Friday, April 29, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kickstarter: Funding Platform for Creative Projects

Here's a nifty idea, Kickstarter. You can utilize it as a place to generate funding for your project. Got a book you want to publish but don't have the funds? Put your idea up and promote it to get the funds you need to realize the project. There is even a tab specifically for writing and publishing! So browse around see what creative products lie in wait.


Here's how the Kickstarter website defines their site:
"Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields."

You can also pledge funds to projects that are already posted and help other artists realize their dreams.

Here are a few of my favs lately:
The Tale of The Ravens - an illustrated story project
Urbio Vertical Garden
RDTN.org: Radiation Detection Hardware Network in Japan
Matthew Modine’s “Full Metal Jacket Diary” - iPad App

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BEA features Big Children's Books

There are a few big titles being presented at this years Book Expo America (BEA), and Publisher's Weekly covered the biggest titles in a rundown by Matia Burnett yesterday. Here's the link if you missed it: The Big Children's Books of BEA.

The ones I'm most anticipating are:
The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson (a companion to The Adoration of Jenna Fox)
Crossed by Ally Condie (sequel to Matched)
Passion by Lauren Kate (the third book in the Fallen series)
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (the final book in the Inheritance Cycle)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Which ones are on your must-read list?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

People-Watching

I love to "people-watch". I could sit for hours observing people, gleening characteristics for future use in my writing. But it even goes deeper than that. People are complicated, and watching how others act and react is a bit of uncovering what makes us all human.
Even though I'll never know every intimate detail of the people I observe, I can gleen an essence in that moment, and sometimes it's those moments that spark stories and characters.

My favorite people watching location this week was on Tuesday. My son had early dismissal from school and our tradition on such days is to grab lunch at McDonalds. Not healthy, I know, but it's a treat. So this week, the local McDonalds was filled with high-schoolers, and since I write YA, observing teenagers is key. I got some good material and was reminded how different the teenage world is; it really is a world unto itself. I got some good slang (had to cover my son's ears a couple times) and watched some interesting interactions. Good stuff, good stuff.

Do you have a favorite people-watching location?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Finish Line?

The finish line feels so far away. I am so close to completing my current manuscript and I just feel like the closer I get the further the finish line pushes ahead. Am I alone in this feeling? I feel like I just need a solid week of non-stop writing and maybe I could crack the ceiling that's holding me back from getting this done. Maybe this upcoming weekend break from the regular schedule will help me break through it. Oh I surely hope so!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reading a Book in Character

My son brought home a book today from his school library, Davy Crockett, The Legendary Frontiersman by James Howard Kunstler. Wow-what a strong voice this book has, it was so easy to slip into a southern drawl while I was reading it to him; which made reading the story to him so much fun! My acting background came into play immediatly. And I think it made the material come to life for my son too.

Have you read any books lately that made you slip into character while reading it?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Music & Books - Telling a Story

I've been listening to a lot of music lately, mostly on my phone while I'm at the gym. Pandora has become my new best friend, and I love being able to thumbs-up and thumbs-down each song that comes up, tayloring my radio stations to what I like. The act of rating my music has made me pay close attention to why I'm doing it; what draws me in, what repels me.

And here's where commonality comes into play. Good music and good books have a lot in common.

 A song needs to tell a story just as much as a book, and it also needs to evoke emotion and be relatable. Even in music, the words in a song are just as important as the melody, at least to me. The experience in both listening to music and reading a book is also influenced by what we bring to it, as well as the message the storyteller is trying to convey.

Interesting, interesting indeed. I think I need to keep paying attention to the music that I'm drawn, to keep exploring how my likes and dislikes there might also lead to more understanding in my writing.  You just never know where the next epiphany will come from and I want to be opened to any and all.

Friday, April 15, 2011

General end-of-week musings 4-15-11

So I needed a break from modern YA reading and picked up a favorite classic that I've been meaning to reread, Jane Eyre. As I read, I'm reminded why I love this book so much. There isn't one word out of place. Every word is exact, and natural, and beautiful. This is what well-written literature should strive to be. And not only that, but it is engaging at the same time. This book is cleansing my reading palate; exactly what I needed!

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I've started going to the gym. It's been over a month, and the act of getting to the gym has now become a habit. And it feels great! BUT, and there is a big but here, I've dropped some of the consistancy in my writing. So now I need to somehow find balance with the two. I'm hoping that I can work to find that balance over the next few weeks.

I realized last night that I'm itching to work on some new material, but there are about 30 pages of my current manuscript that still stand unready. I need to push through and get this manuscript done, so I can refresh my writing palate with some new stuff. So, that is my focus, to push through and finish this final revision and finally get it out for submission and then move on to something new. At least until it comes time for more rewrites. :)

That's it for this week. I wish you all a wonderfully productive and restful weekend. Happy writing and reading!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Upcoming Writing Contests - April 12, 2011

Here’s a list of some upcoming writing contests with deadlines fast approaching.:
Writers’ Digest 19th Annual International Self-Published Awards - Deadline: April 15, 2011 (Click the link in the competition title for complete details & entry information.)

More than $17,000 in prizes!

Competition Categories include:
Mainstream/Literary Fiction
Genre Fiction
Nonfiction
Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
Children's/Picture books
Middle-Grade/Young Adult books
Reference Books (Directories, Encyclopedias, Guide Books)
Poetry


Writers’ Digest 80th Annual Writing Competition - Deadline: May 2, 2011 (Click the link in the competition title for complete details & entry information.)

Grand Prize: $3,000 cash and a trip to New York City to meet with editors or agents.

Competition Categories include:
Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
Memoirs/Personal Essay
Magazine Feature Article
Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
Mainstream/Literary Short Story
Rhyming Poetry
Non-rhyming Poetry
Stage Play
Television/Movie Script
Children's/Young Adult Fiction


Glimmer Train - Family Matters competition - Deadline: April 30 (Click the link in the competition title for complete details & entry information.)

First place wins $1,200 and publication in Issue 83 of Glimmer Train Stories. Second- and third-place winners receive $500/$300 (or if chosen for publication, $700).


The 2011 Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents - Deadline: April 20 (Click the link in the competition title for complete details & entry information.)

In addition to a full year of promotion, a $1000 prize will be presented to the new Pen Parentis Writing Fellow at a public reading of the winning work in Manhattan on Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good luck!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review - My Soul To Keep

My Soul to Keep (MIRA)                     
Book Review - My Soul To Keep
by Rachel Vincent

This was my first Rachel Vincent book, and I just happened to start in the middle of her Soul Screamers series. So did this book stand on it's own? Yes, it did. The book started in a perfect place; a very natural beginning, and for most of the story I didn't feel at a loss. There were just a couple terms like "bean sidhe" that jarred me at first, but the author did a good job of explaining the terms without adding unneccessary backstory.
This is a teen story with teenage characters that have abilities like travelling to the Netherworld, or a Reaper who lives and works amongst the character. While I was reading it, the story reminded me of Sherrilyn Kenyon's work, except geared towards young adult readers.

I enjoyed the story, and its unique perspective on paranormal. It was an easy read with strong writing and every detail accounted for. I didn't feel like there were any loop holes that weren't closed in the plot by the end. The only part that had me wishing for more was in the characters themselves. I didn't find myself hankering to find out what happened specifically to the characters, but instead it was the story that carried me along.

This is clearly a story for YA readers, but I recommend it for older YA readers only as there is some content that is too mature for younger YA readers.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Collocate vs. Co-locate

I have to admit I had never heard of the word collocate before today, but the word popped up at the office and I was instantly intrigued. Had I not looked up the word in the dictionary, I would have automatically used co-locate, but there is a difference between the two.

So I thought I'd share my newfound knowledge.

The definitions below are from Dictionary.com.

co·lo·cate  [koh-loh-keyt]
–verb (used with object), verb (used without object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.

to locate or be located in jointly or together, as two or more groups, military units, or the like; share or designate to share the same place.
Also, co-lo·cate.

col·lo·cate   /ˈkɒləˌkeɪt/ Show Spelled


[kol-uh-keyt] Show IPA

verb, -cat·ed, -cat·ing, noun

–verb (used with object)

1. to set or place together, especially side by side.

2. to arrange in proper order: to collocate events.

–verb (used without object)

3. Linguistics . to enter into a collocation.

–noun

4. Linguistics . a lexical item that collocates with another.
At this point I was still confused; they sound so similar. That is until I found an excellent explanation on the differences of the two on the Language Portal of Canada where they answered my exact question. Here's the link to the page:  Co-locate vs. collocate
Ok, I think I'm clear now. Hope this was helpful to someone else too.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Lulu Titlescorer - Put Your Title To the Test

Cool tool...check it out. Over at Lulu.com they have something called The Lulu Titlescorer. Put your book title in and get a score as to it's potential success based on title alone. Nifty!

From the website, here's what its all about:
"Want to know if you've got a killer title for your novel? Now, for the first time in literary history, you can put your title to the scientific test and find out whether it has what it takes for bestseller success."
Curious? Here's the link: Lulu Titlescorer.

Friday, April 01, 2011

National Poetry Month 2011

Today is April 1st, April Fool's Day, and the first day of National Poetry Month.

National Poetry month was started in 1996 and is celebrated every April.

Here are some links to poetry fun around the US:
Hey...do you have a poetry event or contest you'd like to share? Comment to this post with information on the event (and a link) and I'll add it to the list above.

New Note:
Thanks for forwarding your poetry events...you keep sending them and I'll keep adding them to the list above.