Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo, June 2012!

I'm sure many people have heard of NaNoWriMo. (That's National Novel Writing Month, for anyone who doesn't know.) NaNo usually takes place during the month of November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've done it twice now, in November, and I've "won" both times.

However, they are also doing summer camp NaNo, in June and August. I did a summer NaNo last year, and "won" that time, too. The nice thing about NaNo is that its more of a focus: it helps you concentrate on your work and not to let yourself get distracted by shiny things.

Also, you don't have to write a complete, fully edited, 50,000-word manuscript that's a piece of art and ready to submit now. You can use it for whatever you need it for. The last three times I've used it to fully draft novels that I was procrastinating on, and just needed to get written. This time, I have a novel I've completed, but the revisions are killing me. I'm trying to avoid them, and that's always a bad thing. So, I'm using NaNo to completely revise my manuscript.

How about you? Are you going to participate? If so, welcome to Camp NaNoWriMo!

And you can still enter for a chance to win HORSE CHARMER, a novel by author Angelia Almos, whose new book UNICORN KEEP was released April 30, 2012. You've got mere hours left, so hurry down!

God bless

Cat

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 05/26/2012

Good morning, everyone!

For my six sentences today:

1.) I'm cleaning my house like a mad thing right now! *achoo*

2.) I have no good books to read. *pout*

3.) Having no books is a GOOD thing, 'cause it makes me more motivated to work on my WIP

4.) My WIP is showing me new ideas I never thought possible.

5.) Isn't it funny how you hang around other writers, get super jazzed about what you're working on, and come home to discover you had less time to write NOW than you thought you had before?

6.) Memorial Day Weekend! As a shock and a surprise, I'll get to have Tuesday off, 'cause Monday's are my normal day, so I get it anyway! Squeeeeeeeeeeee!

That's all. I'm just going to share a couple songs I'm LOVING right now... (my taste is widely spread, so don't feel TOO shocked at the weird array down there.)

God bless

Cat




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Starting in the Right Place

I just got back from a perfectly wonderful weekend with the Nevada SCBWI. I attended quite an awesome conference, and got some really excellent feedback, and one of several enormous writing tips.

This is a post for all those writers who have been told, over and over again, to "Start with the action!"

That doesn't always work.

At least, what you don't realise is they mean to start with the right kind of action. For months and months I've been really working on perfecting my language, getting rid of superfluous ands, thens, and thats. I've also worked on making my opening chapter "hookier" and more exciting to read, because people kept saying it was too slow, or too rambling, not enough happened.

So, I made the first chapter quite exciting.

Guess what?

First of all, when I read my sample pages aloud to my critique group at the SCBWI, they all loved my "voice". However, they got a bit confused with names and terms. See, I write YA fantasy. For me, I tend to "name" things and use those names liberally throughout the novel. However, the reader can't divine what those words mean. They wanted a bit more worldbuilding, a bit more grounding in the world and a deeper connection to the character before he was thrust into madness and mayhem.

Same thing happened with my second critique group, except they felt the entire story started in the wrong chapter. I needed to write a new chapter, because I had started with the wrong action, and needed to give the readers a sense of place.

So, my advice is this: starting your story off with a thrilling road chase may not always work, especially in fantasy. It doesn't work for me, and I know that now, thanks to my fabulous critics. For a fantasy writer, you owe it to your readers to take that extra two, five, or even ten pages it takes in order to establish the major points of your world (i.e., if it *happens* to be a mulit-universe world) and to explain, creatively, what certain things mean.

Such as, the word below:

Chrestomathy \ kres-TOM-uh-thee
Noun;
1.A collection of selected literary passages.

Example:  My house is littered with chrestomathy. There's something about collecting selections of literary passages that intrigues me.

Origin:
Chrestomathy literally means "useful to learn" in Greek, from the roots chres ("to use") and math ("to learn").

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Countdown to Conference

My writer's conference is in two days. Squeak!

For an aspiring author, writing conferences are amazing. You connect with other writers, you talk about writing, you share ideas about your stories, you get feedback... you are suddenly normal. People understand you. And you understand them. You are all talking the same lingo.

At the same time, you are talking with other people. I don't know about you, but to me it seems the more artistic you are, the more introverted you tend to be. The thought of being on my own, in a roomful of strangers that I have never talked to before, fills me with panic. What am I doing?! What am I thinking, going to something like this?!

Am I crazy?

Well, probably. At the same time, the tiny bold bit of me is going, "Omigosh, I can't wait!" Most of me is excited, but there's that bit right in the middle of my stomach that is absolutely quivering with terror.

So, any tips or advice for a newbie conference-goer? All comments are welcome. What did you bring to your conference (if you attended one)? What do you recommend? How did you relax?

All right, enough of this spruik. (Do you like that word? :-) I'll let you all go back to your merrymaking.

God bless!

Cat

Spruik \ sprook
Verb
1.To make or give a speech, especially extensively; spiel.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Unicorn Keep - Character Interview with Jiline

Good morning, everyone. Please meet Jiline, the main character of Angelia Almos' novel, UNICORN KEEP. Hello, Jiline! Thank you for coming over to my blog today.

Hello!

How would you describe yourself?

I don't know. I guess I would hope people would describe me as a good friend and a hard worker. 

Well, those sound like good characteristics.Tell me, where is Ainsley, exactly?

Ainsley is a village in the low farm lands about a weeks journey east of the ocean. We have many woods, but no deep forests near our village and plenty of pastureland for farms, animals and plowing. The land is what is most valuable in our village. 

Sounds like a gorgeous place. I wish I lived there!
So, in Ainsley, who is your best friend?

Madelen has always been my best friend. We have neighboring farms and I've always felt she understood me better than my older sisters. I could talk to her as I couldn't talk to them.

How did you decide to trade places with Madelen?

The idea to switch places with Madelen occurred to me when she told me that Wilm had asked her to run away with him. I could tell she wanted to even if she wouldn't come out and admit it. I was also still thinking about my realization that my parents had hoped I would be selected as a keeper. With the two thoughts swirling around my head, it probably isn't too much of a surprise that the idea occurred to me.

What is the Keep like? Can you describe it?

The Keep isn't like anything I've ever seen. I think my village could fit inside the Keep walls. I would have thought the Keep would be cold since it is built out of stone, but except for a few chilly mornings it always seems to be the right temperature. You have to be careful when you walk down anything but the main hallways, you could get lost easily if you aren't aware of where you are. 

That sounds like an amazing, yet eerie place. **shiver**
Now, the Keep is where the unicorns live. How do you feel about unicorns?

Unicorns are so beautiful it's hard to believe they're real. But they very much are and to be in their presence is to be touched by living breathing magic.

How do you like the Mages at the Keep?

Mages make me very nervous. I had rarely met or seen one before they came to our village to recruit unicorn keepers. They seem taller and stronger than regular people when you're in their presence.

What about Mage Herrick? What's he like?

Herrick made me uneasy from the first moment I saw him. I always felt like he knew I wasn't Madelen. I was nervous, but also relieved when he offered to ride with me to the Keep. It was nice not having to ride the mountain alone and I appreciated his presence even if I couldn't shake off my uneasiness. 

So, Angelia Almos wrote your story, didn't she? How did she do?

I thought Angelia told what happened in a very truthful way and I think that is all I could have asked for.

What's one secret about yourself that you didn't tell her?

I secretly envied Madelen's home life. She is an only child and received all of her parents attention while I had to share my parents with my siblings.

Where is your story available for purchase, Jiline?

Unicorn Keep is available as both an ebook and print book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Create Space (print), and Smashwords (ebook).

Thank you so much for coming over and visiting! I enjoyed talking to you. Do you think Angelia would like me to post links, so readers can visit her?

I'm sure Angelia appreciate your kindness.

Angelia can be found at her website, her blog, and on Facebook and Twitter.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

UNICORN KEEP - Book Review and Giveaway

Title: UNICORN KEEP

Author: Angelia Almos

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Enchanted Book Tours Review:

Jiline of Ainsley is dismayed when her best friend is selected by the mages to become a unicorn keeper at the Keep, an isolated mountain fortress. Especially since Madelen is in love and engaged to the richest boy in the village. Jiline on the other hand has no prospects of marriage or a trade in their small village. So, she comes up with a plan to take Madelen’s place at the Keep and hopefully flunk out of unicorn keeper training before the mages can discover the deception. Unfortunately, the unicorns have their own plans for her.

Mage Herrick, son of the Keep Mage, returns home to the Keep as the trainee keepers arrive. A chance encounter with Jiline, who he believes is Madelen, on the trail sparks a magical connection between the two. Knowing he can’t feel a magical draw to someone who has no magic, he tries to prove Madelen (Jiline) has magic within her. His attention brings unforeseen complications for both of them.


My Review:


UNICORN KEEP by Angelia Almos is a lovely, lovely story. Written simply, with enough prose and description to keep my imagination working, it features unicorns, unicorn lore, and unique characters I could sympathize with.

We are introduced to the main character, Jiline, and her best friend Madelen, as they’re waiting for the mages to "test" them for their worthiness as possible unicorn keepers. For those who are pure enough to be chosen, they must travel to Unicorn Keep, where they will take care of the magical creatures.

Madelen is chosen to be a unicorn keeper, and Jiline is not. For Madelen, who is in love with the mayor’s son, Wilm, the last thing she wants to do is leave the village. For Jiline, who has no prospects for marriage, the role as a unicorn keeper could have been a blessing.

Jiline formulates a quick plan. She and Madelen (who look so much alike they are often mistaken for sisters) will trade places.

Madelen and Wilm will travel to the city and start a new life together.

Jiline will go to the Unicorn Keep.

Expecting her lack of purity to be discovered, Jiline is surprised as the days pass and the mages don't seem to suspect anything. When the time comes for the trainees at the keep to be judged and chosen by the unicorns themselves, she prepares herself for the lie to be exposed at last.

Then the unexpected happens. The unicorns choose her as a keeper, because there is magic within her.

However, Jiline have to keep her friendship to the unicorns a secret, for they reveal secrets to her that puts her in danger. For one thing, the unicorns tell her that the keep is not a haven. It is their prison. And there is a lie about the crystal the mages use to choose new keepers. Does it really work the way they say it does?

Jiline is the girl chosen to save the unicorn from their imprisoned existence in the Keep. She just has to stay alive.

This book was a quick read, simple yet elegant in its simplicity. The unicorn element was delightful, and for unicorn fans, this is a must-read. I give it four stars.

*****

To celebrate UNICORN KEEP, I am excited to host a giveaway for another book written byAngelia Almos. To enter this international contest for a chance to win HORSE CHARMER, fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. Come by tomorrow, because I'll be a posting an interview with Jiline, the heroine of UNICORN KEEP.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 05/12/2012

The weekends seem to come so fast, while at the same time the week seems to drag. It's really bizarre.

Anyhoozle, here we are!

1.) I keep browsing Amazon, tossing things I really, really want into my shopping cart, and leaving before I buy anything. My shopping cart's at something like $500+!

2.) I will not buy everything at once. :)

3.) There is an odd bird that keeps clattering up against my window. I wonder what it wants?

4.) YAY! IT IS SPRING!

5.) I'm feeling a need to go back down to Barnes and Noble. Again. **tries to fight the urge**

6.) Google chat is a beautiful thing.

That's all for today, peeps! Have a lovely Saturday, and go watch THE AVENGERS!

God bless.

Cat

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Word of the Day, and things I'm loving right now.

This is a great word! Like, really, really great. I can't wait to use it in a book!

Cicatrix \ SIK-uh-triks

noun;
1. New tissue that forms over a wound.
2. Botany. A scar left by a fallen leaf, seed, etc.

This word is taken directly from the Latin word cicatrix, which means scar. There is no clear origin of where the word cicatrix actually came from, however.

I am currently loving this book.
It's High Fantasy...

by Patricia McKillip...

It's beautifully written....

I LOVE MORGON!!


I am really loving this soundtrack!

All these themes that keep appearing...

all the dramatic music for the different Avengers...

all the pretty little interludes that occur...

the super-cool way the "Avengers theme" mixes with
the separate themes for the different Avengers.

The way my imagination seems to get a workout
from listening to this kind of music. It inspires heroes.


I am really loving these characters right now:

IRON MAN! HAWKEYE! CAPTAIN AMERICA! (AGENT COULSON!)
THOR! HULK! NICK FURY! BLACK WIDOW! RAH, RAH, RAH!

Okay, that's all for now... except I think my WIP is going to have The Avengers Theme music as its background. All I can say is, how inspiring!

God bless!

Cat

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 05/05/2012


Good morning, again! (And hello, too.) Here we go.

1.) Have you seen The Avengers yet? WHY NOT?! Go see it!!

2.) Definition of Hero Worship: seeing the Avengers and suffering a minor(ish) crush on Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and Hawkeye.

3.) Sent in my first assignment today. Yay!

4.) Finished shoving all my pine needless into big, heavy-duty rubbish bags.

5.) I wonder what it feels like to be able to hit a high E? (Curse you, Christine Daae!)

6.) I'm thinking I want to kill this new MC clamoring for attention. I feel like Edna on The Incredibles: "What? Who are you? What do you WANT?"

That's all for now. Stay tuned, 'cause I'll be doing some fun things with Angelia Almos and her novel, UNICORN KEEP.

God bless!

Cat

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kowtow!

kowtow\ KOU-TOU

verb;
1.To act in an obsequious manner; show servile deference.
2.To touch the forehead to the ground while kneeling, as an act of worship, reverence, apology, etc.,especially in former Chinese custom.

noun:
1.The act of kowtowing.


Didn't you want to know that? I love words, finding out word origins, where terms originally came from. For today's word, it originated from the Chinese practice of touching one's forehead to the ground when greeting someone. It is a sign of respect. Called k'o t'ou, it literally means "to knock the head."

When I was taking Aikido (briefly), before each fight you would kowtow to each other. Kneeling on the floor, hands crossed and flat in front of you, you'd bow to the person you wanted to practice with. Kind of interesting, hey?

It's one of those little traditional-type things that just begs to be put into a book!
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