Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buckets Full of News

Has anyone ever seen the British comedy, "Keeping Up Appearances?" If not you totally should. The title of today's blog has the word "bucket" in it. Made me think of that show. Although, you need to pronounce it "bouquet."

Don't know where that little side note came from. Must be from being tired this morning or from having cold hands. Your guess is as good as mine. Am I making any sense? Nope.

Well, some news:

I finished another edit last night. Wahoo! After a long socially deprived and being glued to my laptop and iPod week, it's done. Gah! With the help of my wonderful critique partner, Trish Wolfe, she's helped me to hone it in to something better. Sigh. I'm eternally indebted to her blessed little heart. I've got to give props to my friend Rob for editing it, too! Thanks for your wisdom! Soon I'll have a few people beta it to see if it can get any better. Seriously, how could it get any better? Just kidding. It can totally improve more.

I hope to be querying for an agent in a month. That's just the craziest thing. EVER! I never, ever thought I'd get to this point and I'm almost there. Totally at the freaking out stage of writing.

My pink cell phone finally kicked the can. The battery just couldn't cut it anymore. I was too cheap to buy a new battery for the time being. Gonna get an iPhone4 later on this month, so I very well couldn't get a new battery when I was so close to finishing a contract with my current cell phone provider. I'm settling for an old phone of mine. It's so ghetto, but it works. haha

My ten month old niece walked for the first time the other day. It was the cutest thing in the whole world. Hey, but I'm way biased.

There's really nothing else, other than I'm gonna be reading lots over the next couple days because I can. Oh, the lovely joy that comes from reading.

What news do you have to share? Comment and then we can all revel in each others news. :D

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mysterious Ways and Writing

Yesterday, my withdrawals from seeing U2 in concert made me listen to their music almost all day. I had to do something to get over the musical high. Well, I ended up listening to their song Mysterious Ways like twelve times.

I tend to focus on the singer/lyrics of songs—everything else is pushed to the background. But this time around, I found myself focusing on each of the instruments individually and tuning out the others. Let me tell you, it’s hard for me not to listen to Bono’s voice. Anyway. The drums were being hit with a vibrant beat that varied throughout the song. The bass was thrumming with subtle precision that I could feel in my chest. The guitar electrified the song with power. And the lyrics were sung with a surge of intensity that made me fall in love with the song, again.

This exercise got me thinking about how you can’t have a kicking, rocking song like Mysterious Ways without having all of the elements (singer, guitar, bass, and drums) pulled together in a fluid expression of music. This is the same in writing. Without characters, plot, pacing, dialogue, and setting, a story won’t become a fluid masterpiece. If the characters are lacking development and the plot is falling short to grasp the reader(s) attention, then the story won’t shine. It’s the same with the technical properties of writing; grammar and punctuation. Those elements can throw readers off from the stories flow. In the end, the story must have all of these fundamentals well-executed.

The more times I go through my MS, the more I see how it can unravel into a polished whole. Also having others read it will help you become aware of what your story is lacking.

That makes me think of something someone told me last summer. They said that there will be numerous edits as I write my book. I didn’t believe them. Oh, man, I do now. It takes a lot of time cultivating your story and making sure that all its elements are well-meshed together. That’s what will get your story to its end. The End. The editing process is not easy, but it’s worth it. And you know what? It helps you to become more intimately familiar with your story; it’ll be even more alive and tangible. At that point, your story will have blossomed as magnificently as U2’s Mysterious Ways.

Photography by Julia King.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The BIG Four

My love for music pretty much equals the adoration I have for books. Traveling is equal, too, but not as easily accessible.  Today, my love for music is gonna trump books and traveling. Why? Because, my friends, today will mark the big fourth time I will see my absolute favorite band in concert--U2. I have adored them since 1997. It goes back a little farther, though. With having grown up with an older brother and sister who loved 80's music, U2 was a part of their listening enjoyment.

Alas, a year and four months wait to see the phenomenal U2 is almost here. Tonight is the night! And I will be dancing and yelling my voice horse and singing along with Bono--even if he can't hear my voice for the crowd. Perhaps I will get to dance with him this time. Wish me luck. haha. 
In honor of the concert, I am posted some of my favorite U2 songs for you (and me) to enjoy this fine May 24, 2011. Enjoy the tunes because it is a "Musical Journey" as Larry Mullen Jr. would say.

Before you listen to the glorious and perfect songs, which band is YOUR favorite and why?

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, May 23, 2011

Half-Blood & Daimon Swag Winner

I want to announce the winner of some great Daimon and Half-Blood swag by Jennifer L. Armentrout. First of all, I've read Daimon and really want to encourage all of you to read it. I can tell you from first hand experience that it is FANTASTIC! A great read! And you'll want to read it before you delve into Half-Blood--to be released on September 15, 2011.

If you want to listen to the astounding playlist that inspired Daimon, check out this link to my blog post for the contest!

Now the winner of the swag is...


Congratulations! I will be emailing you shortly to get your address for the sparkly swag to be mailed off to you. BTW, I chuckled at how you said you loved, "DOG DAYS ARE OVER!!! because for someone who has absolutely no clue how to dance, this song really makes me want to jump no matter how weird I look!!" Way cute!

I hope everyone has a brilliant day!

FYI: Stop by my blog tomorrow to check out a little playlist of my own. It rocks, and I will for sure be listening to it all today and tomorrow!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bad Taste In Boys & Supernaturally

There are a couple books that I’m ecstatic to read, and they’re coming out within the next couple months. The books are...

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (July 12)
& Supernaturally by Kiersten White (July 26).

Carrie Harris’s beautiful, quirky, and fun writing style has drawn me in. I can’t wait to read more of her dynamic voice through the words of her book. BTIB is about zombies in high school. How cool is that? Way supercool on an awesomesauce scale. I’ve been waiting well over six months for this book and the clock is ticking—it will be out soon. I feel pretty special because Carrie was the first person to follow me on Twitter. Back then, I appreciated her confidence in me as a beginner in the tweeting arena and as an aspiring author. Ok, I’m bragging.

Last summer, Kiersten White’s book Paranormalcy was recommended to me by her dad. Now that’s a cool claim to fame. I’ve really got to stop bragging now. Anyway, within days I finished it and fell in love with the characters and the story. Then I had the fabulous opportunity to interview Kiersten. She was so welcoming and a delight to get to know in person. Since then I’ve been itching to get my greedy little fingers on Supernaturally. It makes me giddy thinking in just over two months I will be feasting upon the second part of the series. However, it kills me to think I have to wait even longer for the final book in the trilogy to be released. They should just release them both at the same time. Seriously! And I’m anxious to find out what the third book is going to be named. I have some ideas, but I’m probably way off the mark.

So, which soon-to-be-released books are you dying to read and why?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's in a Name?

A fellow writer called me by my nickname the other day: Jewels (should be spelled Jules). He told me I should write a blog post about it. So, these are the names that are okay for people to call me: Julia or Jules. Yeah, you can call me funny, too, but that’s not required. The one name I don’t like being called is Julie. I have no problem with people named Julie. I know some fantastic people with the name, but I don’t feel like a Julie. At all! If my parents had wanted me called Julie, they would have named me it.

So where is this taking me and how can I tie it into writing?

When I started writing my book, the character’s names came to me quickly. It was like they were whispering their names to me as I wrote. Of course my book is set in Paris, France, so I printed off a list of common first names and surnames of French people. My main character’s name is Pierre. I love Pierre, but worried it wasn’t manly enough for him (no offense to all Pierre’s out there). I tried switching his name with a sub-character named Luc. It was not right at all. He is Pierre all the way! And Luc is Luc!

For me my characters must have the right name from the very beginning, otherwise I can’t fully develop them as real person. And they are very real to me.

For a trilogy I will write next, the characters spoke their names to me during a sleepless night. My cute and very intelligent Sophie is dying to come to life. However, one of the character’s names is not coming to me. I feel like a parent who can’t decide a name for their child after they’ve been born. Yes, he has been born in my mind. I hope to come up with a name for him, but it may not come until I start writing.

So, how do you flow when it comes to naming your characters? Do your character’s names have any weight on developing the story? Is it a must to give them a name at the very beginning? Or can you write it and have the names come to you later?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Daimon Playlist Contest Recreated

Uh, in a frantic panick I recreate my post from yesterday to promote Jennifer L. Armentrout's short book Daimon, the prequel to her upcoming release Half-Blood.

If you entered yesterday to win Daimon and Half-Blood awesome swag, please enter again! If you haven't now is your time to enter!!!

Here is the Daimon Playlist that inspired the book:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
Rules for the giveaway contest:

+1 Comment on this post about which song on the playlist is your favorite & why?
+1 Tweet or Blog about the contest (offer link)
+1 Offer your email so I can contact the winner

Contest is open internationally. Ends on Friday, May 20, 2011 at 2:56 p.m. MST
Winner will be randomly chosen and then announced on Monday, May 23, 2011.

Here is a blurb about Daimon:

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals—pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty.

According to her mother, that’s a good thing.

But as every descendent of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return—the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill.

The daimons have found her.

And you all should read it. I have and loved every spicey hot moment of it. Jennifer knows how to write something that draws you in after three words. Now I can't wait to read Half-Blood to know what happens.

Here are the links to read it:

Daimon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Daimon-Prequel-Half-Blood-Covenant-ebook/dp/B004Z7TDFM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1304905251&sr=8-2
Daimon Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Daimon-Half-Blood-Jennifer-L-Armentrout/dp/0983157251/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1304905251&sr=8-3
Plus, don't miss out on the last day of the Daimon Blog Tour at:
Friday May 13th
What's going on? Character interview with Seth
Prize? A signed printed copy of Daimon

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Little Bit of This & a Little Bit of That

I’ve felt really quiet this week so far. And it’s only Tuesday. That’s way bad. I decided that I had to get back into the swing of things, so I started tweeting. Tweeting always perks me up. What do you know, it worked. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to share with you on today’s post. Last night while I watched Chuck, I stared at my laptop screen with lack of any idea. Needing to be consistent on my blog, I decided to just blab and see if you love my blabbing. Oh, I blab in every post. Oh, well!

So, my rewrite is nearing its end. I’m enjoying crafting my two main characters into teenagers. It feels better. It feels right. It feels like they should have been younger the whole time. I hope to have the rewrite completed by the end of the week. Wish me luck as I wish all you writers luck with the enjoyable madness of writing.

I have the travel bug really bad right now. Actually, it’s a constant battle. If anyone wants to sponsor me to travel to some extravagant and beautiful beach-like place (preferably international), I would love you forever and maybe even kiss you (only if you are a man and single). I’m kidding, but if you’re rich then why not spend your money on me. Haha The pic to the right is a photo I took of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. Beautiful!

Well, there is my blabbing for this lovely Tuesday!

Last and most important note: Don’t forget to check out my post and contest this Thursday. It will all be about Jennifer L. Armentrout’s prequel novel, Daimon, to her upcoming release, Half-Blood.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Escalator of Writing

This video made me giggle up a storm. I thought it would be fun to share with you today. Hopefully, you can get a good chuckle out of it. It is very snarfable, indeed. However, as I watched it again, I thought it related to writing a great deal. Writing is like walking up the down escalator—it is not easy. Some finish. Some don’t.

Here’s how it relates to writing:

Man # 1: The man in the brown jacket worked tirelessly to get to the top, yet gave up. He turned around, not willing to try anymore regardless of how hard he worked to get to the end goal. In writing, the evil master of discouragement is always lurking in the shadows, willing away the diligent writer to cease honing their craft. Ultimately, they stash their project on the shelf and forget about it.

Man # 2: The man in the blue jacket started out running up the escalator with fervent excitement, slowing down as he went. Barely reaching the top, he buckled and gave up. Writing is electrifying at times. Ideas are bursting with colors from your fingertips as you type. Here again, at some point, you get worn out and can’t go any farther. This could be a moment of writer’s block or anything that diminishes your desire to write.

Man # 3: The man in the black jacket made it, even with almost taking a spill as he reached the top. But, he finished and that’s what matters. He didn’t give up, turn back, or cease the struggle until he was on sturdy ground at the top. Writing is a fight to finish your WIP. The published writer follows through with their love of writing. Any discouragement, occasional writer’s block, or difficult suggestions from a beta will not hold them back. They make it happen! They reach the top regardless of how difficult it is.

Writers, let’s be the Number Three Man. Make it to sturdy ground! We can get there with a lot of work and love for writing. Let’s never stop writing until we’re at the top—published!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review - Meant to Be by Tiffany King

“Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends. The one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.”

Tiffany King brings a new twist on the paranormal in her book Meant to Be. The blurb of her book is only the tip of the thrilling story that unravels with every turn of the page. The more you read, the more you crave to know. And the plot twists are incredible—you don’t even see them coming. I was well-impressed with the development of the irresistible plot. It not only is humorous, but is entwined with an occasional burst of grief that makes your heart break.

The characters were enjoyable to get to know. I found myself wanting to be best friends with them. Tiffany crafted their personalities in a honed fashion in which I felt like I had known them for years.

The romantic element of the story was delicious to me. I wanted to see the lovebirds kiss just one more time, or hold hands to feel the fire of their deep knit connection.

With absolute certainty, I would recommend this book to you. Anyone who loves Young Adult literature will devour Meant to Be.

Visit Tiffany King’s blog to learn more about the beautiful author, my sister from another mother. And follow these links to purchase Meant to Be on Kindle or Paperback.