Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's Brewing

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to check in and see what's brewing this week!

Ginger Calem, my critique-partner-in-crime, has another WritersButt blog up today!  For those of you who tuned in last week, hope you had fun peeing and squatting.  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, that probably sounds really wrong....

Another week, another bunch of Apocalypsie debuts!  This week we're welcoming:


Congrats to these amazing debut authors, and check out their books today!

And now I leave you with a little gift...a beautiful reminder that although Nooks and Kindles and iPads are wonderful things, there's nothing quite like a real, flesh-and-blood-and-paper book.

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Defines Us

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." - Henry David Thoreau

Years ago, when I was an acting major in college, I studied with a Belgian movement teacher.  As part of our final, we had to do several minutes of purely improvised movement.  In her review of my work, my teacher told me (imagine this with a Belgian accent), "There was a moment, when you were in the corner of the room, that you just became huge.  And that's the way you must live, you know - huge."

Every once in a while I remind myself of her words.  Am I living huge?

Throughout our lives, we make mistakes.  We have failures.  We suffer loss and disappointments.  And over time, we allow those mistakes and failures and disappointments to start to define us.  We give more weight to the downs of our lives than the ups.

So instead of living huge, we make ourselves smaller than we really are. 

What if, rather than being defined by our mistakes and failures, we choose to define ourselves by our successes?  We would start to spill over the boundaries of ourselves, instead of being so contained.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?" - Marianne Williamson

I love this quote.  Who am I not to be all that I can be?  Who am I not to be brilliant and amazing?  Why am I making myself small?  Is it to make someone else feel better about themselves?  Is it because someone, long ago, told me that I wasn't worth all the space I deserve?  Whatever the reason, it doesn't serve me anymore.

So here's my challenge to you: Live huge.  Fill up your space and spill over the edges.  Sing your song out loud and let the world hear it.   

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's A Practice, Not A Perfect

So in yoga class this morning...

...and yes, I'm about to quote my yoga teacher again.

Seriously, the woman is a genius.  There's always at least one quotable nugget of wisdom she gives us in each class.  Today she said, "Yoga is a practice unlike any other.  There is no end result."

That really stuck with me.  (Obviously, because I'm blogging about it!)  And I thought, "I can apply that to writing."

Remember my resolution for 2012?  Fall back in love with writing.  And I think one of the keys to that is to be less fixated on the end result (publication) and focus back on the practice of writing.  It's the process where I find the joy.  It's the process that I fell in love with to begin with, way back in third grade when I wrote my first story.  (It was about a unicorn.  Yep.)

I think it's really easy to lose focus on the practice of writing when we're busy chasing a book contract.  We become convinced that it's only through publication that we'll be happy.  But if we don't love the process, the end result won't bring us happiness. 

Photo: Everett Harper
In yoga, there is no end result.  There's only what you feel in the pose at any given moment.  There is no perfect.  You may be able to hold a headstand for an hour one day, but the next day you'll fall out after a minute.  The practice of yoga is always changing and evolving.  No pose is ever perfect.  That's because we are never perfect.

It was only after I was able to give up the idea of being perfect in yoga that my practice truly deepened.

And it was only after I realized that my life would never be perfect, that I would never be "finished," that my life really got good.

I'm still hoping and dreaming and wishing for a book contract.  But I'm giving up the idea that it will bring me the joy I seek.  So I'm going to look for that joy in the daily practice of slipping into my character's lives and getting lost in the fantastic maze of a good story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's Brewing

2012 is only five days old but it's there's already awesomeness brewing.  Here's what I'm excited about this week:

My book, now retitled WINTER FALLS, is back out on submission!  And that's the last I'm going to say about it until I can announce that it's been resold.  I'm a pretty superstitious person so I'll be keeping mum as it makes the rounds.  But if you have any positive vibes to spare, send them my way!  Thanks!

My good friend and long-time critique partner Ginger Calem has launched an awesome program called WritersButt.  Not only is Ginger a fabulous writer, she's also a Crossfit trainer and one of the biggest bundles of energy I know.  WritersButt is designed to not only whip our butts into shape, but also get our minds healthy and active so our creative juices can flow.  Follow her blog every Wednesday for the weekly activity, and join the conversation on Twitter under the hashtag #writersbutt.
The good folks at Penguin obviously love me because they decided to release Sara Wilson Etienne's debut novel HARBINGER on my birthday, February 2nd, 2012.  And Sara's giving me an early birthday present by releasing the HARBINGER book trailer today!  Check it out:

Seriously, could a book trailer be more awesome than that?  I'm actually reading HARBINGER right now because I was lucky enough to get an ARC.  (I don't review books on my blog but I'll just say this: you'll want to put this at the top of your TBR pile.)  I'll be interviewing Sara on the Lucky 13s blog on or around her release date so stay tuned for that!

Five days later, Jessica Spotswood's debut BORN WICKED will be released, on February 7th.  I'll also be interviewing her for the Lucky 13s blog.  There are so many wonderful books coming out to sink our teeth into this year!

With the start of 2012 came a handful of Apocalypsie debuts.  CRACKED by K.M. Walton, THE CABINET OF EARTHS by Anne Nesbet, CINDER by Marissa Meyer (check out the LA Times review here), THE BOY PROJECT by Kami Kinard, and UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi were all released this week.  Seriously, I don't know where I'm going to find the time to read all these amazing books!

And that's what's brewing this week.  Now go out and read!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Year of Transformation

2012 feels ripe with possibility.

More than any recent New Year, I feel like 2012 is a clean slate, a true starting over.  I have no idea what this year will bring, and that's exciting.

I'll be honest: the last several weeks of 2011 were some of the worst of my life. 

So when December 31st rolled around, I was more than ready to put 2011 to bed.

And that's what I did.  I put the year to bed.  I tucked 2011 gently under the covers, thanked it for all the lessons I learned from it, turned off the light, and quietly shut the door.

And now I'm standing in the full daylight of 2012, ready to take it on.  I know a lot of people think this is the year the world will end, but I've never believed that.  Rather, I've always believed that 2012 will be the year of transformation. 

Source: Aruna at ml.wikipedia
My transformation starts with falling back in love with writing.  I need to return to why I started writing in the first place.  It wasn't to get published (although that is my goal).  It was because I had stories inside me that I had to tell.  My job is to put those stories on paper.  Let my agent worry about selling THE TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY.  That's her job.  Mine is only to write.

In the coming weeks, I'll be keeping you updated on how Project Fall In Love With Writing goes.  And I'll also be completely redesigning this blog.  Stay tuned.  2012 has just begun.

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Terri Dion, who won my Season of Reading book giveaway!  Terri will receive beautiful hardcover copies of WINGS by Aprilynne Pike, THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong, and WONDROUS STRANGE by Lesley Livingston.  Happy reading, Terri!