Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Clubs are freakin' Amazing!

I was always on the fence about joining a book club but then a few yrs ago I saw The Jane Austin Book Club movie and thought about how freakin' fun that would be to talk books with a group of other like minded peers.  I tend to move around loads so I didn't have time to find a great group.  I know there are some online but for some reason I never considered it.  I recently moved to St. Louis, MO and plan on sticking it out here for awhile so I thought I would give a book club a chance.  There is this great indie bookstore here which houses alot of the author events here in the area.  While on their website, I saw they offered a Young Adult Book Club for Adults.  It was like the heavens opened up!

I was slightly nervous to go because well I didn't read that months book since I just found the site but I decided to attend anyway.  When I got there they had already started...early.  I felt slightly dumb but they were all very welcoming.  I listened in to their conversation of that months book--one of which I won't name.  The night was exactly like I expected: great people discussing great books, laughing, and who wouldn't love to drink wine at a book talk? What I didn't learn so much about writing!

During the book talk, everyone, ok the 5 people who attended, discussed what they liked and didn't like about the book.   Of course I knew that is the point of book talks, but I didn't think it would give me so much insight as a writer.  Back when I did book talks in High School I didn't listen to them like I was a writer.  This time I caught so much valuable information.  So lesson of the day--err well week from me--is to think like a writer in everything that you do.  You will be surprised how much it can pay off. Please keep me updated on what you learn!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shaking Things Up

I am leaving for a work conference tomorrow morning on the other side of the universe country. I am currently running around packing like a madman, scrambling at the last minute because I ALWAYS DO THIS and I had to wait until tonight to get my suitcase repaired, pick up my dry cleaning, declare peace between the Montagues and Capulets and somehow manage to get a full night of sleep and be perky and professional and Ronald Reagan International tomorrow. Ugh.

My life, people. My life.

In the meantime, I'm trying to finish the last three chapters on this draft of my WIP (please, celestial beings, let me be DONE ALREADY) and as such this trip comes at a slightly inconvenient time. But maybe it'll push me. I don't know.

(insert Salt n Peppa's "Push" here)

There is really no coherent string of thought behind this post, besides the fact that it's Monday so I had to grace you all with my crazy ramblings, and also I wanted to say hi. Hi, internet!

I will be back, and hopefully a bit more coherent, on Saturday. Late Friday night, actually, but I promise there will be no coherence involved there. Only jetlag.

What are your plans for this post-holiday week? The (other) holiday season is fast approaching. What are you doing to shake things up?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful - Author's Who Inspired

I don’t know about you but I’m stuffed like a turkey on a Thanksgiving day. Oh, wait. Anyway, now that my small attempt at humor has failed let’s move on to the actual part of the post. 
Predictable, I know, but I wanted to take a few moment’s and talk about author’s that I am thankful for. The list is beyond long, but there are a few who have shaped my writing, and my life.

Jules Verne. While most of the kids were reading superhero comics (don’t worry, I did as well) I fell in love with the worlds this man created. One of my favorite books of all time is a three story collection of his lesser known works.  The Begum’s Fortune, The Barsac Mission, and Robur the Conqueror.

Agatha Christie. I read pretty much everything by her. Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, and so many others. I loved mystery growing up, acting out my own detective games with friends. 
Carolyn Keene. Yes, I know there’ve been quite a few people writing under the pseudonym of this name but I loved Nancy Drew growing up. So many great mysteries, written with a clear voice that could be understood by those of every age. 

Honestly, I can’t even think of all the books I read as a child. Moby Dick, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Alexander Dumas and many more. I have always been a reader, and now I have the privilege of being a writer. I was a science fiction/mystery junkie, what about you?

What are some of the authors you remember reading as a child who made an impact on your life?
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The reason I write....

“The tears I feel today
I'll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I'll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I'll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go.”
― Anne McCaffrey, Dragonsinger

On this Thanksgiving Day in America, I would like to take a moment to pay homage to the lady who gave me my first real cry from reading a book. The Ship Who Sang is the book that convinced me that some day I wanted to be a writer, and I could only hope to be half as good as Anne McCaffrey. Rest in Peace and thank you for every adventure you gave me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where Did YOU Come From?

When I first started writing my novel I only saw the two lead characters.  I saw scenes with them together and seperate but never with anyone else.  As I started writing small scenes that I saw in my head--I didn't know how writing a novel worked, let alone an outline--the character that I thought they were, turned out to be totally different.  Here I thought my female was going to be sad and depressed the whole book but she is strong willed and sassy; far more sassy than I expected her to be.  Then HE came along and I thought he was going to be this typical sweep you off your feet type but no, he can equally be caring and sarcastic.  The two of them together just have this chemistry that I wish I would have with someone.

The more I wrote about these two, the more other characters hopped in to give their two sense on the matter.  The lead female's best friend to be is far more sarcastic than all of them put together.  The things she says even surprises myself.  I like to think it was me who came up with the witty comments but I know it's all her.  Have you ever wrote a character like that?  Someone who says the most interesting things, but you have no idea how you could even come up with someone like that?  That goes for the DARK characters too.  The evil and vile things that they do to others disgust you but it came from some part of you deep down.  Or did it?  Where does it all come from?  Is it out sourced from a blend of movies, games, or real life? I could never pin point it because all of that has such a huge impact on me the way it is now.

Where do you come up with some of these amazing and also the deadly characters in your stories?  

Monday, November 21, 2011

When You Knew

Lots of writers have always wanted to be - or indeed, always have been - writers. In some way or another. They'll talk about how they were born with a Marble notebook and ballpoint pen in hand (which, God bless your mother!) or how they sat daydreaming story ideas in sixth grade or accidentally entered a context when they were 9 and it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

I'd always written. I was one of those babies who needed to be delivered via C-section because Five-star binders full of wee toddler stories just weren't designed to pass through certain places, know what I'm saying?

In first and second grade, in my first school back when I still lived in NYC, every year each kid would get a hardcover, totally blank white book. About A4 paper-size, maybe 20-30 pages on the inside. We got to write and draw our own stories as an assignment. I imagine you would respect me a lot less if I told you it was about a distinctly self-insert character who lost his pet hedgehog just before the school show-and-tell fair. But I just accidentally told you anyway, so there's that.

I'd always written. But I never thought of myself as a writer, even though I wrote constantly and weaved stories out of every single thing and took Creative Writing classes in middle school and read like books were oxygen and I was gasping for air. It didn't occur to me that this was A Thing I Could Do, Like For Reals until maybe halfway through high school.

But I should have.

A year or so ago, I was going through a collection of my things that had been boxed up and put in storage when I moved away to college. I'd been far from this storage space ever since and hadn't gone through my belongings there in five years or so. Going through my collections, I found that first hedgehog story from when I was but a wee young lad.

But it wasn't the sad saga of Ricky the Missing Hedgehog that made me realize I was destined to lead the life of a writer whether I liked it or not. It was the inscription I'd written on the inside of the front cover, that read something along the lines of:

(C) 1994 RICHARD LIPMAN. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. If you purchased this book without a cover, you should know it is stolen property and the author received no payment.

I cracked up when I discovered the wily ways of my 7 year-old self, and immediately showed my mother. We decided I was stuck on the writer's path, pretty much, come hell or high water.

So. When did you know - know for sure - that you were a writer? Share your stories in the comments!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Your subtleties They strangle me I can't explain myself at all

title courtesy of It Ends Tonight by All-American Rejects

So this week has been a little depressing. Anyone else have weeks like this? It happens, and not just in writing world, but in the ‘real’ world as well.

My mind is an abyss of depressing things and that’s been my writing lately. Not only depression, but like crazy gory and insane. Have you seen The Walking Dead show? You know the part in every zombie movie where the hands of the undead reach through the closed doors or windows and your whole body shudders in fear? Yep, that’s me, writing.

But this is not what my post is about. It’s actually about laughter. Ha, you didn’t see that coming huh? I think we as writers, often forget to laugh. Especially during the revising stages. That’s what Im talking about here. Revisions and laughter.

Sometimes, I think, I forget to laugh while I’m revising. I sit there, staring at my pages, screaming “WHY AM I SO HORRIBLE AT THIS?” Right before I start screaming, “NO ONE IS GOING TO READ THIS CRAP!” I’m a failure. I’m a nobody. Why did I write such stupidity?

This is where I need to unwind (which I talked about last Friday) and laugh. A lot. Writing is hard work. It’s WORK. Those who don’t write don’t understand how incredibly hard it can be. But we as writers, sometimes forget how much fun it can be. So here is some fun and laughter for all of you wonderful people out there.

You’re welcome. I accept book and coffee gift cards as offerings of gratitude. *Bows*

Have a wonderful weekend lovelies! Hope your day is filled with laughter!

Much love

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I want my book to be like a Disney movie

I want every book I write to be like a Disney movie. I know that sounds crazy. Trust me for a minute.

What does every Disney movie start with? A character with a huge problem. If my main character has a huge problem, then already I have created depth and hopefully a connection with the reader. If you were writing the story of Paris Hilton’s life it could go two ways.

Paris Hilton is a beautiful heiress who jet sets around the world going to cool parties and hanging out with even cooler people. She once dated Greek royalty, and had her own reality TV show with her best friend who is also considered music royalty.

That’s a pretty boring story, right? What if you changed it up a little bit?

Paris Hilton is an heiress who is constantly in trouble. Most memorably was the incident of her night vision sex tape that was leaked by the man she was engaged with at the time. Paris is known for dressing dogs in ridiculously expensive clothing and was denied adoption for a chihuahua at one point by a reputable breeder.

That is infinitely more interesting.

I know everyone (myself included) is always thinking plot. However, when you start plotting if you think about your characters too and their problems and what they will have to go through to solve them then I think a big part of your main arc can be covered.

Sarwat Chadda once told me, give your character three traits at the beginning of the book, at the end of the book make sure those traits are different. I think that is one of the best pieces of advice I have heard about writing.

Whether you are a outliner or a pantser I think this method will work. We all think about our characters and what they will be like, but maybe instead of deciding if he is more of a BinBons or possibly an RPatz we should be thinking about what they feel, what are their morals? What is the one thing that is most important to them?

Find that one thing, and take it away. Your character will fight to get it back.

So, are you an outliner or a pantser?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nova On Losing Words

I don’t know about all of you writers out there but I am having a hard time finding the words.  I get like this sometimes and I know my friend does as well.  We had this conversation last night that he was having a hard time finding the words.  Yes I am expressing words as a physical thing—to me they are. They go from your head or universe and then onto the page as a final work of art, producing a physical piece in front of your eyes.

He was describing the last few days that, not having a lack of motivation, but for some reason the words had just went into hiding.  I’ve been feeling like this myself lately.  It isn’t that I don’t want to write.  It is far from that. When I sit down at my lovely new computer with all my notes and outline spread out, it’s like someone shoves my hands into cement.  I would say I rarely have this problem but that would be a lie mostly to me than to you.  Some days I push myself to write, not because I don’t like it, but because what I am writing isn’t the words I see in my head. I know they are better up there but for some reason they just don’t come out. No matter how hard I try, they kick and scream and cling on by their nails to stay there.

Is it because my mind isn’t feeling inspired right now? Or is it because I just have so many other things going on that I need to get rid of from my mind? I’m not sure. I know you just have to push though it because you can always go back to it and fix them another day but it still makes you feel like crap when you know the words are up there.  *shakes brain*

Do any of you ever feel like this? I know it’s normal and sometimes it only lasts a few days but what do you do to jump start yourself again?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Importance of Unplugging

There is absolutely no science to support what I'm about to say. (Since when has that stopped me?) But honestly, the older I get, and the more time I spend on the computer - for work, for entertainment, for social networking, for a dozen other things - the shorter my attention span becomes. The more anxious, sometimes, I become. And like many folks, sometimes I get internet fatigue.

This is mildly alarming, since the internet and I have been BFFs for quite a long time now and 99 percent of the time, if you tried to take Twitter away from me I would clobber you over the head with a frying pan. But every once in a while, I stare longingly at the "off" button on my wireless connection, wishing I had the willpower to turn it off voluntarily.

That would, of course, never happen.

So I did the next best thing: I went camping this past weekend. Anyone who knows me should probably take pause at that sentence. I do not do the whole communing with Mother Gaia Earth Outdoors Thingy particularly well. I'm pampered and spoiled and my idea of 'unwinding' usually tends to involve more cabana boys bringing me fruity drinks as I lay by the Puerto Rican shoreline and less 'Nature! Nature IN MY FACE!'

But I did it anyway.

It's important, as writers, to stretch outside of our comfort zones every once in a while. Writing what you knows gets old - and uninteresting - pretty quickly if you don't know a whole lot. I've talked a bit about this before on my own blog, the phenomenon that my friend Erin calls "replenishing the well". So that's what I took this weekend to do.

It's not just about finding inspiration in the unusual, or the outside world. Sometimes it's about stepping away from the world you know. I had zero cell phone service for close to 48 hours. No phone calls or e-mails or Twitter. I missed Twitter (though truly, I did not lament the loss of e-mail notifications for just about anything). But I needed it. I needed to take a breath.

I'm refreshed now, despite sleeping on the wooden floor of a poorly-insulated cabin and somewhat freezing my tuchus off the other night, because camping in Virginia in the middle of November is what some people would refer to as 'silly'. I'm refreshed in spite of inhaling the ashes of a giant bonfire all weekend, or having to pee in a batch of what I strongly suspected to be poison sumac, or hiking about a hillside looking for firewood and coming up pathetically empty-handed.

I'm refreshed.

I could do with some more time away from the back-and-forth of everyday life - couldn't we all? - though I think I maxed out my enjoyment of forfeiting my memory foam mattress. But the breathing, the action of stepping back, even if just for a day or two, is always so much better for me than I anticipate going in.

(I tend to project worst-case scenarios. Thinking things such as 'But I will be in the woods in the middle of NOWHERE and someone important will call me - the President, what if it's the President? And I can't ANSWER! And also there are BEARS, and since I did not bring my computer it may resign in protest, dousing itself in gasoline like a Buddhist monk and going up in FLAMES and then the President of the United States will think I'm not returning his calls because I ran off with the Prime Minister of Greece when really, I've just been mauled beyond recognition by a bear. HOW DID ANYONE TALK ME INTO THIS?!')

But none of those fears came true.* And I'm better for the experience. I have a bit more focus and perspective now, and I mentioned on Twitter last week that I was beginning to get a bit down/discouraged about my writing journey. I feel a bit more confident, or at least calmer now. But the demons of doubt reach everybody once in a while, and it's important to be able to run for the hills.

So when's the last time you took a step back to breathe? Really, truly breathe? And how did it affect you - and your writing?

* The President did call, but my secretary got back to him in a timely fashion, I'm assured.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11: Secret Weapons

Hi there. It’s Friday and I am here to entertain! Come over here. A little closer. That’s right. Take a seat right there. Very good. Now, let talk about writing.

Okay, so I had this whole thing planned out. My first post. I was going to dazzle. This is it! I’m going to make a great first impression. I brainstormed, I typed it, I edited, and it loved me. There was hugging people! That’s some serious love. But it decided to run away and now I am left with this. *looks at the screen sadly*

If I had a dog and a cat, this is definitely what they would say. I'm sure my bird thinks I'm nuts.

This is how writing is for me. I get this fabulous idea, run to my computer, notebook, or roll of toilet paper and jot down the idea. It’s shiny. It loves me. All is well in the world. Then I sit down to actually write it and everything falls apart.

There is wailing.

There is gashing of teeth.

There is lots of coffee consumption (well, there is always coffee consumption, but that’s besides the point).

The point is we all suck. We really do. No matter how hard we try not to, we will have those days that no matter what words we put to paper they will scream obscenities at us. My characters do. Often. However, the funny thing about that is I can sit down the next day, write down the exact same words and receive presents and cookies from the said characters.

This is exactly what I look like when I dance!
Would you like to know how I deal with those times? I dance. Oh, and eat Hot Cheetos (those are seriously addicting).

Just the fact that I can stand up and bust a move (glee version) can and does refocus me. It’s like my characters enjoy the time away from me and when I come back, they welcome me with open arms.

Since it's 11-11-11 I guess I can wish to have super writing skills and spit out novels faster than the speed of light, but where would be the fun in that?

Now, my question to you darlings is: What’s your secret weapon?

Is there something that you do that helps relieve the tension and bring you back to focus? I’d really love to know I’m not the only weird awesome one out there!

Disclaimer: this post has absolutely nothing to do with a friend who had a bit of a down time tonight. I won’t say who he is but he might possibly be on this blog. Isn’t it funny how someone else’s sad time can inspire greatness? That’s right, greatness I said! Now show me some love people!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm so edgy that my edges have edges.

If you are acquainted with me at all online you will know that I pride myself on being openminded and maybe even a little edgy. I’m the kind of mother who lets her children ingest most any type media they choose, because I trust them to choose what they can handle. If they can’t handle it I trust them to stop ingesting it and think of me as their personal poison control center. We can talk about what bothered them.

However, I found myself writing an accidental sex scene a few days ago. I had no idea that my characters were so randy or that they felt that strongly towards one another. I wasn’t really thinking about what I was writing, but when I read back through the text I realized I pulled a classic fade-to-black.

Joel had never imagined her lips could be quite that soft. She broke the kiss and he wanted to cry out to her to continue kissing him. He needed to kiss her.

“Let’s go to bed,” she said.

Joel stood, Chrissy took her hand in his and led him to the bigger bedroom. They sank into the sheets, kissing, touching, free from the bad if only for a little while.

Later, as he fell asleep, he thought he heard Chrissy whisper that she loved him.

I did two things that I despise. I faded to black, and I threw in the love equates sex mindset. I think teens can handle sex, hell a lot of them are probably having sex, so why did I fade to black? I still have no answer to this question.

Also, being a woman of the 21st century I think that women and men can have sex just because sex is awesome. They don’t need to love each other, or spill the fruit of their loins in holy matrimony and produce a mini creature that symbolizes their love for all of time. So why did I equate sex to love?

I am the farthest thing from a prude there is. I am married to a Dutchman and we all know anything goes in Holland. I even read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. You feel me dog? I don’t understand how or why my subconscious wrote this atrocity of a scene.

So what do you think? Should sex in YA equate with love and be fade to black?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nova On Fear

I’ve been thinking like a mad woman on what my first post should be.  I believe it sets the whole tone of what you can expect from me.  Then the nerves came.  Those are big shoes to fill—well not really since I only come in at a whoppin’ 5’ 0” so the feet come in miniature size as well.  I didn’t know if I should fill you in about myself but for some reason that just seemed far too upfront.  I want you all to keep coming back and learning more about me, as well as I about you, the longer we go with this.  It’s like a book; you don’t just get all the information handed to you in the first page, you find the pieces as the story unveils.

While stressing out about what to write, fear crept in.  The more I focused on the fear the more and more I thought about it.  I’ve been reading a great book I got last year and finally made my way around to it.  I’ve noticed it has been the most helpful little thing that I have ran across for writing.  “The Art of War For Writers” by James Scott Bell.  Now getting back on topic, I remember reading a section of that book about fear.

“The biggest mental obstacle—in writing, in war, in life itself—is fear.” --James Scott Bell

Fear is everywhere around us: fear of heartache, fear of death, fear of clowns (in my sisters case), etc.  I have found from observing a few of my writer friends, how fear can cripple you.  In this there is: fear of publication, fear of putting the words on paper, fear that the words aren’t good enough, fear of finishing, fear of what if no one buys your book, fear that your second book will be hated, fear of letting someone read your words, etc.  There are different fears for each person.

At some point you are just going to have to tell yourself enough is enough and fight through it.  A few years ago I got in a bad car accident.  I wasn’t injured but mentally I was terrified to drive.  For over three months, I couldn’t even drive myself to the store to buy food.  I didn’t leave the house unless my boyfriend at the time took me.  One day I woke up and said I wasn’t going to let this fear ruin my life.  It may sound like a silly thing, but you understand if you have been through something like that.  Not long after, I ended up moving out to LA on my own to live with a friend I hadn’t seen for years.  Was I nervous?  Yes. Was I completely terrified? YES, but I lived through it.  I faced my fears and I proud I did it.

I have fear in my writing life as much as the next person.  The most of my fears lean towards “Am I good enough?” I don’t know tons about writing since I’m still a newb—gamer slang for being new to something.  But what gets me through the fear is writing through it.  No one is perfect—the words aren’t perfect—and the only way to improve is to keep going.  The fear may not completely go away but you will become more confident in yourself.

While filming a movie in CA, I met a girl on set whose career was making people face their fears.  It was actually quite an interesting job.  She worked for this company that very successful people, including celebs though she couldn’t tell me who, went to for help.  They would go through sessions of facing their fears.  She told me an example of a man who was scared of heights.  They would talk about what bothered him and worked their way up to standing on a chair, in which case, he couldn’t even do.  After he mastered that they branched out more until he got the nerve to jump out of a plane.  The meaning of this story is that sometimes you have to take baby steps before you jump.

I’ll let you all know how the fear changes about my first post.  Now that the words are done, I’m feeling a little better than when I started.  I guess writing it out helped.  Who knew my advice actually worked!

What kind of fears do you all have?  It could be anything in your regular life or your writing life, I would be interested hearing about it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

Hello, mes amies, and welcome to the first official post in the YA Warehouse's weekly roster. This post is long, and for that I apologize. I hope you find me as entertaining as the nice men in white coats who bought me this lovely jacket. As you can see in our inaugural post, I am the Prince of Darkness Mondays.

Mondays are a funny thing. They get a bad rap, some might say, but I think it's totally deserved. I mean, at best, you wake up and it's Just Another Frakking Day, and you have to brush your teeth and find your glasses and figure out what you did with your favorite red panties and why there are 13 empty bottles of champagne in your kitchen... and then get ready for work.

At worst, you could wake up on a Monday and have to go straight to the dentist. This was me today, my pretties. And I realized, as I was getting cavities drilled this morning to the ka-ching! sound of my emptying bank account, that dentists are really the most brilliant - and sadistic - scammers of all time. The Nigerian princes of the world could learn a thing or two from the D.D.s.

Think about it. I am paying this dudebro HUNDREDS of DOLLARS, which are like money-units, to stick a drill in my face at 10AM and go digging like the freakin' Spanish colonial gold-miners from Pocahontas. Ostensibly for my own good, and in a building where 'Dr. Longman's House of Pain' appears on not a single sign. How does that work?

But yes, yes, I get it. Teeth are important.

You know what else is important - especially to writers? Community. (Whoah! My transitions, they are smooth and flawless. Don't act like you're not impressed.)

Lots of people talk about this. Probably more than talk about dentistry. Writing is a creative outlet, and like most other creative outlets it is emotionally exhausting, incredibly complex - and highly solitary.

Writing is lonely.

You knew that already, of course, but you might be - like I was - unsure of how to break into the Great Mafia of the Writing Community. Or you may be anxious, because look at all those other writers, who know people and have friends and go to fancy cupcake dinners or on writing retreats or to conferences or start group blogs! I will never be like them!, you wail. I will be alone forever!

'Tis not true, my precious.

Writers conferences and conventions are a great way to meet people, but the time and money required can be prohibitive for lots. The internet is where it's at, and not just for message boards of twitterchats - the internet is where I met my very real, flesh-and-blood group of fellow writers and crit partners, all of whom live in my own backyard and do fun things with me like go to midnight showings of Harry Potter or drink margaritas or have fancy crepes for dinner, or maybe do all of those things at the same time.

A little over six months ago, I had no writing community to speak of. Absolutely none. I had one writer-friend in real life, but she lived quite far away and I hadn't seen her in years. I did not know any writers, or where to find them, or if I'd mesh with them once I did find them, or if they'd be okay with genre writing or YA or or or a hundred other things.

Cue: Twitter.

Twitter can be intimidating - and confusing - at first, and I understand that. We'll address a bit later on how to use it more effectively but right now, I'm just here to say: If you're a writer (particularly an aspiring and/or lonely writer) and you are not currently on Twitter, you should be.

I can't imagine what I would have done, or how I would have kept the last vestiges of my fragile sanity over these last few months, as I've gone through two additional drafts on my own manuscript. (Shush. I can hear you all impugning my claims of sanity, and that is rude.) My writer friends have been my cheerleaders, mentors, given me criticism when I needed it, rooted for me when I needed positive energy, taken me out for cupcakes when I needed diabetes.

You need to have writer friends. You will go nuts if you don't.

I was without a writing community for many years. I was quite unhappy. But you don't have to be.

Yes, the internet is a big place. And yes, it's intimidating - it's a jungle out there! But the advent of technology has allowed us to build a world that is smaller, more layered, easily searchable. It brings people together based on shared loves and interests, can tell you with the click of a button who your neighbors are. Twitter's writing chats, the blogosphere, Absolute Write, Forward Motion, and many other places exist to help WRITERS LIKE YOU connect with other WRITERS. Who are JUST LIKE YOU! But maybe not as neurotic.

So if you ache for community, if you feel like you're going stir-crazy on your own, and if you need writer friends? And if, like me, you ever thought that you didn't know where to look, or were too intimidated to engage: Stop being intimidated! Go on Twitter, and message boards, and comment on blog posts, and let people find you! We're not that scary! We're a friendly bunch, and we have all been lonely at some point.

The water is warm. Come play.

And welcome to the jungle.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Hey everyone!  Welcome to YA Warehouse. There are four of us here, ready to entertain and enlighten you in the ways of the writing world. 
In case you were wondering, I'm Nova Lovette and I'm a YA writer.  I am currently working away on my first novel which I have plans of being a series.  There are many other book ideas floating around in this crazy head of mine, but right now Classified Novel has my full attention.  I am going to be posting on Wednesdays in either blog form or vlogs; which I am still new at but I gotta mix it up somehow!  I hope you all enjoy and stay tuned for all the craziness that awaits you!

In 2001, when Rick was but a wee young lad with the barest sparks of creativity and a bucket full of teenage angst, his English teacher ordered him to write a novel. Dutifully, he started typing - and never looked back.

These days, he lives and works in Virginia, doing something ordinary and respectable to keep a roof over his head and Chinese delivery in his refrigerator. He calls himself "a YA writer" because it sounds more respectable than "Twitter addict", and he has little slips of paper stickered inside his passport allowing him unfettered entry into other sovereign nations, proving that neither border security nor cynicism are anything like they used to be. Rick will be taking over Monday’s, so Monday’s watch out! 

Hi! *waves* I’m Valia and I’ll be taking over Friday’s. I’m a superhero by day and a writer by night.  Sometimes I ramble. Sometimes I do it in vlog form, sometimes I do it in writing form, and I always do it in tired form. I have just completed Book One of the Secret Project and I’m finally taking a breath. Oh wait, it’s NaNoWriMo. Never mind. 
I’m also a photographer, so you probably will be seeing a lot of random pictures.

Yep, random. 

Pam van Hylckama is the internet sensation behind, which she's run for 300 years. She blogs for Yahoo! and vlogs every week over at InterrobangYA . She also writes for Guys Lit Wire, San Francisco Book Review, and podcasts for Brain Burps, in addition to being the YA publicist for Musa Publishing.

Her first short story will be released in January 2012 in unCONventional. As you can see, Pam is pretty lazy and has lots of free time, so she figured she should probably do something - thus, she became the Warehouse's Thursday Wife.**

Now, we have a special q&a just for you lovely people so here you go!  (**The lovely Pam is also mysterious in many ways, and answered every question with "I'm sorry, that's classified." You'll just have to wait until next Thursday to learn more about what makes the Warehouse's newest member tick!)

What is your taste in music?

N: My taste in music just depends on my mood at the moment.  I usually have a playlist going while I write, which consists mostly of soft sounding music.  The Civil Wars and Adele have taken over most of my writing playlists.  If that isn't working for me I turn to movie scores/classical style stuff.  I am a big fan of E.S Posthumus and Apocalyptica as well.  Oh and hilarious fact...I love to line dance.  My sister and I used to go every Friday night.  Hey, I'm a country girl! What do you expect?!
R: My taste in music has gotten increasingly bizarre over the past few years. I'm much more ADD about music than I used to be. I'll get hooked on 2 or 3 songs and listen to nothing but those songs for weeks on end. And then I'm over them, and will never listen again.
Those songs, at the moment, are: 
The Fall Out Boy cover of Nightmare Before Christmas's What's This?
Karl Wolf's Africa
and Matt Nathanson's Queen of (K)nots
Perennial favorites are Matt Nathanson, Alanis, and anything a cappella. 
V: My music taste depends on where I am. If I’m in the car, it’s angry girl music or random exercise tunes. If I’m writing, it’s whatever songs my characters love. If I’m at a photo shoot, usually foreign music. If I’m cleaning my house, it’s...ha I’m kidding. I don’t clean. 
Which is your most favorite book ever?

N: It is a toss up between The Giver by Lois Lowry or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  I am a sucker for those style of books.  Because of that, Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins hold dear places in my heart. 
R: Oh jeez. As a child, the Animorphs series shaped a lot of my identity as a reader, a writer, and my perceptions and interactions with the world - it was a war story, and there were a lot of questions about ethics, a lot of navigating science-fiction plots that had very direct real-world connections. I still love that series more than anything, and re-read it often.
Favorite single book, though, would have to be Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, which I am due for a re-read on, as well.
V: I have to pick just one? I’m so not a good picker. I grew up loving Moby Dick (I was obsessed with that book), I have particular soft spot for Jules Verne’s less known works, I love Jane Austen’s Persuasions, and Agatha Cristie. I read everything by her.  
If given a choice, which animal would you want to be? Why?
N: I think I would want to be some sort of bird.  A hawk maybe or even a Raven.  The thought of soaring high above and looking down on the world below seems thrilling to me.  
R: A velociraptor. And the better question is, Why the hell not?
V: Panther! Hello? Gorgeous and vicious! Booya!
Like sports? What teams?
N: I played tons of sports in school and was a catcher in fast pitch softball, setter in Volleyball, and a Main Base in Cheerleading.  Right now I don't have time to play on any teams because of my weird schedule so I mostly just watch them in passing.  GO CARDS!! 
R: Er, no. Talking to me about sports is like talking to a ballet dancer about quantum mechanics. (Side note: I took a quantum mechanics class in high school. My parents didn't find that D- anywhere near as hilarious as I did.)
V: I have to admit, I’m a sports junky! I’m a serious Green Bay Packers fan, I adore Nascar, and I’ll watch Hockey and Basketball if I’m home.  
What would I find in your fridge right now?
Not much of anything.  I am a terrible food shopper.  I am moments away from heading to Whole Foods though to stock up.  I think all that is in there at the moment are some eggs and Hummus LOL! 
R: Salsa, ketchup, mayonnaise, a few stale hamburger rolls, and a half-finished bottle of wine. I... need to go shopping.
V: Wait, do I have a refrigerator? That’s what that humming sound is! I’m pretty sure there’s some healthy food in there, some milk, oh and definitely meat. Must. Have. Meat. 
If your house was on fire and you had to grab 3 things what would they be?
N: My Linde star ring that was passed down from my Grandpa to my Mom and then to me, the photo of my Grandpa that sits on my desk watching over me, and the backups for my novel. 
R: A few months ago, I would have hemmed and hawed and said something like 'my laptop, my phone, and my wallet', but since we had a pretty big earthquake here while I was at work not too long ago, I realize the actual answer to "What I grab in the event of sudden catastrophe" is: Nothing. When we evacuated, I got up and ran, electronics be damned.
V: My bird, Frederick Austin Fitzwilliam Lind, the only animal allowed to live in the house. Oh and I’d grab my phone, so I can call my firemen buddies and they can come and save all of my books. That’s right, books! I’ve grabbed my bird already!  
Name one thing people don't know about you.
N: I am terrified of closets.  I can't sleep with one open and the darkness inside staring back at me.  *shivers*
R:I generally come across as the sort of fast-walking, fast-talking, high-functioning stereotype of A City Boy, but as a NYC native who's lived in a couple of other big cities in my time (DC and New Delhi, for the curious), most people are surprised to learn that I hate cities. I went to college in a podunk town and I miss the atmosphere daily. I now live in a suburb of approximately 100,000 people and it's still about ten times too crowded for my tastes.
Also, sometimes, under very limited circumstances and with enough booze... I can sort of sing. I'm not going on X Factor any time soon, but I ain't tone deaf.
V: Well, I might be, possibly, completely, and totally terrified of scorpions! The funny thing about that, they follow me EVERYWHERE! No one else get’s attacked by them in my house, just me. All. The. Time.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 

N: My friend and I like to do what we call Social Experiments.  It usually involves me doing makeup on my friend and dressing up for the part to see how others would treat us differently.  I once did his makeup like a 70 year old man and he drove around Wal-mart in one of those motorized scooters.  I played his daughter who just ignored his actions while he knocked things off the shelves and cussed about them being out of his products.  Funny enough we were treated differently.  Not a single employee said a word about his attitude or messing up the store.  We seem to learn alot when we do these experiments and most of the time it aids in my writing--his writing as well. 
R: Oh, lord. This list is longer than I'd like to publicly admit. A smattering of examples include: pole-dancing to Britney Spears in a Spanish night club; losing a shoe at the Vatican; trying to break out (yes, OUT) of a hotel room in Nepal; taking 7 classes in one semester that one time in college ; and deciding I wanted to be a writer. Like for real for reals.
V: I’m going to take the fifth on this one. I work for the police department. I’m not allowed to say. :)
Favorite color? food? 
N: My choice in favorite colors changes as often as my music tastes.  Currently I am in this black and red phase which I am blaming on my novel.  You will just have to wait and find out why :P
R: Blue. General Tso's chicken. Clarification: The chicken should, under no circumstances, be blue.
V: Anything bright, for color. Anything delicious, for food. Although, I do love to experiment with different types of food so sometimes it’s not so delicious. 
Tea or Coffee?
N: Both!  I am insanely addicted to them as I write especially.  I recently started to collect my own cast iron tea set. 
R: Iced venti vanilla skim latte with an unholy amount of Sweet-n-Lo's thrown in.
V: Coffee. Coffee. Coffee, and maybe a little more coffee with that. 
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
N: OMG this is a crazy hard one!  I would have to say a young Christina Ricci, thick Casper, or the awesome Emma Stone.  Emma and I seem to have similar styles of humor so I'm told. 
R: Hm. Someone as devilishly handsome as I, clearly. But who to pick? 
V: I’d play my own role. How fun would be it to star in a movie??? Now, who to pick as a costar, that’s whole another story. *wink, wink*