Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Awards!!!

First off I reached 50 followers! Woo Hoo! I know some of you are in the triple digits, but for so long I was stuck at 12 so this is huge for me. Thank you everyone who follows and comments. You have showed me how amazing the writing community is.

Kelley is awesome and gave me two more blog awards. Yes TWO!

The first award, copied from Kelley who copied it from Lara who copied it from Word + Stuff, the award is named 'The thumbs up from Skunk award' since "we all feel like stinky, stinky skunks some days" and there are people who "make us feel (and smell) a lot better" Let's take a second to admire how awesome this award really is! I love it. 

I have to name one thing I love about myself then pass it along. I never realized how hard it would be to come up with something I love about myself. Hmm....

After ten years of working in sales and customer service I encountered all different types of people. My least favorite people were the ones who were rude, impossible, difficult, impatient and quick to jump down your throat and I love the fact that I am not like that. I think dealing with these types of people for so many years I became aware of it and have done everything in my power to never emulate them. I always take the time to be friendly to the person at the register, the busboy who takes my plate, the customer service rep at the cable company even the waitress who spilled two beers and four glasses of water on my brand new coat. Accidents happen, how can you hold that against someone? 

Now on to the next award the the Liebster award. I have to say five things about myself and then pass it on to ten bloggers. 

I just did ten a couple of weeks ago so let's see if I can come up with five more: 

1) I love to bake, cookies are my specialty. If I'm upset about something I bake to take my mind off of it. A character in one of my books does the same thing.
2) My dream of all dreams is to own a winery, where me and my mom would work the tasting bar and my dad would give tours- he loves to talk and tell stories. It would be perfect for him.
3) It's very rare that a day goes by that I don't talk to my mom.
4) I also dream about living on a farm complete with pigs and goats. No chickens! (Though everyone I know thinks this is the funniest thing ever. For some reason they think I'm a city girl that isn't cut out for farm life.)
5) On one trip to New Hampshire to visit my uncle and cousin my brother and cousin thought it would be funny to lock me in the chicken coop. I never fully recovered. 

I always hate choosing since everyone is awesome and I love all of your blogs. So I am going to pull a Kelley and give the awards to the last ten people who commented on my blog and who did not already receive the award from Kelley. 

Jamie Morrow
Robin Moran 
J.A Bennett
Tony Van Helsing 
Ladonna Watkins
Christina Dos Santos 
Kelley Vitollo
Emily R. King 
Juliana Haygert

Can't wait to read your answers :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Writer's Checklist

Every writer has a checklist. A list of things they need in order to sit down and get the words from their brain on to their computer screen or paper. Some are short just needing the basics- pen/paper, computer. Others are much longer.

When I sit down to have a serious writing session my checklist consists of:

Something to drink (Coffee in the morning Tea in the afternoon Wine in the evening)
Post Its (for plotting and note taking)
Index Cards (to keep track of character traits)
A blanket (I'm always cold)
A snack (usually Cheez its or Pringles- healthy I know)
Background noise (this could be music or even the television. My last WIP took place in the 1920's so I listened to the 1920's station on Pandora. If I'm not listening to music I tend to put a movie on I've seen a million times just so I know I won't get distracted)
Pictures (Sometimes I need visuals. For my last WIP I printed out all the visuals I referenced and tacked them to a cork board. Made life easy.)

Now it's your turn. What is on your writer's checklist?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Watching and Writing

I want to thank Robin Moran at The Nook for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank You so much. She is awesome and you all should stop by her blog and say hi and become a follower.

I've already bored you with seven things about me I think I actually did ten when Kelley honored me with this and the Kreativ Award so instead I'm going to list my top seven favorite tv shows of all time. I feel like you can learn a great deal about a person by the shows that they watch so here goes:

1) Dawson's Creek
2) Gilmore Girls
3) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The early years)
4) The OC
5) One Tree Hill
6) Vampire Diaries
7) True Blood

So obviously what you can take from this is I love anything that has to do with teen angst and/or vampires. But this also leads me into the topic I want to discuss: Dawson's Creek. Are you a fan? Don't tell me you have never seen the show because I might fall off my couch in disbelief. Then I'll crawl back up and stare at you for ten minutes, trying to understand how you have never been subjected to the over dramatic Dawson, the sex crazed Pacey, the New York bad girl Jen, and the snarky buzz kill Joey! Now that is over, moving on.

My best friend came over today and we watched half of the first season of Dawson's Creek. It was like we were transported back to middle school. It came out when we were in seventh grade and ended the year we graduated high school. It was as if Dawson, Pacey, Jen and Joey grew up with us. This is the perfect example of a realistic young adult show.

What I really love about Dawson's Creek is how not one of them is the 'most popular' or the biggest loser in school, they are just every day teenagers going through the motions and just trying to survive high school. Anybody can relate to them.

I would love to find a YA book series that exemplifies the drama, the heartache, the confusion, and the ups and downs of teenage life as well as Dawson's Creek. Do you know of one? Please share :)

At one point while watching I turned to my friend and said, "This is great research for my writing." I couldn't wait to write this post and ask all of you: Are there any shows that you watch and consider research for your writing? I would love to know the show and what genre you write.

And one last picture:

Till next time Happy Writing, Reading and Watching :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My writers block is gone. It is a thing of the past. FINALLY! It has been driving me absolutely crazy. I wrote six and a half pages in the past hour and I don't feel like banging my head on the keyboard and/or screaming yet. So yay for finally getting over this awful funk.

I decided just to write. I have been over thinking and over analyzing every single word I go to type and I realized that was just not working for me. I put my fears of failure aside and just went with it. Editing is the time to stress about all the details I missed and all the plot holes that need filling. Right now I just need to write and that is exactly what I am doing. So yay!

Also I want to say Congrats to Cassie for getting a full request from Vickie Motter over at Cupid's Literary Connection Love Triangle Contest. Seriously your book sounds all types of awesome. I'm so jealous Kelley got to read it :)

Today was a day full of OMG's! and awesomeness so fingers crossed for more awesomeness to come!


Inspiration can hit at any minute. I can't even count the number of times it hit me in the shower and I didn't have a pen or paper to write the thoughts down. The shower is my place to think without the distraction of the internet, television and all the other every day distractions. But sometimes I need to step out of the shower and venture into the world. I need to see interaction between people, watch the way their hands move or don't when they talk. Watch for what easily distracts them and listen to the background noises.  

Perfect example: The other day I went to the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium here on Long Island. My boyfriends best friend is visiting from Texas and they both have aquariums and love fish, so when we heard his friend had never been my boyfriend couldn't drive there fast enough. It is a place I go to at least twice a year. If your new to the blog you can read about my time with the penguins this August here.  When we got there I looked at them and said, "If you don't mind I'm going to wander off. I just want to observe people." Luckily they didn't look at me like I was crazy or they were just too enthralled with the tanks in front of them, either way they waved me off. I walked around, listened to conversations, watched people as they watched the fish and just took it all in. It was exactly what I needed.

Anywhere other than my couch I can get inspiration. The mall, the park, the city, the beach, anywhere people are going about their lives. I just hope they don't mind that I watch them. That's not creepy, right?

Where do you go for inspiration?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten Books in Ten Days-Failed

For those of you that haven't read previous posts- I set out to read ten books in ten days. It seems a little ambitious and this time for me it was. What I learned during my challenge of ten books in ten days:

1) Don't set a goal to read a book a day when everyone of those days you will have a house guest. Especially a house guest you haven't seen in three years and loves to talk.

2) Don't choose ten books that contain emotional content that will leave you drained. I wrote about this on my last post. It was almost impossible to go from one book to the next when the book I just finished was weighing heavy on my mind.

3) When the end nears don't give up- I kind of did.

In the end I read 6 1/2 books.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
1/2 of Radiance by Alyson Noel

I reviewed Thirteen Reasons why here. The rest of the reviews will come, but I wanted to do a quick overview.

Favorite book read:
Fixing Delilah (I have found a new writer to stalk. When I find a book I love I have to read every book that writer has out. This book is exactly what I love to read and write.)

The book that had me up all night:
Thirteen Reasons Why (I explain it all in my review)

Just not for me:
Imaginary Girls (It is beautifully written and I would highly recommend it, but it's just not my type of book. I'll go into detail in a future post.)

Favorite Cover:
Imaginary Girls (The cover is gorgeous)

Favorite Main Character:
Evie from Supernaturally

I will say that I did this challenge to get out of my writing and reading funk and in that sense it was a success. I look forward to finishing Radiance and moving on to the next book, but most of all I can't wait to dive into my WIP.

Have you read anything good lately? Have you read any from my list?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Update on Ten Books in Ten Days

Another book down, but I am behind. As of right now I have read:

Hex Hall
Thirteen ReasonsWhy

I am currently reading, Imaginary Girls. I should have finished it by now and I should be close to finishing another book, but I'm not. Would it be cheating if I changed the books on my list? Beautiful Chaos is 516 pages! That's a whole lot of pages.

Also I didn't take into consideration when choosing this group of books their content. After Thirteen Reasons Why and Wintergirls my mind is so heavy. The emotional journey I went on in those books usually requires a day or two of recuperating before being able to even pick up another book.So I haven't given up on my ten books in ten days, but I may swap books.

Have you read anything good lately? And I'm curious, after reading a book that is dark and emotional do you need time before moving on to the next?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blogger Award!

I want to Thank Kelley for passing along two Blog Awards to me! My very first Blog Award! My very first two Blog Awards! YAY! Both awards are similar so I chose one to pass along. The Kreativ award I have to share ten things about myself and pass it on to six bloggers. So here goes.

1) In middle school I was on the soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball teams.

2) I hated reading with a passion all through middle school and high school. I'm making up for it now.

3) I read all four Twilight books in 5 days and believe it or not that was the reason I started writing again. Don't judge me. Please.

4) I wrote and illustrated my first picture book at six. My first attempt at a novel was in the sixth grade. It ended at 17 pages and it was about the Battle of Salamis in Ancient Greece. (I love history especially Ancient) I really wish I knew what happened to that. I would love to read it and cringe now.

5) I am not married but I have been with my boyfriend for ten years. I can't stand when people ask when we are getting married. Except if you are Aladdin and Princess Jasmine then it's funny! Their faces are classic.

6) I am the biggest klutz you will ever meet. I constantly bump/trip over things. My ring, a dolphin my dad gave me when I was sixteen and have never taken off,  gets stuck to EVERYTHING-socks, pants, shirts, other people, blankets, everything.

7) I'm a terrible dancer and even worse singer. In fourth grade I was kicked out of chorus for my terribleness. It was voluntary and before school and to make matters worse it was like a hangout for my friends and I suddenly wasn't allowed to be a part of it anymore. Luckily in fifth grade the music teacher left on maternity leave and I rejoined and learned not to sing out loud so the new teacher wouldn't single me out.

8) I met my best friend in first grade when she came in crying and our first grade teacher, Mrs. Vanlindt,  sat her next to me and told me she missed her mommy and asked if I could be her best friend. The rest is history. She no longer cries when separated from her mom. (Look at that coat!)

9) I have my Bachelors Degree in Marketing.

10) I have recently become obsessed with The Big Bang Theory. I love Sheldon!

So the Bloggers I pass this on to are:

Ladonna Watkins 
Colin Smith 
Cristina Dos Santos
Jamie Morrow
Trisha Leaver
Emily R King

You know what. And every other person who follows my blog and leaves me lovely comments. You are all great! Take this award and pass it along. I love discovering new blogs so in the comments leave a link to one or several of the blogs that you frequent.

Ten Books In Ten Days Update: As of 1/17 9:30PM

3.3 books read (I'm falling behind a little but I plan to catch up tonight)

Books read:
Thirteen Reasons Why
Hex Hall

Currently Reading:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I used to write reviews on Goodreads.com but after a while I just decided to post the reviews to my blog and only use Goodreads to rate and keep track of the books I've read. As I rated Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher I felt like that wasn't enough. This book needed more than my five star rating. I had to write something. So I did. It was short and to the point.

If I could give this book more stars I would. Heartbreaking and powerful. A story that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

For those of you that are not familiar with Thirteen Reasons Why, a quick overview from Jay Asher's website:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

I heard the hype. Read the praise. Still I was hesitant to pick this book up. Why? Because I knew it was going to be difficult to read. The entire book revolves around suicide.  A heartbreaking topic that makes me cry even if it is just a newspaper headline. I pushed my reservations aside and began to read. And I am so happy that I did. From that first page I was sucked in. I read as Clay discovered the tapes and then began to listen to them. And then it was as if I became Clay. I felt what he felt, pondered the same questions, tried to piece the puzzle together as the tapes revealed more and even had my own comments for Hannah as I read through her tapes.

I know it's a book, but as the pieces put themselves together Clay became real and my heart broke for him. There was pity, sympathy and even admiration because he continued to listen. I don't think I would have had the strength to do so. Curiosity can only get you so far.

In the beginning the stories that she tells seem just like any other drama a teenage girl goes through but it all came together in what Hannah called the snowball effect. Each story leads to another and they only get painstakingly worse. What Jay Asher shows is how one little incident, that can be taken lightly for the most part, can trigger a chain of incidents that are not little and in no way can be taken lightly. The way he weaved the events together and how each person had a bigger role than what you originally perceived had my mouth falling open more times than I can count.

This book had me up till 1AM. I couldn't go to sleep until I knew how it ended, to know who was the last person on the tape. I needed to know how Hannah's story ended and why. Then as I read the very last word I couldn't go to sleep. How can you sleep after reading a book like that? My eyes weren't as wet and swollen as you would think. I shed a few tears during Clay's tape but other than that the tears managed to keep themselves at bay. However, my mind was heavy, so heavy I couldn't just lay down and go to sleep. I felt as if I had just lost a friend and I was the one who had to deal with the repercussions of my actions or lack of. Thankfully, the back of the book had the first three pages of Jay Asher's new book, The Future of Us. I read the three sample pages. Four times! I needed something to clear my mind. Anything. In the end I was finally able to fall asleep. Still when I woke up Clay was on my mind. Hannah was on my mind.

There are great books and then there are GREAT books and this was a GREAT book. I can not recommend it enough. I just advise you not to read it close to your bedtime.

Have you read Thirteen Reasons Why? I'd loved to hear your thoughts. If you haven't, do you think you will?

Ten Books In Ten Days Update (As of 10PM on 1/16):
2.5 books down 7.5 to go
7 days and 2 hours left on the countdown (I think? I keep second guessing myself. I'm obviously having a moment.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quick Question then Ten Books In Ten Days Update

UPDATE: I figured it out! I can access my comments. Finally! I got a new laptop for Christmas and just set it up. It came with Internet Explorer and I didn't think twice about it. I forgot I stopped using Internet Explorer last year because for some reason Blogger does not seem to be compatible with it. I downloaded a new web browser and problem fixed. Weird.

Recently Blogger added reply to comments and I was so excited. Then I went to access my comments to use the new, exciting reply button and I couldn't. I still can't. Every time I go to my comments the page either turns white, or the page freezes completely. Am I the only one with this problem? So don't think I'm ignoring you. I want to reply it just won't let me :(

My Ten Books In Ten Days challenge is going good. It's been two full days and I have read two full books. I'm on to my third. So far I have read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher. Both I loved for very different reasons. One I still can't seem to shake from my mind. I have to keep on track so I can't write the reviews right now but they will come. 

I've been thinking about my WIP so I think my reading challenge is going to pay off like I hoped it would. Okay time to get back to reading and laundry.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update and Ten Books in Ten Days

In the beginning of the month I wrote a post about how I am JaNoing (NaNoing in January). It's not going so well. First off I started on a new idea, wrote the first chapter, hated everysingle word I wrote and basically let self doubt consume me. Then I decided I'm going to finally finish a WIP I have been randomly working on and pushing aside for something new for the past three years-the longest I have ever spent on a first draft EVER! It was perfect. I have had the story plotted out in my mind for years and I even came up with a new twist in the plot that had me clapping. So how many words have I added to this WIP that has been calling my name? Zero! Yup that's right. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. To make matters worse, I have no desire to read either. I blame this all on my current state of being unemployed and spending my days watching crappy day time TV and dusting every ten minutes. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to get motivated unless I force myself to get motivated. So I am still hoping I can finish the first draft of this WIP that has been begging me to do so for years by the end of the month.

In order to get inspiration and force myself out of my reading funk I am creating a challenge for myself. Ten books in ten days. Crazy right? Probably, but it's not impossible and I have a lot, too much, free time on my hand so I know I can do it. Plus I have books I have been dying to read just sitting and collecting dust on my shelf. I'm going to put aside A Tale of Two Cities, that god I have been desperately trying to finish, to at least stick with one New Year Resolution. I have scanned my bookshelf and have picked up the ten books I had to have and have yet to read:
You can place your bets below. Just Kidding. But if like me you are in a reading funk, need inspiration or just want an excuse to read more, join me. The reading begins today and will end on the 23 of January. I'll post my progress along the way. Happy Reading.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RTW: Pen name?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic

If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?
This is a good question. Honestly I thought about this before and I came to the conclusion that the only way I would use a pen name is if I got married. I'm Theresa Paolo I always have been. That was my name the first time I doodled a picture book (I was  6) and the first time I wrote an actual book. 
I was named after my grandma and that's why I love my first name. My grandma is amazing. My last name represents my parents and my grandparents, the people who have supported me my entire life. I may not be able to pay them back for everything they have done, the least I can do is use my name proudly. 

My last name may be difficult to pronounce, my own family doesn't even pronounce it right, but it is my last name. It's not Powell, or Palo. It's actually pronounced Payola. In elementary school kids used to call me the Paolo Crayola, crafty little buggers they were. 

I know the question is if I couldn't use my name, but that's hard because obviously I would always want to. I hate any nickname affiliated with Theresa. If you call me Terry I will scream. Not that there is anything wrong with Terry, that's what they call my grandma and my aunt, it's just not me. I guess if I had no choice, say I was writing another genre than what I am known for, I would go with Jesse Walter. My grandma, my mom's mom who passed away when I was in kindergarten is Jesse. And Walter is my grandfather who passed in 2008.

What about you? What would your pen name be? Or are you like me and would want to stick with your real name?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why I'm scared to get back on my bike.

Today I'm going to step away from writing and books and talk about Mountain Biking. If you remember from my New Years Resolution post one of my resolutions was to push aside my fears and get back on my bike. I started mountain biking several years ago. My boyfriend is obsessed and it was great to be able to do something that we both enjoyed. As a mountain biker I was well aware that you don't always stay on your bike. Even the best mountain biker can hit an unexpected rut in the trail or a rock and go flying over the handle bars. However, two summers ago I took a pretty hard fall. I didn't break anything, though as I laid on the ground, beneath my bike, legs tangled in the frame, dirt in my mouth, I thought I did.

I was on the trail with my best friend. My boyfriend and hers had gone on ahead of us and since it was her first time I was taking it slow. I came to a part of the trail that was down hill and as I felt the wind whipping my hair behind me I wanted to just go for it. I pedaled like mad then let the hill guide me down. As I came to the end of the hill my tire hit a patch of sand. I over compensated for the dip my bike took and the next thing I knew I was falling. I smacked the ground so hard I had the wind knocked out of me. My bike landed on top of me and my legs went right through the opening in the frame and I could not get them out. If you've ever been mountain biking on a trail you know that you do not want to be lying in the middle of the trail. Bikers fly down these trails at unbelievable speeds and you do not want them to run you over if they can't stop.

Luckily my friend caught up to me and was able to get me untangled from the bike and off the trail. What's even worse about being on a trail- You can't just stop. You are in the middle of the woods and the only way out is finishing or finding a bail out that can be just as long as the trail itself. When the shaking calmed and I was finally able to catch my breath we got back on our bikes. What other choice did we have? We caught up with our boyfriends who of course told me that it was just a fall and that I was fine. Would it kill them to give a little sympathy? It wasn't until a few days later when the bruises began to appear that they realized how bad of a fall I took. My chest was bruised, my entire thigh, my elbow, and my leg. I also had cuts on my elbow that weren't noticeable on the trail because a layer of dirt covered them.
A picture of the bruise on my upper thigh.

This spring I want to get back on my bike. I loved the trails and being in nature and feeling the satisfaction and pride that came with making it to the end. I'm just terrified of falling again. I can still feel the pain shooting through my chest and arm as I hit the ground. I've come to the conclusion I can't live my life in fear. If I did I never would have wrote a book. I never would have kept writing books and chasing a dream, that while at times seems unattainable, but that I know one day I can and will achieve. So I am getting my riding gear ready and in the spring I plan on looking my fear in the face. It's one step at a time and getting over my fear of my bike is the first step towards vanquishing my other fears.

 If I didn't bike I never would have stood here.

What are you scared of?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sean Griswolds's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Why did this book sit on my bookshelf for months? Why? I'm almost mad at myself for not picking it up sooner. Sean Griswold's Head is my new Anna and The French Kiss. Before I get into it, a quick overview from Lindsey Leavitt's website:

Payton Gritas needs a focus object—something to focus her emotions on after discovering that her father’s been hiding his multiple sclerosis. Her guidance counselor suggested something inanimate but Payton chooses the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas, it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really noticed him before. Payton starts stalking—er, focusing on—Sean’s big blond head, and her research quickly grows into something a little less scientific and a lot more crush-like. As Payton gets inside Sean’s head, Sean finds a way into her guarded heart. But obsessing over Sean won’t fix Payton’s fear of her dad’s illness. For that, she’ll have to focus on herself.

Have you ever read a book and when you finish think- Now that is the type of book I want to write. Sean Griswold's Head is that book for me. It took me so long to pick it up because instead of reading what the book was about I assumed it was told from a boy, Sean's, POV and every time I saw it sitting on the shelf I thought, yeah I don't really want to know what's in his head today. WRONG! I should have read the book flap. If anyone else has been hesitant about this book, stop hesitating and pick it up.

Lindsey Leavitt brings you on Payton's journey as she tries to cope with the hardships life has handed her. It is an emotional ride with laugh out loud moments and a great insight into the disease of MS. I learned so much while reading this and it really opened up my eyes to a disease that I was not all that familiar with.

This book is another perfect example of a strong voice. I felt like I was not in Sean Griswold's head but in Payton's. She was witty to the point where I was thinking- how did the writer come up with this, and on top of that she was emotionally raw. It was the perfect combination. I felt everything that she felt. I laughed. I cried and I understood why she chose to deal with her issues the way that she did.

I'm terrible at writing reviews. So I'm going to stop trying to explain why you should read this book and just say read it.I bet you will love it.

Have you read it? Or like me, it has been sitting on your TBR list forever?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Where Do I Write?

I missed this weeks Road Trip Wednesday, hosted by YA Highway, but after commenting on Colin Smith's blog (Check it out) I decided I would expand on my comment and post it a day late. This weeks topic: Describe your dream writing retreat. Where would you go? Who and what would you bring?

Every book I have ever written has been done so on my couch. I get distracted very easily and I feel if I were to go to one of the amazing places that other writers chose I would not be able to concentrate. I would want to be out basking in the sun, backstroking in the ocean, taking part in excursions and taking pictures of every single flower, tree and building I see. 

Perfect example, I went to Aruba a few years ago with my boyfriend and his parents and I thought it would be the best time and place to focus on my writing. I had been to Aruba the year prior with friends so really I had seen everything already, perfect opportunity to write. Right? Definitely not. I don't think I wrote a single word that week. I was too busy snorkeling, eating, tubing, parasailing and so on. Below are some pictures of me 'hard at work'.

Drinking and taking in the views.
As you can see, easily distracted. My couch seems to be the one place where I can sit, get in the zone and lose myself in my story and characters without any distractions. I actually bought a desk last year. I was so excited to get it that I made my boyfriend stop whatever he was doing and put it together that very second. A year later I have used it maybe twice. So as sad as it is, my dream writing retreat is where I write everyday. My couch. And all I need is a cup or three of coffee or tea. Now if the subject was my dream place to get inspiration I could come up with a million places, but still I would take in the inspiration and come home to write. 
What about you? What is your dream writing retreat?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NaNoing in January

I've mentioned before that I have started a new WIP. What I didn't mention is that since NaNo went well for me in November I decided to do my own NaNo in January. What am I thinking? I know. I must be crazy. I'm not. I think that NaNo was a great motivator. I didn't have the luxury of pushing my WIP aside and saying oh I don't feel like writing today. I had no choice but to write. I also wrote a story I didn't think I was capable of writing. And after revisions and help from Kelley (my critique partner) and sending it out to several other people, I am almost ready to begin querying. It was an idea I had in my mind for over a year but was too scared to write. NaNo didn't give fear a chance to consume me. I know there are many people out there that don't believe in the idea of writing a novel in a month, but after doing it, I do.

Do you have any writing goals this month? Have you ever done your own NaNo?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Crossed Over to the Darkside

Yes it is official. I now own a Nook. I didn't go out and buy it, my mom got the new fancy Nook for Christmas and wanted me to have her old one. I never thought I would own an E-reader and now I do. My first experience, not so great.

I went with my parents to Foxwoods a casino in Connecticut. We took a jet ferry out of Orient Point (the very end of the northern Long Island tip) to New London Connecticut then jumped on a bus that drove us to the casino. For thirty two dollars a person! You really can't beat that. Back to the point of my story. I had 350 books at my fingertips to read during the trip. I left my paperback at home but I didn't need it. No I had my trusty Nook and all 350 books in my moms library. I turned the Nook on and after reading ten pages of A Tale of Two Cities, what happens? Low battery! We were only fifteen minutes into the trip. Of course my moms response was, "Didn't you charge it?" So of course my response was, "No! It's a book!" If I brought my paperback with me I wouldn't have had to worry about a low battery. You don't have to charge real books! Then I was thrilled when my mom turned hers on and had no signal to download a new book. We were in the middle of the Long Island Sound, no wifi. So there we sat doing a crossword puzzle in a book I just happened to throw in my bag while our Nooks sat lifeless on the table. 

I haven't given up on the Nook just yet. I just wanted to pass along my inconvenience with you all. I don't know if I will ever be an advocate for the E-readers, but I'm going to try and be a little more open to them. In the comments I want to hear your pros and cons of the E-reader and if you still prefer a real book.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Location. Location. Location.

I'm starting a new WIP and it is going to be based on one night in the city. New York City to be exact. As a New Yorker I'm just accustomed to calling it the city. It's habit. The first thing I had to decide was what part of the city will this story take place in. I could, if I wanted to, send my characters from China Town to Central Park and back,  but I've walked that before and I wouldn't do that to them. I need to focus on one specific area of the city and because my character will be attending NYU in the fall I decided to keep the story in that general area.

This is where the problem comes in. I have been to this area on numerous occasions. However, I am not as familiar with it as say the area near and around Central Park. I am online researching the area but I feel like I won't be able to fully create the scenes without walking the streets and visiting all the locations, I plan to put in the story, myself. So my question for you is: When you write a story do you choose a place that you are familiar with? Or do you or have you used a location you have never been to before and rely on research?

I remember watching an interview with Stephanie Meyer (Yes I am using the Twilight creator as an example) she said she researched an area that has a substantial amount of rainfall and stumbled onto Forks. She had never been there before, but she wrote an entire series based on the area.

Forks, though was an unknown town until Stephanie Meyer chose it as the place to house Bella and Edward. New York City is one of the most popular and recognized cities in the world, there is no room for error. I can't have the characters bouncing around from location to location and going east when they should be going west. I'll be ripped apart for my inaccuracies. I guess it wouldn't be fun if it wasn't a challenge.

I'd love to hear what you all think on the subject. How do you choose the location for your WIP's?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All the Books I read in 2011

   On Goodreads the widget shows the books in rows of three, but for some reason it is not working that way. Regardless here are the 86 books I read in 2011.I didn't reach my goal, however I read some amazing books. Did you reach your goal for the year?




The Hunger Games





Aces Up

Perfect Chemistry

Rules of Attraction

Leaving Paradise

Forget You

Endless Summer

Return to Paradise

Chain Reaction

So Much Closer

What Happened to Goodbye

Anna and the French Kiss

Where I Belong

Fall for Anything

13 Little Blue Envelopes