Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (and Ready. Set. WRITE! Update #2)

 
What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
 
 
What I'm Reading:  This was some kind of stupendous
It took me a little longer than normal to read this book, not because it wasn't great (it was BEYOND amazing), but because I wanted to prolong Jase and Samantha's relationship. The book is 394 pages and I wanted it to be longer. Like, A LOT longer. Here's a back of the book shout out from Simone Elkeles: Jase and Samantha have a heart-warming romance every girl will envy.
Uh-huh. And then some.
 
Currently Alison-come-lately is reading THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS by Carolyn Mackler. I'm only two chapters in, but I am completely adoring Virginia Shreves.  How about YOU? What are you reading this week?
What I'm Writing:
 
 
 
 My goal this week was to write 5K and I achieved it. *pats back* I'm approaching that murky middle and my inner editor is rearing her ugly head, so the words are not coming as fast, but I love that I have Ready. Set. WRITE! to keep me accountable.
Last week I shared a little and I wanted to thank you for all your kind words! Again! I'm not going to share an excerpt this week, but I will share a clip from a movie that inspired a scene I wrote (this is one of the diamonds in the rough and TOTALLY keeping)



Totally wanted to see Monsters University after that. Guess who got to see it? My kids. While I was at a Zac Brown concert. I know…choices.
I also wrote another diamond that has That's What She Said written all over it. And yes—totally keeping that one too.
This week, I want to write another 5K. I'm with family and vacationing all week, but I'm still going for it! I REALLY want to be at my midpoint by mid-July. How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!
 
OH—and just a few reminders as you post your goals for the week 
1) please make sure you sign up on the What's Up Wednesday linky. That way we can all stay connected and hop around and share with each other!
2) If you get a chance, we would love it if you could  surf the RSW link list (click here) and try to comment on a few new blogs each week, since the whole point of Ready. Set. Write! is to meet new writers and support each other in our goals. Who knows—you might find your writing soul mate and new betas or critique partners by branching out and visiting new blogs!
 
3) Join in with us on a twitter writing party. Or host your own! They're so fun and SO productive. I think Elodie has most of us in a group list now. Just visit the group or hit up the hashtag #readysetwrite to see when we'll be hosting another one!
What Inspires Me Right Now: So, this is going to sound a little self-centered, but rereading my own work. I start most writing sessions by rereading what I wrote the day before or some other part of my story and sometimes that's the boost I need to get my fingers moving across the keyboard.
What Else I've Been Up To:
As mentioned earlier, this non-country gal saw these guys in concert
 
 
 My husband loves country (actually he loves all music) and so off to Raleigh we went for our second annual Zac Brown concert. Yes, I did say second. I did endure country music again, but Zac Brown isn't your normal country artist. The guy plays Aerosmith. And Dave Matthews. And this year he added Metallica and Led Zepplin to the set list. I love all those artists! I really had a good time and I definitely see another Zac Brown concert in my future. J
Sunday I put my fourteen year old on a plane ALL BY HERSELF. And . . . AND she had to switch planes. I think I stopped breathing until she landed four hours later. But she arrived at destination safely and is having a blast with her amazing aunt and uncle and cousin Cole!
And Monday I put in the official paperwork to resign from my teaching gig. I'll miss it, but VERY EXCITED about being around for my freshman and fourth grader next year.
What's up on YOUR Wednesday?  


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (and Ready. Set. WRITE! Update!)

 
What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
 
What I'm Reading:  I finished this
 
My dear friend Karen Amanda Hooper wrote it and my awesome CP and friend Alexandra Shostak designed the cover. GORGEOUS writing inside; beautiful cover outside. Oh—and the story is heart-wrenching and page-turning from the get go and breath-taking throughout. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!
Currently I'm reading MY LIFE NEXT DOOR (Huntley Fitzpatrick) and I am IN LOVE. With George. With Jase. With EVERYTHING.
What I'm Writing:
 
 
My goal this week was to write 5K on the new story. I wrote 7K. BUT before you gasp and clap and yell WAY TO GO! please know that I write VERY crappy first drafts full of lots of CRAP. 
Okay, really it's not THAT BAD, and there are definitely some diamonds in that crap, but I know…I just know I'll probably only end up keeping half those words. This is how I have to write, guys. I have to force the inner editor into sleep mode (REALLY HARD, btw) and just WRITE. It's forward progress. Nonetheless. J
Last week I shared a little and I wanted to thank you for all your kind words! It's very scary to share work period, but I'm getting braver. And, um…I'm going to share again! *hides*
 
And just in case you missed out on my little (haha) excerpt, my story centers around seventeen-year-old twins Alexandra and Axle Reed whose interests (and personalities) are about as connected as baseball and the theater. Perfect twin Alexandra is the glorified virgin of Titan Heights; Axle's the celebrated punk. Last week I shared a blurb from Axle. This week I thought I'd share a little excerpt from Alexandra, my  wannabe drama diva. In this draft, at times, she feels a little too on the surface, so I have a lot of notes to myself about going back in and layering her, giving her more depth, (which is weird because she is so much like ME), and making her slightly more likeable. But this part I'll share shows a bit more of her vulnerable side (I think)…
 
Okay, so I will just shut up and share already. J
 
On my way to study hall I have to pass by the auditorium again and that wretched callback list disparages me from its spot on the auditorium doors. Cassidy French stands in front of it—back to me—and I wonder if this is the first time she’s bothered to look at it all day. I would like to say that I keep right on walking, force my chin up, and ignore her and all her glorious beauty, but I’m frozen several feet away from her. I’m drawn in by her leather mini-skirt and her knee-length boots and her flawlessly teased blond hair and it dawns on me how much she looks like Sandy at the end of Grease. My heart falters. She’s stolen my future husband and now she’s going to steal my part.
            As if I’ve stirred her thoughts, she turns around, sees me staring, and flashes me a condescending grin before strutting toward me and offering me a “congrats” through popped gum. She even sticks out her hand. Dramatically. Like it’s a challenge. Yes, like I’m going to shake her hand. No telling what she’s been doing with it.
            And then my mind zips to Michael Titan and yes, I do know what she’s been doing with that hand. She probably snuck into the in-school suspension room and gave him a hand job during lunch. My eyes well up with tears, my breathing escalates to embarrassing rhythms, and it’s all I can do to not run away from her. Instead, I gurgle out an awkward “thank you” and beeline for study hall. Normally, I’d take solace in the fact that I get to see Michael at the end of my day, but not today. Today he’s in in-school suspension, getting hand jobs from his girlfriend, and not thinking about me.
 
 Poor Alexandra. L
This week, I want to write another 5K. I'm in the Fun and Games section of my story and um…I'm having some fun with my crew (insert maniacal laugh). How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!
OH—and just a few things I would encourage you to think about as you post your goals for the week
1) please make sure you sign up on the What's Up Wednesday linky. (go here!) That way we can all stay connected and hop around and share with each other!
 
2) If you get a chance, we would love it if you could  surf the RSW link list (click here!) and try to comment on a few new blogs each week, since the whole point of Ready. Set. Write! is to meet new writers and support each other in our goals. Who knows—you might find your writing soul mate and new betas or critique partners by branching out and visiting new blogs!
3) Join in with us on a twitter writing party. Or host your own! They're so fun and SO productive. I think Elodie has most of us in a group list now. Just visit the group or hit up the hashtag #readysetwrite to see when we'll be hosting another one!
What Inspires Me Right Now: So, last week I said YOU and it's still YOU. All these inspiring progress reports on twitter! I truly believe that's what motivated me to such a great writing week! I can't wait to blog hop today to see what you've accomplished!
What Else I've Been Up To: The husband had minor heart surgery last Thursday (I know…WTH?!?!). No, it's fine. I mean, he has a weird heartbeat (I know... double WTH?!?!) It's not like a regular arrhythmia (forgive the oxymoron), but he still has a weird thing going on with his heart every now and then. His doctor was going to try to do a heart ablation (apparently a pretty common procedure), but wouldn't you know his heart decided to work PERFECTLY that day and they couldn't find it. BUT since then, he hasn't had an episode *knocks on wood*and has been out coaching soccer and doing his normal thing. So…

Outside of that, I've got nothing. We're in the calm before the storm—ya know—relaxing before all the vacations and camps and soccer-related trips start up. And it's very, VERY nice.
 

Also, Sara and I were sharing pics of our "rewards" the other day on Twitter. I filled up my new "retirement" gift (courtesy of the fabulous hubby!) and posted this

 *sigh* I love summer. J
What's up on YOUR Wednesday? Are you participating in Ready. Set. Write!? What are your goals for the week?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

 

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading:  GRASPING AT ETERNITY by my amazing friend Karen Amanda Hooper. I just started and it's already two thousand shades of awesome. 

What I'm Writing: First, a little goal setting for

Want to join the fun?! Click here!

I'll be working on the shiny new unnamed story this week. I'm about 17K in and I'd like to add another 5K by next Wednesday. I am SO EXCITED!!!
Second, my lovely friend Juliana tagged me in this awesomely fun game, One Moment. The rules are pretty simple: Search the words “moment,” “forever,” “time,” or the like in your writing, pick your favorite chunk, post on your blog, and tag others! Also, you should check out her snippet here. It's AMAZING.
So I thought I'd share a bit from my new story. Please understand that I typically never share my work publicly until it's been through at least five twenty revisions, so this is kinda raw. Also, it's a little long. Did I mention this is a first draft?

Oh - and just to give you a little insight into my characters, my story centers around seventeen-year-olds Alexandra and Axle Reed who may be twins but their interests (and personalities) are about as connected as baseball and the theater. Perfect twin Alexandra is the glorified virgin of Titan Heights; Axle's the celebrated punk.
Here's a little blurb (see if you can spot the key word!) from my boy Axle's POV. He's a little rough around the edges (warning: his favorite word begins with an f and ends with a k), but I LOVE him. And I hope you do too. J

Here goes... *holds breath*
“I’m fortifying my verbal knowledge for the SAT in two weeks. Which is more than I can say for you Mr. C in English.”
My brow furrows. “I have a C because I refuse to do Hardy’s bullshit essays. I’ll read the books. I’ll ace the tests in my sleep. But I won’t tell her why I think the cafeteria should close or open the vending machines during lunch. Fucking waste.”
“So uncouth, Axl. Is that the same mouth you kiss Mom with?”
Speaking of Mom, Alexandra’s starting to sound just like her. Except Mom doesn’t try to punctuate every other word with some sort of dramatic hand gesture. I really want to sew Alexandra’s hands to her skirt.
“Yep. Same mouth that uses your toothbrush, drinks milk out of the container, and takes your best friend to dinner and licks her—”
Alexandra gasps and holds up a hand. I love getting a rise out of her.
“I do not want the details of your boorish sex life.”
            Again. Why can’t she just say crude? “I was going to say licks her envelopes for fundraiser flyers (true story), but if you want to keep your head in the gutter . . .”
            “My head is not in the gutter, I was merely . . .  it would be nice if  . . .
            “Whatever. Look, I got suspended. I can’t take you home today.”
            “What do you mean you can’t take me? I have to stay and rehearse for my callback this afternoon. Mom’s at the station and Dad’s at the office until six. Dylan’s working at Brewster’s every afternoon. And you know Katrina has to go home right after school.”
            “Wow. I’m so sorry to inconvenience you. But, just in case you care, I got suspended. Which means I can’t try out for baseball. I’m sorry I can’t drive you home from your stupid rehearsal.”
            A hand shoots to her mouth. “Ohmygosh. If you’re suspended, that means Michael must’ve been suspended too. And he has a big Geometry test tomorrow. How am I going to help him get ready for it?”
            I wonder if I’d get an extra day if I just slapped the shit out of my sister right now.  Her adoration for anything Michael Titan is repulsive. Maybe I should just let her find out the hard way what a jerk this guy really is.
            But then I think about what he said to me this morning. Probably best to just change the subject. And leave.
            Without warning, Mr. Wibble wheels his janitor cart between us. Most of us call him Yoda because a) he’s short and has white hair and semi-pointy ears. The only thing missing there is the green skin. And b) he's forever saying shit under his breath. Shit that sounds just like Yoda. He mumbles something—what, I don’t know—and freaking takes his dust mop and starts cleaning the floors. Right between us.
            Rude, much?
            I give him my best WTF face. He simply smiles and says, “Clean the floors, I must.”
            Fucking head case.

Did I mention this is in the first draft stage? *hides*

OH - and I'm supposed to tag someone. So I tag you. And you. And YOU. Yes - I did just tag you all. Let me know when you post your snippet! 
What Inspires Me Right Now: YOU. Seriously. I am SO inspired (and awed and humbled and moved) by the number of you signing up for Ready. Set. WRITE! I can't wait to see what you all are going to accomplish this summer!
What Else I've Been Up To: Watching my children grow up too fast. Two weeks ago, my fourteen-year-old went to her eighth grade formal. She's now officially a freshman. My son made principal's list for the first time this year! I'm so proud of my family and I can't wait to spend oodles of time with them. J

What's up on YOUR Wednesday? Are you participating in Ready. Set. Write!? What are your goals for the week? 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ready. Set. WRITE!

How many times can Alison use the word READY in a post*? LOOK OUT!
 
 See…there's one!
 
So, after last week's awesome response to Ready. Set. WRITE!, I am even more excited about the summer writing intensive and I'm so ready to WRITE. Don't know what I'm talking about? 

Katy Upperman, Elodie Nowodazkij, Erin Funk, Jaime Morrow, and I are hosting the summer writing intensive Ready. Set. WRITE! and we'd LOVE for you to join us! We're kicking off a summer of writing today and we're going to write, write, write for 2 months (ish)! We'll update weekly on what we've been writing and our new goals for the week.

Just a few more specifics on our summer writing intensive Ready. Set. WRITE!

Purpose:
for drafting/revising/writing flash fiction or short stories—whatever! As long as we're writing!

Timeline: We're kicking things off today, but the REAL goal-setting starts tomorrow! Please join us for What's Up Wednesday and tell us what you plan to be working on
(ya know—in the What I'm Writing section). You can set weekly goals (or monthly or overall goals). Again—whatever works!

Then, we'll update weekly on What's Up Wednesday. We'll share what we've accomplished and set goals for the new week. We can also include snippets (I'm including one tomorrow, btw) or just gush about our stories.
J

Don't know about What's Up Wednesday? Check it out here
and here. And here.

We'll keep the awesomeness going every Wednesday until August 28 and we'd love for you to participate as many weeks as you can. I'm SO ready to see what you guys are working on! (Alison loves to read story snippets, btw
J)

Some Other Really Cool Stuff…

Twitter parties! We're going to try (operative word = TRY) to host a weekly twitter writing/revising party in which we basically choose a start time to write and then pop back in on twitter several hours later recapping our progress. Sounds fun, right?! 

BUT to do that we kind of have to be twitter-connected. I'm listing our twitter handles, and I'd love for you to leave your twitter handle in the comments so we can make sure we're following you too! We'll be using the hashtag @ReadySetWrite! (original, right?!)  

Twitter parties can be SO motivating! We'd love to have as many of you participating as possible!

Our twitter handles:       @alisonmiller20

                                            @commutinggirl

                                            @katyupperman

                                            @MorrowJaime

                                            @ErinLFunk

 
Giveaway! The five of us LOVE giveaways so we're including one as extra motivation. J

Mid-way through (mid-July), one lucky writer will win a Writer´s Care package. The package will include all sorts of writer-ly treats—ones we're sure you'll love (trust me—I kind of wish I could win it J)

Keep track of your progress and be prepared to update on the rafflecopter post in July. You'll get points for various things such as setting goals and achieving them, following us on Twitter, and spreading the word about Ready. Set. WRITE!

Sounds awesome, right?! 

SO, are you ready for Ready. Set. WRITE?! Commit to a summer of writing by signing up on the linky below! And don’t forget to post tomorrow—share your goals and tell us what you'll be writing/revising!
In the meantime, write a little. Or a lot. Grab the button and spread the word! And get ready to Ready. Set. WRITE!
 
 


*Okay, so I only counted TWELVE, but man—how many exclamation points did I use?! **
**um…sadly—TWENTY-EIGHT. I have exclamation point issues. Clearly.

 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


 

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J

What I'm Reading:  Beta reading some awesome stories. The one I'm currently reading is amazing and all kinds of HILARIOUS! The perfect antidote to the past two sad weeks. 
What I'm Writing:  Finishing up front-end-editing on my new story and getting myself geared up for

 
Don't know what I'm talking about? Check it all out here. J

I can't wait to do some serious writing!

What Inspires Me Right Now: The incredible response to the summer writing intensive Ready. Set. WRITE! Guys—I am SO excited for this and so glad you're joining Katy, Jaime, Elodie, Erin, and me on our summer of writing! 
What Else I've Been Up To: Yesterday was my last full day of teaching. Exams run today through Monday, but as far as teaching logarithms and the quadratic formula—well, those days are DONE. For those of you just tuning in—this is my last year of teaching. Next year I am going to focus on writing, tutoring, and, most importantly, my family. I'm super excited (well, not about the lack of paycheck), but I will definitely miss my colleagues and my students (and ya know— the paycheck).
 Yesterday one of my students brought me this cake

 
 

and unlike the cake, the whole day was a little bittersweet. But guys—I'm READY and very excited for what next year has to bring.

What's up on YOUR Wednesday?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ready. Set. WRITE!

Soooo…I've been thinking about the summer and how I really want to do some serious writing on my new story (and I'll need a major distraction from querying*) and how I'm not a Nano person, but I could probably manage 1000 a day. So I mentioned said rambling to a few friends and we thought hey—maybe we could do some sort of summer writing intensive (lasting over a couple months instead of one) and wow wouldn't it be cool if we got other people to do this with us and we could encourage each other. And even if people weren't writing something new, like say revising, then we could encourage each other in that too.

Andbutso Ready. Set. WRITE! was born. Katy Upperman, Elodie Nowodazkij, Erin Funk, Jaime Morrow, and I are hosting the summer writing intensive Ready. Set. WRITE! and we'd LOVE for you to join us! We plan to kick off a summer of writing Tuesday June 11th and write, write, write for 2 months! We'll update weekly on what we've been writing and our new goals for the week. Care to join us in our writing bliss?!

Isn't this button awesome?! Erin made it!

Just a few more specifics on our summer writing intensive Ready. Set. WRITE!

Purpose: for drafting/revising/writing flash fiction or short stories—whatever! As long as we're writing!

What we'll do:

Set weekly goals (or monthly or overall goals). Again—whatever works!

Update weekly on What's Up Wednesday (ya know—in the What I'm Writing section). We'll share what we've accomplished and set goals for the new week. We can also include snippets or just gush about our stories. J

Don't know about What's Up Wednesday?** Check it out here and here. And here.

We'll also be hosting occasional drafting/revising parties on Twitter, providing lots of support for each other, and…AND sponsoring a giveaway!

Ready. Set. WRITE! will kick off Tuesday June 11th with sign-ups on our blogs. We'll set our first goals on June 12th's edition of What's Up Wednesday and update each other every Wednesday!***

In the meantime, decide what you want to write/revise. Set your goals! Write a little. Or a lot. Grab the button and spread the word! And be prepared to Ready. Set. WRITE!

So, want to join us? What would you like to work on this summer?


* my other distraction would be shots of tequila. This is way more constructive. J
** No, really. Check it out. What's Up Wednesday is so easy and fun!
*** Alison is currently being diagnosed with exclamation-titis. As in, she uses way too many of them. Clearly.