Happy Friday, reading

Happy Friday #34 – My hubby, my writer friends, PitchWars and other stories…

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

A lot of things to make me smile this week….So excuse this SUPER DUPER long post!

My husband is back!

Dear Hubby had to travel to Brazil (I know poor poor him) for 3 weeks for business. And he came back yesterday. Three weeks is long! I think I pretty much danced around for a few minutes and was totally like a kid on Christmas day…

My writer friends

 Really ❤ them! Several of them received an email full of confusing thoughts and questions from me on Wednesday, and as always, I´m amazed at their support, their encouragement and just the fact that they “get” me. I really wish we could all hang out one day.

PitchWars!…

Alternate - PitchWars

See? See? I know, right!!! Being chosen as an alternate is amazing, and I met a lot of wonderful people through this contest. Plus I received interesting feedback, which I now need to reflect on before deciding on my next move. On top of that…the alternates will also get some exposure. Our pitches will be online as well, and even though the agents don´t have to check them out, it´s still exciting. And? Have you seen who´s teamed up with the wonderful Dahlia? The lovely GHENET 😀 😀 😀 Again, congrats!!! So happy for you!

Reading

GILT

GILTKip reviewed that book not too long ago, and I´ve been wanting to read a historical YA for awhile now. I picked it up and WOW, I loved it! I might even do a proper review at some point soon.Really, I fell for the characters, the setting was vivid, and the story itself breathtaking!

Happy for Juliana: Have you seen that Juliana´s novella  Her Heart´s Secret Wish was released on Wednesday? No?  Do you want to read something cute and steamy and perfect for the holidays? You should check out Juliana´s post about her first book here.

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

Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #30 – Blog awards, Critiquing and feeling like a rock star :D

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

I have been super duper busy this week, leaving the house at 6.45am and not coming back until 8.15pm for example yesterday. But, since there’s always a silver lining, not only do I enjoy my job, I also had a lot to make me smile this week…

Blog awards: I’ve received a LOT of blog awards in the past couple of weeks. Sorry I didn’t manage to properly accept them yet but again THANK YOU so much 😀

Critiquing and beta reading: Jaime sent me the beginning of her new WiP- I haven’t critiqued it yet, I just read it and I was left wanting more of it! Plus I have Sara’s first fifty pages waiting for me, and the 2500 first words of the wonderful writers in my peer review group for Mandy Hubbard’s class. I can’t tell you how much I learn about writing by critiquing and beta reading…

Getting my little blog  mentioned by Sara Megibow on Twitter: Yep, it’s kind of a fuzzy feeling and a bit “did that really just happen?”

Degrassi Junior High: I loved, loved, loved that show when I was younger. I caved and bought the DVDs…

A lunch break stroll…: As I said my week was busy, but one day during the week, I decided to take a short break to get some fresh air…and the view made me smile.

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

Books, Road Trip Wednesday

Best Book of September…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: What was the best book you read in September?

This month, I breathed, dreamed, smelled, ate my revisions. But I also read quite a lot of great books…

The wonderful books I read in September…

RULES OF ATTRACTION and CHAIN REACTION by Simone Elkeles were both very enjoyable even though I have to admit the first book in the series is my favorite.

IF I LIE by Corinne Jackson was heart-breaking, and I felt with many of the characters.

TEN by Gretchen McNeil takes on one of my favorite novels of Agatha Christie (and I´ve read a lot of her books when I was a teenager :-)) and she does it very well, building up the tension and creating a creepy setting.

And then there´s BUTTER…this book made me FEEL so much.

Summary by Goodreads: A lonely obese boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?

Disclaimerthere is one scene I COULD NOT read. Could. Not. Simply. Could. Not. It´s the scene which shows how Butter got his nickname. It wasn´t overly visual but it just made me feel so much and it was difficult because I almost had the feeling to be a by-stander when I was reading. It´s difficult

This book does an uncanny job at instilling the way Butter feels, and the way people are cheering for him to go through his plan. I´ve read that some readers have an issue identifying with Butter because why doesn´t he do something to lose weight? I didn´t have that question. For me, it´s clear Butter suffers not only from his body weight but that he has many unresolved issues and that he doesn´t have the tools to deal with them. Getting bigger for him isn´t something he likes, it´s something he does, it´s part of who he´s become. Bulimia is an illness. And Butter is sick.

Butter is so much more though. He´s talented, he has an attitude, he has dreams, he does have some friends, and he longs for many things, including popularity.

You wonder how it can go that far, but at the same time, you know it could. You get to know Butter, his family, the people surrounding him. And you want to tell him: “You´re not alone. Simply look around you.” You want to reach out to his classmates and tell them: “Open your eyes.” But then again, you have the insight of being in Butter’s mind, you know exactly what he’s going through. This book broke my heart as I was reading it.

Scary? Yes.

A book I would recommend? Definitely.

So, tell me what was your favorite book(s) of the month?

Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #29 – Revising, Learning, Reading and SCBWI…:D

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

Online writing class with Mandy Hubbard: It just started, and I am so so excited about it…How to Write and Sell the Young Adult Novel with Mandy Hubbard.

Revising:  So this happened last Sunday…

And I can’t believe it. I know I’m not done, done. But…this round was a tough one and I feel like I’ve grown so much as a writer while I was going through it!

Reading: I read the updated manuscript of my CP, the wonderful Jaime, and again I’m blown away by her talent! (Jaime. You. Rock.) I just started BUTTER and this book is breaking my part.

This invitation – I am very much looking forward to going to the book fair in Frankfurt and now, I even get to mingle with fellow SCBWIers 🙂

The view from our apartment before heading to work…Isn’t it prettYy?

The view from our apartment

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

Books, reading, Top Ten Tuesday, writing

Top Ten Bookish People I’d Love To Meet

This Top Ten Tuesday feature is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and I first came across it on Jaime´s blog. It´s a lot of fun and they post the topics way in advance!

Top Ten Bookish People I’d love to Meet

1. Writer friends:

  • My CP extraordinaire Jaime: someone I’m so happy and grateful to call a friend, way beyond our writing and reading  experience
  • my wonderful and lovely beta readers: Jessica, Sara, Kip and Heather– I am so THANKFUL for them and their kindness!
  • Katy: our hubbies could totally hit it off too I think – and we could talk about YA contemporary, Disney movies, The Walking Dead…while playing scrabble or having a drink 😛
  • Christa: we need to have a drink –or several – and discuss tears, Center Stage, life and just goof off
  • Jessica L.: we’d talk about our high school experience that sound really similar, Jennifer Echols, Paris, plus I’d get to meet her dog 😀
  • And so many others like…Alison, Rebecca(we’ve already met but it was way too short!), Tracey, Colin, Robin, Juliana, Meredith, Ghenet, Peggy

The list is way too long…and incomplete. Sorry! 😀

But as I was typing this – again incomplete – list, I couldn’t help but grin widely. I’m so happy for all the connections I’ve made!

Some French authors I’d love to chat with!

2. Voltaire: I want to discuss with him philosophy, the way he lived, his aspirations…What he would think about our time.

3. Albert Camus: There are several books of his I wish I could discuss, including the Letters to a German Friend.

4. Victor Hugo: Les Misérables, The Last Day of a Condemned Man, Notre Dame de Paris…I read some of his works before I could totally understand them. No, really, as a child, Notre Dame de Paris is a bit complicated…But as a teenager some of his work has made me think. So. Much.

5. Molière: His life, his relationships with other writers, his work…Can you imagine everything I could learn from him?

Because their stories are always told and retold

6. Charles Perrault and the Brother Grimms: I want to know all about how they gathered their stories, about some of the background…about their life…

One author I studied. A. Lot

7. Christa Wolf: She passed away recently. But I want to ask her ALL the questions. About her work. Her life. Her take on new historicism and the feminism theories. And then I’d send her my Master Thesis and ask her what she thought about it. (I wrote it on her interpretation of Medea)

And some of my favourite YA authors (This list would be WAY longer than 10 in its own right, but I kept it to 3…)

8. Stephanie Perkins: I’d love to discuss how to write the best kisses, and romantic tension. Plus she sounds very nice on Twitter!

9. Judy Blume: I’d love to have dinner with her. And thank her.  A wonderful author, and she sounds like a lovely and strong woman.

10. Melina Marchetta: To tell her how much her book JELLICOE ROAD is still on my mind. Months after reading it. And that she created in Jonah one of the best Love Interest. Ever.

Again, this list was TOUGH!!! 😀

After we’re done chatting about books and life, we could go for a walk 😀

So, tell me,  which Bookish people would you like to meet?

Happy Friday, revising, writing

Happy Friday #28 – Time with family, reading and revising…

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

I am on business trip until this evening and tomorrow, we´re off to Russia…So I will see you next week! 😀

Revising: I´m getting there, really, slowly but surely, I am getting there! And my story is so much better now than where it started. Again, CP extraordinaire and great beta readers, THANK YOU!!!! Oh and my query is ready (crazy!) and here Ian and Christa, you totally amazed me for helping me so much!

Reading: This week, I read IF I LIE and PERFECT CHEMISTRY! 😀 and wow, wow, wow, both books brought out a LOT of emotions! More on them later 😀

Time with my family: Last weekend I went to France and this was a much needed reunion! Spending time with my parents, my sisters, my aunts, grandmother, niece and nephew was wonderful! Sometimes, living far from home isn´t easy and going back is always a treat! Plus I got to meet my second niece 😀

My newborn niece 😀

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

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?

Books, reading, Road Trip Wednesday

My Life as a Fictional Character…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Before I get started, don´t forget you can enter my giveaway for a SIGNED copy of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick (see interview with Huntley and details here)

This week’s topic: : If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?

So, for some reason, the first things that came to my mind were:

  1. All the books I wouldn´t want to be in even though how I loved them very very much. No, really, I don´t see myself listening to “And may the odds be ever in your favor” as I walk into The Hunger Games. Even though, I´d love to meet Katniss and all.
  2. All the boys which should have attended my high school with the specific purpose of sweeping me off my feet (until I met my wonderful hubby of course :P).
  3. Some of said-boys are actually in the first category aka places I´d be afraid to put my feet into or just part of very very sad stories or sad families. Oh Jonah Griggs, how I wish you´d have been in my Sociology or Math class but nope.

So, hmm, what to do? what to do? Yep, I´ll totally be Anna from Anna and the French Kiss.

Paris – Source: me 😀
Tour Eiffel. Picture taken in 2009 😀

Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons but here a few…

  1. She lives in Paris
  2. Etienne St-Clair – do I need to say more?
  3. She has goals and friends and hobbies and dreams. And Etienne. And Paris 😀
  4. Her family has positive sides. Love her little brother.

Now I am curious, if you could be into a book, which one would it be?

Blogging, Books, reading

Looking for Alaska – Book review

 I believe there is hope for us all, even amid the suffering-and maybe even inside the suffering. And that’s why I write fiction, probably. It’s my attempt to keep that fragile strand of radical hope, to build a fire in the darkness.

(John Green from his interview with Penguin Group)

LOOKING FOR ALASKA is the type of books which made me feel, think and laugh. Some of the characters reminded me of JELLICOE ROAD because of the way they were developed: fully layered, fully there in the story and fully jumping out of the pages.

Summary from Goodreads: Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

As I´ve mentioned before, I am not used to read from a guy´s perspective. Sometimes, I even wonder  before getting into a book with this type of POV if I will really enjoy it. Being in Miles´ (aka Pudge) head didn´t feel forced in any ways, shape or form. I had high expectations for this book which can translate in me waiting with my fluttering heart to be amazed, on the look for the sentences, for the special moments. This usually means that I enjoy the story but I can get too busy trying to find its greatness to really enjoy it. Does it make sense?

                                                                                                                                          Source: besttshirtparty.blogspot.ca via Elodie on Pinterest

With LOOKING FOR ALASKA, I had a bit of this modus operandi where I was in the story without being in, until I let myself just read…

I started to think about what one may go through when one is looking for The Great Perhaps or the questions we ask ourselves when faced with tragedy. The beauty of the book was that I didn´t feel forced or pushed one way or another. I appreciated this. John Green mentions in an interview with The School Library Journal: “It’s a funny book, but it’s also a book about the universality of suffering and grief and forgiveness and whether or not there’s a reason for radical hope”. 

The universality of emotions. So important. So true. No matter where people come from. Those were conversations I remember having in High school with my friends and it resonated.

And then there are the characters. As I mentioned, when reading, I was quickly falling in love with them: their quirks, their interaction, their passions, their humor…

My favorite one has to be The Colonel. John Green gives us the privilege to get to know a gentleman in the making. The Colonel doesn´t have it easy, he´s difficult, bossy and moody but he´s there for his friends (at least tries to be), he shows so much respect for his mother…He´s also funny. Alaska is interesting. So full of life. Bigger than life. Tortured. Unsure. Sure. Full of contradictions. They´re all growing up as the story goes…

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • (…) but if I hadn’t imagined it, I would never have gotten to the Creek at all (p. 54)
  • Now I understood why the Colonel was short – he couldn’t afford to be any taller (p. 91)
  • I’ll say “Thanks”. Man, she helped fill out my application to this place. And she let me come here, and that’s no easy thing when you come from where we do, to let your son go away to school (p. 116)
  • After so much kissing that it almost started to get boring (p. 123)
  • I could not go alone, and going with anyone other than the Colonel would amount to alone (p. 148)
  • It always shocked me when I realised that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things (p. 213)

So tell me, what book are you anxiously waiting to read?