Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Cleaning--Inside and Out

I don't know about you, but for me, when things get tough, I like to plan. I like to keep busy with lists and plans and tasks to keep my mind off of the bad and feel productive. In fact, some of the most productive times of my life have been when I'm going through hard points.

So these last several weeks, I've been working on my Spring cleaning. But I'm not just cleaning and organizing my house, I'm doing it all. Mind, body, soul, career, and yeah--my house.

I know it sounds like a lot. It is. But big plans and big ambitions make big results, and for me that's worth it.

So, what's my best piece of advice for making over your life?

Set long-term goals and short-term goals. Drink lots of water. Get plenty of rest.

Yep, that's it. Because you can't do everything in one day but can't make big progress without little steps. And you also can't be the best you can be if you're not healthy.

Are any of you in a transition stage of your life right now? What's your advice to keep sane, healthy, and productive?

Monday, March 24, 2014

When Your Life Changes Forever...

You learn how strong you really are.

You have to take it one day at a time--you have no choice.

You're forced to see life with a new perspective, and if you do, it might change who you are inside and out.

Have you ever had a crystal clear view of what your life is like or is going to be like and then it shatters in a blink of an eye? I've had that happen to me twice. Twice in thirty-three years. The first time I fell apart. This time, I didn't. Sometimes that means you're stronger, and sometimes that just means you're numb. I'm not sure where I fall on this one.

I'm not ready to talk about what's happened in my life on my blog yet. However, I did want to acknowledge there is a reason I haven't been blogging or using Facebook as much or even staying in touch as much. And you know what? It's made me realize how much I miss blogging and the community it brought me. It's amazing how much support you get from people you've never met because you're writers, or mothers, or partners in some life event or another.

I've also realized how therapeutic writing is. It's an escape and it's brought me hope. It's given me perspective. It's made me focus and relax and strive toward something I've wanted my whole life in a new and different way. In a renewed way. Since the beginning of the year, I've written two books--one that's about 100K and the other around 60K, and I'm about 15K into another. Writing makes me smile, and right now, that's a wonderful thing.

I'd love to hear from you all, and find out what's been going on in your lives. What have I missed? Can I support you in any way? Virtual hugs, prayers, reviews, words of encouragement? There are so many of you who have encouraged and supported me over the years, I'd love to return the favor!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bloggy Break - Hope to be Back Soon!

Hey friends! I know I've been gone a while. I've posted here and there, but there's been a lot going on. Serious family stuff that's made it hard to keep up with blogging. I figured if I had to choose between blogging and writing, I'd better keep going on my stories. But I miss connecting with everyone!

Anyway, I just want to repeat to anyone else who's going through some difficult times that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Cliche, I know, but it's true! I hope you're all doing well and I hope to be back soon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Should YA Novels Have Happy Endings?

I have to tell you, I'm very opinionated on this topic, but I want to know what everyone else thinks, too. I read a lot, mostly in the genres I write. Contemporary romance and YA (mostly spec. fic, though I like contemporary, too). I read because I want to keep up on what's popular in the genres I write. I read because it inspires me. And also, I read because I enjoy it.

Because of this, and because I don't have as much time to read as I like, I'm fairly particular about what I like to read.

If I'm reading a contemporary romance, I expect a happy ending. If I'm reading women's fiction or literary, I try not to expect a certain outcome because I know those genres don't always have happy endings.

But what about YA? See, most of the stories I read in this genre have a happy ending. And by this I mean the conflict is resolved, and (because most YAs have romances in them) the characters end up together.

Also, a lot of YA stories I read are part of a series. So, you're invested in a plot and characters for three or more books, I figure the reader deserves a happy ending. I figure the reader deserves a resolved conflict and characters that are in love (if the story had a romance).

I recently read a series despite hearing mixed things about the third book. I read Book 1, loved it, read Book 2, liked it, and then stopped before Book 3. I worried something was going to go wrong in Book 3. So worried, in fact, I read spoilers for the book so I could find out. And, upon reading those spoilers, decided not to read the book.

If I root for characters only for them to not fall/or stay in love, I don't want to read about it. If the character is going to die or not accomplish what they'd set out to do, I don't want to read it.

Basically, if this happens, especially at the end of a series, I feel betrayed. As a reader, I feel like the writer has betrayed me.

So, what do you think? Specifically in YA novels, do you think stories or series should have happy endings? Do you feel betrayed when you think there's going to be a happy ending and there isn't?

Monday, August 19, 2013

New School Year, New Schedule

I'm finally back from summer break. I meant to blog more, I did. I always do. But about halfway through summer I realized I didn't want to miss out on any time with my kiddos. I have two little ones in school full time now, and the last one home with me. And she's growing up so fast. So I decided to enjoy the summer with them and cut back with social networking.

Summer was still productive, though. I met some new critique partners to help me with my YA *waves to critters* and got to read some of their stories. So fun! I also finished editing a contemporary romance that's been sitting in a drawer for...four years? AND, the exciting part, I finished revising the first book of my YA series and sent it off to my agent.

All in all, I feel like I accomplished a lot. What did you do over the summer? And now that schools is here for some of us or will be soon, how do you balance everything you have to do? (I love tips and advice--this mom/writer/wife thing is hard!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Worldbuilding for YA Fantasy

Photo by eamoncurry123
I'm working on a new YA novel which requires a lot of worldbuilding and this is very new for me. Intimidatingly new. I think at some point in the past I said I didn't know if I'd be up to the task of writing fantasy because creating a whole new world sounds like a daunting task. But here I am challenging myself with that task anyway.

So, what is worldbuilding?

Wikipedia says, "Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe."

The word universe makes this task sound even more daunting, but that's just what it is. A complete world in and of itself where your characters live and breathe and YOU or I in this case, have to make readers feel like it's real.

What does this entail?

Geography
Weather
History
Government
People/Cultures

And these are just the basics, because beyond this, it's necessary to make characters fit within these parameters like it's their natural way of life. And then, yes then, you get the job of making the reader feel like they're in this world as well--and not only that, it's a world that (no matter how upside-down or backward) still makes sense.

So I'm curious any of you worldbuilders out there or readers of fantasy (or even historical), what makes a world feel real to you? What do you want to see in a fantasy universe and how to do you go about creating one?