Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Little Bit of Random

Photograph by Julia King 2009 (Cinque Terre)
Gina Denny recently beta'd my WIP. I'd like to thank her lots and lots for her amazing suggestions. Kristin Lynn Thetford did as well. She's the grammar girl of all grammar girls. Loved having her help in that area. Thank you girls!
I'll admit I'm stealing this blog idea from one of Gina's blog posts. I'm going to fill in the following blanks, so you can get to know me a bit better.

I am ... not a morning person. If I could, I'd sleep in until 10:30AM every day. Uh... or longer.

I can't stand ... ticking clocks or any repetitive noises. *cringe*

My idea of relaxation would be ... laying out on a beach (more specifically, a beach on the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera) reading a book and catching some rays. *sigh*

If I had an extra $50, I would ...  buy a couple books or a couple shirts. Maybe buy something good to eat. There are so many options. Maybe you can decide for me. :)

A recipe I'm dying to try is ... I don't really cook much and if I do, it's just throwing stuff together to see if it tastes good. But, the recipe I love to make is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. Numms. But I can't make them right now because I'm still going strong with my no sweets diet. Woot!

Well, now it's your turn to fill in these blanks, so I can get to know you better. Comment away, folks!

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Giving Up the Sweets

I'm addicted to ... yes, chocolate, or more specifically sweets that have chocolate in them. Without fail, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about sweets at least a hand full of times, especially at night when I'm writing or reading or doing  whatever I have to do.

Well, kiddos, I'm taking a stand. I'm saying "NO" to sweets for a full three weeks. It's said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, by darn, I'm gonna break the maddening cycle of licking my lips and salivating over sweets--of course, until I stuff my mouth full of them.

Now, I make myself out to be someone who has a large tub of ice cream to my chest 24-7. No, no, I just know that this is something I could do better at. Work my mind-over-matter skills in this part of my diet department. And hopefully loose some weight in the process. Yippee! 

So, I started the 3 weeks free of sweets on Sunday, May 20. And I expect myself to stay true to my goal. Therefore, I've invited my sister-in-law to join with me in my fight against the candy bar, brownie, dish of ice-cream, etc... I've gotta have someone to report to, right?


And she is going sweet-less with me. What a good sister-in-law to help out! BTW: She's awesome!

So, have you ever taken a stand and given up sweets, soda pop (read my last post here for more about soda pop or coke or whatever you call it), biting your nails, picking your nose (haha), etc...??? What helped you to succeed? Was it having someone else help you? Have you ever reported to  a CP to help you finish your book?

And by golly, if you want to join me in my goal to conquer sweets or whatever, let me know. We can work on it together!

PS: I'll keep you updated on my blog posts of how I'm doing. Right now, I have 5 days of no sweets under my belt. 16 to go! And I hope to have many more sweets free days after that!

Writing. Jewels. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Way You Speak

The other day I grabbed a bite to eat at a fast food restaurant. I zoomed into the drive-through and gave the employee my order, and then she asked me if I wanted a coke.

Instantly, I was taken aback because "coke" is not the norm for me to hear in Utah. When I want a cold refreshing drink with carbonation in it (which isn't very often), I say "Soda Pop". That's how I've always said it. Maybe it's a Utah thing or a King Family thing. Who knows? 

Anyway, I've heard people say the following when referring to this kind of beverage:

"Soda Pop"

Depending on where you live can contribute to how you speak, not just the accent but the slang or specific words you use. For instance, Utahns tend to drop the "t" sound when speaking. Example: Mountain sounds like Mounain or Fountain sounds like Founain. Or when a Utahn says the word For it sounds like Fur. Yes, very hickish, I know. I lived in England for a while. Every so often, I find myself calling the garbage can a rubbish bin. Don't ask me why of all the phrases I could have picked up on, rubbish bin won out. haha

My WIP is from the POV of an Irish girl. I've had to add in certain phrases or just little words here and there to make her sound authentic but not to the point that I'm going overboard. It's been fun to build my MC into a bubbly little Irish lass. Oh, she's so adorable. Just you guys wait!

Well, what do you say when referring to a nice cold carbonated beverage? What types of slang do you use or do you pronounce words differently because of where you are from? Have you ever written a character with a different accent? Do tell...

Writing. Jewels. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

We Can't Spell S ccess Without U

I saw a poster a couple weeks ago that said:

"We can't spell s ccess without U."

The phrase caught my attention. It got me thinking about just how important we all are in the grand scheme of things.

For example, if a group of guys named John, Paul, George, and Ringo never met and started plucking away at songs then the world would have been deprived of some pretty darn great music.

Say, if Aristotle had not believed the earth was round, we may still be frightened of falling off of the edge of the earth. (At least I think it was Aristotle. Let me know if I'm mistaken.)

And, what the devil would we do if someone hadn't come up with the brilliance of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Sheesh, we would all die of starvation, right? Okay, I've pushed the envelope a bit too far. But you get my point.

Now, to the meat of my post.

In general, I compare myself to everyone and their monkey. Uh... Oh, Dog. When I learned to speak Chinese to live in Taiwan for a year and a half, I thought everyone elses language skills trumped mine at least three-thousand percent. For the most part, this brought about great heartache and loss of awesome experiences communicating with the natives.

I compare with my writing, too. Slap me, please! I know I shouldn't, but ingrained in Julia's genes is the insecurity that I'm not good enough. Perhaps, I'm giving away too much, but maybe some of you who read this feel the same way.

One of my good friends told me that only I can write what I write, and I am super special for it. My words (after polishing them off a bit) are the best way that can tell my stories to the world. I shouldn't compare what I write or my journey with words with anyone elses. That's only setting me up for failure.

We needed J.K. Rowling to come up with Harry Potter. We can't spell success without her. We needed J.R.R. Tolkien to think up his fantastical world found in The Lord of the Rings. We can't spell success without him.

The list is endless, but you get the idea.

I quote this: "We can't spell s ccess without U."

Keep on dreaming, writing, and sharing YOUR stories! And for heaven's sack, STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER WRITERS! I know I have to work on this one loads.

Have you ever compared yourself with others when it comes to your writing? How have you pulled yourself out of that muddling pit?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Writers by Design

The past two weeks, I've taken a break from writing. It's good to take breaks, especially after a serious revision . . . at least for me. It helps me to tackle the upcoming project of writing or edits with greater motivation. Last Saturday, I started an edit of my WIP, BOUND, as per beta suggestions. It should be fun.
While I was taking my break, I not only went on vacation, read The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, relaxed, etc., but I watched the full first season of the TV show Jane by Design. Yes, it sucked me in after 10 minutes; TV shows have the keen ability to do that to me. Ok, I'm so in love with this series that I've decided to redesign, re-envision myself through clothing. Yes, my pocketbook didn't like me for it. Sorry, bank account.

At any rate, I've taken some fashion tips from Jane to alter my outfits from that of a trendy librarian to a punky librarian. Uh... I have no idea if that makes sense at all. But, I'm liking the new me who splashes funky styles together to build a nice outfit.

This has to do with writing, too. Building a story is all about combining different elements (plot, characters, tension, setting, etc.). Some work and are beautiful, to die for. Others, not so much. Like in one episode of Jane by Design, Jane strings this rather ugly belt around her waist that definitely did not look good, and people told her, too. She quickly discarded it.

As writers, we compose a story and go back through it and have to get rid of certain parts, maybe even a full chapter(s) because it doesn't help the plot to progress. I've had to do that... my first book was about 100K when I finished the first draft. I remember one chapter that I loved so, so much. A critique partner suggested that it had to go. I dragged my feet, but eventually took the scene out. Now, the book is at 67K. Lots of deleting took place.

But with all the world-building, character development, and everything else that goes into writing a good story, it's all about designing it into something priceless, polished, gorgeous--like pulling together a fashionable ensemble of clothing.

Well, what are your thoughts on this sort of rambling post?

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Right Word

My mind fails me occasionally to articulate exactly what I want to vocalize. This has been a problem for me since I learned Mandarin Chinese. I think the super-hard-it-took-ten-years-off-of-my-life language crowded out my English. I can't speak Chinese well or English for that matter, now.

*shakes head*

Every once in a while when I'm part of a conversation, the right word doesn't come as quickly as I'd like it to. There's a perfect word I could use, its right there on the tip on my tongue, but it won't flow from my lips. What a predicament, indeed. And frustrating, huh?

This is why I like writing. I can calmly wait for the right word(s) to come to express exactly what I want to write. I don't have to come up with exactly what works for a conversation within a split second.

Words are important when it comes to writing... Uh, obviously... :D But the right word(s) are all the more important. One might work better than another--may emphasize the emotion you're conveying with more power. There have been times where I have stared at my computer for minutes on end to find that WOW word.

Here's a tip:

Pull out the thesaurus. Hundreds of times, I've found the right word from that blessed book. Or right click on the word that just doesn't quite work and look at its synonyms.

Also, it's important to ponder and think about the scene. Not jump too quickly to the wrong word when another would work better. 

Anyway, what is your process for finding the right word? Do you ever ponder over a sentence for a while until the right word enlightens your mind? Do you pull out the thesaurus? Any tips?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wrapping It Up

So, I spent my vacation on the banks of the Columbia River. I enjoyed time with my brother's family, two parades, a super-duper-chocolatey-smothered funnel cake, a carnival, a craft fair, and a 5K race. And yes, oddly enough, I did enjoy the run. Oh, and I saw The Avengers too. Not that shabby for a weekend, eh?

Well, now I'm taking some recuperating time from the fun. And that's why this post has come a bit late on this fine Tuesday post-day. I slept in and didn't have a post scheduled. I very well could have prepared this last night, but I watched a couple too many episodes of Jane by Design on Netflix. While on my vacation someone told me about the show. Now.... yes.... I'm obsessed. And really want to go on a huge shopping spree to buy supercool clothes like Jane wears.

Could I pull it off is the question...

Anyway, here are some pics from my vacation. I promise, I'll get back to posting about writing from now on. But for now, enjoy some pics!

At the craft fair, I spotted a vendor doing henna. This is the ink drying.
 I wanted the Chinese character for love put on my ankle and asked for pretty flowers to sprout from it. So pretty!
 My hand today, it is fading a bit but should last for a while longer.
 Ok, this is how much I love dogs... I'm standing in the dog potty area. Gross, huh? But I had to get the pic cuz it was way too cool to pass up the chance. Haha
 Me holding my sleeping niece at the parade. She's sooo cute. Me on the other hand, not so cute. I just finished a 5K. Give me a break. :D
And I read quite a bit of The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter while trapped in a car for the 11 hour drive, twice. Could have finished more, but got caught up in watching movies with my nephews and niece. And taking little naps here and there.

Love you all!

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vacation Time

So, I haven't been on a real vacation for a very long time. The last one was in 2009. I went to France and Italy for my graduation from university present to myself. A good thing too. It was the catalyst for my inspiration to write my first book. Since then the most I've done is backpacking trips, but that's sleeping on the ground in middle of nowhere. Not necessarily the go-sit-on-the-beach-and-relax type of thing, if ya know what I mean? Backpacking takes lots of stamina. Don't get me wrong, I love being in the outdoors with a pack on my back, fighting off bears and snakes... Ok, not that part, but the nature aspect and spending some quality time with my pops and whatever other old guys (his friends) want to join in. Yes, my backpacking buddies are all nearing their 70's.

*shakes head*

Well, I'm going to Wenatchee, Washington for its city festival called Apple Blossom. My brother and his wife go to it every year and have raved about it. Well, my lovely sister-in-law invited me this time around.

Yes, I get to experience the fun of the festival for the first time. Well, part of it won't be that fun; I've been wrangled into running a 5K--my first ever. I'm an active person, but not a runner due to not so great knees and ankles. Blast them. But, alas, I'm going to go for it even if I'm the last runner to cross the finish line. Of which, I'm pretty sure I will be. Shoot!

Well, I hope to spend some quality time with my nephews and niece--the cute-alicious little rugrats.

And I'm not going to do anything dealing with writing other than checking my blog every once in a while. But, because of the fact that we are road-tripping it from Utah to Washington, I'll have plenty of time to get some reading done (The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter).

So do you have any fun trips coming up? What do you like to do when vacationing? Or would you rather just tuck yourself in bed with a good book?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Month of May Goals

Hello, dear followers. Man-o-Man, it was a crazy April. I'm sort of exhausted with all I've done, especially writing-wise.

I'm going to start off this post with some questions up front:

So what are your Month of May Goals? How does goal setting help you when it comes to writing? What are your methods of setting goals? Do you write them down, have them in your head, or tell someone? Or maybe all of the above?

Having started to blog about my goals has been beneficial. Because I put them out there for the world to see, it gives me that extra push to ACCOMPLISH them.

Well, here's how I did with my Month of April Goals:
  • Have a super awesome 30th Birthday! Check Check Check! What a fabulous day!
  • Try not to get depressed for not being married by my 30th Birthday. Check. I actually feel supercool being 30! Woot!
  • Finish Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver Super Check. What a super great book. Can't wait to have the cliffhanger resolved.
  • Finish a revision of my book, FÉLICITÉ FOUND Check-o-my-Check. Finished it just a couple days ago. I took my time to make this revision COUNT! *BAM*
  • Complete an edit of my WIP, BOUND No Check but I don't care. It was more important to work on my first book.
  • Will not buy any clothing ---> I'm going to say I half accomplished this. All I bought was a supercool Doctor Who tshirt. And it is beautiful.
  • Read Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon Check. An enjoyable book with a great premise. And it takes place in Ireland so it has to be good, right? Bring on the hot Irish accents.
Not half that bad, if I do say so myself.

Now on to my Month of May Goals:
  • Go on a much needed vacation to Washington State with my brother's family (Time to have some quality time with my nephews and niece)
  • Give myself some R&R (Say 2 weeks) before I dive back into anything related to writing
  • Beta a beta's book
  • Read The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  • Catch up on checking out blogs in the blogoshere (I've pretty much sucked at this in April because of revisions--Sorry guys) 
Loves to you all!

Writing. Jewels.