Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cute Li'l Life Update

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=&url=http%3A%2F%2Faminoapps.com%2Fpage%2Fanime%2F1796868%2Fzion&bvm=bv.133700528,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNEHQgnT4KLTQyR4IepnxT2QsLL08g&ust=1474686137422412&cad=rjt

HELLOOOOOOOO!!! *Epic drum roll*

 I haven't done a book review in ages, but hollah! Now I'm doing book reviews over at Compass Book Ratings! (Go on, click the link. You know you want to.)
http://burroughsofcharm.tumblr.com/post/21073888928/i-am-the-master-commander

It's pretty cool, sort of an IMDB for books. So, IBDB, I guess. I'm one of the new young adult fantasy reviewers, with a possible and occasional science fiction novel thrown in. These books are rated for readability, age recommendations, and scored on violence, sex, and language. I've never seen a website like this before, so I'm pretty stoked to have joined them. Not only do you get more of a literary review on the book, but you can also see at a glance the sort of "violence" or "sex" that it might contain, which is pretty handy if you really don't feel like reading something chalkful of blood and gore. Right? Riiiiight?

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwj4sKKUtqTPAhUX12MKHcD7AhMQjxwIAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftaginstant.com%2Ftumblr%2Friiiiight%2F&psig=AFQjCNF0BGnrRrJ9NpB37w4J5TbdL6nfeg&ust=1474683297611772&cad=rjt

Pretty cool, doncha think? So I'll be posting updates whenever I do a new review and it's up at Compass Books Ratings.
http://www.zerochan.net/85108


I currently have three new reviews up, that you can check out if you want. (Go on, click the links. You KNOW you want to!)
The Winner's Curse
Dragonsong
Enchanted Glass

That's all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

God bless!

Cat


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Two Interesting Writing Things that Happened to Me this Week

I'm going to write about the second thing first, because it was more recent and I still feel geeked out by it.

I'll be honest - it was sort of a cool/sad moment. I work part-time at a flower shop, which opens at 9:00 a.m. When I got into work, I discovered we had a wire-in order from PUTNAM, CONGRATULATING ONE OF THEIR AUTHORS ON HER BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!! I kid you not, I stared at that sheet for a full minute, thinking how cool that there was an actual traditionally published author IN MY TOWN and that she got signed by a really big publishing house!!
 
The names have been censored to protect the innocent :)
 
I did feel a little sad that I was so far away from that being MY reality.

But, it was cool I got to deliver her flowers!

But, t was sad because she wasn't home so I didn't get to meet her or get a business card or be all like, "Yo, congrats, gurl!"

But, it was cool to see she posted a picture of the flowers on Twitter! :)

Neat, right? 

The other and FIRST cool thing was that I attended a one-day writing workshop. I LOVE going to those things. They are so inspiring. Gets me really pumped up and in the writing groove again.

I have to say, though, that writing conferences contain some of the most introverted attendees in the world! (It is possible other conferences, such as those for actors, singers, musicians, or anything dealing with the artistic side of the brain contain introverts as well, but I have never seen more people less willing to cause a scene in real life than I see at writing conferences.)
http://www.zazzle.com/introverts_unite_separately_in_your_own_homes_poster-228084884269623431


Let me give you one moment from the workshop:

The speaker is giving the opening speech, all crazy-confident and funny. (Obviously, he is experienced. The public speaker in me suffers some serious envy.)
Mid-sentence, the speaker pauses and asks, "Are you looking for a seat?"
All attendees shift in their chairs, and cast surreptitious glances back.
The person in question hunches up like she's trying to disappear into a sweater and waves a don't-worry-about-it-hand. "It's okay, I'm just going to stand in the back."
Speaker:  "There are seats available, if we could get people to point them out?" Questioning glance around the room.
Timorous hands come up, pointing to empty seats. Nearly inaudible voices say, "There's one here."
Person in question sort of drifts to a chair in the back and goes invisible as she settles.
Speaker goes on like nothing happened, while everyone else breathes relieved sighs that THAT awkwardness is over!

And this happened a couple times, not just once. In retrospect, it was super funny, but at the time there was this camaraderie of commiseration at BEING SEEN IN PUBLIC. It was especially bad when people had to leave to attend their 10-minute query pitch. Standing up in a room of people is hard, you guys! So many muttered regrets of "What was I thinking?" and "Should I go now, or wait another minute, since it's still five minutes before I have to pitch?" and "I wish I was sitting in the back! I'll know better next time."

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjckvubg5LPAhUI6WMKHfGlCw0QjxwIAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Filirwen.booklikes.com%2Fpost%2F895125%2Fintroverts-unite&psig=AFQjCNERzTy7H99i0G2rxYkLXWrCU24QSg&ust=1474051307455576&cad=rjt


I had a 10-minute pitch of my own, wherein I verbally pitched my query to a really awesome agent. Like, awesome. She was incredibly nice, and actually seemed to like what I had to say. For a writer, that is just really nice, to get the affirmation that your writing isn't as bad as you sometimes feel it is. (Just so you know, a verbal pitch is WAY harder than a round-table critique. At least with a round-table critique, you have your MS in your hand and you can read the printed word aloud and not really make eye contact with anyone. With a verbal pitch, it's just you tooting the merits of your manuscript, and I think most writers are very precious about their ideas. They cradle them close and don't share. Ever. So, saying, "this is what my story is about" and ENGAGING... is hard.)
https://www.tumblr.com/search/may%20dragon


But one thing I realized during my pitch, and which I think came through most strongly, was my love of world-building.

Guys, I could literally world-build all day and not write a lick of story. I love to figure out why MY world is the way it is (such as someone in the far distant history of a particular world making such an enormous mistake that the hero in the present day now has an issue with adamant), and I love to study how other people sprinkle in backstory and implement that into my novels, so I don't have the ever-present problem of INFO-DUMPING (oh cursed words!) or people scratching their heads and saying, "I don't understand what's going on..."
http://giphy.com/gifs/confused-unimpressed-really-LcYag7ADVGsI8

Also, maps.
My first ever cityscape - be impressed. This was HARD

I love creating the history of my world. I also find it interesting that, for the most part, a lot of fantasies tend to have a sort of creation element. Like, this world exists, and while there may not be a One God figure (mine tend to have those, because that's the way I roll), there is often a strong draw from Roman or Greek myths, folktales, legends, and fairytales. I think it's because fantasy reveals a truth. Myths, legends, and fairytales contain that same kernel of truth.

"Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker."

~ J. R. R. TOLKIEN, On Fairy-Stories 
 
To end:
 
What is your favourite fairytale?
What is your favourite fantasy book/series?
Do you prefer Greek or Roman myths? (If you answer other, what's the other myth you prefer?)
Favourite fantasy artist?
What's the coolest thing that's happened to you this year?

God bless!

Cat 
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiDgvTfjJLPAhUI1mMKHQxPA7QQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Frebloggy.com%2Fpost%2Fcat-funny-hilarious-cat-gif-lol-cat-funny-cat-best-gif-funny-cat-gif-crazy-cat-c%2F39604852440&bvm=bv.132479545,d.cGc&psig=AFQjCNEzlh8NK9dlMlP3g6XSafLMW_Pg6A&ust=1474053745222518&cad=rjt

Monday, July 25, 2016

Katrina DeLallo's Bio

See this? This... This is mine! My PitchWars mentee bio... intro... thingy. (What's it called, again?) Oh yeah. #pimpmybio. EEEK!

I'm Katrina. Sometimes Kat. Other times, Cat. Sometimes Kit Shelle. Sometime Kit-Kat. Pretty much anything goes, nickname-wise. I've heard basically every derivative out there.

And I'm excited to submit my YA Fantasy, DRAGONFIRE, the first in a trilogy, in the 2016 #PitchWars contest!!! (Extra exclamations for extra enthusiasm!)

Actually, I'm nervous, but shhhh, that's our secret, mmkay?

Now for a robust greeting!!!
http://zuko-tow.tumblr.com/


Right, that's out of the way.

Um... so apparently, I don't know what I'm good at? Or what makes me an interesting human being. Or why my novel is better than their novels. *What is speak?* Help!

MAD SKILLZ
I can make things out of polymer clay. Once upon a time (four months ago), I made a wicked cool Stitch and Angel cake topper for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding. Epic, right?



I'm also pretty decent at black and white drawings. I've never had a lesson. I mostly ogled my older sister's drawings, then ogled Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations, and started drawing horses obsessively for years, graduated into unicorns and fantasy, and finally started drawing the characters of my novels. But I can't do colour. I don't know what it is. I pick up a crayon, a marker, a coloured pencil, paint, and my brain goes "What is draw? How art?!?" and I put down the crayon/marker/coloured pencil/paint and walk away.
Random Cool Wizard Dude

I have a pretty okay voice. I've taken classes at a community college - nothing noteworthy, but I have a goodish mezzo-soprano range, and once I sang Susan Boyle's version of Wild Horses so well I had the class IN TEARS!!! Well, mostly. There were some hardhearted troglodytes in the back who didn't seem impressed.

I am a queen of quotations, be it movies, music and books. For real. It has been said my sisters and I rarely have an original thought between us, but we can rock the *insert random quote into the conversation HERE* vibe. We're pretty cool that way. We also talk with our hands. (Taboo is quite an interesting game to play when you're not allowed to use gestures).


I can still mostly sing the entire Phantom of the Opera musical by heart. Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton are my peeps.


I am a good cook!!! I love Italian when I make it myself - I don't usually go out and order it (unless it is a white sauce something or pesto something). But I prefer the taste and texture of MY red sauces and MY pizza and MY spaghetti, so I don't usually do red-sauce meals when I eat out. I also make a mean chicken enchilada. (When I say mean, I mean MEAN! Like, spicy mean. Sometimes, I may or may not kill my sister's taste buds with spice. Sorry, not sorry.)

I have been writing for awhile. I remember getting a journal for Christmas when I was five, and writing a sort of Laura Ingalls-esque story in it. The MC was ancient, as I recall - seven going on eight. So old. The next story was a random one I wrote between the ages of nine and twelve, about a girl who gets miniaturized and makes friends with the (very weird) insects and bugs and random critters in her garden in order to get back home and properly resized - sort of Alice in Wonderland, featuring garden life. I took a writing test in high school that was put out by the Institute of Children's Literature, took two courses from them over the space of four years, learned from Orson Scott Card that fantasy writers have a hard time breaking out into magazine pieces, and have been creating world-sized novels ever since.

I write first drafts of novels into notebooks. For some reason, the bright white light of a computer screen paralyzes my brain. I can only copy the story into the computer AFTER it's been written on paper. I also like fountain pens. And Poppin pens. And empty notebooks.

I can draw maps.



I work in medical transcription three days a week. The other two days, I do stuff in a flower shop. Mostly deliveries, mostly paperwork, sometimes corsages and boutonnieres for weddings. Trust me, transcription is way less stressful. (But I AM a bit shy. Why phone someone when you can shoot them an email? You feel me? Medical transcription, I get to work at home and not worry about irate customers or ringing phones, and instead concentrate on transforming a doctor's dictation into an accurate, typewritten report.)

I live in America, and use mostly British spelling. I have also been thought to be native Canadian, Scottish, or Hawaiian, but no one has ever thought I was born and raised Californian.

I live in Lake Tahoe. Gorgeous, right? Yes, I swim in that water. Yes, I do it without a wet suit. No, I have never gone out on a boat. Yes, it's cold. Yes, it's clear. No, I don't water ski. Basically, my family and I will go the beach, and we will run and dive into the water, and then watch the tourists touch the water with their toes. (We might laugh condescendingly at this point.) Once they feel for themselves how cold the lake is, they stare wonderingly out at us, as though judging and deciding which insane asylum we are headed to.

The summers are beautifully warm (not deathly hot!) with lots of sunshine, the winters are mild most of the time, with snow and lots of sunshine, and spring and fall are both beauteous in their own way. I prefer spring, because next comes summer, but fall IS lovely. And you can SMELL the pine trees. And the air is very clear. It's sharp when you breathe, like mmmmmmm.


I am one of eleven children.

I excel at The Floor Is Lava.

RANDOM EXTRA STUFFZ:

Favourite movies/TV shows:
Hawaii Five-0 (remake, because Steve is HAWT! And Danno is HAWT! And I'm still over here going STEVE AND CATH FOREVER! I hope she comes back for season 7.)
Blue Bloods ('cause, Reagan family. 'Cause Catholic+Irish+Jamie+Danny+Papa Frank = yusssssssss.)
The ENTIRE Marvel Cinematic Universe (particularly Iron Man, Captain America, and freakin' Daredevil, but excluding Jessica Jones *shudder* and Deadpool *double shudder*)
The Lord of the Rings (but not that travesty of The Hobbit Movies, which is basically fan-fiction in all its grisly glory. Blech)
Prison Break (Yay, 2017 sequel!)
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Doctor Who (Primarily 11, who is the freakin' best. My adorable giraffe.)
Bourne movies (including Legacy, and YAY 2016 sequel in four days!)
Pretty much ALL the Disney/Pixar stuffs, particularly Tangled, Sleeping Beauty, Brave, Robin Hood, Monsters Inc, Inside Out, Up, The Rescuers, Wreck-it Ralph, The Great Mouse Detective, Bolt, and How to Train Your Dragon (even though that's NOT Disney or Pixar, but good nonetheless);
Leverage
Psych
On the fence with Grimm. Still waiting to see if Juliette comes back, because Nadalind=No. Silverhardt=YESSSSSSSS!!!!)

Favourite books/authors:
Lord of the Rings/Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien, basically - have you read Roverandom? Or the Silmarillion? Or Farmer Giles of Ham?)
Chronicles of Narnia
The Queen's Thief + Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia
Pretty much all the Diana Wynne Jones novels
Pretty much all the Patricia McKillip novels, most notably The Riddlemaster of Hed
Pretty much anything Ally Carter, particularly the Gallagher Girls
The Winner's Curse trilogy
Pretty much anything Jonathon Stroud, particularly Lockwood and Co., with Bartimaeus being my first love
The Last Unicorn.
The Graveyard Book
The Scorpio Races and ONLY the Scorpio Races

Favourite Music:
Musicals (Phantom of the Opera, the Secret Garden, A Tale of Two Cities, The Light in the Piazza,  Jane Eyre, Les Miserables, Finding Neverland, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Pirates of Penzance)
Josh Groban
Hayley Westenra
Sarah Brightman
Imagine Dragons
Taylor Swift
James Blunt
The Piano Guys
Soundtracks
Random mishmash of all kinds of things, including Hurts, OneRepublic, Lifehouse, O.A.R., The Fray, The Script, Jackie Evancho, Air Supply, Nickleback, some Backstreet Boys and some opera. Eclectic, I know.

NOW! About mah novel!

DragonFire Twitter pitch:
Hunted for his elemental power, Dragon must transcend death to save his world's fading magic. QUEEN'S THIEF+LAST AIRBENDER 

Brief Synopsis:

In Elfennol, a world fashioned from fallen stars and its soil infused with the elemental magic known as glede, tarragon is not just a spice. It is also the title of the man with the threefold glede of fire, water and shadow. A man reborn throughout history to be the guardian of the Tân-a-dur, a mystical beast whose fiery breath renews the land's magic, but whose very nature makes it a dangerous ally. Once upon a time, the Tarragon was revered. But rumors battle legends, and now the Tarragon's name is a curse, and to be a gleder is to be under the penalty of death.

Sixteen-year-old Dragon is a thief by profession, courier by necessity, and gleder by birth. Adopted son of a blacksmith, and possessing a rare ability over three separate elements, Dragon lives in a city where gleders like him are ruthlessly hunted. He dreams of escaping to a land where magic is still protected.



But then a mysterious girl enters his life,with triple gledes as unique as his own, and he is pulled towards their intertwined destiny. One in which the Tân-a-dur is not merely a creature of legend, but the key to renewing Elfennol’s fading magic. With an ancient voice waking in his head, Dragon must make a choice: flee and renounce his claim on the Tân-a-dur, or welcome death and trial to become the creature’s new Tarragon.

10 Reasons why you should pick me.
  1. I'm pretty awesome. Really. My sense of humour tends toward sarcasm and random quotes. I also provide cyber cookies to lift a mood.
  2. I was home schooled, so I'm excellent at managing my time.
  3. I am really good at communicating via email!!!! I am rather introverted and shy, so my idea of a party is to binge on Netflix and eat cake (or ice cream. Or chocolate. Something sweet, anyway). My idea of a nice day off is to go the beach with my sisters (or on a hike, or someplace pretty where there can be a picnic later) and sit with notebooks and music and books and write and listen to music and read as the mood takes me. (I don't like phones. Were it up to me, people would only ever have contact to others via fax and email. Video chats = ninth circle of hell.)
  4. I'm not afraid of tackling revisions, especially if I'm having concerns over a scene that doesn't seem to be working or contributing to the story. (I prefer notebooks, so a lot of time revisions occur on notebooks, then get integrated into the computer.)
  5. I was once complimented as being the queen of revision at an SCBWI conference I attended back in 2012, after an intense round-table critique session where I was encourage to rewrite chapter one. The rewritten chapter is what prompted the praise. (I am a member of SCBWI, by the way, and that is still one of the best compliments I have received EVER).
  6. I got three non-YA fantasy readers to beta-read my YA fantasy in its entirety, and they all were hooked. Which was pretty rewarding, I gotta say.
  7. I have a solid group of CPs - we get along super well and are all very positive and supportive of each other.
  8. I'm a volunteer judge for Miranda Paul's Rate Your Story blog, and that has been incredibly helpful in improving my editing eye and finding what resonates with me and what doesn't.
  9. I like to draw my ideas down, because visualization is everything. If I can't see my world, I can't see to write, so I do character sketches as needed, or find Pinterest things that make me go, THIS. This is my world.
  10. I take every comment seriously, but I'm not afraid to stand my ground if I think something needs to stay the way it is. I'll listen and consider, but if my gut feeling says NO, I say NO and that's that. But I WILL do whatever it takes to polish my work, because I want to write for the rest of my life. I want my words to last and make an impact on others. I want my stories to make other people aspire to dream.
So that's that. Pick me! Pick me!
http://imgur.com/gallery/NNzJ8G8


Huge thanks to Brenda Drake for hosting #PitchWars, and Lana Pattinson for hosting #pimpmybio!

Check out the other mentees' bios here! (But don't pick them, 'kay? Pick meeeeeeee!)

http://pandawhale.com/post/43330/pick-me-up-cat-variants

God bless!

Cat
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