Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections and the New Year

With 2012 coming fast, I’ve been reflecting on all the things that have happened over the last year.

I kicked my writing butt in gear to get my first book ready to query. Of course, I went through a handful of critiques to hone it into what it is now. The journey was agonizing. Developing a thick skin from crits wasn’t an easy feet at all. Ugh! Crying was a common occurrence. But it helped me to become a better writer.

I learned how to write a query letter as well as the dreaded synopsis. Querying was a battle for me. The ups and downs were awful. There were nights I only wanted to crawl on the couch and vege out, stuffing my face with chocolate.

But it paid off in the end when I achieved my goal to have an agent by the end of 2011. A lofty aspiration, I know! But it miraculously happened. I feel blessed for it and lucky.

I’ve also gained more confidence in my writing skills. Just weeks ago, I wondered how the devil I got an agent. It dawned on me I need to trust that I can write a story worth reading. An agent thinks so and others believe in me, too. It’s time for me to accept that I’m good at this.

I don’t say this in a prideful or pompous way. I am my own worst critic. We all are! It sucks, huh? I only share this to encourage all of you to believe in yourself.

Anyway, 2011 has been a fine year. I have high hopes 2012 will be likewise.

I hope we can all hail in a great 2012! Let’s make this a fantastic year!

What are things about 2011 that have made it a good year for you? What do you want to happen during the coming year?   

Happy New Year!

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Moving. Moving. Moving.

Today's post is going to be on a personal level. No, I'm not going to drag out all the skeletons in my closet, of which are not very many. . . No comment. I'm just going to tell you some great news! After a while of living with my parents, I've moved. Finally! 

I know you are all gasping at that, but hey in other cultures adults live with their parents for their entire lives. I would know cuz I got a degree in Anthropology. So don't give me any crap about it. Bahahaha! The good thing was while living with my parents I was able to pay off some debt that was nagging at me. So all in all it was a super good excuse to have some Mommy and Daddy time. 

Well, I knew it was time to get out of dodge and find my inner independent self again. I've lived away from home many times, though. Let me tell you, the first time I ever left the nest, I moved to England. If that's not a drastic change for a first-time-out-of-the-house-nineteen-year-old girl, what is?

Being in my new place (which is wicked nice) is liberating. I've put my life on hold for far too long and now its time to fly like a bird in a great new life and experiences. I'm going to encounter lots of new people including two room mates I've never met before. It's going to be great. And I'm happy about it! 

And what's even better is it is way closer to where I work. Great for a girl that has a hard time getting her butt out of bed in the morning. 

What new things are going on in your life? Have you had a time where you felt like you've put your life on hold? How did you break free from the chains? 

Well, I better get back to unpacking all my books. Sheesh, I'm glad I had some muscle help me move.

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Aspiring or Author: That is the Question

When I started writing, I referred to myself as an aspiring writer. I do have to say it was quite the aspiration that I never, ever thought I would achieve. Basically, I had an idea for a book, and I started writing it. That was that. For reals, I didn’t think I’d ever get to where I’m at now. But inside, I wanted to have the chance to have lots of people read my book, now books. I desired to inspire others to read through my words as reading had done for me. It was and still is a humongous hope. 

The closer I get, the more I want to see my stories on the shelves at bookstores or listed on Goodreads.

It’s every authors dream, right? That’s just it: an AUTHORS dream.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of people referring to themselves with the title “Aspiring Writer.” But folks, if you write, you ARE an author, no matter what stage you’re at. Don’t slight yourself! Right now, you can refer to yourself with the lovely and prestigious title of AUTHOR.

Have you referred to yourself as an aspiring author in the past? When did you start calling yourself an author? If you are still referring to yourself with the word aspiring, are you ready to step off the ledge and call yourself an author? What are your thoughts on this subject?

I know I’m being blunt, but it is a great reason to be frank, my AUTHOR friends.

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe

My talented critique partner and friend, Trisha Wolfe, had her book's cover released yesterday. It's super pretty on a way-beyond-this-universe scale. Gorgeous! I'm gonna share it with you if you haven't seen it yet. Plus, she's a brilliant author! I've had a chance to crit another one of her books and was amazed at her ability to craft a catching story.

Here's the cover for DESTINY'S FIRE coming January 10, 2012.

Stunning! Dazzling! Striking! Huh?

Goodreads Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind—a part of a nearly extinct race of Kythan descended from ancient guardians who protected the pharaohs of Egypt. As Shythe, they must keep their shape-shifting ability and electric power hidden from the humans of their steam-powered world.

It’s the year 2040 and the Shythe Council has lowered their barrier, allowing the Narcolym—the dominant race of Kythan whose Flame ushered in the steam era—to enter their haven. As the Narcolym airships get closer, Dez secretly trains for an attack that her best friend Jace believes is coming despite the Treaty Act. Not only is Dez wary of war, and her growing affection for Jace, but she fears the change her fast-approaching birthday will bring.

When her power rockets out of control, Dez knows she’ll never attend the Shythe Academy with her friends, and worse, her mother’s planning to run. But a Narco named Reese could change her fate . . . if she can trust him. After Dez discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, her guarded world crumbles. She’s forced to choose between the race who’s raised her and the enemy she’s feared her whole life.

DESTINY'S FIRE is an emotional journey of Dez’s struggle to overcome her fear and embrace her power—her destiny.

Check it out, friends!

BTW - What books coming in 2012 are you excited to read?

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Writer's Patience

I have never, ever been a patient person. Just ask my parents. They can definitely attest to my needy ways. I want things. Now. NOW. NOW!

As a writer, you never get things right when you want 'em. What it's called is the awful waiting game. First, the initial writing/editing can take forever. Second, querying can take ages. Waiting for agents to get back to your query, or partials and fulls can be agonizing. It made me turn into an obsessive email checker. I'm still trying to shake the ugly habit. Your life revolves around getting the all-important response.

Getting to the point, over the past week, I've had a huge epiphany that's so against my nature. It scares me lots. I wonder who stole me and where they put my body. Well, folks, I'm learning to be patient. Not only in this area of my life but others, too. If anything, my perspective has changed to I won't get everything right away. I've decided to take a serious chill pill. There's no reason to be a stress bucket as usual. Just breathe and be happy!

I'd say if anyone wants to obtain the virtue of patience, then become a writer. It'll try you more than you could ever think possible.

Writing requires waiting for the right time for those beautiful yes's to come. It may be the hardest thing you'll ever deal with, but will help you to achieve that inner peace or zen desired in life. Embrace the waiting. Love it! Feel it! Cry for it if you must, then pick yourself up and move forward.

One thing that helped me during the waiting was writing my next book straight away. I was able to detach from the manuscript I was querying. Focusing my energy elsewhere proved extremely useful in not getting down. I fell in love with my WIP to the point I was able to cope with the rejections.

Anyway, what's the hardest part about being patient in writing for you? How do you cope with it? What's your advice? 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fictional Love Triangles: Which Team Are You On?

Love triangles are ever so sweet, don’t you think? Two guys fighting over one girl. Tender, huh? Wouldn’t we all like to be chased after by a couple people at the same time? Aye, Aye! I definitely would. Ok, I’d just like to have one guy chasing after me.

Here are some examples of love triangles in young adult literature:
  • Jace—Clary—Simon (The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare)
  • Peeta—Katniss—Gale (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
  • David—Talley—Zane (Pretties by Scott Westerfeld)
  • Ky—Cassia—Xander (Matched by Ally Condie)
  • Edward—Bella—Jacob (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer)

As for the last example, it was nice to see the movie Breaking Dawn. Finally, I was able to visually see the nuptials of Bella and Edward. Pardon my spoiler, but who doesn’t know this anyway? 

From the very moment Bella entered Forks High School’s office and Edward smelled her out, I wanted them to be together . . . forever. In my opinion, Jacob just got in the way. If Jacob was meant to be with Bella, it would have been him, not Edward, appearing at the very beginning of the book. Many people out there may beg to differ, so I apologize for any offence. 

No cat fights, please!

Anyway, I’m a Team Edward gal all the way. Always was and always will be.

So are you a Team Edward or a Team Jacob fan? Why? Which fictional love triangles are your favorites? Why?

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Call the Presses: Phenomenal News!!!

I'm officially letting the cat out of the bag (sorry for the lame cliche). I've had this news for a while, but have been holding off telling anyone until . . .


Julia King (aka: Writing Jewels) . . . Oh my gosh, I'm writing in the third person. Let me start that over again.

I, as in me, have a literary agent!!!

It all happened on a dark and stormy night when the phone rang . . . Just kidding, but a great start to a wicked awesome story of two years in the making.

I am represented by the lovely Lauren Hammond of ADA Entertainment Group. I feel so blessed to have an agent love my book, FÉLICITÉ FOUND, enough to help me get it into the hands of publishing houses. 

Thanks to all my family, friends, tweeps, co-workers, followers, and all the cute puppies in the world for your support. You've helped me get here. I appreciate my dearest parents for putting up with my writing journey. They are brilliant!

I feel like I won an Oscar Award by thanking so many people!

I want to thank Lauren so much for having faith in my writing skills. It means the world. Merci Beaucoup!

I'm so happy! But I wish all those who are querying agents great luck! Keep on going! There's light at the end of the tunnel! You can do it! Mwah!

Writing. Jewels. Out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wheel of Fortunate Editing

Yesterday, I watched an episode of Wheel of Fortune. Yes, Wheel of Fortune, you read correctly. One of the contestants solved the puzzle a bit prematurely. The only problem was he didn’t know the last word.

As I watched the sad moment, I couldn’t help but think about editing. I’m about to start that blessed part of writing—cleaning up the first draft. Tonight will commence this stage of my WIP. This element of writing definitely is not my favorite. I enjoy the creative process of writing the most—piecing together a story from start to finish. But, ya know, unless if you are a writing prodigy (and really, could there be a person like that *laughs*) then it’s a necessary evil.

As I compare this to Wheel of Fortune, it shows the rough draft may need that extra word(s), maybe even lose a bunch of words in order to make it complete—a masterpiece. Thus, my friends, editing is needed.

I’m going to try to loveth to deatheth the experience to make my book as good as it can be before I hand it off to CP’s and betas. One thing that has helped me, though, is I’ve had people critiquing it while I’ve been writing. I’ve been able to gauge it as I go. I knew what it lacked and what was super good about it.

I hope this technique will make sure I don’t have to go through it as many times as I did with Félicité Found, my first book. Yet, with that book, I learned a lot to make my WIP easier to type out.

Anyway, please cheer me on during my first edit of ???. I’m so not giving away the name of this book . . . yet. I’ll leave you in suspense. But I’m going to announce to the blogosphere that I plan on finishing this edit in two weeks. At that time, I will let you know my success in polishing my lovely book.

What's your favorite part of writing? Is it the initial writing, editing, or seeing the piece complete? Maybe it’s a mixture or all stages.

Writing. Jewels. Out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing Anniversaries

As I drove to work this morning, I realized it's been two years since the idea for my first book, FÉLICITÉ FOUND, came together. I'm blown away by the fact that it's been that long. And time has flown so fast I'm not sure if any of it really has happened.

The idea for it came from a short dream that exploded into a book. I would never have thought something like that could change the course of my life forever. I feel blessed to have found my life's passion over the last couple years. And I've been able to imagine up more ideas for many years to come.

What writing anniversaries have you encountered? 

PS: Here is my work Christmas Tree. We decorated it yesterday. It. Is. So. Pretty. *giggles*

Merry Month of December!

Writing. Jewels. Out.