Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Last week I was tagged by Jill Domschot (author of the literary fantasy novel, Anna and the Dragon) to do this Writing Process Blog Hop. I actually kinda volunteered to be tagged, and yet I completely dropped the ball on getting the post ready on time. Starting back homeschooling full-force and preparing for a speaking engagement pretty much took all my free time last week and weekend. Well, except for the several hours I spent writing on Saturday thanks to my wonderful husband getting the Beasties out of the house. So yeah, quiet house and Work in Progress won over blog post. Deal.

Anyway, now to the post, which I've finally written :).

1. What am I working on?

This seems like it should be an easy question. It's not. I'm technically working on four different projects:

The first is, of course, Book 3 of the Toch Island Chronicles (that's my YA fantasy series that includes Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen if you are new to my blog).

The second is a prequel, sorta, for the series. It's the story of the mystery villain in Finding Angel and how he became a baddie. If you've read Finding Angel, you know why I'm not saying any more than that. If you haven't, well, sorry sweetie, but spoilers.

Project three, sticking with YA, is a ghost story. A young girl, Amelia, is staying in a small town with her father, a land developer with some big plans. The town locals are...scared. They don't like what Amelia's dad is doing. Mainly because they don't want to tick off the ghost that supposedly haunts the bridge on the edge of town.

Project four is my first full-length non-YA work. I've written some short stories that aren't YA, but never a full novel. However....I did discover, thanks to the awesome comments of one of my critique partners, that the book is not as far into the adult genre as I thought. I guess I can't help but write younger characters, so this one would likely fall into the New Adult category. In lieu of writing a summary, I'll give you a sneak peek at the query letter in progress that goes with this manuscript:

Simone found out at the age of 19 that she was half angel. And of course he had to be the one who told her—the demon, Wraith. The only one who was ever truthful enough with her to admit his words were mostly lies. 
She trusted him when he told her about her mother, the angel, who had selfishly given up Simone to return to Heaven.  She trusted him when he advised her to give up her own daughter out of selflessness—“They will grow old and die while you remain young.” And after years of searching for her daughter, she trusted him again when he claimed to have found her. 
Now the balance between angel and human in her has shifted. Can she trust Wraith one more time to lead her to the salvation he has been keeping from her for years?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hm. For my Toch Island Chronicles series I'd say it's because my magic is very science-based, and my novels are in that spot right on the edge of YA (young adult) and middle grade. Most YA out there these days is paranormal fiction. Mine is more about the fantasy and magic. The books, at least the two so far, are also mysteries.

My ghost story isn't close enough to being finished for me to really know how it differs from others. Again, though, it's right on that edge between middle grade and YA. Again, more mystery. And all I can really say other than that is, I've read a lot--a lot-- of YA and middle grade books and haven't come across one like this one.

The fourth project is different because most books in this genre--New Adult, paranormal--are completely romance-based. And while this one is, as much as I hate to admit it, a romance, that's not the heart of the story. At all. I really don't know how to explain the difference. Let's just say, I'm writing it the way I, a non-romance reader, would want the story told.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because it is what I read. What I have always read. Books about ordinary (but usually a little nerdy) kids who discover they are magic. Books about other worlds. Magical creatures. Mysteries. Scary stories. Books that struggle with dark themes. Those are what draw me to reading, so they are naturally what I write.

4. How does my writing process work?

That question assumes that it does work! :P Seriously, I have no real process. Every book I've written so far has been different. With Finding Angel, I spent nearly every waking hour writing, or plotting, typing, typing, typing, over the course of only three months. I wrote the scenes way out of order. I went through so many layers of editing for many, many months years after that. . But Seeking Unseen came out mostly in order, with the writing coming in slow bits and pieces, then the editing all slammed in at the end. I'd learned so much from writing Finding Angel and all the short stories I'd written, so the initial draft, while it took longer, came out much cleaner.

The rest of the projects are coming out differently still. Working on them essentially simultaneously means going back and forth. This one for a while (so many pages or words until I run out of motivation), then that one for a while...all squeezing it into an already busy schedule of homeschooling and, well, just being a wife and mom. Marketing has to be added to the mix, too, and teaching at conferences and such. I don't feel like I have a "process" these days. More like, take what I can get when I can get it--whether that be time to write or brainstorming for ideas--and take it in whatever order I get it.

OK, soooo......there it is. I've finally kept my promise. Only two days late--not so bad, really. However, because I was such a slacker I didn't find anyone to tag to keep the blog hop going. So, if you're a writer, and want to participate, feel free. Just make sure you list me and my website in the intro!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014

Just a quick post to share a few pics from our adventure at the 2014 Tampa Bay Comic Con! This was our first year attending, and we had a BLAST.

It started off with a ridiculously long line:

That was only a tiny taste of the number of people on the sidewalk...way, way down from where the actual event was....

But even standing in line can be fun with friends:

That's Beastie 2 and her buddy. Notice the waters--those were SO necessary. It was freaking hot outside! I was blown away by how many people stood in this line in this heat in full costume. At least Beastie's was cool. BTW, notice that it is classic Wonder Woman. A vendor actually gave her a free WW flashlight because he thought that was so cool of her :).

Beastie 1 wore just the basics in line, then when we got inside we finished suiting him up:

He was so worried about that costume. Would it be good enough? Would anyone know who he was? Well, judging by the number of people who asked for his picture, I'd say those questions got answered.

Speaking of pictures, this is one of Beastie 1's friends who couldn't take five steps without being asked for photos:

His dad worked about 5-6 hours every day, for over a month on this costume. It was awesome. The front opened up with the push of a button, and there was a voice box inside, and fans to keep him cool.

Here's the whole group of boys we went with:

From left to right, that would be Pit from Kid Icarus, Soundwave, Megaman, and Link from Legend of Zelda.

Yes, there were actually other people there and I did take pics--if you want to see them all, check out my Facebook album. (It's public, so if you're not on FB or we're not friends there, you can still see it.)

So, now....time to figure out what we're going to be next time!