Sunday, January 30, 2011

Team Peeta

Ever read The Hunger Games? I’m a Survivor girl so the notion of twenty-four teens exiled to who-knows-where to form alliances and eventually compete against one another for an ultimate prize resonated with me. And while The Hunger Games tended to be a little more, er… um… gruesome than my fave reality TV series, I found myself immersed in the drama, the conflict. And I found myself pulling for my favorite contestant.

Peeta Mellark.

Yes - I rooted for him to win the hunger games. But more importantly, I wanted him to win the heart of Katniss Everdeen.

Because he’d already won mine.

From the moment Katniss details how Peeta, the baker’s son, purposefully burnt bread so she would have something to eat, I swooned. But not Katniss. She led him on. She wrestled with feelings for him and another. And I read through the series, the whole time screaming, “The choice is easy! Peeta’s the nice guy! Pick Peeta!”

But why? Why not her best friend Gale? Why should she pick Peeta?

Why did I?

Yeah—WHY do I fall hopelessly in love with the Peetas? Why do I whole-heartedly support Team Edward? Why do I suffer through yet another over-dramatized House of Night for Heath? Or stand by Fang when all Max does is give him reason to fly away? I mean, gosh. They’re just book characters, right? How can I fall head over heels for a fictional character?

And then I realized… it’s what they represent. It’s what they provide.

Unconditional love.

Yep. They’re the Bruno Mars of fiction. The guys that would love their girl no matter what. No matter how many times they face rejection, hatred, other love interests. Their love is irrevocable. Peeta would die for Katniss. Would rather see her live and be happy. Heath Luck left any possibility of an eternity with Zoey so she could restore her shattered soul. Fang left so Maximum Ride could fulfill her destiny. And Edward always wanted Bella to be content. It’s an unwavering love. It’s not manipulative (ahem… Jacob). It’s not selfish. These guys would catch a grenade for the women they love. Would do anything so that they can be happy.

How can you NOT fall in love with THAT?

It's probably why unconditional love weaves a thread through my novels. And it is, without a doubt, why I am still hopelessly devoted to my husband whom I've been married to for sixteen years.

So yeah… nice guys may not finish first. Heck, they might not even finish second or third. But I stand by my conviction that they WILL be there at The End.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic, and then participate too!

This week's topic:

If you could live within the universe of one book, which would you choose?

Really. You mean I have to choose ONE?

Well, I really would like to live in Nyx's Otherworld (House of Night). Heath gets to fish, play football with all kinds of former greats, pretty much relax and do the things he enjoyed doing when he was alive. Unfortunately, if I lived there, that would mean I would have to die and well... I'm just not ready to do that. Still seems pretty cool though.

So I'll choose a galaxy far, far away, particularly in the forest of Endor. Ewoks are too cute and maybe they'll befriend and take care of me like they did Princess Leia.

But since Star Wars isn't tecnically a book (well, not till after the movie), I'll be oh-so-original and choose Harry Potter. Because I would really love to live in his magical world - to have a wand and apparate where I please - amazing.

Soooo... how about YOU blog readers?

What book universe would you choose?

Monday, January 24, 2011

and hearts...

A while back I published a post entitled Got Balls? Yeah—remember that one? (smh)

In it I talked about how I have to strap some on to write my current novel, described my attempts at trying to get inside a guy’s head (still not literally), the resources I use to write from a guy’s POV. I’m currently 55K in and revising. I’ve had a few critiques back and I feel like I’ve passed the testes test.

And then I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. And I’ve decided that I do not have balls.

And John Green and David Levithan do. (well, duh)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is indubitably the funniest book I’ve read in my life ever. EVER. It’s Hangover hilarity got me kicked out of the living room ten times and I could not put the book down, even after the third time reading it (and we all know I’m not a leftover girl).

So what's it about? And what makes it so hilarious?

First—there’s Will Grayson 1 (I’ll call him swg) who lives by two rules: 1) Don’t care too much and 2) Shut up. Everything unfortunate that has ever happened to me has stemmed from failure to follow one of the rules.

Unfortunately his best and only friend Tiny Cooper (PS - not tiny. at all) walks around caring too much and ceaselessly talking and through sheer proximity, makes it really, really hard for swg to follow either one of his rules.

Second—there’s will Grayson 2 (gwg). He pretty much knows one emotion—rage. i am constantly torn between killing myself and killing everyone around me. He lives with his abandoned mom, never capitalizes anything unless it’s large caps worthy, and he’d probably strike most people as a potential sadistic loser.

I however found him overwhelmingly endearing and absopositively hilarious. Here's one of my fav commentaries from gwg. On texting…

like lol. now, If anyone ever uses lol with me, i rip my computer right out of the nearest wall and smash it over the nearest head. i mean it’s not like anyone is laughing out loud about the things they lol. i think it should be spelled loll, like what a lobotomized person’s tongue does. loll. loll. i can’t think anymore. loll. loll!

or ttyl. you’re not actually talking. that would require actual vocal contact.
or <3. you think that looks like a heart? if you do, that’s only because you’ve never seen scrotum.

PS—will never look at <3 the same way ever again.

Third—the situations they find themselves in. Like when swg gets a fake id that makes him, um… 20. Or how the two Will Graysons actually meet. You will be crying and rofl (rolling on the floor laughing—yes, you really will) at the same time.

Fourth—Tiny Cooper. You can’t miss him. He’s a refrigerator with just as big of a heart. And he’s written a musical based on his life—Tiny Dancer which in swg’s words is the gayest single musical in all of human history. And by gay, I don’t mean that it sucks… as musicals go—(it’s) quite good. The songs are catchy. I’m particularly fond of “The Nosetackle” (Likes Tight Ends)…

So when the wgs’ worlds collide, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With the help of Tiny and other friends, the two of them learn to care, learn to take risks, learn to love and be loved.

With the coalescence of male characters that teenagers can relate to, authentic dialogue and voice, and believable yet totally outrageous situations, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a remarkable story of friendship and love. It’s about being yourself, about allowing yourself to love, to fall, and to fall in love. And that even the Tiny-est of friends can have the profoundest impact.

So there you have it. Go check out Will Graysons. It’s an easy read. Poke inside a guy’s head and get some cool life lessons. And trust me. You really will lol. A lot.

Till Wednesday, peeps. Hugs and <3. loll

Save the Cat Contest

Want to enter a contest for one of the best books on crafting a winning screenplay (or novel)?

I do! And while I'd love to hoard any and all entries for myself so I can win, I'm sharing the opportunity with you!

Click here to enter. NOW! What are you waiting for?!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


One of my critique partners, Margo, published this amazeballs post the other day entitled Drunk On Writing. I was inspired and am, uh... creatively stealing from her.

In her post she described her excitement of jumping out of bed knowing that she’d be able to write and how she didn’t want to crawl out from under the covers when she knew her to-do list wouldn’t warrant efficient writing time. And she offered up this Ray Bradbury quote:

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Drunk on writing.


How I wish I were thoroughly inebriated.

Oh how I long for the good ol' days when I was drunk on writing. Days when I’d force myself to shut down my computer at midnight and would spring out of bed at four A.M. to write some more. When my mind would be deliriously dizzy and I couldn’t spit out my words fast enough. Stories spun in my head. It was like a movie playing in my mind. And my to-do list was a hazy fog I’d later sober up to. Writing stories was a high I never wanted to come down from. And when I did, a fabulously wonderful hangover lingered until I could jump off the reality wagon again.

But I haven’t gotten hammered like that for well over a year.

And that sucks.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had a little buzz going here and there, but nothing, NOTHING like the welcomed delirium when I wrote my first two projects.

Why? Well it has a little something to do with that veritable time suck called life. I mean, I’ve always been a busy bee before, but the past year I've found myself with less quality chunks of time to write.

Frankly, reality's been destroying me. And I need some writing intoxication. Bad.

And sadly, I’ve not been in the zone lately. Ideas are there, but I’m not cultivating them. Sometimes I'm afraid that as soon as I start writing, I’ll have to stop. Sometimes I’m afraid I won’t be able to start.

But just the other day, I had one of those two A.M. epiphanies—one that set my brain mixer to whirl. Five days later, my head’s still spinning with characters and plot lines.

And bonus—this weekend I have been afforded an opportunity to write… hours and hours—just me and my netbook. I can just feel the words surfacing at the tips of my fingers, awaiting the chance to be vomited onto the page. You say ew? I say HEAVEN!

So I’m crazy excited about my weekend. Because I plan to get rip-roaring smashed. Not with alcohol, peeps. But with writing. And I hope I have legendary stories worth telling and a massive hangover that lasts for days.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Up 2011?!

Since we're about three weeks into the new year, I thought I'd share my Writer-ly Goals - you know - stuff I'd like to accomplish. And at the end of the year, I'll revisit... and see how far off I was. Hee. Just kidding.

1) Query current project aka TAYLOR (well, that's its nickname - real title to be disclosed if said book ever hits the shelves)

2) Finish my current project aka STING (again not the real title - not sharing that one because I'm afraid somebody might steal it - yep... it's that good. haha)

3) Start a new project (okay I already wrote half the first chapter) and maybe, just maybe finish that one. Alias? LUCAS - and no, not Star Wars related.

4) Finish my fun book (sequel to one of my first projects)

5) Post an average of three blogs a week

6) Exercise at least five times a week - how is this "writer-ly"? Well, exercise is just so mind-opening. I resolve a lot of plot issues while I'm on the elliptical. And - bonus - I may just be able to sport my bikini again.

7) Read 100 books. Yes. ONE HUNDRED. Believe it or not, this one's the most doable. I read on average 2-3 books a week (usually the latter)


ambitious much?

Okay - so I set lofty goals. But as I preach to my students: Set the bar high. Even if you fall a little short, you've still accomplished mucho.

So... what are some of YOUR goals for 2011?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Deflated... Not Defeated

Here’s a pic of me and my boo

yes – my boyfriend is an ass

Normally my bf and I complement each other with our yin-yangy personalities. I’m the gung-ho optimistic one. He’s the dark and dismal realist. And our conversations sound a bit like this…

Eeyore: Building yourself a house is a good idea. But don’t be surprised if it ends up on the other side of the wood.*

Me: That’s probably where all the best thistles are!


Eeyore: Just because you hear a buzzing-noise coming from a tree doesn’t mean you’re going to get any honey.

Me: Well, if not I’ll sure get a fun climb out of it!

However, for the past three weeks, Glumbo’s infiltrated my brain with his ├╝ber-gloom. And lately I’ve found myself finishing his thoughts instead of countering them…

Eeyore: When your tail is missing, remember that you have every right to mope.

me: yep. And even if they find your tail, it will have to be reattached. With a hammer and nail.

Eeyore: There are those who will tell you good morning.

me: If it is a good morning, which is doubtful.

Why've I been so gloomy?

Well, it has a little something to do with that R-word. Big no from the agent who “totally wants my book.” Right after Christmas. And rather than project my freakoid depressivism over the entire blogosphere, I saved it all for Facebook. Which probably explains the significant drop in my friend count.

But whatevs. It’s all good. I just used the past three weeks to mope and get over it. And indulge in massive quantities of alcohol. Just kidding. I did write a little, read (A LOT), and spent somewhat quality time with the family.

Fortunately for you, the funky fog is clearing. And considering I never really queried the book anyway, well, I may just decide to put myself out there again.

And why not? Tomorrow's MLK day. It’s a time to dream. And a time to turn those dreams into a reality. So instead of listening to Eeyore, I'll hearken some Dr. King inspiration.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

As for my most recent convo with the donkey...

Eeyore: We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.

Me: Well, count me in the “some” that do.

I have a dream too, people. And you can bet I’m going to work my “Eeyore” off to make sure that dream comes true.

*PS –quotes from Eeyore’s gloomy Little Instruction Book. Yes—I own a copy. Pathetic, I know.