Talking About Books… Well Just One Book!

This week I am talking books, hell I am always talking about reading or writing and lately I find I have very little topics of conversation. I don’t talk to too many people about my writing because not everybody gets it. So I talk to people about books, mostly my cousins and friends who are avid readers. Lately our conversation surround the 20th Anniversary addition of  Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander. This story is by far one of my favorites and one I have read multiple times, if you’ve read my previous posts you know this. It’s unbelievable how much I miss the characters once I finish each book. But as most of us know that is not the only story out there, lately there have been some great reads and to be able to indulge in them is fascinating to me. I read everything form YA to Romance to Women’s fiction to Mystery and Sci-Fi. But I am sticking with the subject of Outlander because I am obsessed, how obsessed, well let me tell you. I have three copies of Book one in the series. Two are hardcover, one is paper back size that is signed,  7 are Mass Market Paperbound. But I am a big fan of hardcover books and these are extremely hard to find. Just a few weeks ago I got a call from a used book store in the town I live in advising the book I’d been on a waiting list for was in. Finally book 2  —in hardcover of course— was in my hands, I was on that waiting list and searching for that particular book for two years. My goal is to collect them all in hardcover. In case your wondering, I am missing 2, Voyager and A Breath Of Snow And Ashes. If you know where I can find them let me know. So I have not only decided to become a writer, but I am now an unofficially book collector, only my collection consists of one author. 

Have you ever been that in love with a story? Do you gave multiple copies on one book? Which do you prefer soft or hardcover?


Have You Got Your Summer Reading List?

Now that summer is hear I have a few goals, one of them of course to keep writing. My schedule will change from my daily work hours to finding the time in the evening since the kids will be home. My second goal is to read, I have a list, don’t all readers have a list? With the exception of tow book, they have all been borrowed  from a very good friend who insists I read them. This is how it usually works with me, I rarely walk into a book store and by a book just on a whim. Books come to me as recommendations by friends and family people who I affectionately call my book pushers. Thanks to them I have become addicted to many books that I have borrowed and enjoyed so much that I have gone and bought so I can indulge in the story as many times as I want. I have and will pretty much read anything this is why my list is, as you will see is quite diverse. So for this summer my list is a little long, for me anyway since I have to spend most of my time entertaining an 8,6 and 4 year old. 

My reading list consists of the following.

Passion by Lauren Kate (currently reading)
The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein
Secret Daughter by  Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

What are you reading this summer? Have you compiled your list? Do you have any recommendation?

Finding Ways To Move On With The Story


When I started this blog, it was mostly to chronicle my journey and share my experiences with other bloggers and writers. So far, it’s been great I have connected with other writers and I benefit greatly from their blogs. I have to admit I don’t blog regularly, I try to get in something at least once a week to keep that on-line presence, but it’s hard to maintain a regular schedule. 

 Today I am going to write a little about my writing process. A few weeks ago I blogged about my desire to put myself on a writing scheduled of four hours a day, well that has worked out well and I am still on that schedule, at least until the kids are out of school. Now my new issue is moving on from chapter to chapter. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a pantser I sit and I write plain and simple. Lately though, I have been getting into the habit of writing chapters, which are about 12 to 14 pages, and editing them before I go on. There is nothing wrong with this except that I find myself getting stuck editing the finished chapter for longer than I would like to and it’s incredibly difficult to stop doing so. All I want is to move on before my head explodes or I forget what I want to happen next. Well I know what will happen next, but the words pop into my head way before I am ready to write them. So, to keep my thoughts in order I have started a journal that is quickly filling up. In it, I write my story as it pops into my head so I can insert it where ever I think it will go in the current or next chapter. This so far is working well, the story is moving on even though I am not actually typing it into the word doc. Other methods I have been using lately is writing in my phone, I don’t always carry the note book with me and I should, but as long as I have something to write my thought in it works for me. Finding new way to move on with the story is useful, if you’re like me and get stuck editing and revising when you should or would like to keep moving you story forward a journal is a great way to accomplish that. Then it’s just transferring everything over to your doc.

Tell me:

Do you have a journal? What’s your editing process? Do you edit as you go or wait until you have great big chunk? Or do you wait until you’re done the novel? 



Full Refund…

If there is one thing, I have learned since I started writing is to respect other writers. No matter if they are published or unpublished, the amount of work that goes into creating the world some of the characters we love, live in and building those situations that not only make them likable but believable as well.

Last week I went to the bookstore to do something I had never in done before, I returned a book. I could not for the life of me get into the story. I didn’t like the characters and I could in no way connect to their situation or even sympathize in the way that maybe as the reader I was meant to do. Out of respect, I will not name the book or the author; this isn’t a review after all is just my account of my experience. Although it was a YA, and I read a lot of teen fiction, this for a reason I can’t explain did not connect with me. It’s rare for me to not give a book a chance and even more to head back to the bookstore and return it. I am a big fan of giving books a chance, how many times have we began to read a book that seemed difficult to get into only to find that we are unable to put it down. We find ourselves up until the wee hours of the morning still eagerly turning the pages to what happens next. It happens to me all the time, it’s just one of the joys of reading to find yourself indulging in a world you would not otherwise have imagine. This particular novel got me thinking about the way I write, I want the characters I create to be memorable for the right reasons, not because a reader out there didn’t like them or worse, didn’t believe them. I must say, though that I had read other novels by this particular author and enjoyed it, so I obviously expected to like this book. Most readers stick to a particular author right. Once you read one book, you will read them all. Some examples are Nicholas Sparks, Diana Gabaldon and Stephen King the list is endless. And let’s not forget those debut authors we have all recently become addicted to…

We read to get lost, to let our imaginations run wild and ask our self that one question, “What if?”

This experience I have to say was in a way enlightening, it makes me want to be good, write well, and most of all love the story I have created enough so that someone else will feel the same.

Tell me, have you ever read a book you didn’t like at first? Have you ever started a book and decided it wasn’t for you and took it back?

How Soon Is Too Soon?

When writing a scene where the hero and heroine meet for the first time, I often wonder how soon is too soon to get these two characters together. There has to be an initial attraction or maybe not. How many times have we picked up a book to find the hero and heroine are just not that into each other only to read on and see them fall in love? Or that story where the hero and heroine fall for each other at first sight, it can happen in real life I have seen, so why can’t it happen in books too. There always that scene where one the characters feels an intense, unexplainable connection to the other and thus the writer’s job is to make that whole first meeting believable. Think back to your own experience, being out in the dating scene meeting lots of people, falling in love, falling out of love. How long before you got to that all important first kiss? When writing romance, foe me anyway and I think of these first meeting, first dates and so on I go back to my or to my friend’s personal experiences.
When we write we concern ourselves with pacing and therefore as a writer we prolong the first physical interaction between the hero and heroine because we might think it’s too soon and the reader will lose interest. However, as the reader I want to see the hero and heroine get together, this will keep me reading because I want to see where that journey will take them. This is why I can’t get enough of The Outlander series it’s all about seeing where Jaime and Claire will eventually end up it’s one of those romances that make you believe.
In my current WIP my hero and heroine meet in the first chapter, because of the storyline it was important this meeting happened quickly. I like to think I paced it well, but most of all I like to think I made it believable.  

Are you a fan of contemporary romance? Do you like to see the hero and heroine get together early on in the story? 

Thank Goodness it’s All Subjective!

We all know the importance of critiquing, how it helps to better our writing even though at the same time the process quite literally has the ability to shatter your confidence. Recently I enrolled in a course at a nearby college, the class originally consisted of about 14 people, but toward the end only 10 of us finished. The beauty about this class is that the genres in which we invested our time are all so different. There is Historical, Romance and Sci-Fi all of which I found were really well written and look forward to reading more of.
When the class ended, it seemed a good idea to continue as an on-line writing group where we could all still critique each other’s work, have consistency and a deadline that would keep us all writing. Although it seemed like a good idea at first, our little group seems to be lacking in the consistency department, which was the one thing I looked forward to. Most of us are submitting our pages on time; we established a schedule and some critiques are posted shortly after, but only by a select few. I get that we all have busy lives, but it doesn’t help that fact that we sometimes spend days waiting on pins and needles for those critiques to go up in the discussion and I mean days. Something I find a bit disrespectful when it takes incredible courage to put yourself and you writing out there, for what in all honesty, I could only describe is close to a public stoning. Okay, maybe my analogy is a little dramatic, but nonetheless the experience is a scary one and I am speaking for myself here. In the words of one fellow blogger Heather Gardner, the waiting is the hardest part. Maybe I am a little naive. I mean, I don’t know what I expected from a group of strangers, but thinking that because we all essentially had the same goal in mind, I thought that perhaps that was our connection. Perhaps that was the one thing that would enable us to support and encourage each other to do great. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
The idea for this blog started when one of our group members gave me that public stoning. I don’t claim to be Hemingway, I don’t claim to be better than anyone else in fact I know there are much better writers out there. But I try and do what I enjoy most and that’s creating a story that I feel is worth not only telling, but reading as well. So when you get that one person whose opinion you know is unfounded, complete rubbish to be honest, it really does a number on your confidence and not to mention your ego. I am an incredibly open-minded person and I can take criticism, but when the critique is not a critique but an opinion things change. The way this opinion was delivered gave me the impression that:
A.    This person just didn’t get it
B.     This person did not take the time, completely rushed through the reading.
The latter is disheartening. I am open to brutal honesty, open to constructive and clear criticism, but not false assumptions about one’s characters. When the behaviours of my characters, my babies for lack of a better word are questioned, I will have something to say about it. Excuse me for being defensive, but when someone’s words have me second-guessing myself even though I know this person was wrong, it bothers me. After that particular critique I went back and read what I had written to see if maybe I had missed something and after doing so I came to the conclusion that both A and B played a factor in the critique.
I do have to mention that there is an upside to all this, within this group there are a couple of people whose critiques are incredibly helpful. One of them is fellow writer and blogger Catherine Lo, who is tremendously helpful and supportive, hop over to her new blog Love The Story, it’s great.
Anyway, the bottom line is take your time PEOPLE, read and re-read the submissions before you critique, be constructive, clear, respectful and most of encouraging. This is hard work and there is quite literally blood, sweat, and tears involved in producing a good story.
Have you ever had a critique you didn’t agree with? Have you ever had the sense that your critique partner hasn’t read you work? What have you done about it?

Temporarily Out Of Service…

For the past few weeks Blogger has had its ups and downs, personally encountered my own issues with the system. I can no longer post comments on some of your blog posts. This I think is due to the comment setting.  See if some of you have it set to full page I can’t post my comment, but if you have it on pop-up window I have no problem doing so. Needless to say, this restriction in annoying the shit out of me and the fact that I have to resort to other methods such as Twitter to comment on posts.
As a new blogger who is trying to establish relationships with other bloggers and build a follower list this is incredibly frustrating. What is even more so is that other than posting messages on the Blogger forum there is no way to get in touch with anyone in support. I have posted my concern/issue along with 15 or so other people other bloggers, but how long will it take to get the problem fixed? Considering the amount of subscribers that Blogger has, you would think they would be more accessible or at least be more aware of the problems some of us face.

Have you encountered any problems with blogger? If so, ho long before the problem was fixed? Were you able to find a solution in their Help Forum ?