Monday, January 28, 2013

Escapes.

So I dished out 10,439 words in week 3, which now has book 2 at a total of 24,508 words, 73 pages, and 7 completed chapters. Mom thinks I need to up the daily minimum word count since 1,000 words comes rather easily now. Considering the roll I've been on lately, I think I just might do that. And I also hope I didn't just jinx myself for stating that.

I might also just do a little fun project sometime and assign some songs to certain characters. After spending the week listening to Muse's "Madness" and thinking of how well it fit Artemis, I thought of how fun it would be to have a character have their own playlist when I write in their pov. The results would be interesting, for sure.

The nice thing about having such a productive week is the escape the weekend provides. Sometimes I'll write during the weekend as well, but I try to keep those days off, just to give my mind a break (even though the characters still tend to "talk" back, often times saying "no breaks, woman!"). I'll "escape" during the week too sometimes, even if it means just going out for a longer walk with Shadow or grabbing coffee with a friend.

My various forms of escape would of course, be reading a book, immersing myself in a video game, going out dancing, hiking around, and of course, watching and/or playing sports (definitely evident by how I spent most of my summer watching the Santa Fe Fuego baseball games). Volleyball used to be such a major escape for me. Nothing relaxed me more than sneaking into an empty gym with my iPod, blasting some techno, freestyle and club mixes (I'd blast rock if I was in a crap mood), and just pounding the ball against the wall for hours (for those who didn't know, it should be no surprise now that I was an outside/middle hitter back then). I've been unsuccessful for the past two summers when it comes to finding out info about a league here in Santa Fe, and I still don't have a car (or a license for that matter) yet to consider trying Albuquerque. The nice thing though is that Mom will pepper with me sometimes, and she'll throw around for lacrosse with me too, just so I can somewhat keep up with things. I'll find a way to get back to it though. As one of my best friends quoted once during my senior year, "Mel without volleyball is like the Earth without the moon".

And speaking of escapes, I will be returning to NYC and NJ in May, the 20th-26th to be more specific. I've an important wedding to attend on the 25th (yay Christopher and Mark!). I'm still trying to cleverly plan how to split my time in Queens, Bronx, Hoboken, Lakewood, and Seaport within that short amount of time. I'm creative enough though. and I've got plenty of time (for now) to work it all out.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yup, that all happened.

First thing's first! MISTRESS OF BLACKWEN is now sitting at 14,060 words in 43 pages, and I'm starting chapter 5 later on today. I pulled out a total of 6,547 words from week 2. Yay.

Second! I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest yesterday. While Mom and I were working on the submission process, I kept wondering why the room felt so warm all of a sudden, and then Mom pointed out that my face was red, as well as my hands shaking. Needless to say, I was shaking quite a bit the rest of the night. The last time I entered in a writing contest, I was 15 years old and it was for Scholastic. I didn't win, and I can say with complete honesty that I'm glad I hadn't. If my story was published as it was then, I would be crying today. I like this version MUCH better.

So I have to wait until February 13th to hear about the "winners" moving onto round 2. Basically, they pick 400 entries out of 10,000 varying in book genres. My category is pretty big - I'm in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror category. The first round of judging is based solely on the pitch (which is the hardest thing I ever written!). It doesn't matter if your book is great - if the pitch sucks, you're screwed (to put it mildly). Round 2 is then focused on the excerpt from your manuscript, which consists of the word amount between 3,000 and 5,000 (I had to cut off a part of my excerpt, but it was cut off at an interesting part). Round 3 then goes on to the judges looking at your manuscript. From there, they decide who goes to Seattle in June for 3-5 days and declare the winners there. It's a long road, and I plan to make it to the very end! Keep those fingers crossed for me!

As a treat, I'll show you what my pitch was! Plus it'd be a way to finally give some of you an idea of what the story is really about. This story had changed so much over the years that it has made it difficult for me to explain to others the gist of it (I really needed to be able to finish Book 1 before I could figure it out myself!).

Pitch:


A mother should love her child…or so you would think.

Artemis is a dhampir - half-vampire and half human, living in a city of the elves after her mother was violently murdered. Because of her heritage, the elves despise her. Only a few dare to befriend her, outside of her own mother’s friends.

For the first time in twenty-one years, Artemis dreams about her mother. She also has other dreams where she hears her mother’s voice, sending her cryptic messages about people she’s never seen before, located in places she’s only heard of but never visited. But Artemis isn’t the only one getting such dreams.

 Determined to understand her mother’s demise, Artemis sets out on a journey with several companions, including the elf soldier, Shadow – the man she’s in denial about when it comes to what her heart desires.

Unbeknownst to Artemis, her mother, Tamina, has been lingering in the world of Arrygn as a spirit. The longer a spirit lingers in the real world, the longer their mind changes – often in a vengeful state. Tamina has her own plans of revenge, even if means endangering the people once close to her, her daughter in particular, to exact it.

Love and revenge intertwined with humor and sarcasm makes Child of Blackwen a fast-paced tale of adventure you wouldn’t want to put down. Friends must go through trials and tribulations to find a way to save Artemis from her mother’s ghostly grasp.


That really was difficult to write, considering I have a LOT of things going on in the story. I'm happy with the result though. Does it intrigue you enough to pick up the story and learn the mysteries for yourself? :)

I'll also just say I'll actually watch the Superbowl now. Ravens and 49ers match-up is actually intriguing. Don't ask who I'm rooting for, because I have no clue right now. I won't deny that I enjoyed a Ravens victory over the Patriots though (sorry for my New England friends...you knew what you were getting into when you befriended a New York sports fan! I can only agree with you on the Celtics).

And one last fun tidbit for you all - this year happens to be the Year of the Snake for Chinese New Year. I, myself was born in the Year of the Snake (1989). Coincidence of good things to come this year for me? I think not.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Everybody loves progress. Only few enjoy changes.

 It's a new week, Mom's still in NY, and Shadow and I are braving the frigid weather that rolled into Santa Fe recently. Shadow loves the cold weather, but even he has his limits. He enjoyed wrapping himself in my Cena blanket yesterday :)

Book 2 has gone well in its first week of creation! I ended the week with two complete chapters, 22 pages, and a total of 7,513 words. I tend to take weekends off with the writing, but I do sometimes look over what I've completed and add some more things. I ended up with an odd twist that even I didn't see coming. That, just so you know, is a VERY good thing! When the story starts to write itself, you have to let it take its course and enjoy the ride.

I did take this weekend off though, and spent it with a friend watching movie concerts of Celtic Thunder, which was pretty epic if I do say! I think what Ashley enjoyed most was seeing me in "giddy mode", which happens whenever I see a guy I'm attracted to (I don't go crazy or anything, but the look on my face at those times have entertained MANY of my friends, as well as my mother. I think it's also just entertaining to them because it's such a rare sight for them to see).

The other thought that came to me this weekend was how much I really, really want to chop off my hair. When I first had this length of hair back in high school, I thought of maybe donating it, but people kept telling me that no one would take dyed hair for donations (I haven't been my natural blonde since early high school, and even then I had colored streaks in them). Since Locks of Love DOES take dyed hair donations, I'm going to do it. I can easily give the 10 inch donation and still have enough left to work with to get the kind of cut I've been looking at lately. Don't know when it'll happen yet, but that's something that's on the top of my list of things to do.

Also, there has been an interesting development in my writer journey. My friend, Ashley, found a writing contest for me that's being done by Amazon, and the top 5 prizes include a publishing deal on top of the prize money. I have until the 27th to submit my manuscript and my pitch to them. If I do this and make it past the first few rounds, I'd have to wait until June to hear of the winners. If I do this, I have to wait until after June (when the contest ends) to pick up the search for agents. I'm willing to take that chance, because even if I don't make the top prizes, the people selected for 3rd place still get reviewed by publishers. No matter what I'd be getting myself out there and getting myself a chance to be seen by someone. I also happen to find this funny seeing that this happens right when I've finished the manuscript of the first book entirely. As my mother and I both say, there's never such a thing as coincidence.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Things in motion.

Yes, I have started book 2 yesterday (as planned)! 1,757 words is a pretty good start, even though I told Mom that I felt like I was slacking because it took me a lot longer to get that much done in a day. To my defense, I haven't "written" in nearly 3 months (I've been editing like a madwoman and then waited a while for another pair of eyes to look over the manuscript). Beginnings of a story are always the hard part.

I did have a wrench thrown into my plans, however - I caught the bug that's been going around. Depending on how well I can fight it, or how much this thing just really hates me, my daily word counts will vary more than I would like. Don't worry though, I'm drinking a few more cups of tea than usual and I've got a nice bag of clementines waiting for me to devour them. I'll keep the "workaholic" at bay too when it's nap time.

In other news, my book that is supposed to be of more help to finding agents, answering my questions about publications and whatnot came in! So I've got that now to work on too.

Also, here's a funny little tidbit about Shadow that I just have to share:

As you all know, it's just a little over a month now that Shadow's been with Mom and I. He's gotten to the point now that he's VERY comfortable with us, and even started "speaking" to us (when we first got him, he wouldn't even bark). The first time I ever heard him howl (which is another reason why I say he's more of a Husky than a German Shepherd), I honestly thought I was listening to a wolf. It was awesome.

Nowadays, Shadow has this garbled speech that's a mixture of a bark, howl, growl (it's not even a growl, maybe more like a rumble). It's really entertaining to hear. He tends to do this more when he's beckoning you to rub his belly (which he recently started doing as well...so cute). I was talking to my brother at the time while this was happening and he said I should record Shadow while he's talking and make up a language from it, in which it could be incorporated into my book. Interesting as it is, I can't do it for this series. For SHADOW WALKER however, that's an entirely different story!

On a final note, I'm thinking of doing either just an entry or maybe another tab for FAQs. Maybe, maybe :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

For your pleasure.


So it's football sunday, and playoffs time. Considering my newfound love for beer (particularly Blue Moon), that'd be the logical choice to make during a sporting event. Today, however, Mom and I chose to have sangria :).

Since our sangria has been requested more times than we can count, here's a chance to make it yourself!

What you need:

12 oz frozen mango chunks
8 oz frozen berry medley
4 oz pomegranate seeds
2 cans of San Pellegrino sparkling Aranciata Rossa (blood orange) - you're more than welcome to use any of the others, but this one was a fast favorite for us :)
1 bottle of your preference of red or white wine (if you want to go crazy and mix the two, Mom and I have found that mixing a red and white wine from Arbor Mist works rather nicely).

What to do:

In a large pitcher, mix the fruit together. Pour in your wine, then pour in the San Pellegrino. Stir. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes so that it has time to "marinade", then enjoy!

I'm sure there's a question of who I'm rooting for since my Giants are out. Ideally, I'd like to see a Broncos vs. Redskins Superbowl. Ok, maybe I'd just like to see a Superbowl without the Patriots. But seriously, a Broncos vs. Redskins Superbowl could be pretty epic. We shall see what happens though...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book status.

So yes, there is the inquiry on the status of the book I must answer to. And I think it's safe to say I'm done editing it! Mom finally did her read-through of it and after fixing some errors here and there, I feel like it's actually ready to be sent out.

As of right now, the book is titled CHILD OF BLACKWEN (it's probably evident to those unaware that I consider myself a fantasy writer. Very rarely do I dabble outside of that genre). I'll admit to being terrible when it comes to coming up with titles, but I think it suits the story well (back in the high school days, it used to be called "The Half-Vampire Artemis". The current title is MUCH better, no?). It might change should a publisher pick it up, I don't know. I had a theme in mind with the title since I have several more books left in the series to write. Yes, clearly there are vampires in it. No, it's nothing like TWILIGHT. Don't even THINK it! If anything, think of Underworld and Kate Beckinsale, and maybe some Lord of the Rings twists. Consider some shamanic aspects in there too, and vengeful spirits. See how much happier that made you? ;)

CHILD OF BLACKWEN is currently 359 pages double-spaced, with a total of 101,574 words. Had I not consulted with my mom about splitting the book in two, I would have kept on going and ended up with a manuscript possibly bigger than George R.R. Martin's A DANCE OF DRAGONS. And here's a little fun fact: I hate writing double-spaced. I usually work with 1.5 spacing, so that when I print out my work, I still have room for edits. Naturally, I only liked the double-spaced option when it came to formal essays (even so, I think I've only managed a full 20 page English paper once out of the several thrown at me in college). If I didn't write in 1.5 spacing, I felt like I was cheating myself with how much I could write in a day (this was before I made myself stick to a daily word count - minimum of 1000 words - rather than a page count. I've been called crazy before, and yes, I have had people stare at me in disbelief whenever I explained this to them). Since I made the split, what was originally planned as two giant books has now turned into four, even five, books. And I'm excited about it.

I know there are those who are wondering the status of SHADOW WALKER, which was the story I read aloud at my senior reading. I'm sorry to say that I've put it to the side. I can still say that it has the potential to be a trilogy, and I DO get ideas that I scribble down now and then for it, but I can't return to this story until I finish the current series I'm working on. For those who do not know, I made a promise to myself that once I graduated from GMC, I would put my full attention to this current story. And I'm happy to know that I'm doing well to keeping that promise. Morrigan "wolfling", Vincent "raven vampire", and Cailean "mangy ball of fluff" will return to entertain you once that's all over, I promise!

So my next step now is to do some research and figure out a way of landing an agent. It has been my dream to be published by either Roc Fantasy (Penguin) or Tor Fantasy, since that is what I basically grew up reading with. Big publishing houses like those, however, will not look at submissions that isn't backed by an agent. And even if that wasn't the case, I'd just personally feel better having an agent around. So I'm patiently waiting on a particular book to be delivered that will help me with my research and will then help me with my next big step. And while that's being done, I am happy to announce that I will begin work on book 2 of the series next week! It's tentatively called MISTRESS OF BLACKWEN (if you haven't figured out the title theme I've got going on, you probably understand it now). Wish me luck! As always, there will be updates.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beginnings.

The most common question ever asked me whenever I introduced myself as a writer was, "Do you have a blog?". I've always cringed at the question, because it always implied further judgement and a writer gets enough of it as it is. I always hated when someone would say that writing isn't a "real job" and would revert to obnoxious sarcasm concerning the topic. The good thing about such people are that they are the perfect fuel when writing in a villain's point of view (cue the evil and maniacal laughter).

I always hesitated when explaining to others what the gist of my stories were because my mind has a case of "extreme editing" - I'll keep on changing the storyline even when I "finished" it. The picture here is proof of it - I've been working on this current storyline since I was 13 years old (I'm 23 now). I was once an "old school" writer where I hand-wrote everything. I remember the amazement from my peers, friends, and teachers back in high school when they would watch me scribble away each spare moment I had. I also remember overhearing my history teacher from my junior year telling an office full of administrators how he had a student who would "fill notebooks like crazy" with stories after "finishing my classwork with lightning speed" (and yes, I'll admit it, I was the "annoying know-it-all" in class who would always ask what the maximum page amount to an assignment would be because I always had a lot to say). I used to tell people it was better to hand-write things that way I had actual evidence in case someone would steal my stories and claim it as their own. Now, I can't even imagine how in the world I've ever had the patience to do so! My mind is far too fast now and I WILL miss an idea if I don't get it down fast enough. And I've been told time and time again that I'm far too scary of a person to steal from.

So why blog now when I've been adamant about it for so many years? Because I've finally understood the necessity of it. I have friends and relatives who aren't on Facebook and are genuinely curious about my writing process. I know there are those who are also interested in how life in Santa Fe is compared to life in Vermont, New York City, and New Jersey. So I blog now to keep you all informed of my writing processes, as well the journey to my road of publication (and it will be a LONG one). I blog now to share my adventures of living in Santa Fe in a little more detail than Facebook can ever give, and I blog now to review the books that cross my path.

So now I welcome you. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do! :)