Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MUSE and muses

So I'm listening to the new Muse CD and wowza. I really love this band! I know many times artists (including authors) have what they call "muses." Do you have any? I have more than one, but a MAJOR one for me is music.

I love music. It can lift my mood. Or increase my anger. Or it can make me cry even harder than I already was. I know there are a lot of authors who can't listen to music while they're writing, and there are some who do. I am one who does. I absolutely must have music to write (if at all possible). I love finding the perfect song to fit the scene I am writing, to intensify the em0tions I'm feeling and trying to convey. I often see my books as movies unfolding in my mind, and the music is like a soundtrack for me. I listen to music with words and without. Songs from the radio and songs from soundtracks and songs from Pandora. (I adore Pandora!) Some of my favorites (and my list is super long, so this really is just a few off the top of my head) are Hans Zimmer, James Horner (the AVATAR soundtrack is amazing), MUSE (obviously!), Linkin' Park (their newer stuff especially), Frou Frou/Imogen Heap, Josh Groban... there are just too many! As you can tell, my taste encompasses nearly every kind of music there is - except for rap.

Do you write or edit to music? Can't stand it? Do you have a different "muse" entirely? Tell me what inspires you!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random Thought Monday which includes SNOW. For reals.

Seriously. Snow? I come back from vacation to sunny CA and it SNOWS??? WTF universe? (and that means "what the freak" just so you know, he he)

See this beautiful picture of my hubby and our two boys? This was the coldest day there. And it was still sixty. HELLO Utah weather, please get a clue! This is not an alternate reality. It is almost JUNE. The OUTDOOR pool was supposed to be open today at the gym. Instead, I had to run in through a BLIZZARD wearing long pants and a coat. I am not amused.

Speaking of alternate realities... I don't watch LOST and didn't see the finale, but it sounded... interesting. Was it an alternate reality? A dream? A cop out of an ending?

The only shows I take the time to DVR and lose sleep over to watch (because I am writing or getting kids to bed during normal TV hours) are DWTS and The Vampire Diaries. I stayed up until 1:00 am to watch the last three episodes of TVD on Saturday night after my crit group. Now that was a finale!! Any thoughts on that one? And does anyone else LOVE Damon??? Sigh...Oh beautiful, beautiful vampire man. Now that's a vamp I can swoon over. (Sorry Rob aka Edward, the chest hair and overall lack of marble-statue like physique just hasn't cut it for me.) Hmmm... oh, wait... what was I doing? Oh yes, blogging. Right.

PARANORMALCY is a book I'm seriously looking forward to, and right now Kiersten is giving away an ARC on her blog. The cover is so gorgeous-go check it out here.

Finally, a shout-out to Elana Johnson who's book deal was announced at the end of last week! Woohoo!!! She's doing giveaways to celebrate, so run over to her blog here and check it out!

Happy Monday everyone! I know mine will get a lot better if the snow would go away...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On the road...

I am on vacation this week, so this is just a quick post. First of all, I sent in my revision to my agent today, and this might be the last one before we start submitting to editors. SQUEE!!! I am so excited (but also so nervous!) to go on submission. We'll see what happens... :-)

Second, Ally Condie is giving away an ARC of her book MATCHED!! I can't wait for it to be released, and I'm REALLY hoping to win this ARC. So please, don't go to her blog, and don't leave a comment. Definitely DON'T become a follower so that there aren't as many people trying to win it. Then you'll be giving me a better chance of getting drawn. Because let's face it, I usually never win anything. Although I did just win a book on Brodi's blog, so... maybe this is the start of a new WINNING streak! Woohoo!!

Okay, I'm totally kidding. Go here and check out her blog and enter to win!

Friday, May 14, 2010

What I learned...

I was lucky enough to go to Aprilynne Pike's book signing for SPELLS at The King's English in SLC, UT last night. Her story is very inspiring; she worked hard to get an agent and get published. She even worked hard after getting the agent, continuing to write new books and fighting to get published. (Her first book didn't sell, which some of you may or may not know.) If you don't already follow her blog you totally should. Click here and check it out! So here's a few things I was either reminded of or learned last night:

* When you reach rock bottom, sometimes that's when the breakthrough finally happens.

*Don't ever give up. Keep writing, keep believing. And listen to your critique partners!

* Write what you love (she's always loved fairies, but never thought about writing a book about fairies until her other book didn't sell and she was wracking her brain for another idea)

* She apparently loves the name Sara. (This is what she told me, I'm not making it up!) She said she's had a Sara of some sort in every book she's ever written: Sara, Sarah, Sera, etc. Did I mention that she has fabulous taste in names? ;-)

* If you're already tall, you probably shouldn't wear heels to book signings--whether you are the author or the person getting her book signed. However, Aprilynne told me she was thrilled to take a picture with someone who was actually taller than her (because I did wear heels). He he. ;)
SPELLS debuted at #4 on the NYTimes Bestseller list. Woohoo! I can't wait to read it...

So, here's my question: if you could go to any author signing this year, who would it be and why? My list is really long, so if you're like me, just throw them in a hat and pick one. Or two. Or you can tell me the whole list if you really want. :-D

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last day FTW... and the power books can have

Well... today is the day. (Did you know that FTW means "for the win"? I learned that from Lisa and Laura. You learn something every day. Thanks ladies, hehe!) We only have until 4:00 pm MST to try and get 20 more followers so that I can pick a winner for the signed paperback of WINGS. (It's looking pretty grim to get to 100 for the hardback of SPELLS.) If we don't make it though, that's okay. I really appreciate all the new followers that have signed up in the last week, and I promise to give y'all another chance at a giveaway soon. The best part is that existing followers will get two entries automatically in the next one. So keep an eye out for that...

As for me, I'm feeling better thank heavens. I think I should be back to full health tomorrow. Revisions are going well, which is always nice. I caught up to what my agent has sent me so far last night, so I got to take a little break today and read something else. I'm wondering... do books affect you like they affect me? When I was younger, a depressing book or movie could make me upset literally for days. Sometimes even more than a week if it was truly powerful. Not like crying constantly the whole time, but just down. Unable to stop thinking about it. I'm a little bit better at not letting things get to me so deeply these days (I don't have time to be down and crying all day about a character in a book dying when my 5 year old wants to play tag, and the 1 year old is dumping out the whole box of Teddy Grahams in the drawer, or whatever chaos is ensuing that particular day). However, sometimes they are sad enough to still get to me.

The book I just read was for a neighborhood book club, and not one I would normally pick up. Why? Because it's about the holocaust. Holocaust books are very, very hard for me to read; I know because of how many I've read. What happened during WWII is horrifying. I finally had to stop reading books about it, or be careful about which ones I picked because I'd get so depressed an upset afterwards. And this one in particular is about a part of the holocaust I've never known before (which is somewhat horrifying in and of itself). It's called SARAH'S KEY, and it was (not surprisingly) very depressing, but also very good.

It taught me a ton about France's role in the holocaust. But it though it was an easy read (as in, a fast read) it was also incredibly hard to read because of what happened. I know Sarah is fictional. I know her little brother being locked in the cupboard is fictional. (That's not a spoiler, it's on the jacketflap.) But I personalize things. I kept imagining my little 4 year old boy (who barely turned five) being in that cupboard, waiting for his sister to come back. I kept imagining feeling how devastated beyond all comprehension and words it would be to have been those mothers locked into camps with their helpless children. They had no food or water or provisions and then they were cruelly, brutally torn away from their babies, toddlers, and children and shipped off to Auschwitz to die. Despite how hard it was to read though, I'm glad I did. It was powerful and a reminder of what happened. (Just as a disclaimer if anyone wants to read it, be warned there are disturbing images, and some language in this book.)

So I'm curious. What books have you read throughout your life that have never left you? The ones that made you feel emotions so deeply that you felt like the characters were real? The ones that left you haunted or hurting, or maybe in a good way--jubilant and uplifted--by their stories, real or fictional?

That's what I love the most about books, the power to take you places, to teach you things, and to make characters become as real to you as your own family and friends. Books are powerful. Words are powerful. Don't you think?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Speaking of the stomach flu...


I just spent a long, sleepless night being sick. So not much of it was actually in my bed either. I won't go into detail, (you're welcome) but let's say that I'm not feeling guilty about that leftover birthday cake I ate last night anymore. I'm pretty sure I didn't get the stomach bug from my agent, considering the last time I checked illnesses were not transmittable through email. So I think we both just lucked out. Now that she's doing better, it's my turn.

It's cold, wet and yucky outside. The kind of day that makes you feel slightly better about being sick. At least you're not missing the sunshine by being stuck in bed. Except... I don't actually get to be stuck in bed. I wish. I'd love nothing more than to curl up in bed with my laptop, my new revisions, some great music, and easy access to the bathroom. But instead, I get to drag my sick self to the doctor--not for me, but for Son A's kindergarten checkup. I get to keep being mommy to both of my darling boys who tend to be a handful. Fun, fun. Maybe I will get to curl up in bed for a couple hours this afternoon while Son B is napping... one can hope!

Wish me luck. :-)

This is to show what it's been like today. Like I said, cold and wet -- but also very beautiful. I guess those who already read my post won't see this picture. Oh well. I just uploaded my pics from the weekend all the way up to today and decided I'd add it. I do love storms actually.

If anything in this post doesn't make sense, blame it on the lack of sleep. I'm in zombie mode over here. Not unlike the zombie satellite orbitting earth. I'm not even kidding. Go look it up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Ramblings...

Mother's Day was awesome! Thank you to my sweet boys for making it a special day that started with breakfast and earrings (from Son A who turned 5 on Saturday!), and ended with an amazing pedicure/massage (the homemade variety) with candlelight and a space heater so I didn't get cold! I felt very loved. Hope everyone had a nice day!

Saturday: Son A turned 5. He was actually born on Mother's Day 5 years ago. The weather was not quite the 70 degree partly cloudy day we'd been foretold (don't trust the weatherman!) but it was in the low sixties and nice enough. I hope he really enjoyed his big party since he gets to share his birthday with Mother's Day again next year! ;-) (I'm sure he'll still get a party)

Still waiting for my second (and *crossing fingers* final) revisions from my agent. She got sick last week and so they got delayed. I should have them today. The stomach flu seriously sucks and I'm glad she's feeling better.

We're almost to 40 followers (woot!) but that's still short of either goal needed for me to do the giveaway. Please tweet, blog, or FB about the contest and get us to at least 60 followers before Thursday so I can pick a winner for a signed copy of WINGS (paperback). If you lovely, wonderful readers can work a miracle and get me to 100 before Thursday I can do the bigger giveaway -- a signed, hardback copy of SPELLS! Can we do it??

I love meeting awesome people. Today I got to meet and have lunch with Elana Johnson and she is just the total definition of awesome. As is Carolyn Vawdrey who also came. Thanks for a great time ladies!

I have to take my DH to the airport so he doesn't miss his flight to Albuquerque, so this is going to have to be short. Sorry! Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Curly Hair and Originality

Hello everyone. My name is Sara and I have naturally curly hair. There I admitted it. I can't tell you how many people would tell me that I'm so lucky to have naturally curly hair. I have to admit that there are times (not always) that I will agree with them... now.

When I was in middle school and high school, I seriously thought my curly hair was a curse. You tell me how it feels when everyone is sporting the latest "Rachel" hairdo of straight/flippy/short/long perfection (depending on the season of Friends that everyone was emulating) and I'm the only girl who looks like I still think getting perms is hot. I was going to post a picture of me in high school, but sadly there were no digital cameras running around rampant at that time. That means I'd have to find a picture of me and scan it in to my computer. Since I just moved and have no clue where half of my belongings are, it's just not happening. I know, you're devastated. Maybe another time... if you beg enough. (Cue evil laugh *hehehe*) Anyway... by the time I was senior, I was slightly more enamored of my curly hair, and realized that it was kind of nice to stand out from "the pack," but I still longed for the ability to straighten it. Blow drying it and using a curling iron = major frizz disaster of wavy craphair.

Then, THEN, when I was in my twenties, I met my CHI. Hello pretty straightener of miracles! I found a tool that would straighten my hair as straight as Jennifer Aniston's on season um... the one where it's super long and bone straight the whole time. In ten minutes. Choruses of angels were singing praises. Or else I was just belting out my joy and it was echoing back to me in my bathroom. I still wore my hair curly sometimes because I was a little afraid that if I didn't, my curl would go away.

Is there a point to this, you might ask? Hold your horses, I'm getting there. This is just too fun to reminisce. Ah... oh, sorry. Continuing on.

So, here I am today. I usually switch back and forth between straight one day and curly the next. And sadly, my curl isn't as tight as it once was (though it does get curlier if I wear it that way more than one day in a row), so I think my straightener addiction is having a small effect on it. Or maybe it's just changing with age.

Okay, ready for the point? How many of us writers have a hard time finding and embracing our own unique and original voices in our writing? Why do so many of us not only compare ourselves to other writers in terms of success or skill or what have you, but sometimes we (or maybe it's just me) find ourselves trying to force ourselves to fit into a certain mold? The key to being truly successful, to truly standing out of that slush pile or on that shelf, is to embrace our INDIVIDUALITY. That doesn't mean you shouldn't learn the tools of the trade and maybe use some of the best techniques that successful authors will teach you in classes or books. But don't lose yourself in the effort to "fit in."

Find what makes your stories and your writing unique and wonderful and embrace it. Now, should I wear my hair curly or straight today? ;P

Carolyn this pic is for you - proof of the curly hair. ;-) Random shot, but it shows the curl pretty well. (I'm helping lace up my SIL's wedding dress)

P.S. you may notice that my author picture is me with straight hair. It just so happened that my friend (who is in a writer's group with me and is an amazing photographer: Erin Summerill) decided to do pics at our last get-together, and my hair was straight that day. Just in case you were wondering. Like I said, it's a 50/50 chance these days if you'll see me with curly or straight hair. :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

First official CONTEST!!

Okay... I'm in a great mood--I had an awesome workout followed by a complimentary massage at the gym this morning, and I decided to pay forward the happiness. Who likes contests? Anyone? Anyone? he he he :-)

So here it is. There will be two possible levels of "winningness" (yes, I made that word up). Level one: If I can reach 60 followers on or before Thursday, May 13 I will be giving out a brand new (possibly even signed) paperback copy of WINGS by Aprilynne Pike. That's pretty nice, right? Not as nice as level two... which is this: If I can reach 100 followers on or before Thursday, May 13 by 4:00 pm MST, I will be giving away a brand new, just released, signed copy of SPELLS by Aprilynne Pike--the sequel to WINGS!!

I know this is a lofty goal, but I'm not rolling in the dough over here (ha ha, I wish! Maybe someday... then I can hand out all sorts of books!), so I figure I needed to make it a pretty worthwhile goal to reach. Why May 13, you ask? Aprilynne will be coming to my neck of the woods to do an author signing that night, and I will buy a book and have it signed to you that night!! All followers will get one entry. If you post an announcement and link to my blog on FB, your blog, or Twitter, please put that in a comment and you will get an extra entry! On Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 pm MST I will put all the entries in the random number generator and pick a lucky winner! But you have to get me to 60 or 100 followers first! Can we do it?? I hope so! Spread the word and see if we can make it in time!

Happy contesting!

P.S. Check out Elana Johnson's, Natalie Whipple's, and Lisa & Laura's blogs for some great posts and giveaways on some of their favorite books!