H20 Baby

I haven’t written anything here in about a week and it’s not because I don’t love you. I do. All of you. (Especially you!)

But I’m writing a first draft and that, dear friends, always takes precedence. Sorry. It’s like being desperately thirsty and being given an enormous jug of the world’s most delicious thirst-quenching water and over there, a few feet away, is a can of Dr. Pepper. And who doesn’t LOVE Dr. Pepper? I  know I do. I would happily drink it whenever, but right now I’m DYING of this hydration and the only thing that can quench it is H20 baby. It needs me and I need it – the two of us in this monogomous, exclusive relationship. Except for now, because I’m sneaking off to see you!

You’re blushing, right? Good.

First drafts are always exciting. Anything can happen! Well, for me they can. I’m sure all writers do it differently, and I know my routine has evolved slightly, but while some have outlines that go as far as breaking down each chapter point, I have the overall arc of events in my head. That’s it. In fact, sometimes I don’t even meet all my characters until the first draft is done. I know… crazy. But, for me it works. So the first draft is like going on a really awesome first date that might have a few setbacks, a few awkward moments, but still ends with a totally baddass kiss. PLUS I know things are going to work out. I know this because they have in the past and also, I have that one thing everyone needs to succeed. Faith.

So, if you’re keeping count or have really followed anything to do with my series, the Arizal Wars, you’re probably thinking, “whoa, whoa. Wait. First draft? I thought Plague came out in March? Are you only NOW starting the third book?” Haha, no. The third, Discovery at Nerwolix, is off to the editor which means–oh yeah–I’m working on the fourth. *takes a bow* And let me tell you, I’m excited for both. I’m REALLY excited for Discovery but this next one (still to be named) already has some scenes I can’t wait for my readers to digest. CANNOT WAIT.

So, as a recap, I have *not* been ignoring this blog (or you, my sultry mistress), but busy downing my jug of water. Also, as I promised myself, I’m trying to read more and I just finished the second book of the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. It’s the best-selling YA PA (young adult, post apocalyptic) series about a deck of Tarot cards coming to life in the form of kids (teenagers/yound adults) who have to kill each other and win the game after a cataclysmic event rocked the Earth. Sort of Hunger Games-ish but with a bit more romance and magic, as these kids have different powers. The first one was a little slow for me in the begining (not the first chapter- that was awesome!) but the middle-end definitely picked up. The second one went way faster, was filled with more action and in my most humble opinion, was WAY better. Unfortunately, as I told Mrs. Whatever, the ending wasn’t just “left open.” There wasn’t even a door on it. And now I have to wait until January 2015. Only downfall of a reading a good series that isn’t complete.

*Of course*

But, I guess in the meantime I can work on my own story. Develop my own suspense from book to book so that other readers can hate me for only being human (write faster, Kresely Cole – I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!)

Yeah, sometimes it’s good to be the writer.

True Vessel

I’m told smells are one of the most potent channels into our memories. We can revisit places, hear our favorite songs, taste our favorite foods and even run our fingertips over the most comforting surfaces, but your nose is your true vessel. Scent can drive you back quicker and more accurately to a time and place. To a feeling.

I was taking the elevator up to my floor earlier and this man stepped in. He was older, with grey-white hair and a protruding belly and had absolutely NO attraction pulling me in. But he was wearing something, some familiar cologne that I couldn’t name. And it hit me. Like a slap in my face, I knew it. I’d smelled it before, when boys were still this foreign mystery, this exotic, exciting thing that, for a chubby girl like me, were off limits. I wasn’t in the elveator with old-man smell-good anymore. I was back in the ninties, in this haze of confusion and breathlessness, too ready to grow up. Too ready to know more masculine scents and what came with them.

And that was only middle school.

Sometimes I go back further, like when I smell my great-aunt. I’m not sure if it’s the lotion she used or her perfume or if it was just her own specific fragrance, but I smell her from time to time. On the sidewalk or in the apartment foyer or walking in the halls of some big important building. Even though she passed when I was 11, everytime I breathe in that unique scent, I’m thrown back to butterflies and orange-laced glasses. Virginia Slims and backyard grass. Hot days that were always too long, and soft hands, aged with color and wrinkles that preformed wonderous magic with pencils.

I’m a kid again.

By just a scent in the air, I’m transported to a different version of me. One so different and naive that I can’t believe time has blocked us. I can’t believe it’s taken a fragrance to remind me who I was nearly a decade into existence. And who I am now.

There’s this great short story by Tobias Wolff called Bullet in the Brain. I’ve read some other works of his, including his autobiography This Boy’s Life. I like the book and all, but his short story really got me, so much that I read it over and over from time to time because it’s like one of those great movie scenes you never forget. It’s the reason you watch the movie in the first place, the part you can’t wait to get to and when you catch it on televsion, you hope you haven’t missed it yet. If you haven’t read it, I sincerely suggest looking it up. It’ll probably only take you a minute or so to read and you’ll be glad you did. Because after the bullet pierces Anders head and you start learning about all the things he doesn’t remember compared to what he does (the second before he dies) you’re forced to examine your own past. Things that may have seemed buried and forgotten are suddenly here again, forcing you to relive it, to acknowledge its existence.

It’s incredible that something that can be carried on the wind or captured in a bottle has the power to remind us, to awaken us. To shake ourselves out of the present and remember something our consciousness might’ve thought to forget. Scents are powerful. Or, in  Anders case, a bullet. But I’d rather not rely on the latter.

 

And I’m in Love With This Book

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”  – Augustus Waters, The Fault in Our Stars

I read this to Batman last night. I stopped reading, looked up from where I sat on the recliner and recited these lines. I had to. It’s just one of those things that you can’t hear just once. At least in your head. This paragraph, like so many others in The Fault in Our Stars, need to be repeated, recited and shared. It’s an insult to them if they aren’t because lines like these aren’t meant to pocketed in memory. They’re meant to be revisited. Over and over again, like an old friend.

I’m in love with this book. Is it obvious? I started it on Sunday night and here I am, Tuesday eve and I wonder how I had time to fall into this great, breathtaking love affair. Now I know you’re wondering if I cried. Pretty much everyone who reads the book/sees the movie cried. I thought I was above giving into those basic emotions when reading about a girl with cancer who falls in love. I told you—I believe it was yesterday—that I’d remain strong and I did. Strong enough NOT to cry at my desk. Strong enough to keep reading when I wanted to pretend there might be a different ending, even though the words were right there, on the page in front of me.

It was difficult.

Sometimes you read something and it stays with you an hour, a day, a week. It’s memorable, but with time, it becomes a series of rough points that you sort of remember. Or maybe it’s the feeling you remember. It’s how the material made you feel, what it got you to think. But even that, with time, will fade.  The characters (and their story) in The Fault in Our Stars will stay with me for a while, I’m guessing.  Because good stories, like theirs, aren’t easily erasable. And I don’t want them to be. They exist in a special place that we, the readers, hold secret. It’s a place where all our best friends reside, a place we can always go to seek refuge from reality and, if we’re in need of it, to chase those feelings that made us fall in love in the first place.

I didn’t cry, but I was at work. I had to force myself to keep reading, even though I was torn. Yes, I NEEDED to know what happened, but I also didn’t want to know. Because knowing made it real and the more words that passed, the closer to the end I would get. And that, in itself, is its own sad crime. I’m probably going to reread it again. Mostly because it demands a second read through, but also out of respect. Magical, lyrical lines like the ones that began this post deserve more than one turn to be heard; read. They deserve to live infinitely.

I will say, on a side note, that maybe I took an extra liking to the book because part of it takes place in Amsterdam, which, in my opinion, is a highly magical place. I’ve been twice (once in 2007 and again in 2010) and everything described of the canals and the bikes and the row houses is extremely accurate. (The author, John Green spent a few weeks in the city to write it). Hazel Grace and Augustus even visited the Anne Frank House which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice as well.

Because I can’t physically impart the emotions and love I feel for this book and DEMAND you start reading it today, I’ve included some pictures from my own trips. Hopefully you’ll get to the city. And what’s more, you’ll pick up this book and fall in love with a story you won’t easily erase. Hopefully, Hazel Grace and Augustus will stay with you in your secret space like they are (and will remain) with me.

 

Your basic AMAZING street view. Yeah. Heaven.

Your basic AMAZING street view. Yeah. Heaven.

And another angle.

And another angle.

Breathe it in.

Breathe it in.

The several bikes that you will find EVERYWHERE.

The several bikes that you will find EVERYWHERE.

The Rijksmuseum which is mentioned in the book.

The Rijksmuseum which is mentioned in the book.

So pretty.

So pretty.

Another big building. Awesome.

Another big building. Awesome.

The magical, beautiful night.

The magical, beautiful night.

And the Anne Frank House monument thingy.

And the Anne Frank House monument thingy.

Read it.

And fall in love.

No More Wave Reading, Okay?

I’m trying to read more. It’s what a writer should do. But to be honest, I’m what’s known as a “wave-reader.” You probably haven’t heard of this and that’s because I just made it up. But it means what it sounds like it means. I read in waves. A few months on. A few months off. I’m sure that’s a poor example of what a writer should do. But this is a blog of honesty. And there it is. I’m a wave-reader so sometimes I go a while without a book.

Now you know.

I’m trying to change this. I’m on my third book after I decided to ride the tidal wave and start my plunge into the literary world again now that, you know, I’m trying to be legit and all. So reading is sort of required. (Yes, I know it’s not really required but I think I should be swimming in the pool rather than sitting on the edge with a toe in. I don’t know what’s with all the water analogies I post on here. Maybe it’s because I really want to be a mermaid.) So I started reading Taint by S.L. Jennings, and that decision mostly had to do with the fact that I giggled at the name every time I saw it on a reader’s book blog. (I’d post a link to it but APPARENTLY the link thingy isn’t working because I spent my ENTIRE break trying to make a link to the Goodreads page but the universe has scorned me.) I’d recommend it for anyone who likes quick, fast romances… er…erotica with a somewhat love story weaved in. Also for anyone who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey as it has mucho sex topics/scenes. It was a quick read; I finished it in a day and moved onto the last book I was reading which was Femme, by Delia Strange.

Femme takes place on a planet where men are slaves to women and to the touring Earth heroine, Kaley Blackburn, it’s not what she expected. This was a good book. It questions the flaws of would-be utopias and the struggles of friendship and love. Mrs. Strange, like me, is a fellow indie author, except (and as I put in an email to her) she’s got her shit more together than me. (This is where I was going to put in a link to her book but… you know… life and all. Instead: http://www.deliastrange.com/).

And, although it pains me to say this, I selected my next book based on the MOVIE TRAILER I saw for it. I know. I’m that person. We all can’t be amazingly perfect enough to stumble upon the book first and then get excited about the movie. Sometimes we do things backwards.

So what am I reading you ask?

The Fault in Our Stars, because I’m a sappy girl and I love a good romance. And apparently, a good cry, because that’s all I hear happens when you read the book/watch the movie. I’m a little less than halfway through and no tears yet. But that’s probably because everyone is still alive. Yay. Actually, there’ve been a few laughs so I guess I’m really going to loose it when it ends because I like the character. *deep inhale* I’ll be strong.

I’m still struggling with the content of this blog. I was thinking maybe I’d throw in some hardcore book reviews but I’d have to do some research on them since I never review things. I start out with very clear, concise idea of what I liked and didn’t, and they blur into a conversation with myself about something entirely different and I know I’ve just pissed the reader off. I can *try* to be more level headed here and only do reviews on books that I simply *must* share with the world. Should we do that? Are we all in agreement that that is what we shall do?

You’re nodding your head, aren’t you?

Okay, then! Book reviews for either really, really, amazing, spectacularly AWESOME books or the worst kind ever. The ones that make me want to face plant to spare my eyes the pain. Oh this has happened. It has happened a lot. But I will try not to do that and focus on the good reviews. So, we can all enjoy the world of literature together.

I’ll let you know how The Fault in Our Stars goes and then, of course, what the outcome of the movie is, since I’m OBVIOUSLY seeing it. After that, any book suggestions? I still have a while to wait for the next (and last *tear*) book in the Lux series to come out. What are you guys reading? Any suggestions? A book of your own perhaps?

Uh, Directions Please?

I’m conflicted.

I’m trying to be professional (somewhat) and smart and use this blog as a platform to help build my reader audience, but apparently, I’m only supposed to talk about writing. People will only read if there’s a theme. But can’t my theme just be my life which concerns all aspects with a centralized focus on writing? Don’t get me wrong—I love talking about writing and being a writer and this hair-pulling, wine-gulping journey into self publishing. But it’s not everything. It’s not my entire life. It’s like… 89.7%. But hell, even Hemingway left the desk to enjoy a Mojito from time to time.

Other shit happens.

The question is- do I write about it? THAT, monsieur Hamlet, is the real question. To write about washed wallets and the existence of Scissorhand penises (which is one of the top searches for this site you weirdos!)and quirky friends getting married—does that hurt my mission into being a successful indie author? I’d like to think no, it doesn’t, but everything I’m reading tells me I’m doing this wrong. This needs to be a site dedicated solely to this process. AND THAT’S IT. Otherwise I’m lying to my fans. Heh. I think the part I like most about that is they assume I have fans. Awesome.

Although, there is that one person who gave me five star reviews on both my books and turned a somewhat crappy day into THE BEST ONE EVER. I wish I could find her (him?) and send a gift basket or something. Just to say thanks. They even titled their review post on POM that I need to hurry up and write faster. Aw! *tear* My heart—and confidence—quadrupled in size. Suck on that, Grinch.

I don’t even know if she knows this blog exists. Maybe. If she’s like me and stalks the authors she likes. If that’s the case, she only had luck if she checked POM’s bio page because I listed my blog address wrong on my first copy of EFH. Of course. I also listed my email wrong in 2009 when I was trying to submit my then novel to print publishers. But hiccups happen. People fall. And hopefully, if it didn’t leave them a paraplegic, they’ll get back up again. It’s all a learning process, right? But without solid instruction how do you know which direction to go? Unless it’s a fact, it’s just someone’s opinion.

I checked out Twitter and had a mild panic attack. I got through adding ten celebrity contacts before closing out the window and leaving my desk. Too much. It’s too much. But the book I’m reading said I have to be a on there. There and google plus and have a facebook author page (which I’ve already started. High five on being productive). But holy shit social media has taken over. And I mostly use my computer for word and minesweeper. Eeek! How am I going to navigate this tsunami with only a bitch-sized oar? For real. I’m about to capsize. But at least I can still write about it on this blog, if, of course, it pertains to writing. Because according to “experts,” I should only write about writing. Otherwise I’m a liar. A misleading, no-themed, poorly written plat formed liar.

*sigh*

What do you think?