Tuesday, May 28, 2013

UPRISING Virtual Launch Party!

YA books author
What is today?  May 28, 2013.

What else is today?  A Tuesday.

What is today, REALLY?

The release of Jessica Therrien's Children of the Gods #2:  

UPRISING.  

Trusty Goodreads is here to give you a taste of what UPRISING has to offer. 

And if you're new to Ms. Therrien and this series, click here to check out the first book, OPPRESSION.  

Superpowers, Greek mythology, a prophecy...this book has it all. 


cookie party nutellaAnd while this party's virtual, it doesn't have to be.  Bake some cookies.  (<--Hint. Awesome cookie recipe within your grasp.)


Have a drink.  Eat cake.  Do a dance.  (Like Jessica, who did a pretty awesome happy-dance when OPPRESSION came out...) Make a blog post of your own if you want, and drop a link here on Jessica's blog.  However you do it, celebrate the launch of book #2!!!


author YA booksJessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, was published by ZOVA Books in February of 2012 and became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. The second book in the series, Uprising, will be available in May of 2013. (As in, TODAY!)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Save-a-Word Saturday

Welcome to Save-a-Word Saturday!
 
Despite our recent lack of posting, we still want to spread our love of old and unusual words by sharing them with other bloggers and thereby saving these precious, wonderful, whirling words from the dusty, lonely corners of the oldest, least-visited vaults of the Word Bank.
 
save-a-word-saturday
<a href="http://www.thefeatherandtherose.blogspot.com" target="_self"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7UO138NOoX4/UItIxhKJwmI/AAAAAAAAArM/LBMYc_tVWdk/s800/sawmeme.jpg" alt="Save-a-Word Saturday" width="251" height="251" /></a>


The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you're having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it's down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.



This week's theme is:
Roses
Our word this week is:
abram, adj.
dark brown, golden-brown (from "auburn")

And our sentences...

In the center of the garden grew the abram rose.  Its heavy velvet petals faded from deep brown to gold at the edges. 

As always, please link to the individual blog post!  Thanks for joining us!

Theme for next week:  Tea.  (Have we already done tea?  If we have, I think it's a nice enough theme to do again...)

Just one more note, if you could please try to make sure that your LinkyList Link links to your Save-a-Word Saturday post and not just to your entire blog we would appreciate it. It makes it a little harder to put the words into the word horde when we have to go through your archives to find them. Thanks! 
 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Puppy Pictures

There's a reason I haven't been posting much lately.

First of all, there was finals and the end of the year and packing up my life into three 30-gallon plastic bins. Then, as some of you may recall, my family moved fairly recently so our house is still full of boxes we haven't had time to unpack yet. Seriously, we could almost try out for an episode of Hoarders.*


Hoarders garbage living room
Be assured, this is a picture from Hoarders,
not from my living room. 

Quite a lot of my time at the moment is taken up by unpacking/organizing, but there is something else that is taking up most of what is left of my free time . . .

Our new puppy!!!!!!
 
Maggie
Our adorable 9 week-old Rottweiler
 
Expect more pictures puppy pictures very soon :)
 
Also you can expect more frequent posting now that things have started to calm down a little bit. Susan and I have some fun things planned for the blog this summer.
 
Meanwhile, have an excellent Friday Eve.
 

* Except it's mostly books. Not garbage. Or cats. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

PennWriters Conference!


Sometimes life happens in high speed.

I got home from the last three, really intense weeks of the semester, slept for obscenely long hours for the next five days, and then....it was time for four whole days of the 2013 PennWriters conference!

(And I'm going to spend the next three weeks packing to go to Oxford, trying to say hello to everyone at home, and creating a solid revision plan for my manuscript.  Oh, and reading everything I can get my hands on.) 

But back to the conference: 

Especially for those of you who haven't been to a conference before and are considering it, here's basically how I spent my weekend:

1.  GETTING INSPIRED.  Which for me, at this conference, was mostly--almost entirely--thanks to Donald Maass (pronounced like the fuzzy green groundcover).  He's an excellent writing teacher and a possessor of contagious, empowering optimism when it comes to the future of novels and the role of writers.  If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, even if the price of the dinner makes your eyes pop out of your head a little...it's worth it. 

2.  HONING CRAFT.  We did this a lot in Donald Maass's day-long Writing 21st Century Fiction workshop (which was amazing).  There were also workshops like YA author Erica O'Rourke's session, where she showed us that voice--and yes, Young Adult voice--is something you can learn and refine.  (Ms. O'Rourke, by the way, was phenomenally kind and helpful and took the time to answer some personal questions I had about writing.  I'm very grateful to her.) 

3.  MEETING OTHER WRITERS.  When people advertise the "networking" element of conferences, it always sounds, to me at least, like you're supposed to come out of these things with two prospective agents and five critique-partners-for-life.  While I have heard of people who begin lasting critique relationships at conferences, this wasn't really the case for me.  (Though I did have some wonderful conversations, and will definitely stay in touch with some of those people.) What was the case was that I got to meet writers who were all different kinds of people, working on all different kinds of projects, with all different kinds of dreams and goals.  Those interactions gave me a new and valuable perspective.

4.  GETTING TO KNOW THE BUSINESS.  Since I'm an aspiring novelist, I was pretty well-acquainted with the process of querying agents and navigating towards the publication of a book.  There were, however, many times during the Pennwriters conference when I was able to correct a misconception or learn something new by hearing the perspective of an agent or editor that I hadn't before.

5.  WINNING.  The small wins, anyway.  I entered the raffle contests at the last minute, and though the big fluffy baskets full of goodies were tempting, I went for the pro-critique giveaways mostly.  And...I won two of them!  A skype session with NYT bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, and a query critique from none other than Chuck Sambuchino.  I'll be very excited about that last one as soon as I can recover my query from the very insightful overhaul an agent suggested in a one-on-one session...


All these things, even the raffle prizes I won, have something in common:  they're about LEARNING.

Which is funny, because that's not why I signed up for this conference at all.

I signed up for this conference solely because an agent I was interested was going to be there, and I was going to have my manuscript ready and pitch to them.

^(That's the funny part.)

I wasn't ready to pitch.  And I didn't pitch.  But I did get a good perspective on what I want, where I'm going, what I'm doing right, and what I have yet to do.  So even though I signed up for silly reasons, I'm very glad I did. 


All in all, I would say these were the most valuable things I got out of the Pennwriters conference:
~~Meeting other writers who had perspectives different from my own
~~Hearing authors, agents, and editors speak and interacting with them in one-on-one settings
~~Donald Maass (Haha. Really, though.)

I also learned a lot about driving near Pittsburgh and driving in general--in particular, that it is possible to rear-end someone at close quarters, leave not the tiniest mark on their car, get nothing but a dent the size of two quarters on your car, and live to tell the tale.

Also, if you live anywhere near Lancaster, PA, information about next year's conference will eventually be available here.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Save-a-Word Saturday

Welcome to Save-a-Word Saturday!
 
Despite our recent lack of posting, we still want to spread our love of old and unusual words by sharing them with other bloggers and thereby saving these precious, wonderful, whirling words from the dusty, lonely corners of the oldest, least-visited vaults of the Word Bank.
 
save-a-word-saturday
<a href="http://www.thefeatherandtherose.blogspot.com" target="_self"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7UO138NOoX4/UItIxhKJwmI/AAAAAAAAArM/LBMYc_tVWdk/s800/sawmeme.jpg" alt="Save-a-Word Saturday" width="251" height="251" /></a>


The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you're having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it's down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.



This week's theme is:
Exhaustion
 
 Our word this week is:
 
man exausted mudzatetic or zetetic, adj.
pondering, questioning
 
 
Our sentence(s) are:
 
After finals, even the most zealously zatetic student will curl into a pathetic ball of exhaustion. Illness, stress eating, and PTSD become nearly universal among them. We are told they eventually recover, but have yet to discover evidence of this.
 
Next week's theme is: Roses
 
Just one more note, if you could please try to make sure that your LinkyList Link links to your Save-a-Word Saturday post and not just to your entire blog we would appreciate it. It makes it a little harder to put the words into the word horde when we have to go through your archives to find them. Thanks!
 
 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Save-a-Word Saturday

Welcome to Save-a-Word Saturday!
We want to spread our love of old and unusual words by sharing them with other bloggers and thereby saving these precious, wonderful, whirling words from the dusty, lonely corners of the oldest, least-visited vaults of the Word Bank.
save-a-word-saturday
<a href="http://www.thefeatherandtherose.blogspot.com" target="_self"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7UO138NOoX4/UItIxhKJwmI/AAAAAAAAArM/LBMYc_tVWdk/s800/sawmeme.jpg" alt="Save-a-Word Saturday" width="251" height="251" /></a>


The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you're having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it's down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.



This week's theme is:
Scorpions
Our word this week (culled from @OED's Twitter stream) is:

frescade, noun
a cool walk; a shady alley

And our sentences are:

        An archway of  dewy bushes covered the frescade.  The well-packed dirt stretched a bit into the distance and curved out of sight.
        The little girl leaned on the leg beside her and whispered, "Are there scorpions down there, Mama?"
        "No, honey."
        "Jonny told me there were scorpions," she said, giving her little white sandals a round-eyed glance.
        "Well, he lied," said her mother, scooping her into her arms.  "But I'll carry you anyway." 

Next week's theme:  Exhaustion.

Just one more note, if you could please try to make sure that your LinkyList Link links to your Save-a-Word Saturday post and not just to your entire blog we would appreciate it. It makes it a little harder to put the words into the word horde when we have to go through your archives to find them. Thanks!
 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Neil Gaiman and the Key to Accepting Critiques

Today on Twitter I stumbled across Neil Gaiman's 8 Rules of Writing. 

^^Click on that.  It will take approximately 40.5 seconds to read--I timed it for you.  So go!  Read it, love it, live it...

Then come back?  Hopefully?

They're all excellent tips, of course, but number 5 was the one that jumped out at me today:

"Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. 
When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."

Let's break that down, because it's really important--in fact, I think it may be THE KEY to being able to take critique from people without ripping out your hair or eating a pound of chocolate or littering their comments with expletive-ridden responses.  Not that any of us would ever do any of those things.  
Neil Gaiman says jump, you jump.

So anyway...

Neil Gaiman says:  "When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right."
Example:  Beta Reader #3 says you have a pacing issue in the middle of your novel.  It is VERY LIKELY that you have pacing issues in the middle of your novel. 

Oh, but wait....

Neil Gaiman also says:  "When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."  
Example:  Beta Reader #3 thinks this will be remedied by adding more action scenes.  While at least considering their idea would be wise, it might actually be the case that you're simply not getting to the root of the conflict in the middle section.  Adding more action scenes might dull the impact of the actions scenes that are already there and/or give you an excuse not to make the other scenes as relevant and conflict-ridden as they need to be. 

The problem:   It's usually a lot less obvious.  Depending on the critiquer, in this simplified example, you might simply get, "There weren't enough action scenes in the middle section.  I missed those there."  And then it's your job to realize that the issue they're detecting is lack of tension in the scenes that you do have. 

Note:  I do think there are exceptions to this rule in people who know you and your story very well.  But even then, what I'm about to say STILL APPLIES......... 

I think the important thing to get from beta readers is this:  

What is it that they're reacting to?  

In my experience, if you can look past what they're specifically suggesting and pinpoint the things in your work that are prompting those suggestions (ie, in our example, the middle scenes aren't pushing your characters far enough in the right directions), it immediately starts to feel less like You vs. Evil-critiquer and more like you being the master of your work and finding real answers to real problems with the help of some benign fresh eyes.  

Though I must admit, I still usually eat chocolate

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Save-a-Word Saturday

Welcome to Save-a-Word Saturday!
 
We want to spread our love of old and unusual words by sharing them with other bloggers and thereby saving these precious, wonderful, whirling words from the dusty, lonely corners of the oldest, least-visited vaults of the Word Bank.
 
save-a-word-saturday
<a href="http://www.thefeatherandtherose.blogspot.com" target="_self"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7UO138NOoX4/UItIxhKJwmI/AAAAAAAAArM/LBMYc_tVWdk/s800/sawmeme.jpg" alt="Save-a-Word Saturday" width="251" height="251" /></a>


The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog.

2. Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words if you're having trouble coming up with something on your own.

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add your post to the linky list below (it's down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.



This week's theme is:
Earlobes
 
Our word is:
 
xertz, verb
to gulp something down quickly
 
And out sentences are:
 
     John xertzed his drink and watched his Aunt Editha's approach with apprehension.  It had been years since he had last seen her. He had been a boy of nine and she had seemed a towering mountain of calico disproval. Now he was near thirty and had worked successfully at St. Bartlemere's Cat Sanctuary for many years. John took another gulp of his drink.
     One summer when he had stayed at her house for a short and painful time he had tried to snatch a cookie from the jar before dinner and she had caught him. She had dragged him out into the back garden by the earlobe and showed him a little graveyard where she said she'd buried all her other little nephews who had soiled their supper by stealing cookies.
     Ever since that day, John hadn't been able to stand having his ears touched. Or even looking at cookies.
 
Next week's theme is: Scorpions
 

Just one more note, if you could please try to make sure that your LinkyList Link links to your Save-a-Word Saturday post and not just to your entire blog we would appreciate it. It makes it a little harder to put the words into the word horde when we have to go through your archives to find them. Thanks!

Friday, May 3, 2013

NARNIA IS REAL AND IT'S FRIDAY

This made my day.  I was studying for a Roman Civilization final until 2 (I think it was 2...) in the morning.  Then woke up at 8 to study until the exam at 1 pm.  It was pretty exhausting, until I was looking through this book and found...

narnia rome real


In case that wasn't clear:  

narnia real country




 NARNIA.  IN THE MIDDLE OF TACITUS' (DEAD ROMAN HISTORIAN'S) BOOK ON ANCIENT ROME.

Searching this on the internet seems difficult, but the same friend for whom I made a C. S. Lewis cake thinks it was somewhere in Turkey.

But yeah...cool stuff.  Also, when we were taking this picture, Tyler-Rose's iPod rejected "Narnia!" and autocorrected to something equally cheerful:


LOL. Marmosets.  Also notice how Google thinks I should be finished with my novel by now. Thanks, Google. -_-

So yeah...Narnia and marmosets!  This is about as smart as I get this Friday afternoon. :)

Don't forget to be a hero with us tomorrow and save a word! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Second Winter

I get a kick out of this meme--it's so perfect.

 Photo: I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to look at this week's forecast....


That is exactly what our weather did here.  And it wasn't just the weather--I've found myself in a second winter of another sort.  A couple second winters, actually.

One was the rather intense research paper I had to write.  I finished it and was all, "YAYYY I'M FREE!" only to turn around and realize I had an entire class's worth of assignments to do in a week.  (Still working on that...I should not be blogging right now. Oh well.)

I've also had a second-winter sort of experience with my writing.  Things were going well.  I was revising fast and furiously.  I was a happy writer.  I even had a really wonderful experience with a beta reader that made all the work I've ever done on this project worth it.  I believed I was on the verge of breaking through and churning out a final draft--ambitious revision plan and all.

But then the school work I hadn't been working ahead on hit, and I haven't touched my manuscript for a while.  The inspiration and the confidence have fizzled out in the face of other things, and I am yet again back here, waiting for the day when I have time to write intensely again.  Waiting for spring.

But nature shows us how this always goes.  We're not headed for an ice age, and neither is my intellectual life.  Spring comes.  It just...sometimes comes a lot later than you thought it would.