Sunday, March 25, 2012

Writing is not for the faint hearted

And here I though that nothing could get me down. I mean, I have pretty thick skin but sometimes I just want to curl up into a ball with a huge tub of ice cream and cry. Yes, I said cry. What 21-year-old wants to cry over edits? Me, that’s who.

No one is mean to me, not in the slightest. Everyone who has critiqued my work so far has been kind, considerate and VERY helpful. Honestly, their insight is priceless. I appreciate everyone for taking out time from their busy lives to help me improve my work. It’s ridiculous how kind people can be.

Still, I open up a file and see the amount of things I need to change, and I want to cry. I want to bawl like a baby and never stop. I want my mummy to come and comfort me. I want to eat a lot of things that are high in sugar, and I never want to look at that darn manuscript ever again.

But I do. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because my MC is telling me to get my butt into gear. Maybe it’s because deep down I want to be a successful writer one day and I know I can get through this. Taking another look at that list of edits, I realise that I can do this. I will do this.

Sure it isn’t easy. It never gets any easier. The first draft is hard, revising is hard, editing is hard, having other people look at your work is hard. Example: “Oh, fudge! I totally used that word wrong and they noticed. Now they’re going to think I’m the stupidest person alive. Why didn’t I read it through one more time?”

Every part of being a writer is hard, but we still do it. Everyone has their own reasons and each reason is important because when you’re down in the dumps, that reason is what will motivate you to work harder. That reason is what will make you lock yourself in your room and get those edits done so your book gets better.

Remember that reason next time you start doubting yourself. (Most importantly, remember that reason next time you consider eating a whole tub of ice cream to comfort yourself.)

What are your reasons for wanting to be a writer that help you get through the tough times?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (2)

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. The featured blogger this week is JoAnne at The Fairytale Nerd.

This week's question is:

What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?

This is such a tough question and one I don't really like answering. I don't want to make anyone feel bad and I think there are always positive aspects to every book, even if I didn't enjoy it.

Okay, I'm totally stalling here. The best book I read in the last month has to be Guardian by Rachel Morgan. Guardian has a great cast of characters and I loved the setting of Creepy Hollow. I can't wait to read more in this series!

I wouldn't say this next book is "the worst" book I read in the last month. I think it was more of a let down, because I had huge expectations for it. All that aside, I'm still going to read the third book in the series.

What about you? What's the best and worst book you've read in the last month?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly Round Up (3)

I can't believe I'm on my third Weekly Round Up already. This week has been a tough one for me personally and I haven't been able to comment on as many blogs as I would like, but I'm going to do a lot of that next week.

I also received my very first blog award this week (thanks C.M. Brown!) which is super exciting! I can't wait to pass it along to 10 terrific bloggers so scroll a little further to see the recipients.

Around the Web
- Guys, if you haven't already heard, Picnik is merging with Google next month and before Picnik closes its doors, they are making all their premium features free. This is a great chance to take advantage of what they have to offer. You can make banners, signatures, buttons, or just edit some graphics. Their special effects are fab! That's how I went from this:

To this:

(Also, if you would like me to make you a blog button or signature to put on your blog, just ask! I'd be more than happy to help you out. Designing graphical things is so much fun!)

In the Blogosphere
- This week saw the second challenge for the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. I didn't take part this time around due to a busy revisions schedule, but I was lucky enough to be able to judge some of the entries. Seriously, you guys are such amazing writers. I'm going to spend next week reading the entries and visiting more campaigner blogs.
- Lynda R. Young writes the most helpful posts ever. This week I loved her post on How to Write Like You Can't Fail. There's some great advice there!
- You've probably heard about Inkpop and Figment already, but here is an interesting post that Daniel Todd Noyes did on why Figment scares him. After reading this, I'm a little scared too.
- This is an interesting post on "Why the Pretty White Girl YA Book Cover Trend Needs to End". I interpreted this post in a different way. I looked at three words in particular: "pretty", "white" and "girl". I want to see average looking people on book covers who I can relate to. I want to see people of different races (including white) represented on book covers. Also, I want to see different races represented in the content of the books too. I want to see more boys on book covers. There is a lack of diversity across the board, and race makes up one part of the issue.
- There's a big thing going around about CAPTCHA at the moment. I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about. For those who don't, here is an excellent post by Alison on how to eradicate the evil that is CAPTCHA. I'm not going to do a post on this matter, but I do want to add my two cents about the downside of word verification. About two months ago I received emails saying that people had commented on my blog but, when I went to check, the comments had mysteriously disappeared. I finally found the missing comments in a spam folder on the Blogger settings menu. Apparently, word verification had determined that the comments were spam! Once word verification was turned off I never experienced that problem again.

- Guardian, the first novellete in the Creepy Hollow series by Rachel Morgan, released this week! Congratulations, Rachel! I thought Guardian was a great start to what looks to be a promising series.

In Komal World
- The wonderful C.M. Brown has awarded me my very first blog award, The Sunshine Award! Thanks so much for thinking of me!

Here are the rules:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and provide a link.
  • Write a post about it
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and let them know
Answer 10 Questions:
  1. Favorite color – Blue
  2. Favorite animal – Komodo Dragon
  3. Favorite number – 13 and 23
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink - Milk Pearl Tea from Easy Way! Oh my gosh, am I addicted to Easy Way!
  5. Facebook or Twitter – Facebook, though I do have a Twitter account. I don't use Facebook or Twitter much anymore.
  6. My passion – Dancing! I don't do it professionally anymore, but I used to instruct a dance group when I was 14.
  7. Getting or giving presents? – I like giving presents, not getting them. I prefer to buy things for myself because I know exactly what I like. :)
  8. Favorite pattern – Uh...pattern? I'm not a pattern person (Are there pattern people?).
  9. Favorite day of the week – I like Saturday.
  10. Favorite flower – Frangipanis because they smell amazing!
Here are the 10 bloggers I have selected to receive the Sunshine Award:

Michelle Flick: She was one of the first people I met when I started this blog and, a year later, we are best friends. Michelle has been working very hard on the release of her debut novel and I think she really deserves this award.
Erica Cope: Erica is my editor/friend who has a casual way of reviewing that I love! She is currently offering free editing services for anyone interested.
Ghenet Myrthil: Ghenet does thoughtful and helpful posts on writing. She has also given me some great advice on how to fix my query.
Nadja Notariani: Nadja is an author who gives out fabulous advice on her blog. I always enjoy reading her informative and insightful posts.
Gina Carey: Since I don't read as much Middle Grade anymore, Gina's blog is where I go when I want to find out about some great MG books!
Mia Hayson: Mia's posts make me laugh. She is so funny and quirky. It's always a treat visiting her blog.
Gwen: I've really enjoyed reading Gwen's posts on writing and I look forward to reading more! (Also, her kitten/lion banner is so cute!)
Michael Horvath: A great blogger I met during the campaign who is into games and books, just like me!
Bidisha: Bee writes great reviews and I always look forward to one of her posts. They always make me smile. :)
Rachel Bateman: Rachel is also one of first people I met when I started this blog and has some great stories in progress. Stories that I hope I get to read one day! 

Congratulations, everyone!

This week I've also been tagged in the lucky 7 meme by the lovely Gwen, so I'll do my post for it next week.

So, how has your week been? Feel free to borrow my Weekly Round Up image and do a post of your own. Are you reading something amazing? Have you made progress on your WIP? Seen a great movie? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (1)

I could swear that I'd done a Feature and Follow Friday hop before when I first began this blog but, alas, I can't find the post. I'm pretty sure that's how I first met fellow readers and writers in the blogging community.

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and visiting everyone else's blogs. This hop is so much fun!

This week's question is:

Have you ever looked at book's cover and thought, This is going to horrible? But, was instead pleasantly surprised? Show us the cover and tell us about the book.

Um, guilty! I've done this a few times but the one book that totally comes to mind is this one:

I know! I'm crazy, right? I received a free copy of Vampire Academy in August 2008 when I went to a Breaking Dawn launch party (yes, I was a 17-year-old in love with Twilight). Straight up, I didn't like the cover so it sat on my bookshelf and gathered dust until November 2008. I began reading it because I needed some downtime from studying for exams (I still didn't think I would enjoy it) and, surprisingly, I didn't put it down until I finished it--it was THAT good!

I think the covers got better as the series progressed but I still don't like the cover for Vampire Academy. This series really needs to have the covers re-done, me thinks. I'm so glad I gave VA a chance though. It's definitely one of my favourite Young Adult series ever!

On a somewhat related note, I discovered this awesome poster a fan made for a potential VA movie. Love it!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Guardian

Guardian - Rachel Morgan
Genre - Young Adult Paranormal
Released - February 29, 2012

1. Receive assignment.
2. Save a life.
3. Sleep.
4. Repeat.

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive.

I think I have a new favourite series! Before I gush insanely about this book, let me just say that it was too short! I know it was described as a novelette, but I wanted to find out so much more about this amazing world we are introduced to. Then I discovered that the next one comes out in April...I'm happy now!

I loved everything about this book! The protagonist, Violet, is very driven and wants to do well on her assignments. Nate, the human (or is he?), is new to the world of Creepy Hollow so we get to experience the magic of Creepy Hollow as he does. I loved that this time around the girl was saving the guy and doing a good job of it. Each character we meet, even briefly, all left an impression on me.

What really stood out to me the most was the world-building. Considering how short the book was, the world-building was done incredibly well. I want to find out so much more about this amazing world that Rachel Morgan has created. I also enjoyed the humour and Nate's pop culture references that went over Violet's head.

This novelette sets up what is to come. We are left with a mystery about Nate's mother and his connection to Creepy Hollow. There is also something very special about Violet and I can't wait to find out more about her and her unique ability. There was a lot of action packed into it and I loved every second of it! The premise of this series is fresh and exciting, and I can't wait to read more!

Recommended: If you like a twist on the faerie myth, then this is for you! Think of the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White with a kick-ass heroine!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekly Round Up (2)

In this week's round up I will be announcing the winners of my 100 Followers Giveaway, so scroll  down to see if you are a lucky winner.

Welcome to my new followers and thank you to everyone who stops by and comments on my blog. Here is this week's round up!

- Steph Bowe did this brilliant post on genre prejudice. YA writers, this might interest you!
- Morgan Shamy gives great advice on social networking in a guest post over at Sarah Belliston's blog.
- This post on revisions by Natalie Whipple totally sums up my life at the moment.
- Here's a really helpful post on voice, over at the Blood-Red Pencil.
- Ghenet Myrthil did a post on How to Plot a Novel. There's a link to a helpful video too!
- This post on Lynda R. Young's blog about cutting back time spent on social network sites made me re-evaluate my priorities.

Books News
- My awesome friend/crit partner, Michelle Flick, released her debut book this week, The Owens Legacy: Revelations! Head on over to find out more!

- Have you seen these amazing covers?

- I have the winners for my 100 Followers Giveaway! Congratulations! I will email you shortly to confirm your details before I send the prizes. Thank you to everyone who entered. I wish I could give all of you prizes!

First prize - $30 e-gift card for Barnes & Noble OR Amazon
Winner: Donna Martin
Second prize - $20 e-gift card for Barnes & Noble OR Amazon
Winner: Jasmine
Third prize - $15 e-gift card for Barnes & Noble OR Amazon
Winner: Lynda R. Young
Fourth prize - A copy of Crossroads by J.J. Bonds for their Kindle
Winner: Rachel Bateman
Fifth prize - A copy of Crossroads by J.J. Bonds for their Kindle
Winner: Lady Gwen

- Tabitha at Writer Musings is giving away three ARCS! Visit her blog to find out more!
- Michelle Flick is celebrating the release of her debut book, The Owens Legacy: Revelations, by giving away an e-copy of it on her blog. Head on over to enter!

In Komal World
- I won the 'Share my CPs' giveaway over at Lori M. Lee's blog. I'm so excited to get my work critiqued!
- I'm just over halfway done with revisions. My novel should be ready to go to my CP by the end of the month. Such a scary thought!
- Writing queries are hard. Re-writing queries is even harder.
- I'm still reading Oppression by Jessica Therrien. I haven't had much time to read this week so I really need to catch up! Expect a review of it sometime next week.

How was everyone else's week? Do you have some interesting posts or news to share? Feel free to comment below, or to borrow my pretty round up picture and do a post of your own. Don't forget to link in the comments!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: Shadows

Shadows - Jennifer Armentrout
Genre - Young Adult Paranormal (Novella)
Released - February 20, 2012

The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane. Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in. Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.

I will absolutely devour any book by Jennifer Armentrout, and Shadows was no exception. Shadows is the prequel to Obsidian (the first book in the Lux series). Shadows gives us insight into the relationship between Dawson, Daemon and Dee's brother, and Bethany, a human.

After finishing Obsidian, I really needed something to fill the gap until the second book came out, and Shadows did that for me. I really enjoyed meeting Dawson and Bethany, and I thought they were great characters. Since we are already aware what their fate is to be, it made their moments together a little sad.

We get to learn more about the siblings and their bond. Shadows also gives us insight into the mind of Daemon, as the story is told in third person. We quickly find out how important his family is to him and why he acts the way he does in Obsidian towards Katy. We get a few answers but are left with more questions. Considering Dawson and Bethany's narrative was unclear towards the end, I am hoping that things turn out well for them and that Jennifer Armentrout has a nice twist in store for her fans.

The romance was written well and the characters were engaging. There wasn't a whole lot of plot going on, but that's okay because the story was mainly about Dawson and Bethany's romance (which was very sweet). I think I am more in love with Daemon and I am dying to read the next book in the series! I haven't been this excited about a series in a long time!

Really, I can't say much more about Shadows without ruining Obsidian for you. If you haven't picked up this exciting new series already, what are you waiting for?