Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Goals 30-3-15

I plan to send STUMPED off to my agent before the end of the week.  Which means I need to finish cutting words out of it.  I'm more than halfway through, and if I have a good couple of nights, I should get done by April 1.

After I finish STUMPED, I'm taking a two week break from writing.  The kids are on vacation for 2 weeks post-Easter, and I have a ton of stuff to do at work, including two trips to Auckland.  So rather than diving into a new project and having no time to work on it, I'll break and hopefully come back fresh to my long-ignored NaNo book.

And that's it for me.  The A - Z blogging challenge starts on April 1 and I foolishly signed up with the idea I'd wing it and just write something each day rather than following a theme.  It didn't feel as daunting then as it does now….  We shall see.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Celebrate the Small things 27-3-15

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?

This week I'm celebrating a sense of community.  I had a very stressful week this week at work and the cinema community in my city really came to the party to help out.  Most of the cinema a community, anyway.  I now know which locations I can count on and will be doing my best to swing business in their directions.

I've been so busy with work stuff I've done virtually no writing.  I had planned to try and cut 5K out of STUMPED by the 31st, but I doubt I'll get that done now.  I'll see what I can do over the weekend, but I doubt I have time to do the work I need to do.  I'll see how I go over the weekend

What are you celebrating this week?

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?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekly Goals 9-3-15

Revision is my goal again this week. I have 12 more chapters of STUMPED to work through and my plan is to have half of those done by the end of the week.  Next week is a crazy one at work, so I know I won't get all my writing time in.  Therefore, I need to get a couple of chapters ahead of schedule if I'm going to make my March 31 deadline for finishing this revision.

The other thing I have to do this week is make it to the gym more than twice.  I have been bad at going and I've also been pretty shite at getting out at lunchtime to walk around a little.  I feel like my ass is expanding daily….  I love my job, but there isn't much running around included in it so I need to be getting exercise other places.  On the plus side, not getting out at lunchtime means not getting lunch, so at least I'm not eating and sitting on my fat ass.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Celebrate the Small things 5-3-15

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've had a great writing week and everything seems to be going well at the day job too….  Shhh.  Don't tell anyone or it will all fall down!

I'm looking forward to a nice weekend of gardening, cleaning and hanging out with my family.  Maybe reading and writing a bit too.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Books I Loved - Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

I just read this one recently and it's one of those stories that sticks with you.  It's about a girl who, with her friend on the commune across the street, drinks the remains of a petrified bat and starts seeing visions of the future.  And the future doesn't look good.

But her present isn't that great either.  Her Dad is pretty absent most of the time and her mother committed suicide years ago, leaving nothing but a dusty darkroom and an inexplicable book of photographs.  Her best friend is more interested in screwing another commune kid in the fields than hanging out.

The way the terrible visions of the future intercut with the things going on in the present each time Glory looks at a new person is cleverly done, and the portrait of the new world painted is chilling.  This book balances perfectly on the edge of way too weird and just weird enough and I couldn't put it down.

Here's the blurb in case I haven't convinced you.

Would you try to change the world if you thought it had no future?

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities — but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way... until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weekly Goals 2-3-15

It's all about revising this week…  Again.

It's the only week this month I don't have something huge on at work, so I'm going to work really hard to make some significant progress on STUMPED.  I've given myself a deadline to get through this revision, and if I'm going to finish by the end of March like I plan to, I need to work hard this week.

I have a plan in mind, so I'm hoping that will help.  Once again though, I feel like this revision is going to add a significant number of words.  Luckily STUMPED is on the shortish side for one of my books…

An Unstill Life is gone.  It feels weird to suddenly no longer be a published novelist.  But hopefully I'll find a new home for my book.  At least I know someone once felt it was good enough to be published. And because I now have an agent and another book on submission, I don't feel as bad about this step backward as I might have otherwise.

What are your goals for this week?