Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Day - Weekly Misplans

Hello internet world.
Here is something that I have come to realize about my week:

WIP Day.  I sit down to write my update post, and realize that my updates are no where near where I want them to be.  I make a vow to myself to do better this next week.

Still on a high from the newly stoked fire under my butt, I work a little on my WIP.  It feels great.  I can do this.

I wake up in the morning, set on making it an epic Friday night, full of caffeine, chocolate, and lots of creative juices.  This ends up being a 50/50 event.  Half the time I stick to my goal and 'git er done.'  The other half... I find myself watching yet another episode of Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Make it or Break it, etc...

But that's okay.  Because it is now Saturday.  Hubby is home and I have all day to sneak away and do my thing.  But how can I resist the cuddle time?  And the fort building?  Oh, and laundry needs to be folded.  And we need groceries.  And I was so going to write tonight, except hubby turned on Supernatural again and I don't want to get behind...

Most of the day consists of getting ready for church, going to church, coming home from church, making dinner, picking up, bedtime... Night time rolls around and I manage a little bit of creative me-time... then Pinterest and Facebook updating calls and I...

Okay, honestly, is my writing week almost over?  Goodness me!  I need to get caught back up.  Then I realize I still have a photo editing backlog I need to finish before I do my next shoot.  And my kids want their third peanut butter sandwich of the day, and look at that they dumped out their toys all over their bedroom, again.  By the time they are in bed, I am ready to conk out too.  Mondays.  Uhg.

I have one day left to break out my awesomeness and get back to my goal.  I can do this.  I can.  I write some... then remember those pesky photos... then somehow I find myself watching yet another episode of Supernatural cuddled up with my hubby while my word doc is sitting open on my computer.  Crying.

Rinse.  And repeat.

This is how the last few weeks have been for me.  What happened to my groove?  I was doing so great most of last year.  And now... I lack a groove.  I have become that awkward geeky white girl who went to the party and is thrashing around on the dance floor, smacking people in the face and begging to be thrown out.

Yes, I went there.
And yes, I have done that.  I am not ashamed.  Mostly.

And here is where I make my promise to myself that I will do better this week and show last week what is what.

I have decided the promise is not enough.  Today, I am going to sit down and work out an actual schedule for myself.  I hate planning, but it has gotten to the point that if I don't plan something soon, I will be thrown out of the party, thick rimmed glasses in tow.

Total, complete side note: 
I was checking out the website for the library I grew up snagging books from.  Ah, memories.  Well, I decided to type in my name and see what happened.  I wasn't expecting anything.  Lo and behold, Prison Nation popped up!  And even better?  It was checked out!

I know it is a small town library.  But man, I can't explain the feeling of awesomeness I felt at that moment.  I even took a screen shot.  And I know you want to see it.  *beams*

That is it for me.
How about you?  Weekly plans making or breaking?  Do share!

Happy Writing!

And the YA Paranomal Hop WINNER is...

Hello Hello!
I will make this post short and to the point, being as I still have to get my bum in gear and write my other post for the day.  Oof.

I am popping by real quick... To announce the winner of the Young Adult Paranomal Giveaway Hop YAY! (Yes, I said typed that in one breath)

Drumroll please...

The winner is:
Michelle Joy Hampton

Congrats Michelle!  
I have already emailed you about the awesome win.  Please make sure to respond within 48 hours, otherwise I will have to redraw the winner.

And as always, to those of you who weren't super lucky this time... (That's okay.  I didn't win any of the giveaways either)  Stick around!  If I could hug you all, I would.  But I won't.  One, because it is kind of hard to hug through the computer monitor.  And two, I think everything would get just a little weird...

*shakes it off*

Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another Note about Following Me

March 1st is just around the corner.
And with that, so is the change coming with GFC (Google Friend Connect).  For those of you who may not know:
After March 1st GFC will no longer be available to non-Blogger folk.

Sad day, I know!

I have worked pretty dang hard this last year building my blog and meeting all of you awesome people.  I don't want to lose any of you!  Please, take a moment to make sure you are following my blog in at least one other way aside from GFC.

The stalking following options:

  • E-mail/RSS - This option is listed just under GFC on the left.  Simple.  And done.
  • Linky - This is a new following option, pretty much the same as GFC.  I just added it, and am liking it so far.  Help me build its list!  It is listed just under the e-mail option.  And go!
  • Networked Blog - This one works alongside Facebook, and helps you (go figure) network blogs.

And as always, I also have Facebook and Twitter.

I have tried to not repeat this info too much, but with March just days away, I thought it was about time to repeat myself:

I don't want to lose you!  Follow me! 
*skips away into the night*

2/29/2012 - Thought to add one more way to follow.  Enjoy!:
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Young Adult Paranormal Giveaway HOP

Welcome to the Young Adult Paranormal Giveaway Hop

Books with paranormal elements are some of my most favorite to read.  Whether it is about unsettled ghost encounters to alien take-overs, all the way to full blown super powers or angsty glittering vampires... Paranormal is a world I love to dive into time after time and seldom want to leave.

To celebrate the awesomeness of paranormal elements, I have decided to give away one of three amazing books.  I have read all three, and absolutely loved all three.

Rules:- This hop will run until midnight of the 28th
- Winner will be announced on the 29th
- Winner will get their choice of ONE of the books listed below
- Please make sure that The Book Depository ships to you
- Follow what the Rafflecopter tells you to do... and have fun!

Make sure to check out all of the other blogs participating in this hop, here

Here are the books up for the Paranormal taking:

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Paranormal Element: Ghost like mystery, special powers, time travel... the list goes on!
(Read my review here)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Paranormal Element: Superpower awesomeness
(Read my review here)

Paranormal Element: Angels. Fallen angels, judging angels. You name it.
(NOTE: This book will only be available to a US winner.  
Who knows, it might even be signed...)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Day - Snapping Photos

This week hasn't been much of a writing week for me.
I blame the writing slump, or whatever it truly is.  This slump.  It has to go.  
Like... Yesterday.

Regardless, I have still had a great week of creative awesomeness.  If you don't know, my other passion aside from writing is photography.  When I am not writing, editing my writing, plotting and scheming, I can usually be found behind my camera or sitting in front of my computer, editing photos.

I love it.

This last week I had the chance to do a very impromptu shoot of an awesome friend, Vince.  (Yes, the very same Vince who did my author photos.)  We were working on his new site, then suddenly realized: We needed a photo of him!

Luckily, I had my camera with me (As always.  I think it is literally glued to my hand.) and we ran out to take photos.

It was an awesome shoot, done behind a local grocery story and full of tons of laughing, goofing around, and bloopers.  I am now in the process of editing those photos.  And loving it.

Along with that, I met with the bride of the wedding I will be shooting this summer.  Ah!  I am so excited!  We have so many ideas, not to mention she is just gorgeous, and I cannot wait for July to roll around.  I have been in wedding La-La land every since.

Maybe I should try to write some short stories about a photographer.
There is more than enough material there to make some great pieces.  And I need to write again.  ITB is in bad repair, due to my neglect.  It is just so hard to say no to editing these photos... that I stop editing my WIP.

Bad Jenni, I know.

Quick Question for you all:  I am taking part in yet another blog hop, starting this friday.  I need to think of a good Young Adult book with Paranormal elements to give away.  Any suggestions, wants, desires?

To leave you this WIP day, here are a few of the shots of Vince I have edited thus far.  And you should check out his own work and new website as well. He is awesome!  


How about you?  Has it been a week of creative at all?  Do share!

Happy Writing!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What Post?

Today I severely lack in a decent blog post, due mostly to two factors:
  1. We got a new TV.  Yes, we have now joined the 21st century.  And even watching Toy Story 3 on it with my two kiddos is an all out mind-blowing experience.
  2. I had a meeting with a client today, planning out her wedding day of which I have been given the honor of photographing.  My head is still in wedding photo land.  And I love it.
So sadly, I have no awesome Monday post for this week.  I couldn't leave you with nothing though.  Here is an amazing quote from Ira Glass that I think every artist must hang (or post) somewhere.

Remember everyone: You are awesome.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review - Pure

by Julianna Baggott

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Why I Picked this Book:  I had heard some great hubbub about it, and come on: Look at that cover!

(I received this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated in any way.)

My Thoughts:
Pure, a dystopian novel set in the not too distant future, was quite a different read than I was expecting.  The world inside Pure is a scary place, full of deformities, fear, and struggles.  Julianna Baggott has proven herself to be quite the creator of worlds, though sadly this was a world I wasn't too keen on staying inside of.

Overall, it was a good read.
In Pure, some sort of detonations (atomic I gathered) ended up ending civilization.  Those who were lucky escaped into the Dome and are now living in a utopia (or so they think... aside from the genetic tests done on young men, the brain washing of young women and the utter control of everything...)  Then there are those who were unlucky enough to be outside when the detonations happened.  The people who are now simply known as the Wretches.

Something was in the detonations.  Something that managed to cause people to fuse to whatever they were closest to at the time of the big boom.  People are mutants now.  Some fused together, some melded with fans, auto parts, toys, animals...  Some even became so unlucky that they lost most of their humanity, become Dusts: monsters in the sand.

Yes, this is a scary, scary world.
Picturing all of the mutations... imagining what it would be like... that was pretty intense.

Pure ends up bouncing between 4 point of views.  Pressia, who has lived outside the Dome and has a doll permanently fused to her hand.  Partridge, who has lived inside the Dome but has now escaped, intent on finding his lost mother.  The other two POVs were seldom, and honestly: Felt completely unneeded.  I feel as if the story could have felt more solid and gripping if those two hadn't been thrown in.  If I had been given a choice, I personally would have chosen to stay solely inside Partridge's head the entire read.  His was the story I wanted to hear.

Though the world was scary, the overall story fascinating, something about this read fell a little short for me.  I am a fast reader: It took me two weeks to read this book.  There was a ton of info dumping (via rants), many parts I cannot even remember, along with the unneeded POVs.  Because of this, I felt myself dragging to finish this read.  I wanted to.  But picking it up to read became a chore more than a desire.

Then there was the ending.

Okay, I get that this will most likely be some sort of trilogy.  But the way this book ended made me mad.  Because... it didn't end.  I honestly felt no true resolution.  Though I will most likely read the next book whenever it comes out, I felt cheated at the end of this one.  Two weeks of reading, and nothing but the frustration that I now have to wait for book two to help me understand most of what I just read.

Like I said: Pure was a good read.  There was something about this book that I did love.  The creativity Baggott had in forming the people/creatures, the world, all of the in depth histories, left me impressed.  I have a feeling many people will enjoy this read.  As for me: It will rest on the "that was good" shelf.

My Rating:
(3 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buy a Book, Donate to a Cause

Just popping by my trust blog real quick to share this:

Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal is a collection of 8 stories put together by Lani Woodland, Melani Marks, Wendy Swore, Rita J Webb, along with several other authors.   It's a short, fun read, full of interesting characters and adventures, lots of twists and turns and creepy crawlies, and a touch of romance.

For the month of February...

50% of this book's net sales will be donated to St Jude Children's Research Hospital to support the care and treatment of children with cancer.

I myself haven't read this book yet.  But as soon as I found out about this awesome donation plan, I snagged a copy for my Kindle and can't wait for the chance to dive in.  I have had many close friends in my life who have had to battle cancer.  Any smidge of help I can provide, even if it is just purchasing a book, is great in my eyes.

To read more about the donation, go to Rita's site, here

Transcendent is available in:
Paperback  |  Kindle  |  Nook

Discover the secrets of a siren, fly with a hawk girl over the mountains of Montana, and flee supernatural party-crashers as the d├ęcor comes to life in this magical journey through paranormal stories.

Along the way, watch for ghosts in a haunted house, or ride through the moonlight with a stranger. Save a comatose boy who has lost his soul, and don’t forget to bring your garlic and wolfsbane—you never know when the shadows will snag you.

Transcendent includes eight stories of magic, love, death, and choice by some of the newest names in young adult fiction.

And just because I can't resist:  Here is an excerpt from one of the stories, Seduction of a Siren by Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper.  Enjoy!

Seduction of a Siren (Excerpt)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Day - Post Heart Day Coma

Wednesday just really likes to sneak up on me, doesn't it?
I swear it was just Wednesday...

Valentines day has come and gone.  Many of you are most likely in some sort of chocolate/rose coma.  Or suffering from the more likely lack-of-chocolate/rose depression.  Whichever boat you find yourself in, I hope you at least had a decent heart day this year.

As for me:  My hubby and I got some good old Panda Express, stayed at home (for the lack of babysitters) and watched more of season 2 of Supernatural.  Nice and casual... and I really can't complain.

As much as I do dream of a romantic dinner for two, surprise red roses, expensive chocolates and sparkling jewelry (come on... what girl doesn't?) I couldn't have asked for anything better than Chinese food in PJs, an awesome show, and my hubby.  Life sure can be good.

As for writing updates...
ITB is in dire need of attention.  I have been such a major slacker lately, I am embarrassed to even admit it.  I honestly don't know what has come over me.  But this will change.  It has to.  Because ITB is awesome and deserves my non stop attention, sleepless nights, and over doses of Mountain Dew.  

Tonight I have an online edit fest planned with awesome friend Keary Taylor.  My goal: Rewrite at least two chapters.  If I do any more than that... I may even get to reward myself.

We cannot cancel this Keary!  (Imagine me growling at you...)

How about you?  Good update news?  Bad news? Eh, I ate too much chocolate news?  Do share!

And leaving you today...
Have you seen those memes going around lately, the ones sporting what different people think of a certain profession?  I love them!  The photographer one is pretty dead on, along with the stay at home mom one.

Well, I scoured for one about authors and as of yet was unable to find any.  So, for fun, I slapped this meme together.  Enjoy!

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Just popping by real quick to wish you all a very happy Valentines Day!

Whether you have an extra special night planned with a loved one, a surprise blind date, a group gathering of mutual choco-holic friends, or are just spending this heart day alone with nothing but your writing... 

May this February 14th be amazing and full of love.  <3

Monday, February 13, 2012

People Watching

I recently traveled, via train.  It was a 5 1/2 train ride, sitting in the window seat with little space to get up and move unless I wanted to make the lady next to me stand up and let me pass.  Needless to say, I spent the large majority of that time in my seat.

When napping was done, writing impossible (motion sickness, who knew?), and reading the only temptation on the horizon, I decided to try something I hadn't done in some time: People watch.

Don't close the window and run away.  I am not a stalker.  I swear.

People watching is actually a very affective way to improve on your writing.  One of the biggest trials of a writer is to create characters that actually seem real.  Three dimensional.  We can only pull so much out of our own brains.  And where do we get the rest to create that fully rounded, jumping off the page character?  From the people around us, of course.

Whether it is stealing character traits from friends and family, or literally sitting on a train observing your fellow passengers for hours, people watching gives you that final oomph to write with.  You can learn different kinds of lingo.  Conversations.  Nervous twitches and facial expressions.  It is a great exercise, and great information gathering technique, that everyone should try.

Here are a few of my so far learned People Watching tips:
  • Never, never stare.  Oh goodness no.  Unless you truly do want to be labeled as the strange stalker one seat over and have security called on your unblinking eyes, never stare.  It is like watching a chimp in the wild: be incognito.  Practice that peripheal vision, quick glances, and sharpen those ears.  But never, never stare.
  • Don't be picky.  You can't wander from seat to seat, bench to bench, trying in vain to find the perfect watchee.  That isn't the point of this exercise.  Stop at the first person, and "watch."  Even if all they are doing is picking food from their teeth, you have something there!
  • Move on.  Don't stay in one place for too long.  Get your snippets, your observations, your unfinished stories.  Then find a new one.  You are collecting your arsenal, not writing War and Peace.  Besides, staying for too long may place you right back into that stalker situation you want to avoid.
  • Have I mentioned to never stare?
  • Note it all.  Have along a notebook, laptop, cell phone... something.  Don't worry about writing every thought word per word.  Just jot down the key observations and you can fill in the rest when you are out of stalker range.  Don't fool yourself into thinking you will just remember it all.  Jot that watching down!
  • Pick a new place every time.  Different people, different stories, revolve around all different kinds of places.  Don't go to the exact same spot every time.  Train, library, Starbucks, park, family gathering, wedding... the choices abound!
  • Enjoy it.  Come on, you are people watching.  Don't take this too serious.  It is just an exercise, an information gathering experience, a writer showing off their true stalking colors.  Above all, remember that. (And don't stare...)

Here are two of my people watches from my recent train ride:
A woman, with her husband and son.  Sitting with them is some other man, another passenger.  The husband and son don't talk much.  But the woman... she and the man passenger talk away nonstop about Jesus.  They swap their stories of redemption.  Woes of sin.  They wonder how a 17 year old can dare give a promise ring when they don't even know themself yet, or Jesus for that matter.  The woman remembers a past relationship where she cannot recall the name of her beau, but can remember his little girl Anna and how she was the one to teach Anna about Jesus.  After some time, the conversation peters out.  They sigh.  Chuckle uncomfortably.  Shift in seats and cough.  Before long, they are silent.  Did they share too many God experiences in one sitting?  Maybe those were the only experiences they had to share?

She doesn't talk.  Doesn't even stand to pace the train or get food.  Just sits there, ear bugs in, Kindle out, reading the entire ride.  Sometimes she sighs.  Bored?  Tired?  Hours pass and I finally hear her mutter "Well, this isn't very exciting."  Is she talking about the book?  The train ride?  Some song playing in her ear?  Another sigh, and she puts away the Kindle.  Out comes a worn paperback, a title I know and love well.  And she is gone once again, reading in her silence.

And here is my challenge to you: 
This week, at some point, people watch.  Even if it is just a sentence you jot down in passing, do it.  You never know what you might get.  And don't forget to share!

Happy Writing!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Late WIP Day - Travel Time

What a week!
As I mentioned last Wednesday, I took off for a trip and was gone most of this last week.  Where to you ask?  Well, I took a mommy getaway and visited my hometown.  It is a little island nestled in the Puget Sound, just off of Washington.  I was born and raised there, and have only lived "off island" now for three years.

And boy, do I miss it.

It was an awesome few days.  I took the train up with the mindset that I would have a 5 1/2 ride to work on my writing.  Problem was: Every time I opened my netbook and started to type away, I got motion sickness and was forced to stop.  How lame is that?  Needless to say, I didn't get done what I had hoped for.  But I did get a good nap in, and got some great people watching in as well.  (That topic will be saved until Monday.)

Oh, and the entire ride, guess what song looped through my head? Yup.  The Harry Potter theme song.  I was even disappointed that the platform I loaded on was number 11.  I so wanted to ram my trolley (yes, I was using one.  How could I not?) into a nearby pillar.  Who knows, right?

At one point the train stopped mid track to fix something.  It was dark out and the very first thought that sprung into my head was "Dementors!"  Needless to say... I am a dork.  And pretty proud of it!

On the island, I spent most of my time with my old childhood friends Jessie and Megan.  We beaded.  We ate food.  We went to the beach.  We popped out to see my family, then went right back to our run of food, movies, and gabbing.  It was a much needed weekend for me.

I even sold a good stack of PN copies!  Thank you so much to everyone who bought one.  Your support is amazing.  And my bag was much lighter for the train ride home.  The support that just a small community can provide... it is priceless.  I am so grateful I have been blessed to be part of that community.  I miss it.  A ton.

We won't talk about the stomach bug I caught and spent all day Monday, my last day on the island, being... sick.  Bad day? Yes.

I miss my friends already, and the island keeps calling to me.  Who knows what the future brings.  But now I am mostly rejuvenated and ready to hammer back at my keyboard.  What a great feeling!

 Trish with her copy.  I couldn't resist it, I needed a photo with her as well!

Two of my favorite ladies ever.  Jessie on the left, Megan on the right.

And of course I needed photos with my own book on the beach!

My youngest fan T, and my Grandma, showing off their smiles.

And how did I spend my entire train ride back?  Reading of course!

And now... I am back!  I am!  I am so happy to be back, and ready to type away.  I have fallen behind, am mad at myself, and must make amends with my WIP.  This next week... It must happen.

How is your week going?  Do anything exciting?  Do share!

As always... Happy Writing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIP Day - Plotting and Posters

First off, I must start my WIP day saying hello to all of my new followers.

How are you?
Good?  Awesome!

If you don't know, I just took part in yet another blog hop and managed to snag a great bundle of new followers in the mix.  I love it!  I managed to break the 700 follower mark, and can't wait to see that number climb even more in the future.  (I dread March when GFC will diminish.  I try to just not think about it...)

On to my updates!

This week I didn't write as much as I had planned.  Instead, I plotted.  There are scenes I have to add in, things I have to change.  While I very much so want to just dive in and rewrite, I realized I should at least have a slight idea where those changes will be happening.  Plotting is a strange thing for me... I am a pantser.  So needless to say, I have been a fish out of water this last week.  

I will be traveling this weekend though, and plan to use that time to sit with my trusty netbook and plunk out words.  I know for a fact I will have a few hour long train ride to take advantage of.  Oo... Writing on a train. Now I feel all authentic.

I have been thinking of world building/character development lately.  And I want to pose a question: 
How much do you feel is needed at the beginning of the story before things get going?

I know this varies drastically for each genre, style, etc.  So I am just curious what you, dear blog follower, think.  I have read books that the beginning seems to drag forever, telling every inch of the back story.  And books that dive right in, hoping the reader gets it all by the end.  What do you think is best?

Oh yes, and back to that topic of traveling.  Due to that, my Friday and Monday post may end up being tardy or all out absent.  I will try to not let that happen... but if it does... Don't go to far.  I will for sure be back next Wednesday!

I love getting photos! And fan art! That's right... I gots me some fan art.  

Samantha was awesome enough to make me some mock movie posters (oh... what a thing to dream about...) using her dream casting for Millie and Reed.  While she chose to keep my thoughts on Millie (Emma Stone) she chose a new man to play Reed (Ben Barnes) and I must say... I like! Okay... I love!  

Wanna see her creations?  Well, here you go!

Aren't they just awesome?  *gazes at posters and dreams...*

Well, that is it for this WIP day.  How about you?

Happy Writing!


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