Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #26 – WriteOnCon, revising and other stories…

Yay, it´s time for Happy Friday 😀 Looking forward to know what made you smile this week!

 

WriteOnCon: This conference – wow. No, really: wow!!! Here are my favourites

And I got to ask questions in the chat, which totally humbled me, and I simply loved it. Loved all of it. All those advice, the passion, all the talent, really amazing, those wonderful people giving their time!!! And congrats to everyone who got feedback by the Ninja Agents!

Webinar by Sara Megibow “Ten Queries In Ten Tweets”: I signed up for this webinar and I am super excited. Yes, I will have to get up in the middle of the night to attend (technically I could also just watch the video later but I want to be there :P) I’m very much looking forward to absorb and discuss.

Revision: This week has been full of revisions. I received feedback from Taryn on my first ten pages (thanks to the fact I was one of the 3 winners of her query contest) and wow, she really is amazing. I think my chapter one is ready and powerful. My CP and beta readers also have so much patience with me as I’ve reworked that chapter SO. MANY.TIMES. But I think thanks to them  it was all worth it because the stakes are clearer, and the reader can really connect with Natalja from the beginning now. I’ve also been working on formatting, on strengthening some sentences, diversifying their lengths and all. And it truly feels like something amazing is happening as I do this, it’s like all strings are pulling together to make my novel better. And I’m falling in love with it all over again.

Reading: I read two books of Jennifer Echols (inspired by the fact that Jessica Love was gushing about her) this week and I’m now an official fan 😀

And I’m looking forward to the weekend…It’s a pretty special one for many reasons, celebrating my birthday tomorrow and on Sunday, an early celebration of our anniversary 🙂

I’m just lucky!

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

Beta, Books, Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #25 – The Magic of Rs, Revising, Rewriting, Reading and Randomness…

Yay, it´s time for Happy Friday 😀 Looking forward to know what made you smile this week!

Revising – Stephanie Perkins and my novel? : So my book is now with beta readers and I started receiving feedback. I am amazed by how my book is transforming in front of my eyes into something SO good. I mean it´s my book and I may be bias and all since I wrote it. But first, Jaime´s critique helped me shape it into a better book and now beta readers let me know what´s working and what´s not working for them. This forces me to really look at my story as a reader before digging into more revisions. I am loving it and you know what one of my beta, aka Kip, said when she sent me back my complete manuscript full of notes?  She compared the romance in my novel to the ones in Stephanie Perkins´ books. So yep, I´m still smiling about that. I don´t think I can say thank you enough to my critique partner and beta readers! You ladies ROCK! (and hubby, you´re pretty amazing yourself :P)

Rewriting: I am rewriting my first manuscript. The main plot is still the same but…the subplots are different AND I  actually know my characters! PLAYING WITH FIRE will be so much better after this rewrite and I am having a blast with it!

Reading: I read THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers this week and wow, wow, wow, wow. I promise there will be more words to describe what I thought about that book when I discuss it for Tracey´s YA book club (by the way, you should totally join, it´s fun!). I also enjoyed BELLES by Jen Calonita! And now cannot wait for the sequel to come out 😀 I also love the fact that I actually heard Jen talking about the process of this book, the way she did some research and how excited she sounded. It somehow makes this book even more special 😀

Random: Running on Thursday made me feel like I had wings. Okay, not before the run, as my husband did have to push me to go and not necessarily during as I was fighting through it but after, loved the feeling!

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

Giveaway, Happy Friday, writing

Happy Friday – Interview and Giveaway (MY LIFE NEXT DOOR)


Today is a SPECIAL HAPPY FRIDAY…I have a little something which pretty made me smile all week and which I cannot wait to share with all of you. Are you ready? 😀 

Do you remember when I gushed about the book MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick? Huntley was kind enough to answer a question I had on Twitter. I had read several of her interviews but I still had a lot of questions on how she came to this book, and the characters and her writing process…and…and…So I decided to send her an email and to ask her if she would be willing to do an interview here on my little blog. She said YES! AND…when I mentioned I was going to have a giveaway and would have loved for it to be a signed book but knowing since I lived in Germany and all it could be complicated: she said she WOULD do it! So, ladies and gentleman, you can WIN a signed copy of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR (and I´m throwing another non-signed copy so there will be TWO winners)! I´ll tell you how after the interview (oh and it´s open internationally)

INTERVIEW WITH HUNTLEY FITZPATRICK (or where I grin every time I read this :-))

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR was published on June 14th, 2012. It´s a story about first loves but also friendship, family and finding yourself.

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts.  All the time.”The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them…until one summer evening Jase Garrett climbs her trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? (From Huntley´s website)

Meet the author 😀 HUNTLEY FITZPATRICK: I was lucky enough to be born to parents who read every kind of written material with interest and enthusiasm, and let me do the same. From the start I searched for books that let me fall in love…with the story and with the boy. For most of my childhood I divided my devotion between Almanzo Wilder from The Little House books, C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and Tom in Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl. (more on Huntley´s website)

1. What is the first word that comes to your mind when thinking about the story of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR? Contrast

2. Jase, Jase, Jase…where did you find the inspiration for such a great guy? Thank you! Jase is actually a character who has been in my head for a long time.  I recently reread a story I wrote when I was fourteen and the hero was a good-natured boy who was close to his family, loved animals and was good with his hands (the last is something that has always appealed to me).  Like Samantha, I was never a fan of boys who were into lots of drama and I really wanted to write a book where the nice guy gets the girl, rather than losing out to the emo rebel bad boy.  The two manuscripts I’d completed before this both had challenging heroes, and I have to say it was a pleasure doing Jase after them.

3. What is one of your favourite sentences in the book? The first one that comes to mind is Jase’s response when he sees Samantha in her silly waitress uniform (short shirt, sailor top and little red scarf).  Embarrassed by his raised eyebrows, she hurries to tell him her boss designed the uniform. Jase says, “He must have a rich fantasy life.”  The understated humor of that is very Jase.

4. You mentioned in an earlier interview that like Sam, you enjoyed watching people. Did you ever see something funny? (or someone resembling Jase)? A few years ago, my father and I were sitting on a park bench in Boston Common on a beautiful spring day. A boy and a girl came walking along—she had long blond hair and was wearing a white dress and they were holding hands. Something about the way they looked—like real friends in addition to boyfriend and girlfriend, got to me and when I sat down to write the book, I remembered them.

5. You have a cast full of wonderfully fledged characters, which one was the easiest to write and which one was the hardest? Tim and Jase were the easiest. They just seemed to come to me. I struggled with Nan the most. I wanted to make it clear why they were friends, and also why that friendship was in trouble. I also worked really really hard not to make Grace and Clay into Disney villains, to give each of them some humanizing factors. I hope that worked!

6. Did you listen to a particular song while writing this book? Or what song would like to hear in the soundtrack if MY LIFE NEXT DOOR were to become a movie?  Seaside by the Kooks. And the Beatles Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da completely reminds me of the Garretts.  I listen to that song in the car a lot with my kids and they always sing along, so it reminds me of happy, messy but lovely family life.

7. Have you thought about writing a companion book like maybe about Andy or about Tim (I have a big soft spot for Tim and Alice and really enjoyed Andy’s first attempts at dating. Plus I would love to continue getting glimpses about Sam and Jase)? I’ve not only thought about it, I’ve done it. I did about ¾ of a book about Tim and Alice right after MLND, but that wasn’t the one that was picked up by my publisher, so I put it to the side (for now). I do hope eventually to return to it, though. Both Tim and Alice are a lot of fun to write. And I’d love to do a book where Andy finds someone.  I’d even like to do one on Nan where she figures herself out.

8. The querying process can be daunting while exciting. How was it for you? Did you send a lot of queries out? How long did it take you to snag your agent? I did send a lot of queries, and got some encouraging answers but I actually got my agent by button-holing a colleague of hers at a writer’s conference. We’d worked together when I was an editor, and I mentioned that I was writing now. She very kindly told me to send her my manuscripts, and encouraged me to keep going, even though the first two were not quite what she was looking for. MY LIFE NEXT DOOR was the third one and she passed it on to her co-agent, Christina Hogrebe, who liked it and signed me up. In short, I got really lucky.

9. What is an advice you would give to aspiring authors? Read, read, read. I am a huge believer that reading good writing sinks into your brain and helps you write better. There are some great books out there on how to write—notably Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD and Donald Maass THE FIRE IN FICTION, but what has helped me most to be a writer is being a livelong, passionate reader. I also believe in keeping a journal, and always carrying around a notebook to jot down ideas.

10. Can you tell us about your next project? It’s tentatively entitled WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE, and will come out next year. It’s set in the same area as MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, but with a very different cast of characters. It centers around Gwen Castle, a working class girl who has grown up on a privileged island, and Cass Somers, the boy who is her Worst Mistake Ever and inescapable crush, whom she thinks she can spend the summer forgetting, until she learns that he is going to be the “yard boy” onthe island this year—and has no intention of being forgotten.

GIVEAWAY OF ONE SIGNED COPY OF MY LIFE NEXT DOOR 

(and I´m adding a non-signed copy to the mix sent via the Book Depository)

How to enter? Since this is all about the book, you don´t even have to be a follower of this blog to enter (just make sure I have a way to contact you to let you know if you win). It would be great if you win that you share the love by writing a review but it´s up to you…

Tell me in the comments if you:

+2 Tweeted about the interview and giveaway (with the link)

+4 Blogged about it (with the link)

+2 Follow Huntley on Twitter or on Facebook

You automatically have one entry if you comment on this post 😀 The contest is open internationally and will end on August 3rd, 12pm (EST).

THANK YOU AGAIN SO MUCH HUNTLEY!!!!

Happy Friday

Happy Friday #22 – Wordbuster and other stories…

Yay, it´s time for Happy Friday 😀 Looking forward to know what made you smile this week!

Writing: I am steadily moving forward, I am almost at 30 000 words and already have the next scenes in my head.

Critiquing: You have no idea how lucky I am to read Jaime´s manuscript. I can´t wait for her to snag a wonderful agent and get this baby published so I can gush about her writing with you (and about hmmm a certain someone in uniform…). Plus, we just got our own theme song now which let´s face it, makes us super cool 🙂

Reading: I just started THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab and I got pulled in with the first sentence: It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark.

Randomness: My Mother-In-Law was here this week so we enjoyed some nice family time altogether which included a very fun weekend. Oh and I also tried another yummy dessert from Katy´s deliciousness pinterest board aka Banana Caramel Cream from Glorious Treats. 

So, tell me, what made you smile this week?

Hmm margarita
Jenga fun!
A walk in Mainz…
Banana caramel YUM!

Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #20 – Burst of productivity, an anniversary and other stories…

Yay, it´s time for Happy Friday 😀 Looking forward to know what made you smile this week!

Writing and critiquing: This week has been soooooo productive on both front! I´ve been really getting into Jaime´s story and I am enjoying critiquing every word. I´ll have to write a post about this critiquing business because it´s also a learning process and a getting-to-know the other writer better. Thanks to critiquing Jaime´s chapters, I also worked quite a bit on my own WiP. While in terms of word counts, I didn´t write as much as last week, I feel that my chapters are getting much stronger. So yep. Productive week 😀

Reading: I am still reading LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green. It´s a bit of a slow read for me but this has several reasons: (1) I don´t want it to end; (2) I am reading this book as a reader and as a writer, thinking about the words´ choice and the dialogue. There are many other books that I didn´t want to let go of but with this one, it´s like I´m in the story without being in while still being in. Ok and since this didn´t make sense at all and I´m not yet done with the book which I am really really enjoying, you now know what Jaime has to deal with when it comes to the comments I make inside her WiP 😀

Randomness: My parents celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. Yep, it´s amazing. They´re amazing. Through all the ups and downs that may come during 38 years, they´re still a team and I am thankful for them! Since my dad would have a cow if I post a picture of him on my blog – or maybe not, maybe it´s just on Facebook, I´ll have to check this 😀 – I found a picture which shows them together but doesn´t show them.

Papa et Maman looking in the same direction

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #19 – Stories, books and awards!

Yay, it´s time for Happy Friday 😀 Looking forward to know what made you smile this week!

Writing: I reached 13000 words in ONE, TWO, THREE (my YA contemporary WiP) and I am happy to report that my main character is getting a very short break this chapter (yay!) but one of her new friends is in big trouble. I am loving this story and I am very happy that I pushed forward even if picking up after my holidays was a tad difficult because it´s really moving along. Plus I got feedback from Jaime and it will definitely help me tighten up future chapters as well (so again YAY!) And, she sent me more chapters to look at and I am super excited about it!

Reading: This week, I finished THE SELECTION and I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I am really anticipating the sequel. Here´s what I wrote about it on Goodreads:

America Singer´s story is one which pulled me in from the beginning…Maybe I wanted to know more about the world it was taking place in but overall, I really loved that story. I have a thing for books which make me love ALL characters and this one did. I loved her sister, her brother…I enjoyed getting to know some of the other girls…And there are the boys. Yes, boys 😀 The love triangle is so very nicely done that I am not sure which one I prefer! Already looking forward to Book number 2!

And on a total unrelated reading note, I now own all books from Karen Rose. See, Karen (I don´t think she knows I am calling her by her first name :D) is my little guilty pleasure reading. Her books are considered Romantic Suspense and they´re scary, sexy and steamy.

I completed my collection this week and that definitely made me smile 😀

Blogging awards:  I have received several awards this week (and one during my honeymoon). So huge thanks to Kat from My Writing Journey for the 7×7 link award, to Carissa Taylor for The Sunshine Award and to Heather from Adventures in Writer land for Create-spiration blog award. You ladies are all so kind! It warms up my heart to know that you enjoy my blog so Merci! Danke! Thank you! 😀

Cover reveals: There were a lot of amazing cover reveals this week but in case you haven´t seen, here´s the cover of TAKEN by Erin Bowman and DUALED by Elsie Chapman (for the summary of the books, just click on the cover, don´t they sound amazing? :D)

               

Randomness: Ok, I had an OMG moment this week I have to share with you when I noticed in my stats someone from Random House came on my blog. I know maybe one of my regular readers may work there but in my dreams, it was an editor who stumbled into my blog, loved it and is about to give me a call 😀 One can dream, right?

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

Happy Friday

Happy Friday #17 – Wonderful times…and I´m back :D

And we´re back :D, right on time for Happy Friday…I have so many things that made me smile these past weeks that I don´t know where to start.

We landed this morning in Germany and I am fighting against falling back asleep, trying to beat jetlag by Monday. I have about 1600 pictures and a lot of stories to share (including how I met the amazing Rebecca in New York City after gathering up the courage to ask a question at the Teen Author Carnival!)

Hubby and I created new memories together, we drove more than 4000 miles passing through the US and Canada, discovering many new States, cities, beautiful roads, delicious food, meeting some of our fabulous friends or just spending time together…

I will share some of the highlights of our trip (including some pictures) in the next weeks. A comeback is always a bit bittersweet, happy to be home, to be back in a routine soon (including writing, reading and blogging :D) and sad that those particular adventures are over but knowing that those new memories will become cherished ones. Plus, we might be back for a visit in the US next year.

On our way to meet friends…
On the road…

And now, tell me, what made you smile this week?

Have a wonderful weekend!