I’ve Been Doing

It’s almost finals time, yay!!! Haha, no but really, I’m thrilled because that means it’s almost time for me to go home, finally *whew*. Notice, I didn’t say anything about Thanksgiving…well, that’s because my Thanksgiving break shall consist of me sitting in my room, writing papers with the occasional break to watch TV (i.e. catch up on Scandal & The Originals). Yep, that’s my life. If I have any followers in High School, cherish these moments. 

OKay, I honestly don’t know who I’m kidding. I “liked” HS (& middle & elementary) but college is great. I never would’ve realized my penchant for writing novels in 1-3 months had I not been in a place where that was as much time I could afford to devote to them, and that’s a stretch. Also, I’ve met some amazing people. Including…the people in my Writing For Children class. It’s amazing. I’ve been wanting to take this course since my first year and I finally managed to snag a seat. It’s a small class (<15 students), and we’re all such amazing writers. I can’t wait until we’re all published and I can say I remember that book when it was yay high. (not that I ever say things like that)

This has spurred me to consider, in addition to my honors thesis for PoliSci, an independent study with my professor of this class, who has already volunteered. Looks like I’ll I’ll be doing Senior year is writing. I think that’ll be the real test of my writing abilities. Well, thank goodness for Junior Spring since it doesn’t look like I’ll have much time to celebrate Senior Spring.

What Inspires Me Right Now

As some of you may know, I’m a bit obsessed with inspirational quotes. I currently have an amazing Muhammad Ali poster (with one of his quotes about the will needed to be a champion) beside my work desk and I plan on getting a Bruce Lee one (w/ a quote about doing instead of just thinking about accomplishing something) to compliment it.

Here’s one for thought:

confucius man mountain

Also, since I’m in Middle Grade Madness/Heaven right now, I’m inspired by the people I began writing these books for, my siblings. I write my YA for my younger self but my MG is all for them. I suspect that’s why dialogue comes so easy, I’m just remembering all the crazy things they say. Love y’all (see you soon!).

How have you been?  What’s inspiring you or rather, how do you inspire yourself?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

P.S. If you’re in the Boston area, mark your calendars for this event (it’s THIS Sunday!)

time traveling YA

What’s Up Wednesday!

WUWAutumn60

It’s What’s Up Wednesday time (a little later than usual but I’m getting back used to posting).  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

photo (34)Right now I’m reading everything.  I’m a first round panelist for Cybils YA Spec Fic so I have a long list of things on my already hellish list of to-reads.  However on Monday I went to a reading and Q&A at my school by authors Karen Russell and Maud Casey (you can read my recap of the event here).  At the event, I got copies of a book of each of theirs.  The book pictured is one of Maud Casey’s short story collections.  I’m only on the second story, but I highly recommend it.  It’s all about “how we survive through modern cries of loss and love through the lives of emotional and geographic nomads.”  It’s eerie, poignant, and reflective.  Also, they’re short stories so I can pick it up, read one and not feel bad about putting it down (unlike when I’m reading novels).

What I’m Writing

woman warrior holding swordI’ve started this amazing WIP that I talked a bit about in my last What’s Up Wednesday post (I decided to go with the fantasy one).  It’s a YA (Upper YA) Epic Fantasy about two girls who must go on a voyage, in a land where magic is strictly forbidden, to find this place where magic lives on in order to overthrow an evil ruler and bring peace to their land.

The picture to the left was one of the inspirations for the story.  It was this really weird moment when I was writing one story, that eventually became my MG MS, ALEX DE VEGA, yet as I was browsing through Pinterest, I kept thinking of another story.  I found the picture of the woman holding the sword, then some more pictures (see my boards for the main characters Alala and Eva).  Then I found the pictures of the girls on both the boards and instantly knew, I had to tell this story.

It’s told in 3rd person, dual POV so this is like a new arena for me.  I think it’s going to be very fun and challenging.  I’m looking forward to all the exciting research I have lined up for the story (I love story research).  The research is important because though this is a new story, I want it to be reminiscent of a very old tale that has been passed down for generations.  I want it to be covered in/supported by mythology and legends from different lands and times.  I love epic fantasy and I’ve been wanting to write on forever, I just never thought I was ready.  This is me saying I’m ready to do this.  It’s going to be so much fun!  Also, what I’ve just written will hopefully serve as encouragement for those days when all I want to do is abandon ship.  I’m tentatively calling in DAUGHTERS OF THE PROPHECY because I need a title, I’m not too attached to it so we shall see where it takes me!

What Else I’ve Been Doing

Let’s see…SHP/C blog tours are underway.  and I’m working on another one.  College is wonderful.  My father arrives tomorrow and is staying until Sunday.  I’ve really been trying to enrich myself into writing and living so I’ve been doing what I want to do when I want to do it, going to some amazing lectures, and most of all spending time with friends.  It’s actually one of my friend’s birthday today!!  After my father leaves, on Sunday, I’m declaring a writing cave for Sunday and the rest of Fall Break (Monday & Tuesday).  I have some edits to finish on a previous WIP, now completed MS, and, of course, I have some very fun research to do for DAUGHTERS OF THE PROPHECY.

Like I said, I’m a Cybils YA Spec-Fic judge so I’ve started to read some amazing books.  It’s like someone just gave me permission/a reason to read every book on my MUST READ list.  I’m in heaven…I’m also glad I’m not a second round judge, I don’t know how they pick one winner (of course, I don’t know how we’re going to pick a final shortlist).

What Inspires Me Right Now

photo (38)

I don’t know if you can read this but it’s a goal list, just writing for now, of things I want to accomplish.  It’s posted on my wall, above my desk.  I see it every time I open my computer aka 24/7.  I’m sure we’re all heard about the importance of writing goals down, that it’s like a public commitment to what you want to accomplish.  The goals might seem a little far fetched or hard for someone to understand but for me, they’re very simple.

With my first MS, BLOOD OF ISIS, I wrote down on my calendar the date I would have it finished.  I kind of forgot about that date halfway through that summer then I saw it, realizing the date was only twenty days away.  I didn’t finish that first draft by those twenty days, but I did finish it by the thirtieth day.  Writing down your goals will keep you in check and on track.  Every time I look at them, when I’m derping around on Facebook or wasting my time some other way, I stop what I’m doing and get back at what I should be doing.  it’s not foolproof, you have to want to accomplish those goals but it’s working.

This is what’s inspiring me, and I look forward to the new year when I can cross off, the first three goals.

How have you been?  What’s inspiring you or rather, how do you inspire yourself?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

What’s Up Wednesday: I’m Baaacck!

WUW

(ooo, lookly they changed the button…pretty!)

Hello wonderful people!  It’s What’s Up Wednesday time for the first time in many many weeks on this blog.  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

17286818I have so many books on my tbr it’s ridiculous.  I’ve also received a lot of ARCs lately whether in giveaways or contests or from publishers so I really just need to up my reading A game.  Right now I’m reading RELATIVITY by Cristin Bishara.  It’s been on my Kindle forever (sadness), and I meant to finish it before it came out (failed) but I’m almost there now.  It’s about this super smart girl (love that!!) who finds a wormhole to nine alternate realities of her life…including one in which her mother is still alive.

It’s great, it’s poignant, and it’s really thought-provoking.  I’m sure there have been times we all haven’t been happy with our lives, thought that if just that one thing hadn’t happened the way it did, everything would still be the way it used to be.  Well, this is that book, and as I read it I’m learning a lot about the importance of loving your present and making the best of every situation.

You can check the full blurb out on the author’s website!

What I’m Writing

ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX IS FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s for those of you who recall that on July 31st (my last WUW post) I was at 15,000 words.  Buyah!

I did edits and I have to say it’s my cleanest MS yet.  Obviously I’m biased but it’s really good.   Damn, go me!! Now I’m at this really odd place where I have to decide if I want to go back to revising BLOOD OF ISIS or start a new MS.  Well, technically I already started a new one.  It’s actually an old one since I’m not allowed to start any new ones until I complete all of my WIPS, which are at various stages of being finished.  It’s just that it’s this scary new point where I basically have to start all over.  I think this will be my hardest MS to write, if I actually write it, which I might not since I’ve been on/off with it for a while now.

It’s tentatively titles WHIMSICALLY YOURS (idk why), and it’s about a young girl who is queer and black and enters her sophomore year at a new school miles away from everything she has ever known.  It’s her story of the ups, the downs, and ultimately forging for herself the person she wants to be.  There’s a TED talk that further inspired this story.  However it’s a Contemporary novel and though, for now, I’m just working on forming a strong MC, there are some heavy bits I’ve always known will be included that are from my own life.  Some not so happy moments.

Contemporary is hard because it’s so raw and fresh, there’s nothing to hide behind.  I might end up putting it in a fantasy setting.  In fact there’s another WIP I have, titled UNTITLED (for now), about a medieval-esque world where magic is strictly forbidden and those who posses it are hunted and killed two young women, one a princess and one a warrior mage, must journey to a far land, where magic is rumored to still exist, in order to gain the skills necessary to defeat the ruthless emperor and bring peace to their lands.  I know they seem completely unrelated but they’re not.  I guess it’s really just a matter of whether or not I want to write an “issue book” or a book where the MC happens to be queer.  And I don’t even know if there will be romance, it might just focus on two girls who forge a strong friendship like Code Name Verity (which I still have not scooped up the courage to read).

Okay, this section was longer than expected.  I’m done.

What Else I’ve Been Doing

I have been collegeing.  Haha.  I’ve been loving my classes.  I’m taking three Political Sciences classes, two of which are Political Theory (yes, I know I’m crazy but I love crazy), and a Writing for Children course that I adore.  The professor of my Writing for Children course is an author herself, Susan Meyer, and she’s phenomenal.  Right now we’re focusing on Picturebooks (we’ll do MG &YA later).  I never thought I could write a PB until I had to for class.  It’s so fun and what a great stress release, abandoning myself to such a simple childlike state.  The other day she had us draw a house, any house for a character to live in.  I drew the Seelie Queen’s lair from ALEX DE VEGA, I must admit it was pretty darn good for someone who always says she couldn’t draw to save her life.

In addition, I’ve been working a lot on my Internship with Spencer Hill Press/Contemporary.  We have two books RECLAIMED & THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM both coming out back to back so that’s kind of exciting especially since I’ve been organizing the blog tours, not as easy as I thought but still fun.

Oh and I’m a 1st round judge (panelist) for YA Spec Fic for the Cybils.  I’m so excited to read YA 24/7.  I’ve read some amazing YA Spec Fic this year so I’m pumped to immerse myself in YA.  Afterward I’ll probably be so sick of YA that I’ll only read MG or Contemporary for a year (doubt it).  However I do have a feeling that I’m about to get very good at picking up on similar trends which will be great for my writing so that I’m even more driven to write something fresh and new.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Myself.

This is probably one of the hardest quotes for me to accept yet one that is very true.  Believing in myself &amp; persevering has gotten me far, very far.  I just have to keep believing in myself or as Dory says, "Just keep swimming."

I posted the above picture and below text on my tumblr the other day:

“This is probably one of the hardest quotes for me to accept yet one that is very true.  Believing in myself & persevering has gotten me far, very far.  I just have to keep believing in myself or as Dory says, “Just keep swimming.“”

How have you been?  What’s inspiring you?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC