Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to 2013!

First off all, have one: 

Source

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Overall, 2012 was a zinger of a year, filled with blessing and successes. In fact, I got a substantial amount of this year's goals done. 

Here's what I want to do in 2013: 

Writing: 

Continue querying Doorways

Finish the draft to Guardian

Rewrite: 

Don't Look Back

(Working Title) Otto

(Working Title) Guardian

Maybe finish the draft sequel to Doorways: Unlocking

Reading: 

Just to read more. I'm going to go easy on myself and aim for 25 books for the whole year. Any genre or classification. Crits not included because I consistently fail to keep count of them. 

Life: 

Keep working on my voice. 

Get back to guitar lessons. 

REALLY to take French and Italian, since it will be useful to my day job. 

Exercise regularly. This includes activities like gymming, fencing, dancing, yoga or any combination of such activities. 

Eat and cook healthier food. 

Make a point to meet more people with whom I have things in common. Sort of feeling tired of having my real life conversations ending in blank stares. 

I also want to paint more. Maybe even finish an exhibition's worth of art?


That's it for me this year. I'm all about simplifying this coming year, so I'm looking forward to seeing how much of it I get done. 

What about you? What do you want to achieve in 2013? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Here I am again

Amazingly, I'm still in one piece, despite a busy Christmas season. And it's not over yet.

You see, my December looks like this:

Mom's Birthday: 22nd
Christmas Eve (opening gifts): 24th
Christmas Day (Church and lunch): 25th
Uncle's birthday: 26th
My Birthday: 28th (Money transfers welcome. ;-P)
New Year's eve: 31st.

So as you can see, I'm not really getting time to sit still to blog without appearing to be anti-social.

Still, I've written a synopsis and revised my query again and again. I'm thinking I should send it to Query Shark before contacting agents, but that's a story for IWSG.

In the mean time, I'm reading my friend Michael Offutt's novel, Slipstream, at the moment, although the above-mentioned makes for some slow going. Ooh! Speaking of which, Oculus, the sequel to Slipstream is out, in case you've been living under a rock or missed all the posts about it this month. Go check these books out, if you haven't yet. Mike's one of my best CPs and he definitely knows the craft.

Alrighty then! I better get going again before my family sends out a search party.

See you again soon!

Who else have some important birthdays coming up between now and New Year's eve? Anyone else still have family visiting?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Interview with Shah Wharton (and a Giveaway!)


Hey all! Today I'm sharing a short chat I had with Shah on the release of her new book: Finding Esta. Before I hop to that, I just want to let you know that there's a copy to be given away.


But first, the interview:

Welcome to MFB, Shah. For those of my bloggy friends who haven't met you yet, please share a bit about yourself? Who are you and what makes you tick?

Well, I'm a housewife and mum to a huge German Shepherd pup (10 months old, 36kg and still growing!). I used to work in mental health, and have bipolar disorder, although that's not what makes me tick. That would have to be my love of stories. Reading them, writing them and watching them. I enjoy living in my head :)

It's wonderful that you don't let your bipolar disorder define who you are or keep you from doing what you want. What's the best part about a story for you? Writing, reading or watching.

You know what, that's a difficult one. I suppose as a writer, I should say writing. And when in the first flush of creating the first draft, I'd agree. But then I do love the theatre and cinema, or being submerged in a warm bed, glass of wine at my side, fabulous book on my Kindle.

So true. A fabulous book on a Kindle is often a lot less stressful than drafting. Speaking of which... what inspired you to start with Finding Esta? 

Finding Esta began as a short story about a journalist investigating a haunted house. It grew and grew and within a week it became a monster, within a year it went from my first novel to a series. I fell in love with Luna and the world she discovers. What can I say? 

Hahahaha oh yes I know all about short stories becoming monsters. What is your favorite thing about writing Luna?

She's young, fragile, complicated. There's a lot of me in her in the first book (not youth - I'm 40!), but she slowly matures, blooms into a woman of strength, despite the rotten start to her life, despite the freaky genetics which rule her, and despite her own insecurities. But my favourite thing about her is that she is both magical and normal.

She sounds amazing. Want to tell us a bit more about where the book can be bought?

Well, I published it on Amazon a few days ago. It went to Review stage (which is normal and can last anything from 12 hours to a few days). But when I checked excitedly earlier today, it had reverted back to Draft? So I had to begin the review process again! Grr! Anyway, you'll find it once it's gone live (any day now) on my Amazon Author Page for $2.99. It's a pretty large book at 330 pages. But for those who are lucky enough to win one of five free e-copies, you'll get yours for Christmas. :) X




There you have it, lovely people! Here's some more info on Shah, the book, and the giveaway. 

Blurb:
An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.

When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnapping of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.

Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….

Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searching for logic, feeling deceived by both.

Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?

Author Biography:

She uses her imagination to write short stories as well as the poetry, but stumbled into her first novel, but falling in love with the character Luna in a short story she wrote 2010. It became grew into Finding Esta, the beginning of Luna’s journey to self-discovery. Finding Esta is her d├ębut novel and the first of The Supes Series. Shah began meeting authors and bookworms galore when she began blogging back in 2010. She’s learned a lot about blogging and writing on her adventure, mostly from the awesome advice of her online peer-group.

Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and picture enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her qualifications include BSc(Hons) psychology, counselling, mentoring.

She also has one short story published ‘The Dead Party’ & two poems published in anthologies.

Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive. She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.

Get Social With Shah






Click on the image to go to rafflecopter


What's your favorite part about writing, reading and/or watching a story? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Things seem to be coming together

Well... I finished summarizing Doorways, so I guess that the only thing that's needed is to sit down and do a synopsis. 

Problem is, I'm not dead sure as to what a synopsis entails, so I guess it's a ton of research waiting for me. 

In the meantime, my painting ended up coming together as I painted. It's actually very close to finished, now. I'm hoping to finish it by tomorrow. 

But, now we have visitors who'll be here for a few weeks, so I'm not sure about exactly how much I'll be able to get done. 

Maybe that's good, because it means that I'll actually get some rest. 

Or... it means I'll be waking up by 5 a.m. to get some stuff done. 

Could go either way. 

Do you also struggle to turn off, even when you know you should? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You know it's bad when procrastinating means you write a query instead.

Thanks so much for the comments to yesterday's post. I decided to stop whining and look at the query again.

Mistake I'd made this time: I put too much importance on it. You see... I'm not excluding any publishing method at this stage. The only reason why I'm querying now is so that I can say I tried it. If it fails, I'm not going to worry about it too much.

It just means I wasn't meant to go the traditional route. I'll take another.

In the mean time, I looked at my most recently drafted query. It sucked.

So I decided to take a completely new approach to the query and I think it's pretty dang good. Just waiting for the dust to settle, then I'll be editing it again.

In the mean time, I started the monumental task of summarizing Doorways so that I can write the synopsis. I have 70 chapters. So far, I've finished 13.

That's not the only monumental task I have in front of me. It's not even the most urgent  I have to finish my grandmother's painting. You know... the one that's supposed to be her Christmas gift.

I'm filled with jitters about it. It's all good and well to do one for myself, but this is for my Grandmother's Christmas present, so I really don't want to mess it up. But I only have 6 days and so much detail work to do that I'm terrified.

Sigh. Sorry if today's post is mixed up. I have a few too many things vying for my attention today.

Anyone else as messed up as me this time of the year? What do you need to get done and soon?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Query woes

I'm meeeeeltiiing!

Yeah... really. I wanted to do this post hours ago, but it was so hot that my only option was to stay in the pool until I resembled a raisin.

And then I remained in the water for an hour longer.

Which means, of course, that nothing I want to do is getting done. But while I'm there, I'm swimming and doing some resistance stuff, so at least I'm getting a bit fitter.

Other than that, I'm basically resisting the siren's call that is the Doorways sequel. Of course, there's nothing wrong with writing it per se... but it's a problem when I still haven't worked on the query or the synopsis like I'm supposed to.

That's a problem.

Thing is. I don't really know what to do with the query. Even an agent said that I should have people look it over, but all I get when I do that is more contradiction. How am I supposed to learn what I'm doing wrong when all I'm getting is some people saying add more and others saying take more away?

It just really annoys me. Then there's this situation where some agents insist that my sub-genre is unsellable, but when asked directly, agents say that there's no such thing.

...

So yeah... me wondering if it's even WORTH the effort isn't helping me get a new query done.

It's all just one big procrastination exercise right now.

Anyone else getting frustrated with queries?

I mean, I don't mind getting no's. But getting no's when I don't know what's turning the agents off really is starting to annoy me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Just some heads-ups (and to explain my sucky day)

Thanks so much for the encouragement and hugs I received on Friday.

I kind of spilled my heart on this subject today on TCoML, so I won't be writing much of a post here, except to say that the reason for my really shitty day and what I realized about it is in that post, if you want to go check it out.

Before you head over, though, I want to say thank you to everyone who expressed a willingess to help make next year awesome on this blog. I will definitely be putting out more details towards the start of the blogging season next year, since a lot of people who might love to take part will be away spending time with their families. But let me say, that if we get it right, this will be awesome for everyone who reads MFB.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ch-ch-changes!

As you may know by now, I'm busy going around and catching up on months' worth of return visits that I never got to do.

I can honestly say I'm loving this. It's just amazing to read what's going on with friends new and old.

In addition, it also got me thinking again about what I can do for next year to make things even better. I have a couple of original and not so original ideas kicking about, so as soon as I have them cemented in my head, I'll be sharing them in the new year.

One thing I will say, though, is that Guest Post Friday is at an end. BUT! I will be hosting regular guest posts and interviews. I'll just be doing things a liiiiittle differently to before.

Next year, I want to make the writing bloggosphere an even more awesome place, but I can't do it alone. Who's willing to help me? No help can be too big or too small and I'll NEVER let your help go unnoticed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blogging day

Hey there!

I'll be cheating today and getting some blog visits in. After all, I'm about 6 months behind.

See you around!

Misha

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cookies!



As you might or might not know, Angela Felsted is releasing her novel, Chaste. Because Quinn, the main character, is a teenage guy who knows how to cook, she invited me to take part in Quinn's Cookie Exchange. Basically, it involves bloggers posting some cookie recipes, so if you want to try some new ones for Christmas, please head over here to see when and where people posted some recipes.

Before we get to mine, though, I thought I'd give a bit more information on Chaste and its author. 

Blurb

When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner. Regrettably, he has no choice.

Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents’ attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn’s “fake” religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.

Purchase Links


Angela Felsted's profile photoAuthor Bio

Angela Felsted is a Northern Virginia native who is overly fond of Olive Garden and Red Lobster. She grew up in a faithful Mormon home with three brothers and one sister where she learned to stand up for herself by tickling her attackers until they broke out into laughing fits. Her work has appeared in issue fifteen of Drown in Your Own Fears, Chanterelle's Notebook and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Her chapbook, Cleave, was published by finishing line press in 2012.

And now... the cookies. 

This ginger biscuit recipe is a definite favorite in my family, because it combines the perfect amount of sweet with just the right amount of ginger zing. But be warned, this recipe can't be divided or multiplied and makes a pretty huge amount of biscuits. 

Also, it will involve you converting some metric measurements to imperial, since I have no idea how to convert "dry" milliliters into anything but dry milliliters, so I'll leave it to you knowledgeable cooks.  

Bake responsibly. ;-)

Ingredients: 

3 lbs flour
2 lbs brown sugar
25 milliliters cream of tartar
37.5 milliliters baking soda
1 lb butter
1 lb golden syrup
2-3 tablespoons fine ginger (to taste)
4 or 5 eggs (depending on size)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of instant coffee (one teaspoon instant granules in a cup of boiling water)

Method: 

1) Mix flour with cream of tartar and half the sugar. 
2) Mix in the butter with the above, crumbing the mixture with your fingers.
3) Whisk eggs, very thorough, adding in the other half of the sugar and the syrup. 
4) Make a hole in the result of step 2 and pour in the result of step 3. 
5) Dissolve baking soda in the cup of coffee and add to result of step 4.
6) Knead thoroughly and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (About 350 degrees Fahrenheit  for 10-12 minutes. 

Hope you enjoy them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Drafting for me

Thanks so much to the people who commented on Friday's post. You really talked me down from the panic I'd started to experience.

It really reminded me of something. No matter what people say, we writers have to trust our guts first.

I really stepped on a bad landmine with this WiP. Instead of worrying about the story, I worried about what people would think. I can't imagine an agent liking this. Or a reader liking it. Or even my CPs liking it. So I don't like it.

Thing is, writing a draft shouldn't be about what other people like. It's about what the story needs. Once the draft is done, I can look at it again and try to figure out how to make the story more tolerable for the people I mentioned above.

For now though, I shouldn't be worrying about them at all.

I should be writing the story according to its own internal logic. I should be discovering what that logic is. I should get to know and love my characters. I should discover the plot. At this stage, nothing else matters.

So that's what I'll do now. Just write, for me. Not worrying about what anyone might think of it. Heck, if no one likes the story by the end? So what? It's not like I'm writing only to publish. I can learn a lot just from writing. Things I can use for stories people do like. I won't be letting outsiders intrude on this draft again.

Do you also sometimes start to doubt yourself based on what other people might think about what you've written? How do you deal with it?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Not what I thought it would be

Thanks so much for the sympathy yesterday! Luckily it seems that I'm going through more of a cold than a flue, so it's a bit more manageable now that I have the medicine I need to keep it under control. 

In the mean time, I have something else niggling at me. I mentioned that I started another WiP after finishing the draft I'd picked for NaNo. It's another story I dreamed of way back while I was still drafting Doorways. I did some writing, and loved it. 

The voice was so good it felt and sounded as if someone sat next to me, telling the story. I put it away in the second chapter, though, because I was still writing Doorways and learning what it takes to finish a story. Other stories came after I completed the Doorways drafts, so this one stayed shelved. Still, I kept wondering if I shouldn't get back to it. 

So when it was the only story left available for me to NaNo, I decided to just write and learn what I could. Good idea in theory, but something odd happened. The characters did their own thing. The story veered in a new direction. 

And I don't know if I like it. It's just... so different from what I thought it would be. For one thing, it's no longer YA. For another... my strong female character managed to get herself enslaved to a guy of very dubious morality. 

Especially the latter has me seriously wondering what the hell is happening to my story. My gut says I should go with it and see what happens. After all, that's what pantsing is about. 

But I don't know. It's... just... not what I thought it would be. 

Anyone else go through something similar with a story you wrote? What did you do? How did it turn out? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Uuuuurgh.

It sucks when something doesn't go according to plan.

Yesterday, I mentioned that today would be so refreshing, because I'd be getting out of the house. 

Didn't work that way. I got the flu instead. 

Sigh. 

*throw bed covers over head*

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Still getting back on track...

I was planning to do a bit more of s substantial post, but I'm not really able to, because I had to go fetch a visa to Germany.

Besides, there's not much going on, so I can't really say much.

Soon though, I will. Tomorrow I'll probably get out of the house to work a bit outside, which can only be good for my creative resources.

Hopefully then, I'll be able to write some more before year-end.

Also, I hope to be able to visit some of your blogs soon. Miss you all!

What are you all doing?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A quick update

So... In the end I didn't hit 50k for NaNo. Got heart-breakingly close, though, at 41k.

In the end, my characters started doing weird things and I felt burn-out coming, so I decided to stop. Still, I do have a whole first draft and the start of another.

That's good enough for me.

I now have a rough idea for what needs to happen in the new WiP, so once I feel ready to write, it won't be as hard to get the words down, I don't think.

Other than that, though, things are quiet.

I have to get some painting done, but I just feel like messing about for a few days, so I'm playing computer games.

How are you doing? Who won NaNo? Who reached goals but didn't win? Who did neither? What are you all planning to do in December?

Monday, December 3, 2012

And she's back

Hey lovely people!

Just want to let you know that I'm back after a very busy November.

Will post something more substantial tomorrow.

Love,

Misha