revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The “So many awesome books out” edition…

WUW Winter Holly 1

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

I’m halfway through THE PIPER’S SON by Melina Marchetta and I fell hard for this book.
“She misses him more now than when he was away”
― Melina MarchettaThe Piper’s Son
Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca – but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.

What I’m Writing

Thanks #WriterRecharge (more info here if you want to join), I’ve been quite productive these past days:
  • I have 1000 words of my new WiP ALWAYS SECOND BEST and I’m in love with the characters already
  • I revised one chapter of DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL.
  • And on Sunday, I finished a round of revision for ONE TWO THREE, and sent it off to a certain someone 🙂

What else I´ve been up to

  • So many things. Some of which I still cannot say. I thought I might be able to announce it on Friday but it looks like it’s going to be next week. Stay tuned.
  • I’ve helped celebrating the launch of ALIENATED by Melissa Landers yesterday and you can still win a NOOK here 🙂

What inspires me right now

My friends who also happen to be writers 🙂 and who I have been pestering with emails these past two weeks. Thank you! ❤

#WriterRecharge  which comes really at a perfect moment of time.

And then…the release of Rebecca’s book!

And the release of Erin Bowman’s novella STOLEN...and Melissa’s ALIENATED.

This oh-so-honest blog post by Dahlia about how she “does it all” and putting a bit of perspective into that very particular concept.

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The “I can’t wait to tell you” edition…

WUW Winter Holly 1

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

I just started SAVING FRANCESCA by Melina Marchetta. Her book JELLICOE ROAD is one of my favorites (Really, pick it up if you haven´t already read it)
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys’ school that’s pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been looking again at ONE TWO THREE, writing a new story and revising DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL.
So busy busy.
Here´s an excerpt – I just added it so it´s not yet edited – from ONE TWO THREE (my YA contemporary romance)

My pointes show wear and tear of the years I’ve used them and no matter how much I scrub, there’s one smudge that doesn’t want to go away. Memories flash back when I slip them on: my father handing me  a bouquet of lilies after each of my recitals, the crew from the School of Performing Arts sneaking out to get ice cream, the summers I spent here with my best friend Becca and my Nana, the hours at the barre, my piano lessons. Everything’s gone. 

The pain in my knee is latent, reminding me of what I lost, but I clench my teeth and face the bench using it as my own personal barre.  I slowly bend my knees, keeping them over my toes. Grounding my heels on the floor, I stretch down as much as I can but I don´t make it past a demi-plié.  I warm up for ten minutes, losing myself in the familiar movements. Maybe the doctors got it wrong, maybe I´ll be able to dance on stage again. The stars reflect on the water,  it could be the perfect backdrop for a production of the Swan Lake.

I try a grand jeté, but my foot isn’t angled properly, my knee isn’t used to carrying all my weight. Instead of gracefully landing with my left leg still in the air, I fall on my ass. Air leaves my lungs and the tears I’ve been fighting fall steadily on my face. 

What else I´ve been up to

I redesigned my website…and have been working on a few things behind the scenes.
I cannot wait to let you all know what those are.
Stay tuned.
Oh and my hubby decided to grill shashlik in T-shit in January, as one does (they were yummy!)
2014-01-19_1390149825

What inspires me right now

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The first edition of 2014

WUW Winter Holly 1

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

 I am reading two wonderful books at the moment:
One about to be published this year.

The writing is gorgeous and the story captivating. I´m half-way through the story and have a hard time putting it down.

In parallel, I´m beta-reading an AMAZING YA novel by Jen Malone. I cannot tell you how much I´m enjoying the story. Loving it! (and you guys she has an MG coming out during the summer – it sounds great!)

What I’m Writing

I have the feeling I´ve been revising for months. Oh, wait. I have 🙂 My goal is to finish revising in January but this new twist I introduced requires major rewriting. I really think it´s making my story much stronger, so I need to power through!
Here´s a little bit I´m not sure I´ll keep but which gives a bit more insight into Erin´s past.

My shoulders slouch. I remember how everything changed after I testified. The way my best friend Summer was no longer allowed to play with me. We had promised to be BFFs and Summer snuck around to meet me but when her parents found out, she got into so much trouble that she stopped talking to me. One morning, some kids threw chewing gum in my hair and they taunted Summer to do it too. Tears sprung to her eyes but she did take the bubblegum from her mouth and in one swift movement it landed in my ponytail.  I sobbed in the corner after class, trying to get the bits out with the help of the teacher who apologized over and over again for not seeing anything. Summer passed by me without saying a word.  Mama had to cut  my hair super short that night. I don’t want that for my little brother.

What else I´ve been up to

I spent the holiday season at home in France and at my in-laws in the south of Germany, enjoying family time and celebrating my husband´s birthday.
For Christmas, I received my first slow cooker and I have been enjoying some yummy meals out of it.
2014-01-03_1388759395
 

What inspires me right now

My word for 2014: Balance.

and everyone else´s goals and resolutions and thoughts about the new year. So. Much. Inspiration. ❤

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The busy bee edition…

WUW Winter Holly 1

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

 Well…I forgot my Kindle and to bring a book with me today. Which means of course that I have to go to the bookstore to buy one during my lunch break. Because as my husband correctly pointed out (he knows me well), not having a book with me is dramatic.

What I’m Writing

 Revising. Revising. Revising.

What else I´ve been up to

Working a lot. I was in the US last week for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful! but work is taking a LOT of my time right now.

What inspires me right now

Dahlia had her cover reveal. You can check it out here and even enter to win an ARC.

Rebecca is the sweetest and agreed to sign a copy of her book for my niece when it comes out. You can pre-order your book here.

And the mentors of Pitch Wars selected their mentees, did you know that Erin has been chosen as an alternate? You should definitely go and congratulate her…

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The Thanksgiving edition…

What´s Up Wednesday

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

I´m switching it up today because I need to finish getting ready for our trip to the USA. We´re leaving today for Maryland…where we´ll spend Thanksgiving 🙂 It´s been forever since we spent Thanksgiving in the US and I´m very excited. I´m responsible for the mashed potatoes (garlic red and sweet).

In the plane I might try to revise. I won´t be ready for Pitch Wars but…I got a breakthrough…

And then…this also made me feel better.

I´m so thankful for my husband, my family, my friends and all of you. Writing can be lonely but it definitely doesn´t like it thanks to you!

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

Query, revising, writing

What I learned last year from #Pitchwars

If you are on Twitter, you may have noticed the hashtag #PitchWars popping up on your feed. In the words of the amazing Brenda:

Pitch Wars is a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for agents. The mentors critique the writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. Mentors also pick two alternates each in case their writer drops out of the contest. A special alternate showcase is held on some of the mentors’ blogs and the mentors will critique the alternates’ pitches. (…)

  • Simple truth: if you don´t try, you most likely won´t succeed

Last year, I hesitated and hesitated and hesitated before entering the contest.  I had started querying and I was getting some positive answers but overall I was not 100% sure of my manuscript – basically I had queried a tad too early. Gathering up some hidden courage, I tweeted what my book was about. And I got some positive answers both from mentors but also from other participants.

I ended up being selected by the truly wonderful Dahlia as an alternate. The very talented Ghenet was her first pick and the lovely Nikki Urang was her other alternate. (by the way Nikki is getting published next year, you should totally add her book to Goodreads).

  • Contests are subjective

Contests are subjective. Not everyone gets chosen. It´s basically like querying, it depends on a lot of factors. Dahlia ended up posting why she chose the people she did (her full post “This is my brain on Pitch Wars” is very enlightening, so yep you should totally read it)

ONE TWO THREE by Elodie Nowodazkij: Something must’ve been in the air the day I made my final selections, because I ended up with not one but two dance-themed manuscripts, which still makes me laugh because I know nothing about dance. However, I’m a big sucker for characters who are really passionate about their hobbies (…) For me, what was actually the biggest hook was a totally personal thing – Elodie’s MC, Natalya, comes from a Russian family, and having minored in Russian Studies in college, I happen to love when Russian culture plays into a story. Every agent and editor is going to have his or her sweet spots, and that’s one of mine!

Social media bonus: Elodie had actually tweeted about her ms at some point before Pitch Wars, and holy cow did her tweet about its premise stick in my brain. When you’re actually staring at your inbox hoping a certain something will pop into it, it’s a very good sign!  (…)

And just like querying, you won´t know unless you take the plunge. The waters may be cold and the waves may be crushing you but they recede after awhile, leaving you ready to start anew.

  • My manuscript got stronger

Dahlia also went the extra mile and polished more than just my pitch. She read pages and gave me very very detailed feedback. Feedback that ended up making my manuscript so much stronger. I also got feedback from a ninja mentor (aka Danielle Ellison) which took the time to tell me what was working and what wasn’t.

  • Meeting new people/reading amazing stories

A team spirit developed. People cheered on the sidelines. Connections were made. I ended up reading some amazing books.

This year, there are more mentors, even more agents participating. I may try to enter DADDY´S LITTLE ANGEL (if I´m ready) but even if I don´t, I know I´ll encourage others and I´ll cheer for them.

If you have a manuscript ready to query but you still feel like an extra pair of eyes will help you out – I say, check it out!

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The November 6th edition

What´s Up Wednesday

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

 

HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno which I picked up thanks to this amazing review by Katy.

And as mentioned on Twitter.

 

What I’m Writing

 
I´m revising. This weekend I finished revising my first 50 pages again.
And…I´ve started working on my query. Thanks again Alison for keeping up with my crazies.
This isn´t the final version but see below what my story is about.

Ever since escaping the town her serial-killer father terrorized, sixteen-year-old Erin Holtz has had one goal: blend in —but keeping her secret gets complicated when she starts receiving death threats.

Erin´s got the fake it ´till you feel it down to a science. Despite the threats, she swallows her fears and plasters her cheerleader smile on her face. Her life soon turns into a nightmare: her Nana dies in an “accident” and a girl from school decides to blackmail her. Even resident hottie and Pulitzer Prize wannabe Malik might know more about her than he lets on. Her father’s claims that there is another killer seem like another plot for attention and Erin doesn’t believe him for one second. After all, she should know, he tricked her into choosing his victims.

However, doubts linger when her blackmailer ends up dead with little angels carved into her face—her father´s trademark. To stop this madness, Erin has to face him and the demons of her past. Otherwise, she might be the next angel to die.

DADDY´S LITTLE ANGEL is a young adult suspense novel, complete at 65,000 words.  I think it would appeal to readers of THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING by Ashley Elston.

 

What else I´ve been up to

 
Almost two weeks ago, hubby and I spent the weekend in Hamburg. We saw Jay-Z in concert and wow, this was really an AMAZING weekend!!!
 
:-)
Managed to catch a pic of the little boy…
 
Kind of blurry but this was AMAZING!
Kind of blurry but this was AMAZING!
The view from our breakfast room...
The view from our breakfast room…
 

What inspires me right now

Katy and Alison started NaNoReviseMo to finish revising their manuscript this month.If you want to join them, you should totally check them out.

My goal: to be ready for PitchWars

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The October 9th edition

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

I beta read the first 50 pages of a creepy, awesome manuscript.https://twitter.com/commutinggirl/status/387263112665374720

And…I am super excited to dive into SKY JUMPERS by Peggy Eddleman. Peggy was one of the first bloggers I followed and interacted with and she´s as sweet as the cookies she puts on display.

And her book is AMAZING!  I

What I’m Writing

You know this revision I´ve been talking about? Yep, still on-going and still plowing and powering through. But the good news? I re-read some chapters yesterday and realized it wasn´t half-bad. So there´s that.

What else I´ve been up to

Last weekend, we were visiting family and that´s always fun. Plus look at the cake our cousin baked. YUMMY.
Black forest cake with Gioto candies.
Cake
Waking up extra early to jog at least once a week with The Chemical Engineer. 5.36am is when I came back home after 25 minutes of painful but rewarding exercise.
Jogging
Hubby and I have started watching BREAKING BAD. And WOW!!!
Breaking bad
And today I´m off to Geneva for work…

What inspires me right now

So many things. But in a nutshell, my writer friends: their good news, their dedication, their happy moments.

Christa´s book launch party

Did you pre-order FAULT LINE already? You can do so at IndieBound,Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

This is from her Facebook author page – and this makes me SO happy!

Rebecca unveiling her cover

Jen unveiling her cover

Katy setting her Fall goals

if you want to cheer her on, see her post here.

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? Or how my revision is kicking my butt…

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

What I´m reading

I just finished THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR and found it utterly interesting. It also propped some evening discussion with the hubby which is always nice.
I’m reading ROSE UNDER FIRE. And wow. The controller in the train had to tap my shoulder to get my attention I was so into the story. It’s heartbreaking and powerful and emotional. There are passages I want to read with my eyes closed they are so painful and so raw.
There’s someone named Elodie in it and that distracted me for a second. It’s the first time I read a book with my name in it and I know it wasn’t a popular name  in those years.  In the 20s, it was about 40 babies per year which were named Elodie.
But anyways…the name Elodie apart, I cannot stop reading. Despite the horrors, there’s so much hope and friendship in the words Rose writes.

What I’m Writing

My revision is slowly but surely kicking my butt. It takes me forever to revise and I need to make more time for it…This revision involved so much re-writing as I deepened one story-line which is changing a lot.

As it’s been forever I’ve shared something, here’s a little snippet from what I revised this week (not much to choose from since I revised about 50% of a chapter).

“What do you want?” I ask Malik. My voice´s not breaking anymore, there´s a rage inside me I haven´t felt for a long time. I smile at Bo before stepping away from everyone, not even bothering to hold up my dress any longer. I step on it. People scatter away from me.

“What do you want?” I repeat. “Do you want a quote for an article? Here´s the fucking quote, I wish I never kissed you, I wish you and I stayed as far away from each other as possible.”

“You need to calm down.” He takes on that annoying tone, that all-knowing tone I sometimes find irresistible and other times make me want to claw his eyes out.

What else I´ve been up to

Last week I was in Latvia for a business trip. I stayed there from Tuesday to Friday. It was tiring and stressful but also very rewarding. And…I´ve got the best husband ever. Look at the lovely flowers he surprised me with on Friday.
2013-09-13_1379092841
Decorating our place. Even though we moved in in April, we still have some boxes so the work is not done.
Zoooommmmbiiies
Zoooommmmbiiies
Quite exciting to put my own photographs as decoration :-)
Quite exciting to put my own photographs as decoration 🙂
A lovely brunch with friends on Sunday.
Work. Work. Work.
Working out. I was supposed to jog today but it was raining too much (well my hubby still went but I chickened out). I will go this Friday 🙂 And I did work out yesterday.

What inspires me right now

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

Ready Set Write, revising, What´s Up Wednesday

What´s Up Wednesday? The results of our giveaway edition…

What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog.

Results of our Ready. Set. WRITE! giveaway

(totally copied this from Jaime’s post so Jaime: THANK YOU!): To acknowledge your hard work during Ready. Set. WRITE!, we’ve selected FIVE winners for our 10-page “fresh eyes” giveaway:

1.  Carrie-Anne
2.  Prerna Pickett
3.  Robin Moran
4.  Liz Parker
5.  Dawn Allen

Winners, please email Katy (katy.upperman [at] live.com) with your double-spaced ten pages as an attachment by October 31st. Congratulations to our winners and THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Ready. Set. WRITE! with us this summer. ☼

What I´m reading
I just finished CHILDREN OF LIBERTY by Paullina Simons. I loved her The Bronze Horseman trilogy so I was looking forward to the sequel. While I’m not as enthusiastic (there are times where the pace is a bit problematic in my view, and then the characters weren’t as likable as what I thought they’d be), I’ll still pick up the next one 😉
But now I have the greatest problem of all times, what to read next? I am thinking either an e-ARC (I have ROSE UNDER FIRE waiting for me) or I boutght PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. Tough and very different choices. I think I’m going to go for ROSE UNDER FIRE, so I can put a review before its publication.
What I’m Writing
I’m revising. I’m so scared of finishing this revision or not being able to pull through to what I want to achieve in those pages.
But…I’m still moving forward.
What else I´ve been up to
I worked out.
Yes, you read correctly. I’m working out again. It’s about time.

What inspires me right now

I’m going a bit on a decorating spree these days. Including some stuff for the Fall 🙂

But this quote is now hanging by our front door and every single time I look at it, I smile.

Enjoy the little things…

I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂