Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas time

Well folks, here it is. THAT time of year. You know what I'm talking about - the one with the family, the presents and the not-much-time-for-writing.

It affects me too. Fortunately, I've managed to pack all my presents, decorate the tree, make some cake and also have some fun. It was a good day. For me, Christmas Eve is so much fun. Especially when my cat starts messing with the decorations.

I'm not as in the spirit as I usually would be, because this year, we're lacking snow. Which is a shame. Today, it was sunny outside, as if spring is on its way. But, no matter.

Tomorrow, for Christmas Day, my extended family is coming over (as in my BF and grandparents). There will be much food and much talk. And also, the opening of presents!

Since I'm from another part of the world, I'm going to leave you with a photo gallery of Christmas preparations.

Before - We still get an all-natural tree :D
My two Angel decorations - you can guess why they're here ;)

Decorations at a ready

Kitten playing with decorations - tiss adorable!


Angel in tree now

Pretty snowflake

Decorated Kitty

So, Happy Holidays everyone. And I'll see you all in a few days - there's no way I'm getting any time sooner ;) Have a lot of eating to do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Back to the beginning

I'm home. Finally. And will continue being home for the next couple of weeks. For those who don't know what that means, let me give you folks some history (I'm not sure I've ever done that before). Anyway, just so you know, this is going to be a history post.

As most of you know or don't, I'm currently 23. I'm just getting used to this ripe old age, but it's started to grow on me. I'm from a small mountain town called Campulung (some of the people who read Hunters might recall it as the place where the Banshee dwelt and where the Mausoleum was - the place of the epic showdown between vampires and Hunters). But this small town has no colleges in it, so off went the young student to Bucharest, to the best Law School in the country. In the meantime, said youngster finished said college. But I still live in Bucharest where I've recently managed to scrape a job (barely) and where I still study my master's course.
Puffeh Kitteh under the desk

But Campulung is still home sweet home - the place where I eat and sleep and where my parents are. And, of course, where my cats are.

So, I'm glad to be home. As usual, I dwell in my teddy bear wallpapered room (I'm serious about that) where all my childhood memories are. And there's a lot of old stuff just lying around.

Like this. In a previous post, I mentioned writing my hands off in grade school during my classes and mentioned notebooks. Well, these are five of them. About three, if not more, are missing, but I'm too lazy to search for them - probably because the writing is atrocious. Notice that two of them have no covers - that's because I carried these things in my backpack each and every day. And they wore out and fell off. the second one, I actually stapled back, but then it fell again together with the first page.
Notice the title page in full color and filled with drawings of a deluded 12-year-old (though I think I might have been 13 when I started that volume - as I see it, it's the second volume of the second book, so I think I might have spent a couple of years on the first one).

Anyway, the thing is - writing was a lot less complicate then. POV rules? Speech tags? Punctuation? Ha! Those were the last of my worries seeing as I couldn't spell. But I got the story out, built an entire background for my characters, didn't have to worry about description or anything actually making sense... I had fun.

At this point in my life, I don't think I ever imagine I could be published. Not that I am, or anything (well, not yet at least), but I've started taking my writing really seriously when I started college - actually, late after that - in 2009, when I was already in my third year of college. That's when I became active on CC and actually learned how to write (I'd learned how to spell in the meantime)

And now, here I am, with queries under way, with another novel in the editing process, with knowledge (though little) of the industry and how everything works. What can I do? Plow on, I say :) Maybe next year will be better. Maybe I'll get a break and have my novel published. Maybe I'll write something else. Life goes on and I'm not going to give up on writing, ever. That's the one thing I know for sure.

And, just for fun, here's a little excerpt out of one of those notebooks (with proper spelling). Just remember I was young and rather stupid. :p

All of a sudden, the door opened and Ryan stepped out, looking a bit wired. I looked at him without saying a word, waiting for him to speak.
"Listen, I've been really stupid," he finally said after a few seconds of silence. "I mean, we were never together or anything, so why should I be upset?" He was talking faster and faster. "So, I'm sorry. Can we be friends?"
I looked at him dumbstruck, not understanding what he kept blabbing about. But one thing I did understand - the fact that he was sorry.
"Okay, sure. I wanted to come and talk to you anyway," I said cautiously.
"You did?" Ryan asked in his normal voice.
"Yes, I just didn't have the guts to do it."
"It doesn't matter. I'm glad we're friends again."
"Yeah, me too..."
An awkward silence fell between us. It didn't feel as if we were friends. Ryan, however, dropped on the couch and pulled me next to him, after which he started talking again.
"I've been pretty lonely this last week. Honestly, I've missed you around. And I've been dying to tell you the news."
"Fire away," I said, feeling that he really meant it. It felt like everything was going to go back to the way we were before the fight.
"I'm so happy! I'm in love! For the first time in my life, I'm truly in love," he said, getting off the couch and waltzing around.
"With who?" I asked, feeling as if he'd dropped a rather large amount of dictionaries on my defenseless head.
"You don't know her, but I'll introduce you to her if you want," Ryan answered with his back to me.
"Sure, anytime..." I said weakly, this time feeling as if he had thrown a hatchet through my chest and sliced me open.
I have to admit that even if I knew that I was in love with someone else (namely Chris), I felt very offended and hurt because I really liked Ryan, and not just as a friend, but as Chris' only possible substitute. I decided that it was better to play supportive friend for him.
So I did. I met Ryan's love who was a beautiful blond girl who was everything I wasn't: calm, neat, attentive and talked very little. And she seemed to adore Ryan.
I gave up on him, listening to him every time he wanted to talk, but not telling him anything about myself in return. What hurt most was that he didn't seem to notice.
So, basically, next day, I was once again knocking on Sam's door to mourn on his shoulder.

Oh, noes! All the teenage drama (and the adverbs piling up, ready to smother every bit of available text). You know what's fun? I didn't have a real boyfriend when I wrote all this - so I made one up :) The story continued with much drama regarding many characters and, somehow, the narrator (as in me) was always in the middle, or around to spy on people.
I had scenes that placed the first person narrator nowhere near. Like 'Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom' kind of stuff.
But it was fun. This is where I actually learned to spell in the end. And how I began my journey to where I am now. I hope I'll get much further. I need it.

I hope you guys had fun with this.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fun Stuff

Looks like I'm prone to messing around this month. Truthfully, I'm not having exactly the hottest month. I'm in no mood for Christmas, which is blasphemy in my book - I usually start singing carols in November. Now, I haven't even taken the tree out and decorated it. I might ;)

The thing is, I'm taking advantage of my last days as a free slacker. In January, I'll be starting work. And that + school + wedding planning = big headache :)

Notice: dangling pony earrings
In celebration of my freedom, I bought a 'Procrastination' t- shirt. Really. I know, I'm not right in the head.

And I took some further photos of what entertained me during the last month -> namely my plotting of Saving Grace and a drawing I made of one of the characters in said story (no, I didn't draw the MCs - I would totally suck at that).

Questionable talent
So, here's more photos for your entertainment. You get the chance to take a look at my handwriting - obtained after writing thousands of pages of utter brilliance. (I'm talking here, of course, about my college courses.)

To be fair, I used to write by hand a lot at the beginning of my writing career. When I get home, I'll search for the said notebooks - I have a bout 12 full 100 page notebooks written with a spin-off after my Jewel series. In that story, I'm the MC, an exchange student at the High School Sam and co. go to in the original books. I happen to meet all of them, as they're my teachers and I butt into their business and have a wonderful adventure together with my BFF and some of my real grade school colleagues. - Jolly good fun. It's the only thing I've ever written in first person.

So, yes, during grade school, in the classes I didn't care for (that's why I don't know French), I wrote in my little notebook and let my friend read. Sometimes, my colleagues asked if they're in it, and if they knew they were, they asked what they were up to - it was fun :) I wonder what they'd say if they knew how serious I actually became about writing.

Wow, this is turning out to be some weird post about my beginnings as a serious writer. You should see my spelling - it was horrible. I usually spelled f instead of th :D Aren't you glad you never got to read any of that stuff? :p

I think that, the most important thing I've learned over the years is that to have your characters randomly burst into song is not exactly a good idea. Also, that I write the best parodies after my own stuff.

I feel like I'm getting a bit annoying here, so I'm going to end it on a happy tone. See you guys soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where's the fun?

Yes, I'm quite wondering this now, because I've realized that marketability is driving writers nuts. I admit, I strive towards getting published just like the next author, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on the fun side of writing.

Here's the issue. More and more writers are worried about certain scenes. They excuse themselves that they introduced them, promising that they will be relevant in the future of the story.

Um... you're the writer. I trust you that everything you wrote in there is for my entertainment as well as for the benefit of the plot. So what if your characters are taking a detour? I'm reading a book, which means I want to enjoy myself. I'm not hurrying toward the end. Now, don't get me wrong. That doesn't mean that I'll wait for you to describe every rock and leaf on the way. But what happened to sinking a scene in just for fun? Because it's funny, because it helps with character development and such.

I know we're all cursed by trying to reduce the word count (well, especially me), but that doesn't mean that every single word has to drive the plot forward. I know some of you might think that I'm wrong. But I'm fed up with reading marathon books. At some point, I want to feel the relaxation of a weird plotline that leads nowhere.

And here's where trust comes in. Since I'm the reader and you're the writer, I trust that you know your world better and that you know what you're doing.

Works the other way, too. I'm the writer. Trust that I know what I'm doing with my plot, my characters. Don't complain about them until you reach the part that confirms it doesn't make sense (because first drafts tend to do that).

Writers! Empower yourselves. Give yourselves the chance to fool around with your characters, with your scenes - have fun!

That is all

Monday, December 5, 2011

Withdrawal - Do you like me or not?

Withdrawal - this is an interesting word. And kinda what I'm going through now. After the adventure and mind wrecking experience that November was, now I find myself wanting more of that. And not more of writing, but more of my project. Which is over. And there's nothing I can do about it. I'm having trouble not reading it over and over again to remember the finer points.

But today's post is about something else. I've actually broken my habit and haven't written my characters to be instantly likable. I've let them have their way and something very surprising came out: A girl who struggles and grows (I think/hope), a guy who I'm currently madly in love with for some reason, and a guy who's a complete asshole, but is right about it. Shortly, I've put soul into this.

Let me explain what I mean. Putting soul, to me, means really getting involved in the story - believing that you hold a message you want to share with the world, a lesson you want to teach. With Hunters, I didn't have this problem. That book was for sheer enjoyment. It was never meant to be literary brilliance.
Well, this one either, but I tried to get something across - make people think about it. Just like my YA series tries to teach the values of friendship, family, trust and choices, this one deals with understanding yourself, choices (again - a favorite theme for me), and how you can be happy or miserable in the same circumstances. A sort of  'who you are' vs. 'who society wants you to be.'

Okay, I'm deviating again.

Here's what I actually wanted to say.

Instantly likable characters vs realistic characters.

Here, I'm talking about my MCs, Grace and Nate.

Grace's behavior can be interpreted as both rebellious+stubborn and selfless and brave. As some of my beloved critters pointed out, I could make changes to make her more likable. The thing is, I discovered I don't want to. I know who she is, who she will become, and I want to see how the readers' perception of her would change

Same with Nate - his first line makes him sound like a horribly snob and an unlikable person. Yet, by the end of the section, some people warmed up to him, some didn't. Again, suggestions that I could make him more likable. I could, but he's not. He's anal to the extreme. Can't heroes be anal? The fact that he snaps at the POV character and is bossy makes him sound horrible. But as far as he's concerned, Grace is acting like an idiot, and he's being nice enough by not pointing that out.

My conclusion is that it depends on the POV of the character. If you write the story from the POV of the antagonist, he will be your hero (unless he's really, really evil). And the good guys don't have to be perfect.

Just like the bad guys can be awesome. And people reading my story know what I mean here (hint, hint, Blackwing - the terribly likable demon).

So...what's your position on likable versus realistic? Would you rather engage the reader with a character you know they'll instantly like and follow, or chance to give them a screwed up one which is more realistic?

Friday, December 2, 2011

The end and the beginning

Well, that's it. NaNo is over. I've managed to finish my novel at 96 000 words. Of course, you should cut back about 1000 words since I actually wrote two endings for it.
As I expected, NaNo was fun. This year, I wrote over 30 000 words more than last year. Hunters ended at 62 000 words in December, and added up to 73 000 after the edits.
Saving Grace ended at 30 chapters + epilogue and 95 000 words. I actually hope to keep the word count this time  adding another 10 000 words to it would be a little catastrophic at this point, especially since it's an Urban Fantasy and has to be easy to read.

Here are a few facts about this year's experience:

- my biggest writing streak was 7000 words in one day
- I had 4 days in which I wrote absolutely nothing
- I officially finished the novel today, Dec 2nd, when I wrote both epilogues
- Writing the ending made me cry - that doesn't happen to me. I'm hoping it's because I put a lot of feeling into it.
- I ended up liking Grace a lot. Even if she messes up a lot, she's the kind of character that learns
- I've put meaning into this one. I hope that people will learn something from the experience
- I've read almost the entire story in a day - I couldn't remember half the stuff I wrote there. It was fun - like reading it the first time. Then, I did the ending.

Right now, I'm starting the editing and revising process. The story is already in the critting cycle - and pestering people with typos and wrong words (ooopsy). I'm so nervous because I don't know if people will like it.

It feels weird, now that it's over. I guess I'll need a couple of days to get used to the idea that I don't have to write anymore :) Anyway, I throughly enjoyed the NaNo experience, and I certainly hope I will be able to do it again next year.

How was it for you?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another day, another winner

I know I'm kinda late. I was supposed to give the winner for Wanita's book yesterday. The thing is, I've changed my laptop and it took me a while to get the system up and running (in case you're wondering, it only came with a CD entitle windows 7 and nothing installed on it).

Anywho, after three days of trying to install all the drivers, programs and copy all the stuff I might ever need, I'm finally operational (I think)

So...let's draw a winner, shall we? Going on to

Drum roll please...

And the winner is.... LINDSEY LOUCKS!! Wow, congrats Lindsey! You win Rae of Hope and also some other goodies Wanita is giving away. Contact me on CC if nothing happens, and I'll give Wanita the heads up :)

In other news, my NaNo project is going pretty crappy. I haven't written a thing in 2 days and now I don't think I'll have the time to actually finish the book. Sure, I've completed the necessary word count, but I actually wanted to exit November with a brand new Novel. I haven't even gotten to the climax. Which is just sad. I hope I'll motivate myself to finish writing it in the end. I'll do my best.

Other than that, I finally got a job. It pays crap, but at least it pays and I have the chance to learn something from it.

For those on CC, Saving Grace will be hitting the public queues this Wednesday.

See you all later

Monday, November 21, 2011

And the winner is...

As promised, it's been 2 weeks since my interview and giveaway with lovely Ashely Lynn Willis. (you can read the interview here). She was also awesome enough to give away one copy of her newly released book The Calling.
Using, I've drawn a winner... and it's... Coral! Congrats! I hope you enjoy the book (I bet it's great).

In other news, my blog just got 3000 hits. Whoa! That's amazing. I wasn't even prepared to celebrate the occasion, but I'm getting ready for the 5000th hit. Just like I'm probably gonna celebrate reaching follower number 100 (since I missed out at 50). So, I wanna thank everyone who takes the time to read all my nonsense. I hope it's at least good fun.

Regarding NaNo - things have slowed down a bit because my brain got a little tired. I'm in that place where nothing seems to make sense anymore and I really need a break. I'm pushing on, though, hoping to reach a more exciting part of the novel. Not that I mind what's going on now, but I needed to build some happiness and security in order to fully crush it later. And happy doesn't usually make for good reading (that's why books usually end when it's achieved.) Hope it will work anyway.

Stay tuned for when I draw the prize for the giveaway with Wanita. You can still comment for the chance to win here! And congrats again to Coral!

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNo - Day whatever

You can tell from my annoyed air that I've kinda hit writer's block. It was about time, too, huh? Oh, no, don't get me wrong. I've written today. Only that I have a few chapters of time just passing by. Of course, it matters for the overall story, but I hate filler chapters. I've noticed those sometimes seem to be my best chapters, whether I like it or not.

I kinda have 2/max 3 chapters left of part II, and then I'm charging on to part 3 - which will be hardest to write because I haven't really thought about it. Argh, I'm starting to get pissed for one reason or another.

Oh, yeah. The world will end soon. Why? Because I talked to my BF about what I'm writing and we actually had a conversation about it. It started with me giving him a situation and asking him how he would react to it (because I felt my character might have over-reacted). And from there, I started explaining the plot points, what happened and who's who.

He actually paid attention, told me what he liked and what he didn't... until I told him I'm not going to NOT have my characters hook up since it's a romance... for women mostly. And he went 'oh, okay. Just let me know if you want more reactions.'
Seeing as he was the kind who shook his head when he heard about my writing, this was a huge improvement. It made me feel like he actually cares. And it made me happy, and him like I value his opinion (which I do up to some point) and all involved in everything. :)

Just felt like sharing this extraordinary event.

Hope I'll get the writing juices flowing again

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNo - Day 17

Look at my pretty tabs! I still have some work to do on organizing this site, but until then, I'm proud I've moved that stuff around.

Well, it's day 17 and I'm approaching 60 k words. My MC came out of her dreary state, embraced life as a human and had one chapter of peace and tranquility with the chance to mend her broken heart. Of course, I couldn't let her bask in her new found balance - that does not for good reading make. So I sent ex-traitorous-boyfriend back into her life. She's in the middle of a full blown fight with him as we speak. Of course, he's still a supernatural, so it's pretty hard for her to escape him. He's much faster.

In other news, I think this is going to work out after all and the book won't turn out as huge as I previously predicted. Which is awesome. Better chance to find a publisher for it :) Yup, I'm already thinking about that. Though, unless I go indie with Hunters, this one might taste the Indie route.

I'm still confused as hell about what I'm writing. I've started reading back a little, and am mildly satisfied with what I found there. But I also find many typos and repeating words. I guess the first round of crits will solve all that. :)

I might have 2-4 chapters left until I finish part II of the story (told you the others are shorter). I hope I'll manage to pull this off.

In the meantime, I've replace the first chapter of Hunters with a blurb and changed the excerpts for the Jewels series if anyone is curious to take a look. Also, don't forget to check out the two interviews I did this month and leave a comment for your chance to win awesome prizes :)

On the fun side, I've been searching for actors looking like my characters. I did find some prospects and it was insanely amusing :)

And another thing - I want to thank all you wonderful people leaving comments. I mainly didn't answer now because I'm pretty busy and because I feel like I have nothing intelligent to say. I am a writing machine right now. Because the more I think, the harder it gets. So I'm doing the non-thinking thing :)

See you all later. Back to writing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNo - Day 16

What does the little bubble say? That's right, that I finished the official NaNo challenge. Yeeey for me! But the show isn't over. Not until I finish the entire novel, and I hope that the remaining days of November will be enogh for that, though, at the rate I'm going, I might actually succeed.

I'm pretty proud of what came out so far. Of course, I've forgotten half of the stuff I've written and already have a nice little plot hole, but I'll cover that later. That's the beauty of NaNo, right?

I'm happy that I've finally finished part 1 of the novel. I've reached chapter 19 and have to deal with a sulky, crying, miserable MC for an entire chapter. I don't mind. The poor thing just got thrown out of her home to live a lame boring life among humans. And the thing she lost her divinity over has been a huge mistake. The girl is crushed - no home, no friends, no love, no nothing. Who wouldn't mope?

Here's the structure of the project: Part I - Angel, Part II - Fallen, Part - III Apocalypse. This pretty much tells everyone what the steps in the creation process are. Fortunately the last two parts are shorter and the third one should be action packed.

I've also finally organized my playlist for this novel. It appears on the right side. Yeey.

And just to celebrate the surpass of 50 000 words, I will post my first excerpt of this new story.

“So… if you could take that decision back, would you?”

A strange light crept in his eyes. “I’m not sure, but I’d rather not think about it. Look at me. I said I wouldn’t talk about it, but you’ve managed to pull all this out.” He sounded amused.

His mood gave Grace heart to ask more. “Don’t feel bad. I wanted to know the reason, and you still haven’t told me that. And I’ll respect your wish.”

He smiled at her. “Thanks.”

Heat rose to her cheeks and she looked away. Her insides did a somersault. “Don’t thank me yet. I’m not done asking questions.”

Robert rolled his eyes. “Why am I not surprised?”

“But this time I want to ask something about me.” She stared at the chipped stone step, her hands shaking with nerves. She remembered what Nate told her about the issue of her death, but she wanted to know. “Do you know how I died?” The question came out as a whisper.

Robert leaned toward her, curiosity etched on his face. “Now, why would you want to know that?”

She looked at him. “Wouldn’t you?”

“True. I did insist on finding out how I died. But I’m not sure I’m the one who should tell you what happened in your case.”

She frowned. “Why not? You obviously know.”

He pursed his lips. “For the second time tonight, a huge idiot.” He took in a deep breath. “I might as well tell you. I was… I mean…” He frowned and fell silent, nibbling on his lower lip.

Grace watched him for a few moments. His lips were fuller than she’d first thought. They suited the rest of his face, which was gorgeous. Don’t think about this now! Or, better yet, don’t think about it ever. “Why are you hesitating?”

“God point, why am I?” He sat up straight. “It’s just that it was pretty horrible. You were three when you died. It was…you sort of…” He ran his hand through his jet black hair, messing it up even more. “Ah, hell. You burned alive.”

Grace gasped. No wonder she kept dreaming about giant flames swallowing her whole. It was not just a dream, but a distant memory. “I – I…” What could she say? A weird feeling took over her as distant memories and the present battled inside her. She believed it, but it didn’t feel like it had happened to her.

“It’s a horrible way to go and…” His lips trembled and he stopped talking. She stared at him. He seemed more affected by the whole thing than she was. “You were three!” He stood and walked away.

Grace got to her feet. It still hurt and she still shook slightly, but she hurried after him. She caught up and fell into step with him. It somehow made her feel better that he was so outraged by what happened. “Thanks for telling me.”

Yeah, it's first draft stuff, and maybe some of this will go, but I like this little scene. It's the start of most of her problems.

Hope everyone is doing well :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo - Day 14

It's day 14, which means it's almost the middle of NaNo. For some reason, the NaNo website proudly tells me that I have 17 days left. Well... I know I went to law school and math is not my strong suit, but...heh?

Moving on. Check out the shiny bubble. What do you see there? That's right, that I'm almost finished with the official challenge. Not finished at all with the novel though. I'm starting to wonder if I'll actually finish it in November after all. I might. I'm currently at chapter 16 and I'm almost done with the first part of the novel (which is also the longest). I think I have about two or three chapters left of it.

In case you are concerned about my MC, Grace, she's no longer bananas. She is now bipolar, living two existences. I'm starting to remember the thrill of NaNo - it means not remembering what the hell you wrote two pages ago and being unable to realize whether anything your characters do and say makes sense.

I'm at that point in the writing process. I'm writing, and writing, and writing, but I'm not sure if it's flowing alright. Just so you know, I'm no the type to write scenes and glue them together. I just write the whole damn thing from start to finish.

A few facts about the story so far:
- it's about angels and demons (and a third force that so far confuses everyone)
- people don't know of the existence of said angels and demons, so all the fighting takes place in dark alleys or on the top of industrial buildings.
- There are swords and knives and a lot of chopping of limbs and head going on
- So far, I've killed off over 10 demons
- I've spared 2 demons so far
- I've killed an indefinite number of demonic shadows
- I've invented 2 underworld creatures called Negri and Nexi. You'll have to read the book to find out what those things are.
- Grace is very confused about her nature
- the antagonist is very confused, too, but not about his nature. He's in a pit of self-loathing right now.
- I no longer have an antagonist. (big surprise! Anyone who read any of my stuff knows I screw the antagonist over every single time)
- one of the initial protags might turn into an antagonist (I do that a lot too) - though I don't plan him to
- I have to describe a 30 days journey in a few pages - I hate doing that, but it's important to the plot that I pull it off
- I'm very confused about where this story is going - I mean, I know where it's going, but it's taking weird detours getting there.

I can't wait to get to part two of the story. It's very depressing at first (at least it should be) and then all happy and everything. I wonder if I'll manage to pull it off.

In other news... I don't have other news. I guess I could say that I've found a symbolic cover for my project and also put together a playlist. It will appear on the sidebar soon enough.

I'm getting the feeling that NaNo is driving me bonkers. In a good way, of course :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Wanita May

Hey, that kinda rhymed! And it was completely unintentional. But let's cut to the chase before my computer has a change of heart and crashes again.

I’m back with a new author interview and Giveaway (aren’t I busy this month – doing this and NaNo), today with the lovely Wanita May. Her new book Rae of Hope is already available as an e-book and will soon be out on paperback (nov 15).

S: So, Wanita, grab a cup of hot chocolate (since it’s cold outside) and sit down for a chat.

Wanita (W): Thanks for inviting me over for some cyber cocoa and some babble! I feel truly honoured!

S: Well, not to toot my own horn, but... Yeah, I think I just won't toot my own horn. So tell us a little something about yourself.

W:  I’m in my thirties, three great kids and hubby, along with a Weimeraner  (that’s a kind of dog for those of you scratching your head :))  Now, I sound like the color of my hair – except I honestly don’t mean to come across that way.

S: Wow, not to toot your horn now, but you sound like supper woman (with three kids and all).  Okay, maybe I’m being rude, but I’ve just got to ask. You have a pretty unusual name. What’s the story behind it?

W:  Great question and not rude, I get asked all the time.  Especially when you see me.  I’m blonde, blue eyed.  Most “Juanita’s” I know have Hispanic descent – there are not a lot of dutch ones around :).  Both my folks immigrated from Holland, and met in Canada.  I’m the youngest of six (four bro, one sis) and then me!  I’m not sure if they got inventive or never thought of it as a unique name.  I’m named after my grandmother (my Friesan “Beppe”) who wad Weastka.  My folks Canadianized it to Wanita.  And somewherealong the line there was a Hungarian foster girl in my mom’s house during the war who’s name was Wanita and she also thought it was a pretty name.  (Bet you weren’t expecting that much detail on this answer! Ha ha)

S: Well, actually, no, but it was very interesting to read all the same :D  Tell us a little about your book.

W: Rae of Hope is YA Fantasy.  It’s the first book in the Chronicles of Kerrigan.  Rae, the MC, wakes up on her sixteen birthday with a tattoo on her lower back that enables to do supernatural things.  – It’s a lot more complicated than that but that’s it in 20 words or less :)

S: Wow, I couldn't shut up about my own work. You're so very professional *drools in admiration* How was your writing experience?

W: I’ve got a BS degree and competed in athletics during and after university. I wrote through high school but lost touch with it when I began competing for Canada and focused on my highjump career.  I lost my father three years ago to cancer and one of our last conversations was him telling me to make sure I did what I wanted to do… if I put anything off with excuses I should do it, or I’d regret it later.  He passed in September and that December I wrote my first book.  I started writing Rae of Hope shortly after and everything just fell into place.  I landed an agent, then a publishing contract and now, here I am.

S: See above comment about superwoman., let’s talk characters. MCs and antagonists and everything. Who’s your favorite as a person, favorite to write and hardest to write? Which one is most like you?  

W:  I’m slightly answering the question here, and slightly going off on a tangent.  I LOVE FORESHADOWING.  I always say that foreshadowing in a book is irony in real life.  So I love characters that grow and realize some of the irony in their own life.  In Rae of Hope, I love Rae, Devon, Julian and Carter.  Some of them have a bigger part in the rest of the series (Rae obviously does since she’s the MC)

S: I love foreshadowing, too. It's maybe half the reason I write - to smartly plan everything ahead and then surprise people with how stuff comes out.  So, I stalked you and saw that this book is a part of a series. Tell us a little something about this series.

W:  I’ve signed a four book contract with Mitchell Morris Publishing.  The first two books are written, the next started and the fourth already plotted out.  It’s a fantastic series – with supernatural, fantasy, mystery, etc… I love the series (and am completely biased too, of course :) )

S:  What’s it like to work with your publisher?

W:  MMP are great.  They work closely with their authors, and make themselves available.  This is my first book being published so I asked a lot of questions (and I mean A LOT). And all the time.  Not just at the get-go.  My agent is also so amazing.  Anytime I had a tidbit of a concern, she made sure it was addressed immediately so I could focus on the writing, then editing and now helping with the marketing.

S: That sounds like a dream. And you might just be the first agented author I interview (yikes!) But, enough about that. Let's get to the lightning round.

Summer or Winter?

W:  Summer… wait, I like Winter too (we’re spoiled where I live – we get all four seasons to their fullest)

S:  Sand and sea or mountains?

W:  Sand and sea

S:  TV or books?

W: Books 

S: I think I should make that question harder.  Writing or reading?

W:  Honest? Reading :)

S:  Favorite food?

W:  Chicken Curry.

S: Yum. Well, with that delicious meal, you've unlocked the secret question of the interview. If you could change something in the world right now, what would it be?

W: Injustice.  We can all help to change that by being kind.  – Kindess and giving would help stop poverty, abuse, anger, war, faith…   Seems so simple, and yet, so complicated.

S: Yeah, good point. It would be a much better world. *sigh* How about giving us your personal fave part of the book?

W: The sins of the father are the sins of the son, or in this case, daughter.
 -         First line, and it’s been my favourite line of the entire book since day one. 

S: Awesome.  I hope you had fun here :)

W: Loved it!  Thanks so much for having me and letting me chatter away.  You’ve got a fantastic blog and wish you the best with your writing and blogging!

S: Aw, thanks a whole bunch, Wanita!

Okay peeps, here's how it's gonna go down. Wanita will be giving away one free copy of  her book. Together with it she's also giving away a bookmark, as I understand. You know the drill. Comment with your e-mail addy to enter the draw for the fabulous prize.

Here's a little more about the book:

How hard do you have to shake a family tree to find out the truth about the past?

Fifteen-year-old Rae Kerrigan never questioned her family’s history. That is until she accepted a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School in England. Guilder is an exclusive, gifted school. Rae has no idea what she is getting herself into or that her family’s past is going to come back and taunt her.

She learns she is part of an unparalleled group of individuals who become inked with a unique tattoo (tatu) on their sixteenth birthday. The tatu enables them to have supernatural powers particular to the shape of their ink-art. Both of her parents where inked, though Rae never knew, as they passed away when she was young. Learning about her family's past, her evil father and sacrificial mother, Rae needs to decide if there is a ray of hope in her own life.

Also, you can find Wanita on her personal blog, on Facebook ( Author W. J. May ) and twitter ( @wanitajump ) Book trailer here.

This is it for now, folks. Will be drawing the prizes in about two weeks :) Signing off. Am behind with my NaNo work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNo - Day 9

Things are going well. I've reached chapter 12 of my novel and the plot is finally well underway. I've come across a hard section and I'll have to take great care writing it because it justifies everything that happens next. I'm actually pretty excited to get this done and through the queues to see what people think about it, if it holds interest.

Also, my MC is all over the place. As in she went bananas and refuses to have any trait except that of going ballistic. And I'm letting her. I saw what happened last year when I tried to beat Rachel into submission. I'm letting Grace roam free.

BTW, my MCs name is Grace (I know, not a name I would usually give a character). I actually had some fun this year finding "immaculate" names for my Angel characters.

Also, this is the goriest thing I've ever written. I want to improve on the gore, but I'll do that with revision number 1. Right now, I have to write the slightly beefed up skeleton of my masterpiece (insert sarcastic cough here). I can't believe how much fun I'm having. And I have over 20 chapters left to go. Weeee!

Signing off. Gotta go hit the gym (trying to get in shape for the wedding)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNo - Day 8

I'm getting back on the bandwagon with the NaNo posting. Even if I haven't been updating, I have been writing.
On Saturday, I managed to do the outline of my novel, so now I know what happens from beginning to end. It's much more detailed that the one I had for Hunters (That one was 2 pages, this one somewhere at 4).

I've come to realize that there are a few things that I'm doing as a first while writing this story:
1. My novels usually stop around 20- 23 chapters. This one has over 30. So I've reached a new psychological threshold.

2. This is the first novel I've written (so far) that has parts. I've structured the whole novel in 3 parts, each culminating with a major twist of the plot (well, except the last one, which culminates with the end).

3. This is the first novel in which I have only one POV. Hunters wasn't exactly rich there either, but I had 2 chapters written in Vlad's POV. My Jewel series has an indefinite number of POV characters.

4. I already came up with a concept for the cover. It took me a whole lot to think of what I want for Hunters (and I can't do what I wanted because I'd have to draw it and I suck at drawing) And I still don't know what my Jewel covers will look like, but Saving Grace already has a temp cover to get me going and I have a couple of ideas rolling around my head for the cover.

Other than that, I've finally finished my character list, ignoring the extras. I actually inserted a new character as a punch and I'm actually enjoying playing around with it. Also, I think I've made my male MC likable enough to work. I'm actually starting to like him :D
I also solved all the motivation problems for the big ticket items in the book. And I'm proud of that.

Anyway, better get back to writing. I haven't met my quota for today. I'm writing a chapter a day, so I still have about a half of a chapter to go.