Friday, March 29, 2013

Sigil Maker!

So, I totally lied when I said I'd be back on Wednesday.  I'm back now for liiiiiiiiiiiiike 2 seconds, to share something awesome with you.

You ready?

Even if you don't watch the show/read the books, you should still hop on this site and make a sigil!  It's tons of fun, and, naturally, I've already made mine :)

I love this thing.

As I was driving back to Tennessee, my lovely CP Jen cursed me on Twitter for talking about the sigil maker, because she wanted to make one for the Houses in her story.  Jen, this is my hint that you seriously need to do this - and it's also my shameless stealing of your idea.

The sigil thing doesn't exactly match ASTRAL's world, since that takes place very much in the near future/here BUT it kind of works for my Les Mis/Star Wars mash-up!  Without further ado, here are a few sigils...

This is the sigil for the Empress who rules the Galaxy. She's pretty fabulous.

My story's version of the Thenardiers - this sigil is only for Pon's parents (her sigil is separate!)

Here's my story's version of Javert's family sigil! They're pretty intense about laws and rules :)

And last but certainly not least, here's Pon's!

That was way too much fun!  I miiiiiiiiiiight make a couple more before the weekend is done :)

If you make your own, post the link in the comments!!! I want to see all of your awesome House sigils!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I think I love hiatuses...

Since I last blogged (from Orlando! Now I'm in Blacksburg, VA, the wonderful little town I went to college in!) I finished revising my prelim draft of the Les Mis/Star Wars mash-up, and have sent it away to be torn apart by people far smarter than me.

Which pretty much means I spent most of two days doing this.

Also, this is totally apropos of nothing, but I found this on Tumblr just now:
I just...this is amazing.

So, what am I doing in my free time now, you ask?  Well, first, I'm trying to detox from all the Les Mis I've been listening to for the past three months.  I could probably pick out every single part of the harmonies, and perform the whole show on my own thanks to the hours (the total of which, I'm scared to add up) that I spent listening to the soundtrack.

Don't get me wrong, I love this show - if I didn't, I wouldn't have tried to do a retelling - and I'm working my way through the actual book, too!  But, for now, I'm slowly listening to music that's NOT the 10th Anniversary Concert Special soundtrack and figuring out what to write next.

I've got a story idea (or two, or three, or more), and I'm quite excited about all of the possibilities.  But, right now, I'm also excited about my hiatus.  You see, the drafting process for my Les Mis retelling was a pretty intense three-month-long-I-don't-do-anything-else-but-write-this-when-I'm-not-at-work-or-in-class.  I got this consumed with a story when I wrote ASTRAL, too, and although I love both stories, I need a bit of a writing break.  

I plan to catch up on my beta-reading pile, catch up on my TBR pile, plot ze next book ('cause this one actually calls for an outline...yeesh!), oh, and do fun things like Guest Post on blogs!  Be on the lookout for lots of fun things this coming Wednesday, when I'll be on the YA Misfits blog talking about worldbuilding!

Until then, well, I'm still kind of on blog hiatus...but that'll change in April, so YAY!

See ya on Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Secret Star Wars Mash-Up Becomes...Not a Secret!

Well hello friends!

This blog post is brought to you by my lovely Orlando hotel's restaurant!  Since I'm almost done revising Part 3 of my Secret Star Wars story and am about to send it out to be ripped apart by my awesome and amazing CPs, I figured I might as well talk about it.  So here we go!

WARNING: GIFs AHEAD (but no spoilers, promise!)

So, I've alluded to it before, but I love musicals.  I don't know if I've alluded to this before, but I took five years of french.

My first year of french was in the eighth grade (I was also french student of the year! holla back!).  Our french teacher, Madame Terray, gave us this extra credit option that involved going to see a certain musical that one of the high schools was putting on.

What was said musical?

This one.  Or Les Miserables, if you want to be a little more accurate.

Mind you, I first saw this in the eighth grade, at a high school, and was kind of annoyed that there was, like, NO TALKING in this musical.

So I got my extra credit and wondered why I sat through three hours of watching people yell-sing at each other and then die.

Then, in high school, I actually started to appreciate it a little more, and our choir director took us all to NYC see a few musicals.  Les Mis was one of them.  I went in a little skeptical, and left absolutely blown away.  The amount of talent it takes to pull this whole show off is something I can't even fathom, and I've always loved francophone culture things, so I kind of fell in love with it then.

But I didn't do anything with it.  Yet.

So, this past December, I caught part of Spike's Star Wars marathon.  The day after I saw Les Mis in movie theaters with some old high school friends.  And, as I sat there on our couch, I was like... "HMMMMM. I want to write a story in space that's like Star Wars, but different.  How shall I do this???"

I was also listening to the Les Mis soundtrack.  I know, I know, right now you're probably all:
And it's totally okay.

So then I opened my ideas notebook and started writing.  And, no lie, in all caps it says:

It sounded so ridiculous that I immediately knew I wanted to try it.  I decided to make Eponine my main character, and re-write things from her perspective, since she was always my favorite anyways.

Eponine Thenardier became Pon Devrier, a lowly criminal and daughter of two pretty masterful con-artists who just wants to get out of the friend zone with her BFF, Rius (or Marius, if you know the story).  But I have to make things a bit more complicated than being perpetually stuck in the friend-zone, right?  

So I threw in an Empress who drugs the masses to keep them complacent, a Rebellion that miiiiiiiiiiiiight not have the people's best interests at heart (the rebellion piece is how I tied Star Wars and Les Mis together!), a Captain who may or may not be losing his mind, and a Princess who tries to take matters into her own hands (and who my CPs love to hate :P).

I knew this was going to be a fun, complicated story to write, but I'm glad I stuck it out.  Even though sometimes when I was trying to navigate third person, I felt like this:
Also, the whole restaurant just judged me for laughing way too loudly at this...

I'm really proud of how this story turned out, and am excited to have it torn apart so I can make it even better :)  

Or, I feel like this.
Okay, maybe not quite like that.  WHAT IS THIS FACE, MARIUS?!?

Oh, and I was planning on announcing this with singing and pomp and circumstance and whatnot, but I decided GIFs were better, because, GIFs.  So now you know why I've been crying like every night.  This is a sad, sad musical y'all (though my book might be just as sad. Maybe. Woops.).  

But the tears were SO WORTH IT!!!!  I really pushed myself, and I love the characters (and the Galaxy) that I created and got to play in for 86,000 words!

Just for funsies, here's the first(ish) page!  :D
This was taking too long.  Pon paced around the narrow alley, counting the seconds that trickled by as she waited for the signal.  Two small flashes of light were all she needed, but as time stretched on the unbroken darkness taunted her. 
They shouldn’t have tried to do this tonight, but once Jorl set his mind to something, he couldn’t be talked out of it.  The Empress’s Announcement would be a good enough distraction, but that was only if they could get into the Aquifer in time.  If they started too late, they probably wouldn’t live to see the end of whatever surprise Empress Letienne planned to unleash on the Galaxy tonight. 
Pon glanced up at the second window on the second floor.  Still nothing.  Stars Above, what was taking him so long?  She should have been the one to break in – she was quicker and better at sneaking around.  He was too clumsy.  He could get hurt.
“What’re you doing here?”  The guard’s voice broke through the silence, while his hand tried to break through Pon’s personal space.  She grabbed the guard’s hand and twisted it around his back, shoving him against the wall. 
Rius stepped out from behind the corner, knocking the guard out with the hilt of his sword.  Pon let the guard fall to the ground, focusing on Rius’s light brown eyes.  They shone in the moonlight, sending a wave of warmth through her body.  She fought the urge to run her hands through his dark brown hair.  Friends didn’t run hands through each other’s hair.
“I could’ve taken care of him myself,” Pon stepped closer to him, keeping her hands firmly at her side.  He’d freak out if she threw herself at him, but she was getting dangerously close to not caring.
“I don’t doubt it,” Rius winked, grabbing her hand.  Pon’s heart tried its best to escape.  “I hope you’ll forgive me for helping you.”
“I think I’d like to stay mad for a little bit longer.”
“What can I do to make it up to you?”  His lips brushed the top of her hand and everything spun as her heart beat faster than a ship at warp speed. 
“You can let me knock out the guard next time.”
“Deal,” Rius’s smile was even better in the moonlight.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Humblebrag Post








Sunday, March 10, 2013

Retelling hints :)


I'm very close to being done with this retelling.

I'm going to give a few hints.

Sometime this week I'll put up a blog post about and talk about the process, 'cause it's been quite different from everything I've written so far :)


Somewhere on this blog I've talked about what I'm retelling.

This has nothing to do with fairy tales.

This has everything to do with Star Wars and Galaxies far, far away (but, obviously, I'm not retelling Star Wars - Disney's about to do that, and they don't need my help haha).

In the original story, the female characters really weren't paid much attention - I've changed that a bit in my retelling.

The playlist is very sad, and it already existed when I sat down to write this story.

Lots of people die in my retelling's original story.

Oh, and there's a love triangle in the original story (that turns into a love...something in mine).  The love triangle in the original tale might also have been my first real introduction to the concept - and said introduction happened in the eighth grade.

That's all you're getting, dear readers!  Stay tuned later this week for more details on a retelling that I seriously can't wait to talk about!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A quick note about being grateful.

Friends, Romans, Countrypeople, lend me your ears -

Okay, okay, just kidding about that.  I didn't kill Ceasar or anything like that, but I'm taking a break from my temporary March blog hiatus to write this post.  And this post will be serious.  Because I can be serious sometimes.

Here we go.

To the part of writing world that complains about online contests:

You need to stop whining.


And this is coming from the best place possible.  I'm unagented, I have a book that I love, and I've entered a  couple of online contests, only to not make it to the agent round.

Yes, I was bummed that it happened.

And yes, I was slightly jealous of the people and stories that beat me out.

But you know what?  I got over it, because you can't win everything.

I've seen so. many. comments/tweets/angsty rants lately about how these contests are "run by the same people" and how these people are somehow "only picking their friends to move on to the agent rounds" because EVERYONE that runs contests is a part of some made-up "literary clique" and they OBVIOUSLY don't care about people who aren't their friends blah blah blah.

Well, let me just put that out there, as one contest entrant to another:

There ISN'T a conspiracy against you.

There's no "literary clique" and the people running the contests are some of the nicest, most generous people I've ever met (both in person and online).

They spend days/weeks/months organizing these contests FOR US so that, ya know, we can get an agent or editor to notice us.

I repeat.  They do these contests FOR US.  They go through the slush (Pitch Wars had more than 1,000 submissions), find agents to bid on our work, hold Twitter pitch parties, and provide us with an opportunity to get our work critiqued by others (and THOUGHTFULLY critiqued at that).

They get nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, from these contests, other than the opportunity to help writers find their dream agent/editor.  They do this FOR US, they sacrifice their own writing time to read our work, to cheer us on, to HELP US, and what do we do?

We start bashing them online.  Because we didn't get picked.

This needs to stop.  It's ridiculous, and rude, and not at all in the spirit of the writing community that I know and love.

A community that wished me luck on my job interview yesterday.  A community that celebrates when people get agents or book deals.  A community that has been so supportive, lovely, wonderful, helpful, and, most of all, WELCOMING.

If you're a writer, we accept you.  If you love to read, we accept you.  If you love to smell books - well, we'll still accept you too.

So, please, please, please stop complaining about the very contests and people that are just trying to help YOU on your writing journey.  If you're not getting picked, then maybe something's wrong with your first page, or your pitch, or your query, or maybe you just have to write a new book.  A better book.

I understand the frustration.  I know how difficult it can be to not get picked.  But so do the people organizing and helping with these contests.  Let's not forget that they're people too, and deserve to be thanked every once and a while because they're doing us all a huge favor by caring in the first place.

They care about us.  Let's not give them a reason to stop.

Monday, March 4, 2013

I did a guest blog post!!!

And in said blog I talked about strong female characters in the Whedonverse!

Thanks again to Alli over at Geek Banter for having me over (I really enjoyed writing this and hope I made sense haha).

Click here to read my post!

Alsooooooooooo today is one of my friend's cover reveal!  Click here to check out the cover for Leigh Ann Kopans' YA Sci-Fi debut, ONE!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Seriously, though, you should take a risk!

March is probably going to be a pretty sad month to be my blog (so it's a good thing you're just reading it and you're not actually my blog!).  I've got a lot of grad school.job search stuff going on, while trying to Beta a bunch of awesome manuscripts AND I'm trying to finish up my Star Wars mash-up retelling (and yes, what I'm retelling is still a secret! Sorryyyyyy!).

But before I go on my sad hiatus, I've got one thing to discuss with you (well, technically I have two, but my second discussion will be a guest post on a friend's blog soon!).

Today I'd like to get back on my soapbox and scream at you to take a risk.

Have you taken it yet?  I'll wait.



Here's why I think you should go out and do something that scares you:
When you're successful at whatever it is, you'll feel awesome.
And, even if you fail, you'll still feel awesome.

Unless your risky thing was cliff-diving, and somehow you hit the water wrong and...yeah, okay, don't perform any risky things that might result in physical harm.

My risky thing was this Star Wars mash-up retelling WiP.  Over winter break I was watching a Star Wars marathon on Spike and decided that I really wanted to write a story set in space.  The retelling piece happened shortly after I decided I wanted to do the space thing, and from the very end of December until the beginning part of February I drafted all day every day (when I wasn't at work or in class).

By the time February rolled around, I left on a jet plane to go to NYC, had to write my pseudo-thesis, and had work stuff to do.  Somehow I still fit drafting in there, and right now it's sitting at a comfortable 70K. I still have to write the ending, but it'll be done in a couple of weeks and I'm excited for a few reasons.

1. I'll finally be able to talk about my retelling. a handful of people right now know what it is, and I really just want to be obnoxious and talk about the source material and how/why my retelling deviates from the original novel.  And maybe analyze the source material a little bit, 'cause there's a LOT in there.

2. My grand experiment in third person will be able to rest for a little while.

This second point is the more important of the two.
Before I started this story, I'd only ever written in first person POV. My first book was narrated by a pretty kick-ass Cinderella (in first present) and ASTRAL is a dual first-person POV (present-tense also).

This story is third person past-tense.  So, pretty much something I'd never done and had no idea if I could pull it off.  I've sent Part 1 to a few CPs and a couple of my non-writing Betas, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  I'm very, very proud of this story and I think it'll be pretty awesome when I'm done with it!

But I'm also proud of myself for taking that 3rd person past-tense risk in the first place!  I've learned so much through drafting, but the best part of this whole process was learning that I can do something if I really want to.  And, not only can I do it, but I can succeed pretty well at whatever I need to!

Julia, who showed me what 3rd person deep POV looked like and helped me figure it out!
Elodie, for being one of my retelling experts, and freaking out over this thing as much as I have!
Jamie, who also freaked out about this story and was subjected to reading the story when I started it in the wrong place :P
Jeannette, who will probably point out the places that I'm relying on too much info from my retelling, and for freaking out too!

Looking back on it, I've freaked quite a few people out (hopefully in a good way!)

Right then, the love fest is done.  Just like this blog post. So go out there and take that risk! You won't be disappointed!

And you might feel like this :)