Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Books I've Loved: Noggin

This is another of those books that completely delighted me, although it's very different to my usual taste.  It's imaginative, painful- often uncomfortably so - but also extremely funny.

The premise is simple.  A guy with terminal cancer has his head cryogenically frozen so if medical technology becomes advanced enough to unite it with a new body, he gets a chance to live again.  What he wasn't expecting is that technology arrives only five years after he 'died'.

So the world Travis re-emerges into isn't that different to the one he left.  But when you're sixteen, five years is a long time and he finds it difficult to cope with a world where his girlfriend is now an older woman (and with someone else) an his best friend has moved on without him.

This is an odd, charming and often uncomfortable read.  I kept wanting to yell at Travis because he was being so dumb, but he wasn't really.  He was being sixteen.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb...

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Goals 23-3-15

My goals aren't huge this week.  It's a big one work-wise and if Monday has been anything to go by, it's going to be even more hellacious than I suspected. So I'm not putting any pressure on myself.

My revision is done.  I added about 5K to the total length of STUMPED, which isn't too bad.  It's sitting at 86K now which is a little long for YA, but not outside the ballpark.  So my goal this week is to go through and cut all the unnecessary words and redundant phrases.  I figure if I cut 100-150 words per chapter, I'll be good.

But if I don't, it's no biggie…  I'm sure my agent will have ideas where I can trim if necessary.  I plan to send the MS off by the end of the month, so I don't have a huge amount of time.  Hopefully just enough for my CPs to do their worst!

And that's about it for goals.  I have so much to do at work this week because the deadline for Cannes is fast approaching and we have a film that's being sent there as well as being screened for a test audience here. So everything else has to take a backseat.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 20-3-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?

I'm 2 chapters away from finishing my revision.  Okay, so I need to go back and tweak a few things, but the bulk of it is over.  I intend to be done by the end of the weekend.  Then next week will be a break because I have a ton of work things on.  I'll go back and do one final read through after that week's break, then it's off to my agent.

Once STUMPED is in the mail (so to speak) it will finally be time to revise my NaNo book.  It feels like so long since I wrote it.  I hope that means I'll have a tone of perspective on how crappy it is.

I'm looking forward to the weekend because next week is going to be nuts and I'll barely be home to see the kids.  So this weekend is all about them.  Don't say anything, but I'm going to take them to my friend's circus show tomorrow.  They know nothing about it, so it;s going to be fun!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Books I've Loved - I'll Give You The Sun

As I suspected it would, this book blew me away. Jandy Nelson writes such gorgeous, beautiful, lyrical words. Every image is one you could frame and hang on your wall. After reading her writing I feel so woefully inadequate I want to quit writing for good. But at the same time, I want to try and capture the same eloquence and beauty in my own writing.

It's a book I tried to read slowly because I wanted to savor every word and phrase, yet I wanted to devour it whole at the same time. It's one I know I'll go back to, probably annually, as I do with a number of books that just demand to be re-read over and over again.

This is definitely going up as one of my favorites of all time. Top shelf of the bookcase.

And if you don't believe me, here's the blurb

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekly Goals 16-3-15

Simple goal this week: to finish my revision of STUMPED.

Can I do it?

Yes.  I think I can.  I have to.

Next week is toast as far as writing goes because I have two big work events and a social event I'd really like to go to.  So I have to finish my revising this week and leave my chapters for my CPs to read.

My only other goal for the week is to get to the gym more than twice.  I've figured out that even if I only go for half an hour after work it's good.  I can use that time to spin the work day out of my head so I'm ready to focus on writing once I've got dinner and kids' bedtime out of the way.  So rather than aiming at an hour a couple of times a week, I'm going to try and make that half hour almost every day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 13/3/15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's Friday and I'm celebrating the end of the week.  A good friend of mine is over from Tasmania and we're having dinner tonight.  I haven't seen her for about 2 years, so I'm super excited!

I'm about 6 chapters from the end of my revision on STUMPED (assuming I don't have to add more than one new chapter) and will then wait for feedback on the new stuff from my crit partners before sending off to my agent.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend with no huge projects or commitments.  I hope to get to the library at lunchtime today so I have some new books to dive into.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Books I've Loved - Not Otherwise Specified.

I just finished reading this one yesterday and I'm still buzzing on how great it is.

I've loved all Hannah's books, but this one just blew me away. That voice! I dare anyone not to love Etta after a single page...

But it's not just voice. Etta has things to say. About friendship and being labeled and figuring out how to be herself when everyone around her wants her to be anything but.  And it deals with bisexuality which isn't something that gets talked about a lot in YA books.  Or in fact, any books.

I recommend this as highly as anything I've read in forever.

And if you don't trust me, here's the blurb:

Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere—until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca might be Etta’s salvation…but can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?