Love-Hate Challenge: Part I

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Just the other day I was thinking how I never really saw blog challenges or chains anymore. Then this morning I find a little challenge treat in my inbox thanks to Paula Acton. Cool! The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate 10 bloggers

To complete this challenge, I decided to go with a theme – books! Seeing as I just had the time of my life at Powell’s Books this is a fitting answer to the Love-Hate Challenge. However, hate is a word I’d rather not apply to books, so I’m going to switch things up and do a Love List and a Not A Fan List.

10 Books I Love

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

41DMQB+vWwL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_I fell in love with this book at first read. A love story rooted in the gothic tradition, a plain governess falls for her mysterious boss. Add to that an unexpected secret hiding in the attic – the first time through I never saw it coming! While I love a good romance with a dark twist, Jane is the star for me. She isn’t the typical mousy woman, but rather a self-assured individual who stands up for herself. I’ve read Jane Eyre so many times and I never get tired of it! Juicy, juicy stuff!

 

2. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

41MLd2DZYwL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Vampires and Werewolves, oh my! I admit I fell under the spell of Twilight instantly, I read the first book in three sittings. And then I devoured the other three books in the series in under two weeks. Then, I turned into an even nuttier fangirl when the movies came out. What can I say, I was a total sucker for Bella (who I can relate to on so many levels) and the dreamy Edward (who is not as creepy and stalkerish as haters would proclaim). I just recently reread the first two books and was instantly reminded why Twilight is so much fun. It’s all about fantasy and the exhilaration of first love – Meyer captures these two concepts perfectly.

 

3. Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

51LLeAJAgqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I found this series in the throes of Twilight withdrawal. I had just finished Breaking Dawn and I needed something to get my mind off the ending of an era. I picked up City of Bones and fell happily into Clare’s incredible world of Shadowhunters and the ultimate fight against evil. Not to mention another really great couple, Clary and Jace. I’ve stuck with the Mortal Instruments through six books (all of which are phenomenal) and three books of the Infernal Devices series (also phenomenal). Clare is one of the best world-builders in YA fantasy and I’m always looking forward to more from her!

 

4. Persuasion by Jane Austen

411KbBtEyuL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Pretty much anything by Jane Austen falls into my love list, but I love Persuasion above all else. The story of Anne and Captain Wentworth melts my heart every time – I fall to pieces every time I read Wentworth’s letter to Anne at the end. Ahhhhhh! This is my ultimate romance novel as it is the epitome of how love always prevails.

 

 

5. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

51MU5VilKpL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Seriously, what is not to love about this series?? My heart wrapped around Harry from the first page of Sorcerer’s Stone to the last page of Deathly Hallows. Never have I become so attached to a character in a book (except for maybe Jane Eyre). Throw in some magic, Dumbledore’s wisdom, and the clash of light and dark forces and you’ve got a tour-de-force of amazing fiction. The best part is, you don’t have to be a kid to love this stuff!

 

6. This is Water / A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

31iis44pawL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Like Austen, pretty much anything David Foster Wallace has written is on my love list. I love his quirky, yet highly intelligent style of writing. His observations make me laugh, consider things I hadn’t before and above all cause me to think deeply about myself and the world around me. He is in a category all by himself and no one can even come close to his genius, (musings of major fan, obviously).

 

7. Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr.

41LQyLs4UFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There are tear stains on the last few pages of my copy of Everything Matters. I cried in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but I bawled at Currie, Jr’s heartfelt and gut wrenching novel. Currie plays with the question: If you knew when the world was going to end what would you do? Keep it to yourself? Try to change it? Tell the whole world? Would it change how you lived? Loved?

 

 

8. Q-Squared by Peter David

510s1XRP0sL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I think I’ve read every Star Trek: The Next Generation novel (and they are so much fun), but this little masterpiece is easily my favorite. Q is a fan favorite from the TV series and Peter David brings him to life in this funny, thrilling, and fantastical tale. And who doesn’t love the banter between Q and Picard!?

 

 

9. Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear

51LeP0LfWDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This series is near and dear to my heart. A close friend, (who recently passed) introduced me to this historical mystery series and I love it. Maisie is a smart, independent woman who survived the battlefront of WWI and several personal tragedies. Instead of giving up, she always picks herself up and pushes forward. While she’s at it she solves murder mysteries with her uncanny ability to read people and pick up minute details. The 11th book came out earlier this year and I plowed right through it. Awesome as always!

 

10. Haiku Anthologies

UnknownMy love of haiku knows no bounds. I’ve paged through traditional haiku anthologies of Basho, Issa, and Busson, while also embracing modern anthologies like Haiku in English: The First 100 Years and The Haiku Anthology. I can’t get enough of this poetic form!

 

 

 

This post is quite long, so I’ll post my Not A Fan list and nominees later this week!

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What books are your love list?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: April Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

This was an interesting month for The Muse. I started April by organizing query packages. I was ready to hit send on all of them, when I realized something had to change. After three months of sending queries I’m getting responses, but they are all rejections. While getting a response of any kind is great, I’m not getting the “yes” I need.

After some thought I think I figured out what’s happening. The fact that I’m getting responses tells me I’ve got a good query letter. That means the rejection factor is coming from my sample pages, which is usually the first five chapters.

I sat down and read the first five chapters at least 10 times before I had a major epiphany. In an instant, I knew what was wrong. Funny how that happens! I wrote to my editor and asked her what she thought about my epiphany and she agreed I was on to something.

What it all comes down to is cutting Chapter 1 entirely. When I really thought about it I realized everything in Chapter 1 is addressed in later early chapters. So why am I clogging the beginning of the story with what is essentially back story? The story has its true start in Chapter 2, so it makes sense to push it up to the beginning.

I may not have sent out a query package this month, but I am working hard on adjusting my manuscript for the next round of queries.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

With April being National Poetry Month, I found it easy to focus on this goal! I participated in two poetry challenges:

Over on the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest, the annual April  Poem A Day Challenge commenced. This challenge is also a competition that will culminate in a published poetry anthology. Each day there was a prompt, a guest judge, and over 1,000 posted poems. It was an incredible experience! I managed to post haikus every day (in total, I wrote 88 haikus) and I met some amazing poets along the way.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. While February is the official haiku writing month, the organization offers up daily haiku writing prompts every month. I ended up writing 61 haikus during the the month of April

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

As the school year is starting to draw to a close, this goal is getting a little harder, but I think writing 149 haikus qualifies as staying focused! :-)

5. Be flexible.

Who would have thought I’d cut Chapter 1?! I’m still in shock I made this decision, but I think it’s the right thing to do.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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p.s. Happy Star Wars Day!!!

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: March Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

I sent out two more query packages. One has already responded with a rejection, while the other has not responded. It’s only been a couple of weeks, so a response of some kind is still possible. As for dealing with another rejection, I proudly added it to the others and made immediate plans to move forward.

As March comes to an end, I am busy tailoring three more query packages for the next round of agents on my list. One of them requires a synopsis, so I’ll be working hard polishing my synopsis draft.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

I submitted poetry to two different competitions:

  • Poetry! Goodreads Newsletter Contest – I didn’t make the finals, but it’s the first time I entered a poem in this competition. I get email notifications all the time, but never do anything about it. This month I decided to take the plunge, which means I hit a personal best!
  • Robert Spiess Memorial Competition (via Modern Haiku) – I submitted five haikus at the last minute! This competition is probably way out of my league, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. While February is the official haiku writing month, the organization offers up daily haiku writing prompts every month. I ended up writing close to 40 haikus during the the month of March.

In addition to NaHaiWriMo, I continued my involvement in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. I didn’t miss a single Wednesday Poetry Prompt.

As for my black out poetry submission, I’m still waiting on the results to this challenge: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

This month brought its fair share of distractions, including the passing of my beloved grandfather. However, I still managed to stick to my writing goals. In many ways, my daily practice offered some escape from the grief.

5. Be flexible.

As always, I’m staying open to opportunities and inspiration wherever they may be hiding.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: January Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

I’ve been quite busy on this front! My list of prospective agents continues to grow as I peruse the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino. I now have 14 literary agents on my list and I’m currently personalizing my query letter to align with their individual interests.

Towards the end of January, I participated in a Twitter Pitch event launched by a literary agency. My twitter pitch was not favorited, which means I can add another rejection to my growing collection. I don’t view this as a bad thing as gathering rejections is just part of a writer’s life.

2. Start writing Lineage.

Poetry, work, and query packages were the priority in January, so Lineage has been hanging out in the background. This isn’t a surprise to me as I don’t really plan on sitting down to write this thing for another few months.

3. Submit poetry.

This is another area where I was busy!

I entered three haikus in a local competition. Every year the downtown area plays host to a Japanese cultural festival. For this year’s festival there will be a haiku exhibit where winning poems will be displayed. I’ll know by February 14th if I made the cut.

I’m also holding true to my goal of hanging out with the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. Every Wednesday there is a prompt and invitation to post a poetic response. I use this opportunity to practice writing haikus and to read through the work of other poets. I love everything about this community of writers and the inspiration that comes with it. I’m happy to say I posted a poem every single week during January.

Lastly, I’m still waiting to hear on two competitions I entered back in December 2014: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry and the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Results aren’t expected to come through until February, so I guess we’ll wait and see!

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

I stayed relatively focused. I wrote something almost every day and worked consistently towards pitching The Muse. My knitting habit and a nasty cold may have stolen a few days, but otherwise, my writing stayed front and center in my life!

5. Be flexible.

I’m finding inspiration everywhere. After a long hiatus, I’m back to walking to work in the morning. The silence of the world just before dawn has inspired a ridiculous amount of haikus.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015