Monday, May 31

Blog Break

I'm taking a blog break. I know I just got back from Virginia and that I should try to post as often as I can, but I just can't. I miss Chris so much I'm barely functioning properly, never mind coming up with witty blog posts for your enjoyment.

To make matters so much worse, Daisy (my beloved 15 year old dog) had a stroke Saturday night. Though she's doing better then when it first happened, she's not great. It seems her left eye is now entirely blind and she keeps falling down, among other things. It's extremely difficult to see my baby falling apart and it's breaking my heart, as well as my parents'.

I'm not sure how long this break is going to last. I'll still be reading your blog posts, but I probably won't be commenting (I haven't really been commenting this week, so that won't be much of a change). If you'd like to contact me, my email address is nataliemurphy(at)live(dot)ca

I'm also on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nataliexmurphy
And Facebook: www.facebook.com/nataliexmurphy

Thank you all for understanding.

Saturday, May 29

SERIOUSLY, ALBERTA? WHY???


The view out our front door, May 29th

Mum's tulips

Daisy takin' a nap in this cold weather.

Friday, May 28

Just goes to show...

...editing is important. Or at least spell check is.

I took this picture last year and it still cracks me up.

Regardless what stage your manuscript is at right now, all writers edit. Whether it's a quick skim or, like I said above, spellcheck, all writers try to improve their story with editing. Which just makes me curious... What part of editing do you hate the most?
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So far, the part I hate is when I know something is off in a sentence or a paragraph, but I can't pinpoint what it is. Honestly, I don't mind the rest of it so much. I adore anything that makes my story better.

Wednesday, May 26

Tag, You're it!

So a few days ago--okay, okay, over a week ago--Julie from Silver Lining tagged me in this little questionnaire and I'm finally getting around to doing it!
Question 1: Where were you five years ago?
  1. In grade 11 wishing I was no longer in high school (who doesn't wish that when they're 15?)
  2. Planning a trip with my Scout group to Jamaica for the Caribbean Jamboree. Little did I know, I'd meet Christopher there =)
  3. Writing Harry Potter fanfiction. It was the first time I ever learned to write for an audience and take critique. It was invaluable to me as a writer.
  4. Devouring romance novels at an alarming pace. I started reading them when I was 14, so I was still a newbie, LOL.
  5. Still trying to figure out who I wanted to be. Now I know I just want to be me =)
Question 2: Where would you like to be five years from now?
  1. Published!!!! (Please, oh please!! *crossing fingers*)
  2. Married with little kidlets of my own.
  3. Living in Virginia
  4. Writing for a living
  5. 25 years old (*snorts* Yes, I am sneaking my way out of coming up with another thing).
Question 3: What is (was) on your to do list today?
  1. Go tanning
  2. Email all of my professors for next semester, asking them if there are any novels or longer pieces of literature I could try and read this summer so my workload isn't so heavy come the fall.
  3. Call the doctor back. I finally have an appointment about my hands at one of the hospitals in Calgary on September 2nd. That's almost exactly a year from when my doctor put me on the list. Anyone who thinks the Canadian health care system is good has never been injured or sick before in their life. Good luck with that, America.
  4. Go on treadmill
  5. Go visit various familial relations (ugh).
Question 4: What five snacks do you enjoy?
  1. Dill pickles and cut up cheese
  2. Gold fish crackers
  3. Pita bread and hummus.
  4. Cucumbers and cauliflower
  5. Bananas
Question 5: What would you do if you were a billionaire?
  1. Buy a house in Ireland or Scotland. And probably one in some deliciously warm country too.
  2. Make sure my parents never have to work another day in their life. Oh, and make sure they have a gorgeous house ;)
  3. Donate some to charity. I'd definitely give some to literacy programs, as well as programs for animals. I'd probably also donate money to help some of the obscure or gross diseases that don't get as much publicity and therefore not as much money.
  4. TRAVEL!
  5. Build gorgeous indoor and outdoor pools, deep enough that I can dive in!
So now I'm going to tag 5 people to do this questionnaire!
  1. Tiffany
  2. B.E.
  3. Melissa
  4. Amber
  5. Summer

Tuesday, May 25

Is Writing The Best Way?

I'm stuck. And by stuck, I mean call the fire dept because they need to hoist me out, stuck.

The problem is, I don't have writers block.* If I had writers block, I could work my way around that. I could have brain storming sessions or read my story, or do any number of things to trigger my Muse.

But no, my problem can't be that simple. You see, I still have tons of ideas floating around in my head and I even have the next few chapters plotted out with significant detail. There's no problem when it comes to my actual story.

My problem is a lack of emotional and mental stamina. I can't seem to do much more than stare morosely out my window.** Now, I know everyone says to just write your way through your problems, whatever they may be, but honestly, right now I just feel like eating and sleeping and crying.

I've already "told" myself I can take a few days to try and regroup before I force myself to write, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like I'm failing somehow.

I should be writing. Everyone is expecting me to finish my novel this summer and I feel like if I'm not writing right now, I'm letting everyone down. Including myself.

I didn't write while I was in Virginia. I felt spending time with Christopher was more important. If I'd sat down to write, I would have shut myself away in my room and ignored the world. I only had 2 weeks with him, so I didn't want to do that. But now, my lack of writing the past 2 weeks is not helping my feeling of failure now.

I just feel a little lost.

Have any of you felt this way before? What did you do to "fix" these feelings?*** Is writing my way through this my best chance? Or do you think it will stress me out more and that I should wait until I'm calmer before I pick up my story again (if this is the case, it would only be "put off" for a day or two)?



*Never thought I'd say those words in the same sentence.
** For those who don't know, I flew home from Virginia Sunday night, leaving my fiance behind (he lives there. I do not).
*** I'm not asking you guys to solve my emotional turmoil right now over having to leave Christopher behind. I'm asking what you guys did about the feelings of failure you've experienced.

Friday, May 21

Happiness 101 Award

Thank you to Tina Lynn and Shannon O'Donnell for gifting me with the Happiness 101 Award! Thanks goils, you two always make me smile!



Before I pass on the award, I have to list 10 things that make me happy.

  1. Naps
  2. Rain/thunder storms
  3. An amazing romance novel that makes my heart pound
  4. Soft blankets
  5. A good soundtrack I can write to
  6. Christopher
  7. A really productive writing day =)
  8. Summer
  9. Animals (mostly puppies)
  10. Ice cream

5 recipients:

  1. Tiffany
  2. Wendy
  3. Julie
  4. Melissa
  5. Roni

Thursday, May 20

The "Real" World

*A wee bit of a rant coming your way*


This past week I attended 2 ceremonies--one on Friday and one on Saturday--for Christopher's graduation from Virginia Tech. While there, I got had to listen to a bazillion speeches from alumni, professors, students, and even the Governor of Virginia. Some were short (my personal favs) and some were long, drawn out, and annoying. Why were they annoying? Well, besides the fact that they were boring and it was hot out, I found them annoying because the person giving the speech acted as if they had some great wisdom their listeners somehow lacked. Sure the speech was directed at a young audience of graduating students, but that does not mean they're stupid. Quite the opposite, in fact.

However, there were 4 speeches in particular that made me want to shoot laser beams out of my eyes. In all 4, the speakers used the phrase, "in the real world." Not only did they claim that university students don't live in the "real world" but that the "real world" is not sugar-coated.

Uh, excuse my language, but WHAT THE FUCK? I'm sorry, my university experience is not all about rainbows, teddy bears, and lollipops. Nor is it about parties, hangovers, and skipped classes. My university experience is all about late nights staying up to study, sore fingers from typing so many essays, and eyes that hurt because I have to read so much. Oh yeah, that sounds sugar-coated alright. Tons o' fun, I say.

Snort.

In any case, what exactly denotes the "real world?" Where have I been living for the last twenty years of my life if not in the real world? Even if I lived in a bubble for those years, that bubble must exist somewhere known to basic human knowledge. Unless, of course, they’ve made gargantuan leaps in physics that I have not been aware of and have found a way to ensconce “adolescents” into a new dimension. If so, I’d really like to know about it.

It sounds like a cool place.

Tuesday, May 18

A Mishmash Post Worth Reading, Promise.

Okay, so like my title says, this post is going to be a mishmash of a lot of things. However, I promise it's worth reading =)
  • Roni over at Fiction Groupie had a wonderful post last week about what the romance genre is and what it is not. I highly recommend everyone read it. As a romance writer I am sick and tired of ignorant opinions regarding this genre. So please, go read it. Romance is not for old maids, nor is it "easy" to write, even if they may be easy to read. A good romance triggers all sorts of emotions that can sometimes be left untouched in other genres. In any case, if you aren't following Roni's blog already, you really should be. All of her posts are must-reads. Promise.

  • Now I know there have been a ton of blogfest's recently and that some people are getting sick and tired of them, but there is one you absolutely cannot miss out on: Tina Lynn's Bad Boy Blogfest. I know, right? How could you not take part? I can't wait to read about everyone's bad boys ;) So if you'd like to take part (which you do, you know you do), head over to Tina's blog here and sign up!! I will be taking part. I just need to find a scene... either that or I need to write one before June 20th, when it takes place =)

  • As promised, here are the pictures of my new hair and my manicure/pedicure:

I have nice short bangs now! It's also about 2 shades darker than my normal colour. I haven't had my hair coloured in over 2 years, so I thought I'd give it a try again =)





Here you can see my new layers! She took several inches off, believe it or not.
I love having my hair long, so this is probably as short as I'll go, at least for the next few years.




My pedicure! I'll have had it for 2 weeks on Thursday and it's still perfect!
I chose this colour cause it matches the dress I wore to Chris' grad.
(I will post pictures of that another day)

Sorry it's so dark. If you can't see what it is, it's a pale pink.
On my ring fingers the lady gave me pretty flowers!


  • Lastly, Chris and I went to the mall today after we went to see ROBIN HOOD (which was amazing, btw). While there, we stopped off at FYE so I could look for some soundtracks to write to (didn't find any I wanted). However, I did spot this sign, which Christopher kindly took a picture of for me:



Yep. Twighlight. Gotta love dumb people. The worst part is, it even says Twilight on the case, which is, btw, New Moon and NOT the actual Twilight CD. LOL!

Books I'm looking Forward To Owning

Hello guys! So as I said in my last post, there are several books coming out May 25th that I am excited about buying/reading.

Here they are:

Bella Andre Never Too Hot
Tessa Dare
One Dance With a Duke
Lisa Kleypas
Married by Morning
Julia Quinn
Ten Things I Hate About You
Kris Kennedy
The Irish Warrior

Holy books, batman! The best/worst part is that every single one of these books is from a favourite author of mine! I don't know how I'm going to be able to decide what to read first, or second, or even third, fourth, or fifth! I suspect it will be decided by what my Mum wants to read first, since I share my extensive library with her ;)

So what about you? Are any of these books on your "Must Read" list? If they aren't they should be... Are there any other books you're looking forward to that come out in May?

Saturday, May 15

Engagement & Ring Pictures

Sorry for the delay on posting the pictures, darlings! I've been crazy busy for the past few days. Now, before I get to the pics I thought I'd tell you how he asked me....

First, he brought me to Barnes & Noble and told me I could pick out anything I wanted and he'd buy it for me. Yeah, I know, isn't he wonderful? He knows me so well! Unfortunately, I'd bought several books about a week ago, so there weren't any I really wanted. However, there are about 6 that come out May 25th! Anyway, so instead I nabbed 3 soundtracks I can now write to: "How To Train Your Dragon," "Shakespeare in Love," and "Gladiator." They're all wonderful. I can't wait to really blast it and write =)

After that he took me to Abuelo's, a delicious Mexican restaurant, for dinner. Yum, yum! Then he brought me to the Roanoke Star:
It was there at the star that he asked me. No, for those of you wondering, he did not get on his knee. And before you all get fired up, I didn't want him to. I don't like that much attention centered on me, lol. It makes me feel awkward.

Jamaica 2006
The first ever picture of Christopher & I
See how "cool" we're both being? We were in that flirty, pre-dating stage ;)
My ring! He picked it all out himself!

It's huge!
It's so tall! I keep scratching my face with it, especially when I wake up.
It also likes to get caught in my hair, LOL!


Engaged May 11th, 2010!
=)


Questions?
*There are more pictures on Facebook for you curious people*

Saturday, May 8

Happy Mother's Day!

Love you Mum!

xo


Okay, So I Lied

I'm just a wee bit too busy right now to take pictures of my hair and nails. Sorry! I will try and post some pictures sometime this week!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

xo

Friday, May 7

Weekly Update

First, I just want to say sorry for not posting much this week! I've been running around trying to get ready for my flights on Sunday to Virginia. Normally my trips to VA don't cause such a fuss (well, they do around Christmas time), but Christopher is graduating so there have been extra errands to run. I've been shopping tons for a few summer pieces, got my hair done, been going tanning (so I don't frighten the tanned Southerners with my paleness), and I got a manicure/pedicure.

I know, my week sounds awful when I put it that way. LOL! But trust me, I HATE shopping for clothes, so this was torture. Pure. Torture. Not to mention, a certain loving aunt made her monthly visit, so this week has been extra fun! Annnd on that note: THANK YOU MUM FOR PUTTING UP WITH MY SNARKYNESS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!! YOU DESERVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY!

Ahem.

Moving on...

Life:
  • Like I said, I leave for Virginia for two weeks on Sunday. Yay!
  • Got my hair cut and coloured. It looks spiffy. Pictures tomorrow, promise.
  • Got a manicure and pedicure. Pictures tomorrow.
  • I went clothing shopping-- twice. I got some nice stuff.
  • I've been going tanning. You tanning haters, SHUSH. I don't want to hear it. Trust me. You have no idea how little sun we get up here in the freaking north.
Writing:
  • Okay, so since last Tuesday (April 27th) I have written 9140 words! Wow, huh? I only wrote 8 of those days, so I think that's pretty darn good considering how tired I am from school still. I'm supposed to write 2500 words today, tomorrow, and Sunday to meet my goals for this week, but I'm pretty tired from my hectic week, so I probably wont do that each day. I'll just try to write what I can, when I can =)
What about you? How has your week been? How's the ol' WIP?

Monday, May 3

What Do YOU Write?

Now that I am on summer break, I've had a lot more time to read blogs. One thing I've noticed is the huge variation in the genres we all work with. I mean, I knew I followed fantasy writers and YA writers and Sci-Fi writers, but I guess I never really thought about it all that much. No time to, I suppose.

However, I am realizing that though I know what many of you write, I don't know what everyone writes. And I confess, sometimes I even stumble on the ones I thought I knew.
So rather than sneak around trying to ferret out what genre each person writes in, I thought I'd just ask you guys! I mean, who else knows YOU better, right? LOL

What genre of literature are you currently writing? What have you written in the past? Which genre is your favourite to read?

Since I started taking my writing more seriously, I've started 2 regency romances but abandoned them for various reasons. I am currently working on a medieval romance and loving it!

Sunday, May 2

Trying Something New


For the past several weeks, I've been contemplating whether or not to add a new POV in my story. For those who don't know, I am writing a medieval romance. Thus far, there have been two POVs: my heroine's and my hero's. However, I've been thinking about adding a Bad Guy POV. Now, I know a lot of people say don't do this for various reasons. But, quite frankly, I don't mind them as long as they're short, to the point, and useful/entertaining to the reader. In fact, I think it can add suspense if done right. For example, Monica McCarty has had several interesting Bad Guy POVs in her books whereas J. R. Ward's tend to be long and boring.*
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So on Friday, I wrote a small scene testing it out. Once it was done, I sent it off to my mum-- my first line of defense. And guess what? She loved it! I only had to make a few minor changes, but other than that it was perfect. I kept it short-- not even 2 pages--and made it interesting. I won't write in that POV often, but I will put it in a few times to build suspense.
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Have you ever written a Bad Guy POV? Have you read any that bugged you? Why did they bug you?
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*I adore J. R. Ward's books, but I tend to skip her Bad Guy POVs because they're too long and not interesting.*

Happy 15th Birthday Daisy!

*Yes, I am saying Happy Birthday to my dog.*


Yep, my baby turned 15 (that's 105 in dog years) yesterday. I don't think any of us thought she would make it this long. She'd been a daredevil from the beginning: jumping off two-story balconies, running in traffic, taking on dogs three times her size.... You get the picture. On top of all of that, she's had some health issues with her back. And now, she has heart disease. But she's still barking and still acts like a puppy every chance she gets. So here's to a little bit longer, Daze! Love you!

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