Friday, June 29, 2012

And the Race with Words Begins

I can attribute my writing journey to one thing...

Le Tour de France

My dad is an avid cyclist. He introduced me to Le Tour de France years ago. He taught me the ins and outs of the tour. I guess I can say he has a major role in my love for writing, too. Bless the man's heart. Willingly, he reads everything that I write, be it during the first draft, editing, or revising stages. He catches typos and things that don't make sense. I think he's read my books more times than he probably would ever desire to. I love him for it, though.

All this does have a point, I assure you. LOL

So, Le Tour de France commences tomorrow. Of course, for the full three weeks of racing, I'll be watching it from the comforts of my room on Versus  (a sports tv station).

Three years ago, for my graduation-from-university-present-to-myself, I went to Paris, France. I saw the tours traditional last day as they rode onto Champs-Élysées (a main road in the gorgeous city). Yes, I saw the cyclists fly past me at least six or so times, and (*giggles*) witnessed one of my famous crushes, Lance Armstrong, as he zoomed past me, too. *Swoon*
Anyway, this trip, of which included an excursion down to Italy, brought about the idea for my first book, FÉLICITÉ FOUND. I know it's totally cliché, but I fell in love with Paris so much that when I came home I dreamed about it all the time. One of those dreams turned into an idea for a book. 

I feel so grateful and blessed that over a period of eleven years (+/-), I was led to Paris through my love of Le Tour de France and traveling. These experiences were the catalyst to commence my own race with words. Otherwise, I really don't think I'd be writing. 

Over the next three weeks, you'll know what's keeping me busy--watching some wicked awesome cyclists and maybe, just maybe, their ripped legs. *blushes* Oh, and beta'ing some books, too.

So, how did you start writing? What initially inspired your writing journey?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do You Write What You Read/Like?

I'd like to think of myself as a prolific reader. I've ventured into many different genres (MG, YA, Adult, Suspense, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Dysopian, Fantasy, Paranormal, etc...). I enjoy everything from Brandon Mull to Stephenie Meyer to Dan Brown.
But, my favorite genre to feast upon is YA, more specifically anything with a fantastical or paranormal element. I like these books because they place me right smack in the thick of a different world. It's enjoyable to read different twists and takes on supernatural beings. I love to wrap my mind thoroughly into the realms of these stories. And I do. When I finish a book, I typically think about it for days afterward.

With all this said, I write what I read/like, at least in the YA arena. My first book is a YA Paranormal Romance. The one I'm editing is an Urban Fantasy. I've also got a few other ideas up my sleeve--a YA Dystopian, YA Sci-Fi, and another YA Paranormal Romance.

I could definitely never write a Contemporary piece of literature. People wouldn't get past the second page if I did. Writing something non-fiction would make me dig my eyes out with a spoon (no offence to non-fiction writers). I don't think I have it in me to write an Adult work because I adore being in teenagers minds far too much. That sounded weird, I know.

So, do you write what you read/like? Have you ever tried to write something that doesn't fall under your typical reads? How do you decide what genre you write?

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Positive Affirmations

Yesterday, I was talking to a few people at the university I work at. We got on the subject of mathematics courses. In general, many people are or were (*coughs* me) terrified of the tricky subject. One of my coworkers said: "I hate math." Another employee instantly responded with: "Saying that, subconsciously, will condition you to really hate math. You will not succeed in the subject because of that negative self talk." I can't remember her exact wording, but in essence that was the gist.

I took this to heart, friends. As authors, it's a good practice to repeat positive affirmations to ourselves, even out loud. We are freaking amazing for taking this difficult road to write. Often times I fall prey to the negative talk about myself.

Anyway, it's time to throw all that negative junk in the garbage. We are good enough for whatever we do, be it writing, painting, needle pointing, cooking, parenting, sleeping... Well, you get the point.

Recently, I taped up signs around my bedroom and bathroom that say:

I am a New York Times Bestselling Author

I see this phrase no matter what direction I face in my little neck of the woods. I hope that subconsciously it will reinforce that my dream to achieve that very lofty goal WILL happen. It's all about being positive and keeping your eyes dead on your target, whatever it may be.

So, what are your goals? What kind of positive affirmations or positive self talk do you use to keep you going?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Do You Like Action?

Okay, get your heads out of the gutter. I don't mean that kind of "Action"... I mean the important element of action that must occur in the first chapter of your book. I received notes back from an editor and one of the points she stated was getting to the pivotal point of action straight away. Granted I had maybe six paragraphs before the main action sequence, but it wasn't something that caught her attention. And to be honest, it was a little bit of an info dump if anything.

*shrugs sheepishly*

So, I took out some of that and jumped right into the action in the second sentence of my novel. It's more intriguing now and definitely will capture the reader's attention right off the bat.

I bring this up so that you won't be placed in the same predicament. The first chapter is crucial to make sure your reader moves on to the next chapter. If you dive right into the conflicting action, you'll suck them in. They most likely won't think: "Meh, that was okay."

So, how do you do this? Streamline that first chapter. Yes, you have to give some back story and describe the setting; however, it can be done with little cues here and there. As in the first chapter of my book, I show that it is cold outside by my MC shivering or the puff of air misting from his mouth. I give hints that he is crossing Pont Neuf Bridge. I let the reader know that something crucial happens in the Seine River. I even bring up the simple word Paris once.

The reader can tell now that it is winter-time and the book is set in Paris, France. It's those little cues that will allow you to jump right into the action instead of going on and on with back story, when the conflict has to arise quickly to capture attention. You want your audience to continue reading, right? Well, give them a reason to.  

What are your thoughts on this topic? How do you set up the first chapter?

Writing. Jewels.

PS: I'd like to thank the beautiful Elise Fallson for the 7X7 award. It made me smile so big I almost blew up all of the lightbulbs in my bedroom.

Friday, June 15, 2012

To Do List: Make it Funny

A little something to giggle over:
I think I've been a little bit too serious lately. I've been trying my darndest to work hard and to be productive that I've forgotten to find joy in life. My personal life has definitely been put on the back burner, but for good reason: writing. Somehow I need to find balance, though. Currently, I don't have writing deadlines, so why am I putting so much pressure on myself? Well, because I want to be published. The thing is I know deep down inside I will... eventually. Why sweat the small stuff, then? 

There's a point when you have to take inventory of your life. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know how much you can handle. You know when taking a break is the best option, be it from the small stuff or the big stuff in your life.

For me, I get stressed way easily. I call myself a "stress bucket". It sort of runs in my family. If I don't step back and take it easy for a bit, I definitely will be so burned out, it'll take me weeks to get back into the game. I need a full 8 hours of sleep. I must eat. I must have my down time by reading, watching a favorite tv show, or going on a hike. I need to work as well, be it my full time job or writing. I have yet to figure out how to balance out these things with including spirituality, exercise, and family/socializing. But, I'm a work in progress. And so are you.

Let's be kind to ourselves during the journey.

So, just for the heck of it, here are some things on my funny to-do list:
  • I've always wanted to go to a semi-nice restaurant with a group of friends, order our food, and then whip out a game of Monopoly. I want to see how long it takes for us to get kicked out.
  • I want to go into a department store, find some handsome, young bloke, kiss him right on the lips, and then walk away. (I most likely will never do this one, but it sure is fun to think about). *smacks lips*
  • Go to a vineyard in, say California or better yet Italy, and ask for a drink of grape juice. Yes, plain, un-fermented grape juice. I don't drink, therefore grape juice is the only option.
Well, what I'm getting at is don't take life too seriously. Have fun. Relax if you need to. Work when you need to. And make sure you laugh along the way.

Do you sometimes take yourself too seriously? How do you find balance in your life? And, what are your funny to-do list items?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Always Follow Your Heart

The heart is fragile. I'm not talking about the heart as in the organ that resides within the body, but the heart that makes the world go around. The heart that aches sometimes. The heart that jumps for joy sometimes. The heart that keep us going, following our dreams.

The heart is such a complex word when associated with feelings deep inside. I think I may have felt every feeling this little heart of mine can handle. The ups and the downs. And in the end, it's my heart that I try to follow to lead me to happiness. But it's a tricky thing following your heart. It can sometimes be painful, downright agonizing. On the upside, it can lead to immense joy that can't be measured in any earthly way.

Writing is my dream. It is what my heart is telling me to do. I want to succeed so blasted much. My heart is full of this dream. Yet, it can be so darn right sad sometimes. I've been led down a road I never thought I would take. That of being a writer. If someone would have told me at the very beginning just how hard this route would be, I'm not sure I'd have chosen it. I am glad someone didn't tell me that at the beginning, though. It would have kept me from growing in ways unimaginable.

Would I give up the last two and a half years of hard work? Nope. Never.

My heart is still driving me forward, even when it feels like its on its last beat. And it's taking a lot of patience. More than I thought possible. But as the saying goes: Patience is a virtue. One that I don't possess much of. Haha My patience is being tried in other parts of my life, so it's doubly hard. Argh!

I know I will be published one day. The patience will pay off. And my heart will be stronger for it. I guess what I'm trying to say is: Don't give up. Keep on typing away. Be proactive. And for heaven's sake, believe in yourself. Follow your heart!

Now, I have to eat my words. *gobble gobble gobble*

What is your heart telling you? Where is it leading you?

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Outernet vs The Internet

I saw this the other day and thought it was hilarious.

Those were the good old days when we had to use all of those "outernet" sources to complete tasks that take us minutes to do on the internet. I remember them... Yes, I remember researching for a paper at the library. Does that mean I'm old? haha

Anyway, I couldn't help but think about social networking as I laughed at this picture. I have met soooooo many great people while using Twitter and my blog. I swear, I wouldn't be where I'm at right now in in my writing journey if it weren't for social networking. The support I've found here is mind-boggling. I've found critique partners and betas on the internet. And I've actually only met one of them. Props to Morgan Shamy. I can't tell you how grateful I am for social networking. It has pulled me from having no idea what I'm doing to, uh well, knowing what I'm doing writing-wise.

If you've been following me long enough, you'll know I'm an advocate for using social networking during the writing process. It. Is. Priceless. How will people know you from the girl next door if you don't get your name out there? And the best part of social networking is you make amazing friendships along the way.

Back before the internet, I wonder how people actually got published. It is AMAZING to me. I bow in their glory. Seriously.

Anyway, did you laugh up a storm when you saw the Outernet picture? Have you found a lot of support from social networking? Have you found your CP's and betas from it? What are your thoughts on social networking? 

Writing. Jewels.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Part 1

So, dearest support groups members and followers, here's the scoop: Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll post about my writing struggles, triumphs, and anything I can say to push other writers forward. Alex J. Cavanaugh (author/blogger extraordinaire) is hosting this group as a source to uplift writers through their writing journey. This industry is not easy. At all. The more support you have, the better.

So for my very first support group post, I want to talk about motivation... Or rather, the lack thereof. Ugh!

I've been going through a major motivation to write/edit rut. It drives me BONKERS. Because I haven't been as studious with my writing, I caved into comparing myself to other writers.

Why do you think this is?

I've got an answer, one of many perhaps. Note: I'm not trying to be cocky with what I'm about to say. I say this with great humility because I've had to work hard to get to where I am. Being away from my words for a long period of time makes me forget how good I am. Yes, I'm not Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or J.K. Rowling, but I'm Julia King--the writer of FÉLICITÉ FOUND and BOUND. My books that only I could write.

Motivation and confidence come when I'm deep in the thick of my stories. It isn't until then that I forget all the other crap going on in my mind. IE: I suck at writing. Or others write better than me. The list goes on and on. You know how it is.

I have to work really hard at maintaining the stamina to write...consistently and not let all the distractions of insecurities cloud my vision. Being in my words helps conquer those venomous, parasite-esque, debilitating, and destructive feelings. 

So, how do you overcome being unmotivated? Or not working as hard as you know you can? How do you overcome lack of confidence in yourself as a writer?

Writing. Jewels.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I Really Want

So, my big post for this week will go up tomorrow. I've joined "The Insecure Writer's Support Group", hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, author and blogger extraordinaire. For more information about the group click here. Stop by tomorrow to see what I post.

As for today, I'm going to post about the things I really want.
  • To bask in the sun on the Cinque Terre
  • Something sweet to eat (must include chocolate). I'm almost done with my 21 day no sweets goal. 16/21 down. But I said in my month of June goals that I wouldn't eat sweets this month. I'll see what happens
  • A boyfriend who will end up as my hubs
  • To go on a really long trip across the world and back
  • To get a publisher. Sigh
  • To have laser eye surgery. Twice in as many weeks, I've taken out my left contact and it has somehow gotten itself stuck behind my eye. Freaky
  • To write full-time. Sigh again
  • To be a New York Times Bestselling Author (it WILL happen, mark my words). Super sigh
  • To be a mommy
  • To travel some more
  • To finally have my own doggies
  • To be financially secure
  • To figure out what I'm going to do come September
So, what do you really want?

Writing. Jewels.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Month of June Goals

Well, guys and girls, I'm really glad I'm posting my goals on my blog. It's helping me to accomplish them. I'd suggest you do likewise, for sure.

Well, here's how my month of May goals went:
  • Go on a much needed vacation to Washington State Check and Check
  • Give myself some R&R for two weeks before I doing anything related to writing Check. I did get sick the week I was supposed to start editing again, so I technically took three weeks off. But then I had a bout with editor's block (writer's block but only when editing). I'm finally back in the game now.
  • Read The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter Check and Check. I loved it so much that I've already finished its sequel, Goddess Interrupted. My holy crap, this series is incredible. Read it! Now!
  • Catch up on blog commenting Check but this is an ongoing goal.
Well, on and upwards I go. *Drum Roll*

Here are my Month of June goals:
  • Read The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
  • Complete an edit of my wip: BOUND
  • Hand off BOUND to one more round of betas
  • Beta a friend's book--Ashley, I'm so proud of you!
  • Continue forward with my no sweets diet. I've done 12 days for 21. Woot!
  • Exercise three times a week
Well, what are your Month of June goals? Or what's new in your life?

Writing. Jewels.