children's writer

A Month of Faves: October

Oct 30, 2013

I'm not so good at posts like these. It's mostly because I discover so many wonderful things on the web daily it's hard to keep track. This month, however, I made a conscious decision to take note of everything that my eyes lingered on for more than a few seconds. And here we are. These are a few things I enjoyed this month.

My love affair with The Lumineers is still pretty strong. I've listened to a few songs from their 2012 album. My newest favorite is Big Parade. It'll make a great road trip song.

My most recent favorite blog is Local Milk. I've been a follower for a little more than a month, but I just can't get over the stunning food photography and the creator Beth's way with words. I'm a sucker for beautiful photos and beautiful writing. I loved her Muscadine Rose Hand Pies post. Yum!

Beverage wise, I've mostly had ginger tea. This Warm Coconut Milk with Almonds recipe does look and sound delicious.

When it comes to beauty, I like to keep things simple. My go-to beauty blog is Into The Gloss. I've been a long time fanatic for their Top Shelf posts. I more than enjoyed Poppy King, Lipstick Queen's refreshing take on beauty and working with what you've been given. It's hands down my favorite Top Shelf ever.

Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo recently shared a super cute post called 9 Crazy Things About NYC. It comes with illustrations.

Speaking of Illustrations, I discovered a new blog yesterday called Kris Atomic. If you like backstage shots of fashion shows, street style, and illustrations, it might be a cool place to hang out. I'm looking forward to future posts.

I've recently acquired quite a taste for illustration and art in general. Christian Schloe's work is incredible.

James over at Bleubird Vintage has a keen sense of style. I loved how she styled the ace&jig Oxblood dress in Worn/09.

Some of my favorite posts on writing this month were Susan Dennard's posts on how she plans her books. You can read part 1. I also really enjoyed Taryn Albright's post on writing 50k in a day called #50kKillMeNow. It gives me some ideas.

I'll have to stay away from Netflix next month during NaNoWriMo. After marathoning Breaking Bad, I've become hooked on Orange is the New Black. To make things extra exciting, Wattpad is hosting a NaNo contest. There's a huge prize involved.

I'll still be reading The Book Thief through November, but I'll definitely be finished by the movie's release.

My favorite quote this month:

"I eat cake because it's somebody's birthday somewhere."

Photo: Deer Feeding

New Approach + A Cat

Oct 9, 2013

I spent this Monday and Tuesday watching Scandal, Breaking Bad, hanging out with Liesel from The Book Thief, and thinking about writing as usual. I would say this year has been my most successful year on my path to authorhood. My style has stayed more or less the same, but I think I've finally started to think more like the pros. I saw my mistakes for what they were--mistakes. I made a conscious decision to scrap those old habits. So far things are going well. I wrote some things on index cards and stuck them to my wall. I also read a few pages of Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.

This morning, while looking for things to photograph, I saw this guy lounging on the fence in our backyard. He didn't mind me taking his picture. He stared intently at me whenever I called to him. He was the perfect model. I wouldn't mind a furry companion.

A Dollar Per Book

Oct 7, 2013

Have you ever been to a one dollar book sale? It's a marvelous high. At 10 am this past Saturday my local library wheeled out carts filled with tons of books. The books were separated by age group, though there was a cart for paperbacks, movies, audio, and books in other languages. I arrived a little after ten and was a little upset I didn't get there sooner. There were so many people there, people pushing shopping carts filled to the top. Lucky me, I was able to get my hands on a few I actually want to read. 

From top to bottom:

1. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall - The selection of children's books wasn't as vast as I hoped it would be. The parents really took advantage of the sale. I was surprised to find The Penderwicks lodged in between two other books. I saw the spine and snatched it up right away. I kind of feel sorry for everyone who missed this gem. It'll be a lovely addition to my middle grade selection, which at the moment looks pitiful next to my young adult selection.

2. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly - When I first started blogging and became immersed in the online book lovers community, this was one of the books on my to-read list. Overtime, it moved further down my list. I'm glad I found it though, and I know I'll love it due to my renewed love for historical fiction.

3. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - This will be my first Atwood book. It's dystopia, and I haven't read much dystopia. Someone mentioned it in one of their best book of the month posts a few months back. Since then I've wanted to read it.

4. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout  - I picked this one up mostly because it sounded familiar. I've wanted to venture out of my safe zone in literature for sometime now. So far, from reading the first line, I think Strouts' writing is the kind I'll be able to drink up. It takes place in Maine. I've heard Maine is a beautiful place.

5. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - The title makes it sound promising, even my mother commented on how much she liked it. We'll see, we'll see. Originally I thought it had something to do with time travel. I did pick up a copy of The Time Traveler's Wife, but I've seen the movie way too many times.

6. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles - The copy is rather good, though there was one cringe worthy dog ear. I flew through the sample on Amazon. I can't wait to sink into the pages once more. I have a copy of the Great Gatsby that needs to be read. Rules of Civility will be a great companion.

7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - It's on the favorites lists of almost everyone who reads YA. It's a gem. It's a classic. I'm thrilled.

8. Room by Emma Donoghue - It's all about the premise. I'm almost worried it might be a bit too dark for me. Still I'm curious enough to crack it open and peek in.

Eight books for eight dollars. There were two I'm sad I let go, like the movie tie-in of Hugo's Cabinet. It would have been pretty on a shelf. I also walked passed some Stephen King's. I could have had Water for Elephants, but I let it go. While I paid for the eight, someone said they'd be bringing out more children's books. I should have stuck around. This sale really spoiled me. I need more books.

National Writing Month & Goals for October

Oct 3, 2013

Sorry, October. November is the month I'm looking forward to the most. It'll be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo and hopefully my first year hitting 50k. Last years NaNoWriMo was almost a complete fail. The project I'd originally planned to write went nowhere, though I did flex my fingers a bit with another spur of the moment SNI. Though I only made it to 10k, my appetite for new words was satisfied.

Ivy of Our Hearts still begs to be written. It's one of those ideas that's been really hard to shake off. I've thought about it a lot this year, rearranging scenes in my head and adding new plot points. The story line is more or less the same. But with my new interest in fantasy and my imagination being led by my favorite old fairy tales, I think I've taken it to a new exciting level. I don't have a new synopsis yet. You can read the original synopsis here if you wish. Bridge to Terabithia and Snow White have been major inspirations.

50K is a long way off. I haven't even reached 10k for my current WIP--We Are Shining. In September I picked up a sparkly notebook called Diamond Starlight for plotting, doodling, and brainstorming. It reminded me of the stars. It's funny how something so simple can motivate you to keep going.

I doubt I'll finish it before NaNoWriMo, but if I can write at least half of it I'd be gleeful. The quote below reminds me of my MC Bryn whose once glittering eyes are now not so glittery.

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."  
- Roald Dahl

Goals for October
  1. Hit 25,000 words in We Are Shining
  2. Finish reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak in time for the movie
  3. Purchase a new notebook for Ivy of Our Hearts and write a new synopsis
  4. Blog 2x a week  
  5. Do more of what makes me happy without guilt or fear

It's officially fall. And fall means new beginnings.

On A Bookish Date: When You Reach Me

Oct 1, 2013
On A Bookish Date is a meme in which I share my love for books and cure my style cravings.

I recently finished reading When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I'd heard so many good things about it from other writers I picked it up on one of my spur of the moment bookstore trips. I figured it would be a quick, light read. What I loved most about the writing was the way Rebecca Stead subtly wove in details. I honestly didn't figure things out until the very end. That made the book all the more special because one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is being able to guess what happens next. The story line didn't feel rushed at all. Often last chapters read as if the author wrote them fairly quickly just to finish up the story. In When You Reach Me, the last few lines had an open-ended sort of feel to them. As if to say, this is only the beginning.

All of the characters, including the secondary characters, had major roles in the story. Even the characters whose roles appeared rather small at first. I loved the way issues of race and class were subtly woven in. They weren't all in your face, though my heart still broke. It continued to ache hours after I read the last line. When You Reach Me is a book everyone should read--young or old.

For our date I'd wear a mid-length wrap skirt, long cozy boots, and a puff hat. A Wrinkle in Time is my favorite book as well, like the main character Miranda's.