Friday, April 30

Childhood Favourites

As a child, I was constantly reading. In grade two, my teacher actually accused me of merely "skimming" books rather than reading them, because there was no way someone my age was reading 4-5 novel length books in a week. She wasn't the brightest teacher-- she used to throw sharpened pencils at her students. Anyway...

Regardless of genre, I devoured every novel I could get my grubby little hands on. From Goosebumps to the Classics like The Hobbit, I read them all. At times, I still find myself picking up a book at the bookstore and thinking, "I've read this." I wish I had kept track back then, so I could buy some of the books that still taunt my memory. Alas, I did not.

However, there are some favourites that have stuck with me and I've read over and over again. Here are two of them:



























Have you read either of these books? Did you love them as much as I did? What are some of your favourite books from your childhood?

Wednesday, April 28

Holy Rain Batman!!

Okay, the title has nothing to do with today's post, but I thought I'd share the bad weather we're getting here right now. Honestly, I adore rain, so I'm not too upset about it. However, the dumb weatherlady is saying the rain is supposed to turn into a snowstorm. Yeah, gee, thanks for nothing. I thought the weathermen and weatherladies had an "in" with whoever controlled the weather (God, Mother Nature, Zeus... IDK)? Apparently I'm wrong. Either that or weatherpeople are evil. (I'm leaning towards the latter).

Okie pokie, now that I've rambled. Here is my update for the week:

School:
  • As you know, I am now done for the semester! I don't go back to school until September 9th! Yay!
  • I finished with an (A-) in Romantic Literature (tied with 3 other students for the highest grade)
  • I finished with an (A-) in my history class (the highest grade in the class!)
  • I got an (A) in Anthropology!
  • Still waiting on my American Literature grade. My professor is slower than a snail, so it'll take a while.

Writing:
  • Since last Wednesday, I've written 500 words. Yep, 500. And that was last night too, LOL. I've been so tired recently that I barely manage to get out of bed most days, never mind write. So I gave myself the weekend off. It cut my stress in half, which is a good thing for everyone involved. In any case, with all of my exams, I was still writing, just not working on my WIP.
  • However, I did start to work on my WIP again yesterday. The only problem was, I had no idea where I wanted the scene to go, so I didn't get much done-- clearly.
  • So after I put my laptop away and got all comfy in my bed, I did one of my favourite activities. I plotted. I now have the next 4 scenes on paper. They aren't the full scenes or anything, but they're my ideas and notes. Now that I have this part done, I should fly through the actual writing (I hope). I've been meaning to plot for several days, but I've simply been too tired to form a coherent thought. I think I might do a "Dumb Things Natalie Has Done During Exam Period" post for your enjoyment. I know my parents would get a kick out of it.
Life:
  • My mum booked my flights to Virginia! I leave May 9th and return May 23rd!
Soooo, how is your writing going?

Tuesday, April 27

Good News!!

Chris and I at Virginia Tech last Christmas



Okay, so this good news is about my boyfriend, Christopher. As some of you may know, Chris is graduating from Virginia Tech in May! Woohoo! It only took him 3 years (lucky bastard... LOL).

Christopher is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business with a double major of Management, and Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Uhh... yeah... I had to ask him to type that sentence out for me because I sat there scratching my head saying, "Huh?" Basically, he's a Management major, and a Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) major. Yep, could our majors be in any different? Well, maybe if he'd gone into physics or something obscure, LOL.
Anyway, with summer fast approaching, Chris has been running around these past few months trying to find an internship. Thankfully, last Thursday he got the news we've all been waiting for. After going through the extensive-- and stressful--interview process, Chris got a call from Mariners Landing offering him an internship/job! Mariners Landing is a gorgeous resort located on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. WOOHOO! Way to go darling!



Do you have any good news this week?

Monday, April 26

FREEEEEEDOM!

At 10:00 am this morning (Monday), my last final exam of the year finished. I was technically done at 9:20 am, but it's not as dramatic to say that, LOL! Anyway, after my exam I went and sold 4 (I think?) of my old textbooks back. Though they were quite expensive when I originally bought them, I did mange to get $119 back for them! Not too shabby.
At 11:30 am this morning, I turned in all 3 of my keys (building key, room key, and mailbox key) for my residence. You heard that right people, I'M OUT! Mum came over and basically cleaned the whole place for me and helped me move what little stuff I still had there, out. AND, she did it even with me snapping at her all morning *blushes* I was a little tired and cranky and whiny by that point. (THANK YOU MUM!!!!!! MWAH!)
After leaving school, we stopped at Chapters (Canadian version of Barnes & Noble) and Superstore (a HUGE grocery store with tons of ethnic foods). To tell you how tired I am, I DID NOT GO INTO THE BOOKSTORE! I sat in the truck while mum went in. I know, I know. I'm not sick, I promise. Just tired. Beyond. Belief.
When we arrived at home, I spent about an hour and a half mindlessly reading blogs. I haven't read any for a few days and had about 203 posts stacked up. No, I didn't read them all *snorts*. I did read quite a few though and even tried to comment on them! I'm hoping I can get back into commenting this summer-- as long as it doesn't take up too much of my writing time ;)
After that, I desperately hung out in the kitchen while mum did some prep work for dinner. Why you ask? I was trying to pretend I wasn't exhausted; though, why I was trying to do that is beyond me. Either way, it didn't work.
So I finally gave in and took a lovely 2 hour nap. Mum woke me up for a delicious dinner my parents made-- homemade Chinese! Yum! Then I watched Law and Order: SVU with my parents. Does anyone else watch this show? I love it!
Yep, that would be my day in a nutshell. Tomorrow I will share some of the exciting news I've had since last Wednesday!

Okay, so I adore this movie and I had to post this because, quite honestly, this is how I feel. Alright, probably not exactly how I feel, LOL! I'm just being dramatic ;)
So how IS everyone? What have I missed? Any exciting news? Miss me?

Wednesday, April 21

WIP Wednesday


School:
  • Got an A- on my history book review (YAY)
  • Got an A- on my Romantic literature term paper (YAY)
  • Studied for my Anthropology final exam (NOT SO YAY)
  • Studied for my Romantic literature final exam (MEH)
  • Took both above exams (UGH...hand hurts)
  • So far, I know I've received an A- in my Romantic literature class (YAY)
Writing:
  • Succumbed to peer pressure and sent out ch. 3-5 to Tina, lol
  • Will be sending out ch. 3-5 to B. E. and Jen before Friday *waves*
  • Okay, I didn't get much writing done due to 1. burnout and 2. studying. However, I did manage to write 2751 new words!
  • I finished writing chapter 7 and started chapter 8
Life:
  • Went and saw How to Train Your Dragon-- OMGIT'SAMAZING! GO SEE IT!
  • With the help of my parents, I'm almost entirely moved out of residence. Unfortunately, I need to keep some things there, like my bedding etc... Because the 2 exams I have left are both at 8am, so I need to stay at school the night before.
  • Looked at flights to Virginia for around May 9th. Christopher graduates May 14th and 15th so of course I need to be there!! ;)
  • Contemplated going to Nashville for the RWA National Conference-- still not sure we can afford it.
So today I am going to be studying for my history final, which is at 8am tomorrow. Seriously, 3 of my 4 exams are at 8am. Who the hell did I piss off?
I will also be heading outside in between studying for some fresh air and hopefully some colour. I'm pale, guys. Real pale. It comes with being Canadian I think... and not willing to pay for time in a tanning booth. But man do I love those things. I know, I know. Skin cancer. But it's relaaaaaxing. And I get colour.*
Anywho... what are you up to today? How is the ol' WIP?
*See, this is what happens when my brain is fried. I go off on weird tangents.*

Monday, April 19

Unplugging...kinda

Hey guys,

Due to my final exams being this week (and one next week), I think I'm going to unofficially unplug from the blog for a while. I'm way too stressed out right now to continue posting-- at least, to continue posting happy things... I will still be lurking on many of your blogs, but I'm less likely to comment at the moment.

However, I will post a WIP Wednesday to keep you guys updated on everything.

Hope you have a good week!

Saturday, April 17

Quick Update

Day 54 of my new WIP (still untitled): I have now surpassed the word count of my last story, The Sound of Snow, which I had been working on from mid-October until February 18th (131 days). WOOHOO! *dances*

That is all. Carry on with whatever you were doing before.

Friday, April 16

Inspiration

Since yesterday's post was more serious than normal, I thought I'd post something happier today.


Inspiration can be found in the smallest of things...
It can be found in the chipped white table covered in small, sticky fingerprints and bread crumbs.
It can be found in the early morning chirp of birds, welcoming the day.
It can be found in the dance and shiver of silk in the summer breeze, a hint of rain teasing the air.
Or, it can be found in the gentle sway of grain in an endless field of gold, when the sun gives its last burst of light before it fades away.
As writers it is our job to find inspiration, for ourselves and for our readers.
Have you found it yet?

Thursday, April 15

Beware Of What You Say Online

*Rant of the Month*

I'm going to start this post by saying that no, I am not an expert. When I started this blog, it was purely for fun. It was an online journal to keep track of my writing, that is all. It was only after I went to Washington for the RWA National Conference that I realized my blog could be something more. Here, I could connect with other writers and share my experiences with them.

At times, I know I've probably said too much on here. It is likely I've complained one too many times about my awful college roommates, or whined about a pet peeve of mine. I know that. However, I also know that what I have said was not that bad. I sincerely doubt a comment here or there about how annoying college can be is going to turn an agent off. But you never know, I suppose.

Regardless of that, I am pretty confident that my blog and/or my online presence in general will not stop an agent from offering me representation. I am not so confident for other people. Putting extremely personal tidbits up on your blog, including things of a sexual or marital nature, is not going to win you support from anyone.

In fact, I'd hazard to say that it will stop an agent dead in their tracks. If you cannot keep your personal life separate from your writing one now, how on earth could you possibly do it when you're published and in the public eye? The most likely answer is, you can't.

Now, I know we've all read fabulous posts about being careful what you say online because it can and will bite you in the butt one day. But then why are there still posts floating around out there that share WAY too much information? I mean, I'm a romance writer/reader. Talking about sex does not bug me if it is done for professional reasons (ie, how to write a good love scene). However, it does bug me when someone is talking about their personal sex lives-- or lack thereof-- on a blog for the entire world to see! I do not want to know all of these details about your personal life, especially not when it could make me lose respect for you.

So please, think about what you are saying before you actually put it online!

*Rant done*

Wednesday, April 14

WIP Wednesday


Here is what I've accomplished since last Wednesday.

School:

  • Finished reading The Wars of Louis XIV: 1167—1714 by John A. Lynn
  • Wrote my book review on The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Edited the book review
  • Edited my American literature term paper
Writing:
  • I've written 3587 words since last Wednesday (I worked on it Friday, Saturday, and Monday)!
  • I finished off Chapter Six and sent it to Mum for editing/critiquing.
  • I am now 1117 words into Chapter Seven.
Randoms:
  • I beta read two chapters for a friend
  • I packed up a lot of my room in residence
  • I registered for my Fall 2010 classes! They are: Children’s Literature from 1900 to the Present, Medieval Literature II: Literature in the Age of Chaucer, Ecology and Literature (HAVE to take this course... SNORE), First Nations in Canada: Co-operation, Coercion and Confrontation (have to take), Media History and Contemporary Issues (have to take).
What have you accomplished this week?

Super Duper Awesome Contest =)

Okay, it's not my contest--that will happen eventually--but it's still pretty darn amazing.

I don't tend to do this, but one of my bestest blogger buddies, Julie Dao, is hosting a very cool blog contest filled with great classics, notebooks&pens, and chocolate! Doesn't that sound divine?

Go and enter before Sunday, April 25th for a chance to win! (Man, I sound like a lottery announcer *rolling eyes*)

I will be back later today with my usual WIP Wednesday =)

Tuesday, April 13

Where the Magic Happens...

Not that kind of magic, you perverts. Well, technically it is in my room, but we wont go there...

So I thought today I would post pictures of my fan-tab-u-lous room where I spend most of my time sleeping, reading, and of course, writing. Since my room is not big enough for me to have my own office space I tend to write while sitting/lying on my bed.

The bookcases right beside my bed...



The thin bookcase holds most of my DVDs and CDs
I had several at school still when I took this picture

Yep, Christmas lights.
I liked them so they stayed up.

lol Yes, that picture frame is empty.
Well, was. I put a picture in just the other day.

There you have it, my beautiful room.

I would love it if you guys could post pictures of your writing space on your own blogs so that I can see!! If you do, let me know so I can make sure to check it out =)

Saturday, April 10

What Are You Up To?

Happy Saturday everyone!

Today I will be lazing around in bed while I write. Yay! I'm trying to prepare myself for when school gets out and I suddenly have tons of time on my hands. I don't want to stress myself out and ruin the first couple weeks of summer by not being used to writing so much.

However, since Wednesday I've already gotten quite a lot out. My dream would be to write about 2700 more this weekend and then send it off to my Mum for the first edit. After that's done, I'll probably end up sending it out to betas so that some people, *cough* TINA *cough* can stop poking me on Twitter.

Who knows if all that will happen or not since my hands are hurting and I will eventually have to write my last term paper (I'm thinking Sunday & Monday will be my torture days). Either way, today is a day for writing so I'm happy =)


What are you up to this weekend? Have any exciting plans?

Thursday, April 8

Good News!

First and foremost...

I ONLY HAVE 4 DAYS OF CLASSES LEFT!!!!!

Woo hoo, huh? I know you guys are probably tired of me harping on this, but I absolutely cannot wait until summer. I mean, I'm excited for all the writing time I'm going to have... but I'm also just excited to relax. Unlike a lot of college students, I don't relax throughout the year by drinking myself silly. Unfortunately, from September until April, I'm busy nonstop. Which brings me to my next point...

I GOT 24/25 ON MY ANTHROPOLOGY TERM PAPER (A+)!!!!

Yay!! Out of the 3 sections taught at my school for this class, I got the highest grade by 4 points! That's right, the next highest mark in 3 classes was 20/25! My professor said my paper was very impressive, well-written, insightful, and a pleasure to read! Not only that, when he handed me the paper, he said that I could likely get it published in one of the anthropology journals! *squees* Those journals are difficult to publish in for people with PhD's, never mind a 3rd year student! Of course, he also thought I was an anthropology major by how good the paper was. I asked him how I'd get published in those journals, and he said my school would have to sponsor me since I have no credibility on my own. I don't know if I'm going to try this semester since it's almost over, but perhaps next year...

And last by most definitely not least...

I SOLVED A PLOT HOLE IN MY STORY!!!

Okay, so I was writing and everything was going fine and dandy... until I wrote a scene that completely changed how my story was supposed to go. This had me panicking because I didn't know what to do. So, I spent the morning pulling out my hair (mostly kidding) trying to come up with a way to solve this. Unfortunately, I hit a roadblock and couldn't think of a single thing. So I did what any normal writer would do... I panic-emailed B.E. Sanderson and Tina Lynn, outlining my problem. *Thank you goils for responding to my odd email!!!* However, by the time I checked my email later on to see if they, in their genius, had solved my problem, I had already talked to Mum and we'd talked our way through it. Yay! Sadly, it did mean I had to cut some of that rebel scene, but that's okay.

So here is my progress:
  • I cut about 1500 words off that scene-- ouch!
  • I rewrote the end of the scene, which ended up being almost exactly 1500 words
  • I wrote about 1000 additional words.
There you have it, I wrote about 2500 last weekend. Unfortunately, only about 1000 of that shows up on my progress meter. Oh well!
So what's new with you this week? Have any good/exciting news?

Tuesday, April 6

When Did You Start Writing?

As the semester begins to draw to a close, I've been thinking a lot about my writing. For one thing, I'm getting very excited to have tons of writing time. Last summer I wrote 75,000 words in 2 months. So needless to say, I can't wait to see where I can go with my WIP and how quickly I can get there.

Secondly, I am approaching the one year anniversary of my writing. Woohoo! Yes, I've been writing my entire life, but I really started with this writing thing on April 23rd, 2009, the day of my last exam. Even then, the first story I started, Forever, was more of a tester/beginner story. In any case, I will always consider the day I started taking this seriously as April 23rd.

I'm not sure why I started to take writing seriously at that point, but I seem to remember having a conversation with my Mum about how I shouldn't just treat my writing as a hobby. Apparently I took her seriously ;)

Anyway, when I was talking to several of my betas a few weeks ago, many of them were shocked by how long-- or how short a time-- I've been doing this. I'm not sure whether or not it was a compliment to me, LOL! But it made me curious, when did you start to take writing seriously? Was there a specific reason?

Monday, April 5

Animals, I Don't Know What I'd Do Without Them

I love the content look on the dog's face.
He's with his person. He's happy.
Me and Daisy-doo (with our old cat Ninja in the corner)
By the baby fuzz on my Daisy, she was still a puppy here.
And clearly, I wasn't much older ;)

Are you an animal person? What types of animals have you had throughout your life?
I've had many types of animals, from bunnies to lizards. My favourite though, has always been my Daisy, who turns 15 May 1st.

Sunday, April 4

Easter Traditions

Alright, I’m sorry this post is coming late. This morning I was not a very happy writer, so it wasn’t the best idea to have me writing up a post.* After that, my family and I went to see Clash of the Titans... and just as a warning, DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE!! It was awful. Well, unless you like seeing Liam Neeson wear a sparkly Disco Stu outfit. If you do, then be my guest. I normally love a good action movie, but this was just bad. The plot was laughable, the music was terrible, and the special effects looked like they just put it in fast-forward in the hopes that we wouldn’t notice it was bad.

Anyway, enough of that. Here are the Easter Traditions from my family =)
  • The night before I would leave out carrots and celery, as well as a glass of water, for Mr. Bunny. You know, in case he got hungry or thirsty while he pooped his chocolates all over the house. Yum.

  • In the morning, I’d wake up to find chocolate eggs hidden ALL OVER THE HOUSE! They’d be on top of picture frames, in the stairwell banister, in teacups, on tables, inside the keyhole of doors, on the legs of chairs, and in bottles. Basically, anywhere you can think of, there were eggs there. For weeks afterwards my family and I would randomly find an egg when we went to make some tea or when we pulled out a movie to watch.
  • As well, I always got a pretty Easter basket with tons of eggs inside already. I also got teddy bears and little bunny figurines etc...

Although I know it took my parents a lot of time to hide all these eggs around the house, I really appreciate it. It was so much fun to wake up to eggs hidden all over the place, their shiny casings sparkling in the morning sunlight. My parents created some great memories for me—memories I hope to create for my own kids one day.

So what are some of Easter traditions?
*I was having major plot troubles this morning. Nothing seemed to be working in my mind. However, it is all solved now. I had a long talk with my Mum and worked the kinks out.*
**Guess what guys, my Mum is blogging! Yay! She tends to posts funny pictures and book reviews, so it's worth checking out =)**

Thursday, April 1

Boo Ya, Rule Breaker On the Loose

Okay, so from the title of this post, you probably picked up on at least one of three things:
  1. I'm a little insane.
  2. This blog post is going to be about breaking rules.
  3. I didn't get near enough sleep last night (about 4.5 hours, actually).
Anyway, last night I began a book, which for the moment, will go unnamed. I will end up doing a book review for it since I think it's so fantastic and you'll figure it out then, but for right now I wont say who it is.
While reading this book, I became aware of several things. This author breaks the "writing rules" left, right, and center and I LOVE HER FOR IT! Ooo, you now know the author is a girl (big shocker, since it's a historical romance novel).
Here are some things I've caught:
  • She has buried dialogue. Lots. And it works. So get over it, suckahs.
  • She doesn't always say the name of the character speaking, and it works. So there.
  • She did not introduce the hero OR the heroine in the first 10 pages of the novel. *smirking*
  • When she did introduce the hero and heroine to the novel, they did not meet right away and certainly did not become intimate until much later.
  • She seems to love adverbs, but I don't think it's overdone. HOWEVER, I know for a fact that if some of my writer friends read her book to critique it, they'd be circling every single "ly" word.
  • She does NOT describe every bloody facial expression. She does say things like "He gave her a frustrated look" without describing the crap out of that look.
  • She says things like "He nodded IN AGREEMENT." This rule isn't a well-known one, but I have heard from several people not to use "in" types of phrases. Like, "in understanding" etc...
Alright, I think you're getting the picture. Not only is this author a favourite of mine--she's freaking fantastic--but she's successful. Don't believe me? She's on the NYT bestseller list right now and has been before. And will be again.
So there you go guys, proof right there that you don't need to worry about every little rule out there-- or even the big ones!
Just write the story.
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