Happy Friday

Happy Friday #9 – Smiles, books and boxing…

Yay! It´s time again for Happy Friday! Oh, if you have not entered my “I love reading” GIVEAWAY, you still can :-), just click here for more info. Looking forward to knowing what made YOU smile this week!

Happy dance for KerriKerri has an agent! 😀 Her post is inspirational and encouraging and a wonderful reminder of why perseverance is important. Thanks Kerri for being such a great example!

Books, books, and more books: You may be already aware that I am limited on how many books (hardcopies or paperbacks) that I can buy a month. Since I have my kindle and since I commute, it´s more efficient to actually get e-books. However, I sometimes crave for the feeling of holding a book in my hand. Since I also read a lot (again thanks to my commute), I sometimes re-read books at night. I stopped smoking more than 6 weeks ago and saved money that way. I decided I could reward myself. My monthly reward: I got to buy myself the paper version of my favorite books which I read in January and February. They look so pretty 😀

My new project…: I am excited about my new project. In-between editing PLAYING WITH FIRE, I started working more seriously on a YA contemporary romance novel and it´s going quite well.

Reading: I read two very good books this past week: Trafficked by Kim Purcell and Getting over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald.  I´ll post more about them soon 😀

Awesome weekend with the hubby: Hubby and I went to see Klitschko vs Mormeck last week. Yep. Boxing. It was amazing!

So tell me: what made YOU smile this week?

personal, Road Trip Wednesday, writing

My life version of The Butterfly Effect

If you have not entered my “I love reading” giveaway, you can still do it :-): You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with.The giveaway is open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to. Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

 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

Name this life: What would your memoir be called?

I cry, I laugh, I smile, I yell. I make mistakes. I learn.  I find it unfair sometimes but I’m grateful for all the hardships and all the joys because it brought me to where I am today. I love my life even if it’s not always easy. Looking back, I realize that sometimes the small decisions, the tiny steps turned out to become milestones. I don’t think I’ll write a memoir, but I do like to look back…So my title would be:

My life version of The Butterfly Effect

International life: As a child, I used to say that I would never leave home. I enjoyed the comfort of my place. Always a tad anxious, going to summer camps was not easy. My parents always pushed me. I am so grateful for them. Why? Because 10 years later, I decided it was time to see the big big world and to go to the United States. My parents once said to me: “We know we did a good job with you girls if you can leave us but are always happy to be back.” I am definitely always happy to go back home.

Funny how it works out: At the age of 11, I decided German was indeed quite an interesting language to learn. 9 years later, in the United States, I met a cocky boy who was surprised a French girl could speak German and English (yes he’s funny :-)). 19 years later, I live in Germany with a charming man I am lucky to call my husband (he’s still cocky).

Writing: My parents read to me at night. They encouraged my passion for books. My sisters read my first attempts at poetry, not mocking me but nodding along.  My teachers gave me positive feedback when I was young on my imagination. My sisters, my brother-in-law and my high school friends didn’t cringe away from my drafts when I tried my hand at writing a novel. My husband trusts that I can do it. He tells me several times a week or a month or a day (depending how stressed I am). All those little moments encouraged me and are still with me today.

These are only little moments but I am just amazed by how those little moments help shape who I am today.

How would you call YOUR memoir?

Happy Friday, writing, YA Book Club

A late happy Friday :D because well it´s really Saturday…

It´s actually Saturday so technically I am a tad late but really, if you come to think of it, yesterday´s post was also a happy one 😀 (review of The Fault in Our Stars for the YA Book Club).

I would love to know what made YOU smile last week…

Writing: My flash fiction “Look, don´t touch” made it to the second round of the Campaign Challenge..Thanks again Gina for letting me know! I am so excited and I did a little *happy dance*, especially as I am thinking about expanding it to a full draft at some point. Colin kindly pointed out to the writing contest of Janet Reid to win a copy of Insurgent. I wrote a little something something, now let´s wait and see 😀 There´s still some time and I have read some amazing entries!

Blogging: The YA Book Club is a lot of fun and I´m very happy I have joined. And…did you notice the new layout of my blog? I have tabs now! And I even have a real picture of me (actually two! because the one in my About Me is different)…

SCBWI: I took another big step and joined SCBWI! I am trying to organize a monthly lunch in my area to meet with writers and discuss our craft 😀

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

writing, young adult

Déjà Vu Blogfest: A picture is worth a thousand words…

Today I am part of The Déjà Vu Blogfest , where we bring back our favourite post or the one we believe may not have gotten enough attention (click on the link to see who else is participating :-)).

I decided to bring back my moonlight muse…I mean I wrote about the music muse and received quite a bit of comments. However, before I actually had followers (thanks again by the way, hug to everybody and if you´re not into hugs, I am shaking your hand very formally), I shared a picture of an evening which inspired me. Cannot wait to read  if a sun or a moon or a butterfly or a traffic jam can get  you to write or to think about the story of a book you read!

A picture is worth a thousand words…

By what do you get inspired? It is almost like asking: why are you writing?  It is difficult to grasp where the writing scenes come from…

Sometimes one can recognize in the MC´s habits, way of talking some small traits of a loved one, of an acquaintance, of somebody from the past or even of oneself.

Tonight, as I was outside looking at the moon reflecting on the water, I wondered what my main character would feel on an evening like this with everything she has been going through…

Is she thinking of Aleksi, the one who not only gives her butterflies but is no longer as mysterious as she first thought?

Is she pondering the words of Ben? Is she wondering what he meant when he said Aleksi was dangerous? How does he even know him? The guy just arrived…

Or maybe she is actually tired of the stupid drama and just wants to figure out why this entity is coming after her and her loved ones, why she has flashbacks from another time and what the heck happened to Marie and Elijah, those girls who are linked to her over the centuries?

As I type this and look at the moon, I know a scene is unfolding, I feel the pain of my character and I just want to tell her “Sorry you have to go through all of this but remember, you have it in your power to make the right decision…this time around”

And if she did hear me, her reply would be “Can´t you be a tad more specific? I mean come on people…I just cannot guess what you think, you need to spell it out for me. I am tired of this!” and she would storm out.

She does have a little temper of her own…(my husband would say I am projecting :-))

Do moonlights inspire you or remind you of a book you´ve read?

writing

Writing and The Seven Dwarfs…

First of all: Joyeux anniversaire, Maman! 🙂 (I know she is a lurker sometimes…)

Now off to the topic, we are all moody. We can not be sunshines 100% of the time (I try, I really try), we are sometimes angry, sometimes tired, sometimes shy, sometimes just happy. That is what makes us likable people 🙂

As writers, we also go through different stages and that´s when Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs came to my mind…Here is my take on the Seven Dwarfs and writing : (and I´m looking forward to know YOUR mood today, writing or not-writing related)

Doc: That´s when I am in the researching mode, trying to make sure that some historical elements in my novel are correct, that the setting is right (and I do wear glasses when I am working on the computer :-))

Grumpy: When I´m stuck or when I feel like a sentence, an entire part of a character could be much better but at that particular, it is just not happening. Or when I don´t have room in the train to write or…or… I do have some grumpy moments 🙂

Sleepy: When I get up earlier to get a few words out or to try to keep my working-out schedule (I can hear my husband laugh but I DO try to exercise). When I am in the train during the evening just wanting to close my eyes but that I know I need to write ´cos that may be the only time I really have to do so.

Bashful: This is me talking about my writing with people I know. Only a selected few are aware that I am working on a novel, that is one of my passion. That will also probably be me once I start looking for a beta reader or crit partner…

Sneezy: That is me when I am getting distracted by my environment, when I can not get into the writing process…

Dopey: I get Dopey-like when I am super excited about something going on in my novel or in the books I am reading. I don´t care if I look silly, it´s just the way I feel and it is usually a great feeling 🙂

Happy: This one comes around the most often. I usually am in the happy place when I write, when I talk about writing, when I discover that my plot is getting even more intriguing or when my characters feel like they come to life. I am also happy when I read and reading is crucial to my writing. Without loving books, I probably would not be trying to write one myself 🙂 Oh and I do happy dances for others, when I hear about publishing, getting an agent, finishing a draft…you get the picture.

Today I am Sneezy, Sleepy and Grumpy but that´s because I am not feeling well so I do get distracted and annoyed.

So now tell me, what is YOUR mood today (writing or non-writing related)?

writing, ya

RTW: How far would you go?

Another long day, about to get myself settle with a book and a cup of tea but I could not pass up on Road Trip Wednesday 🙂

Road Trip Wednesday 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:

How far would you go to get published?

When I first read the topic, my thoughts started to wonder and the first images which flashed in front of my eyes came from movies:

The Devil´s Advocate and The Devil wears Prada (wonderful movies by the way :-))

So, how far would I go so that my dreams come true? My name on a beautiful cover, billions (yes billions :-)) of readers to hold a hard copy or paperback of the story I have written?

Would I be willing to basically sell myself and who I am to get published: no. I have learned to trust my instincts and I have a wonderful husband to get me grounded if things get out of hands and I get blinded.

However, when it comes to the following baseball bases (not a big baseball fan but still: Go Orioles!), here is my view:

First base: I may or may not do this. The way I am currently writing, it is taking me awhile to finish the draft so it might be trendy by the time I tried to query it. Would I then try to see what the next trend might be? Probably but I will only write it if I am inspired which means I like the trend…so I would not call that selling my soul to the ennemy

Second base: (ok here for a second it sounds like we´re talking about making out in High School :-)) would I change voice? Yes again probably, I do enjoy reading many genres and if may try my “writing” hand at another genre if I feel it´s right for me (i.e. I am not writing total crap)

Third base: Minor revisions? It is a no-brainer! I know my writing is not 100% perfect and I always strive to improve it. I´m all for my story becoming even better thanks to those revisions.

Homerun: Major revisions? Ok here it´s a bit like talking about the definition of the word “culture”, there are thousands out there. If by major revisions, it means going with a different ending but one that I can agree with, yes it will be difficult but I might do it. Major revisions include things I can not put myself through then the answer is “no”.

So you might notice a trend in my answers and I´m sure many others (from writers published and non-published alike): yes, probably would do it but….and the but is what matters so that we can continue to look at ourselves in the mirror at the end of the day.

Tell me, what do you think either about the movies or the actual question :-)? How far would you go?

 

writing, ya, young adult

You’re not perfect but you’re perfect for my story…

In recent weeks, I read a lot about the building of characters, how to make sure they are believable, that readers can root for them, love or hate them…Here are some of the posts which got me to ponder (or smile):

After all, we all have flaws and so do the people in the novels we read. On top of my head, I am thinking about a trilogy by Catherine Hermary-Vieille in which the women are clearly not perfect but they are idealistic or cynical, secret, fragile but strong, they commit errors, sometimes do not learn from them until it is too late, they embrace their feminine side or reject it. While my characters may not be as extreme (I promise I will do a book review on her trilogy soon :-)), they need to be authentic.

“A writer should create living people; people, not characters.  A character is a caricature.”

Ernest Hemingway

My “people” grow with the novel itself, they tell me their past as they react to events thrown at them. One of my main male protagonists, Aleksi, is rebellious, tender, cynical, loving, mysterious, funny, clearly hot, complicated, smart and charming (totally reminds me of my husband *Disclaimer: he is reading this blog* :-))

He would be a mix of:

Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and no Aleksi is not a vampire)

Pacey from Dawson’s creek  

Dylan from Beverly Hills(the early episodes)

Now tell me 🙂 As a reader: what makes you fall in love with a character? As a writer: who does your male protagonist remind you of?