Thursday, December 31, 2009
Let's go over the highlights of this year, shall we?
1) I started this blog on January 1, 2009. That was a huge step within itself. I had no idea what the blogosphere held for me, but I'm glad I took the chance to find out!
2) I've made bloggy friends! You guys are awesome!
3) I graduated from high school and survived my first semester of college.
4) The Not-So Meet Cute was finally finished and I wrote another book (and finished it!) during National Novel Writing Month.
5) My blog reached 200 posts!
6) I held two contests (speaking of which, your vlog is coming soon, Sara, I promise!).
7) I announced, in public, that I am a writer. Humongous step. This means I won't quit writing any time soon.
Wow! Looking at that list makes me smile soooooo big. I'm glad I've been able to share these things with all of you, gain your support and trust, and follow your hilarious and helpful blogs! Happy New Year to each and every one of you!
See you in 2010, when I'll announce things to come in the New Year!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Well, I have been watching this:
Anyways, I'll probably be back the week after Christmas so I can spend time with my family and work on my novel.
This thing is gonna be the death of me.
Once I come back from my break, I should have my new vlog ready to go!
Happy holidays everybody! I'll see ya'll soon enough!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wow. I feel so accomplished right now. Is it weird to feel accomplished because you babble about yourself on a daily basis on the internet? I don't think so.
James even showed up for the event wearing a cravat (because he knows how I dig cravats).
Now if I could only put him in a cowboy hat, he would be ICAW ready!
No, James! Come back! I love you without cowboy hats!
Well, I guess while we wait for him to come back I'll announce the contest results.
I'd like to send a big thank you to everybody who entered my NaNoWriMo/200th post/holiday/almost one year blogaversary title contest! Some of you were really, really persistent!
Ooh, the anticipation. It's killing you, I know.
Here it comes.
The runner-up is...
wait for it...
waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit for it...
Southern Princess with the title Battle Cries of the Broken.
Dude. I loved this! She took the title from the lyrics of one of my favorite songs! She wins a photo album and a poem about her awesomeness (which will be completely dasaloff).
Now, the moment you've all been waiting for. At least, I hope you've been waiting for it. I hope you've been pining for it all week.
The winning title is Jane's Air, which was submitted by Sara Raasch! Yay Sara!
This title was clever with a capital EV. Plus, it sounds way better than Jane's Hair or Jane's Pear.
Sara can look forward to a song in vlog form about her awesomeness, as well as a book of her choice and a photo album! I can't wait to start on the vlog.
Both ladies can contact me at natalia dot 165 at gmail dot com for more specifics. Congrats again and thanks to everybody who entered the contest!
"I came back without my shirt on. How many cowboys do that? Huh?"
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Music has always been a big part of my writing process, so I thought I should share music I listened to during NaNoWriMo.
The first song I became addicted to was from Last of the Mohicans. Listening to it sends shivers down my spine... it's sooooo perfect for my book. I can feel the emotional tension.
I tried to make a radio station on Pandora for this kind of music, but it was all too Celtic. Naturally, I fell to my usual Regina Spektor.
"Samson" is a beautiful piano song and story. The way Regina says "Samson" oozes love and affection.
Then came the chillingly gorgeous "Breathe Me" by Sia.
I've fallen deeper into love with Ingrid Michaelson. Out of all of her songs, this one relates to the book best.
Also, The Beatles are pure genius. I can see "Hey Jude" fitting in perfectly with a scene in my book. So much so, I almost cry.
Finally (well, not really, but I feel bad for posting all these videos) is "The Call" by Regina Spektor.
If anyone happened to make a title from the lyrics of these songs, specifically:
"It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word
And then that word grew louder and louder
'Til it was a battle cry"
... I might love you forever. Good luck!
Oh, and FYI, the winners of the contest probably won't be posted until tomorrow evening-ish because I'll be taking finals.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Plug plug plug.
You guys have been coming up with some good titles! Looks like a close contest so far.
So today comes the beginning of my book. The very first paragraphs. Let's go about this in Miss Snark Secret Agent fashion. You'll read the beginning (but over 250 words 'cuz I say I can) and tell me if you are hooked or not.
Remember that this is the very first draft, meaning it is very far from perfection. Also, this is MINE, so it would totally suck if you stole it.
Jane urged her horse to gallop faster for two reasons: one, it was a stolen horse, and two, she was trying to escape. The desire to flee had shaken her bones until finally, fearing neither consequence nor death, she strode out onto open plains under a sliver of moonlight, hoping sleep would be her ally.
Ground flew underneath the mare in a fluid movement, her swift legs carrying both her and her rider into a newborn dawn. The beat of hooves reassured Jane that she was farther and farther away from her broken home. The expanse of freedom before her lifted worry from her shoulders. The confidence that swelled in her chest invigorated her to keep riding towards an unknown future.
She wasn’t running from the law, rather, from her home. Now her unsteady lifestyle was in her past and she hoped nobody would make her go back. Optimism was her guide on this new journey; Jane wouldn’t stop to let fear settle in, lest it impede her progress.
Many miles away, a small farm came to life with the bustle of morning activity. Jane’s presence wasn’t missed, at least not at the moment. A mother woke up a small girl, Clementine, and reminded her to collect the eggs for their morning breakfast. An older son, Luke, already sat at the kitchen table waiting for coffee with his stepfather, Carson.
Clementine clutched a basket to her chest as she walked to the chicken coop. As she was only seven, she was still excited to inspect under every chicken for new life. Once her task was complete, she took the eggs to her mother with utmost care, worrying that the delicate shells would crack. After they were in the hands of her mother, however, Clementine ran outside to the barn, forgetting her earlier patience. Visiting with the animals as they woke was her morning joy; she tapped a lamb until it opened its eyes so she might hear it baa. She then walked up and down the narrow aisle of the barn, inspecting each animal, until she discerned a change. Backing up slowly to the stall she had passed, she noticed something was missing. A very big something. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, just to be absolutely positive, before running back to the house as fast as she could.
390 words. Not bad.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
First, I must show this video, simply because the animation is awesome.
It's about the west, so I suppose it could be considered related to ICAW.
I proclaim it to be so!
Which reminds me, have you entered the title contest yet? Do it!
Or, wait until I tell you some more about my book.
Yeah, that could work, too.
Today, I am going to discuss the main-est of the main characters. I like to call them "The Big Three", then imagine them at Yalta conferences (sorry, my history nerd is showing).
Ready? Let's go!
Jane Hawkes: She's the main character of the book (even though it's written in third person) and she's loosely modeled after Jane Eyre. At seventeen years old, she's hardly known any happiness in her life, so she runs away from her abusive family, hoping she'll find something great. Without giving too much away, I'll say that when she gets into trouble, Jane is pretty fierce. She's doesn't look for help with her problems, she wants to get things done quickly and efficiently. If you didn't already notice, she's extremely stubborn, but also fragile and unsure of herself sometimes. When things don't go the way she plans with her love interest, she gives up on love almost altogether. She's ashamed she even had feelings for the boy in question because she thinks it makes her weak. By the end of the book, though, she realizes how much she wants and needs to be loved because it was what she subconsciously went looking for when she ran away from home. Jane won't admit to all this until she's the independent woman she planned on becoming, however.
August Phoenix: He is Jane's love interest, but neither of them know that at first meeting (which you can read here). He's nineteen and works as a doctor's apprentice for his uncle. August also has a past, but he refuses to reveal it to anybody for fear of shaming his family. He's deeply committed to helping the nearby Indian tribe protect itself from white settlers because of the family it offered him when he felt isolated with his secrets. August is still finding where he fits into the world when Jane comes into his life; after that, the rest is history. There's some male superiority issues he has to overcome first, though.
Isaac Strickland: Ahh, the bad guy. I talked about him a little bit earlier and how I'm in love with his delicious wickedness. To quote myself:
"Strickland is originally introduced as the charming guy that Jane might have to marry. He's easy on the eyes, and Jane's looking for an escape, so she lets herself be smitten. Later, August reveals some information that stains the way she sees him, but the reader still doesn't know what to think about him. Then comes the scenes where he is revealed for the dastardly evil guy he is."
I hope this is helpful for all my little contest participants! Hopefully I will post a excerpt tomorrow and some inspiring music the day after that.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I promise I'll look at the camera more next time.
Squee! It's a contest!
Like I said, today marks the beginning of International Cowboy Appreciation Week (ICAW). This Friday will be my 200th post, so I thought it would be awesome to have a contest for my recently finished NaNoWriMo novel.
Here be the rules:
1) Be a follower. When I'm a famous published author someday and I'm asked how I came up with the title of my book, I don't want to have to say "Oh, a random person on the internet gave me the idea." That's not cool. Also, if you mention it on your blog, you will definitely get brownie points.
2) Leave your title ideas in the comment section of THIS post. Please.
That comment should include your title (or titles, multiple entries allowed) and the title of the book you want to win should your title be chosen (hold on, I'm getting to the title thing in a second).
3) All submissions must be turned in by midnight on Thursday, November 10th, Eastern time. I will announce the winner and the runner-up on Friday, DECEMBER 11th. To make sure the contest is fair, I will have some friends of mine give me their opinions of the titles as well.*
The first place winner will win three separate items:
1) A book from my TBR list:
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
If you've read or have all of these books, you can also pick one from my Shelfari side bar. There are more classics in that pile if you're not a fan of YA.
2) I'm making photo books with the pictures I took in Italy this summer. As the first place winner, you will not only receive one, but you can also pick some of the pictures that you want to go in the book. You can look at my Flikr page as a reference.
3) I will write and sing a song of your awesomeness on a vlog.
The runner up will win:
1) The aforementioned photo book.
2) A poem about their awesomeness.
I better get more than two entries in this contest, guys. Don't disappoint me!
To make this post even more epically long, I'm going to post the synopsis of my novel so you can begin thinking of titles.
When Jane Hawkes, seventeen, runs away from her morally corrupt and abusive family, she ends up running towards the dangers and deadly secrets the west holds. Set in the wild west, this YA fiction features gun fights, Native Americans, wild horses, saloons, a doctor's apprentice, romance, and a girl trying to live her life on her own terms.
That's probably the shortest description I've ever given. What a good time to practice your brevity, Mariah *rolls eyes*
Also, here's a previously posted excerpt.
There shall be excerpts and other such things throughout the rest of the week, so stay tuned!
Let the titling commence!
*Even though a title will win, I will not necessarily end up using it. Just thought you should know.
Friday, December 4, 2009
A big thank you and numerous cyber hugs to everybody who supported me during NaNo! I couldn't have done it without you all! I've been blessed to make friends with a lot of you this year, and NaNo exemplified how amazing everyone is! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Also, I swear I haven't abandoned my blog. Things have been crazy hectic this week as finals approach so I've taken a few days off to recuperate from November and prepare for the onslaught. Plus, I've perfectly planned out next Friday to be my 200th post, making all of next week International Cowboy Appreciation Week (ICAW), a la ISPAW*.
I am very, VERY excited for next week because it will feature the big title contest I've been talking about for so long. Yay!
There will be prizes! Excerpts! Music videos! Pictures! And much, much more.
Anywho, here comes the post (finally):
He's his younger self in this picture, but I find it glorious.
This is him now:
I still think he's pretty hawt. Some guys are a "cute" kind of hot when they're younger, and as they age they become a more "mature" and refined hot. Brad Pitt is one of those men.
The first movie I remember seeing him in was "Meet Joe Black".
He was certainly swoon-worthy in this movie, but he was almost too pretty. I mean, I'm all for pretty guys...
...but Brad Pitt needs to be a little rougher looking in my opinion.
Like in this picture, when he was finished with "Legends of the Fall" (great movie, by the way).
And let's not forget "Troy". *shiver*
"Troy" came out on my birthday. I was the happiest girl in the world.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Did I mention that he's a great actor? I think I forgot to throw that in there.
Ah, Fridays are my favorites. Have a good weekend, everyone, and see you for ICAW!
*ISPAW sounds cooler than ICAW :(
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I think... I think I did it.
I DID IT!!! I FINISHED NANOWRIMO!!!
OH NO, NOW I CAN'T TURN OFF CAPS LOCK! IT SOUNDS LIKE I'M YELLING AT YOU!!!
Whoa, I fixed it.
*sobs* December, you are so glorious! Let's be friends forever, okay?
I'm really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really tired from last night. I mean, look at this. That's total proof of my craziness right there.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pretend I'm Rip Van Winkle. Good night.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Ready to have all your riveting questions about me answered? Here we go!
Jade asks: What was your inspiration to write a western for NaNo?
The initial idea for my NaNo novel came to me in a dream during April/May of this year. At the time, I was writing The Not-So Meet Cute (which is going to be placed on a high, dusty shelf for a very, very long time) so I let it simmer in my mind until this month, when I finally unleashed it. The dream I had about the main character, Jane Hawkes, was really vivid, but most of her story was cleaned up so it could be written in a YA novel. Originally, J.H. (what she was called in my dream) was a little older, and she was a gold-digger that married men and killed them afterward. That is, until she meets her love interest (August) and can't bring herself to kill him. I'm sooooo glad the book has evolved to where it is now; it's become intricate and amazing and I'm completely in love with it. I have absolutely no experience with westerns, so it's been an inspiring challenge.
Sarah wants to know: If you were stuck on a deserted island (so original, I know), what three books would you want with you?
This is an evil question, Sarah. Evil evil evil.
Okay *sigh*. First, I would take Jane Eyre. This book inspires me on so many different levels. Second, I would bring my Jane Austen anthology. Since all of her books are in it, this technically isn't cheating. Yay!
Third... grr... so hard...
I guess I'll say War and Peace because I haven't finished it yet. If I was going to be stuck on a desert island, I would need something to occupy a lot of my time. Plus, Tolstoy is amazing.
It's December 1st. 12:01 a.m. What are you doing?
Right now, there are two possible answers to this question.
1) I'll be crying, banging my head on the keyboard because I haven't finished my novel.
2) I'm dancing around my dorm room in a wild fashion, eating lots of chocolate. Then, at 12:02, edits will begin (because yes, I am that person).
I'm really hoping it's the second one.
Sara Raasch asked me: Favorite color?
But it hasn't always been pink. Until I met one of my very best friends, it was blue.
My clothes are always colorful: pink, purple, teal, burgundy. I only have one black t-shirt and it's from a Coldplay concert.
Favorite romance scene from a book?
The scene in Jane Eyre when Mr. Rochester tells Jane that she doesn't need to be the governess for his house anymore because he's marrying Blanche Ingram. This saddens Jane, because she loves him and doesn't want to be parted from him. But, instead of obeying him, she stands up and fights for what she wants. To her surprise, Rochester loves her too.
Not to mention it has the best literary symbol of all time (the chestnut tree under which he proposes to her is struck in half by lightning).
What would you do in the event of a nuclear zombie apocalypse? Run, fight, barricade yourself in a bomb shelter?
I would fight because I'm scrappy.
Also, I've read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I feel that I'm pretty well prepared.
Favorite song to listen to while driving? (aka favorite song to sing along to while driving?)
I haven't driven for a while since my car is at home and I am not. I'd still have to say it's this one, though.
Hayley asks: Where do you find your inspiration in general? (I'm playing off Jade's question)
Most of my ideas come to me when I'm trying to do something else, like sleep. You have no idea how many nights I wake up with an awesome idea and I have to write it on a nearby notebook. It's very hard to decipher these things in the morning, especially when they're written upside down over top of something else.
Sometimes when I'm writing I like to take a break and get a hot shower because I feel like it wakes me up and gets my brain juices flowing.
How do you name your character, or how do you figure out their names?
For my NaNo book, I already knew the main character's initials were J.H., so her first name automatically became Jane (in case you haven't noticed, I'm a little obsessed with all things Jane). For all the other names, I found a great reference for western baby names, and that's how I found August's name.
Also, August just sounds delicious.
For The Not-So Meet Cute (on it's very high shelf), the MC's name, Piper, came to me when I thought of a fiesty little red-head. I'm still not sure why, but I love it. Then Simon's name was made when I thought of names that sounded good with Piper. It took a lot of random shouting of male names to come up with his, but now that it's him, I wouldn't change it for anything.
I find that if I have negative associations with names because of people I know personally, or other characters, that effects the final names of all my characters.
How do you balance school and writing? I'm not even in college yet and can barely find the time.
I always make sure my schoolwork is finished before I start writing. After that, pulling all-nighters to finish "just one more scene" is relatively common. It's definitely not an easy balance to maintain, but if I put aside a certain time for writing, it almost always gets done.
What's your favorite movie, that is not Jane Austen related?
"The Princess Bride", hands down. I could watch this movie a million more times and never grow bored with it.
What exactly am I supposed to do now that I've gotten this blog award?
Well, the "Honest Scrap" award needs to be passed to ten other deserving bloggers and you should write ten things about yourself your followers might not already know. Other than that, enjoy it!
I hope this little "Q&A" session has been informative, and that everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving!
*I apologize there are not hot guys in this post. Next week, I promise.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Aww, you think I'm scrappy? *Sniff*
Now I'm supposed to say ten things about myself.
Umm.... I can't think of anything interesting to say, I'm afraid.
I know! How 'bout YOU guys ask me questions? Whaddya want to know about me?
Go ahead and ask. I'm an open book!
Here are the crazy awesome bloggers that I'm nominating:
Lisa and Laura
I'm pretty sure that everyone else I wanted to nominate has already received this award, so I will leave the list at five. Huzzah!
Word Count: 35,710
Chocolate Consumption: Has reached embarrassingly high levels.
Ask those questions!
Monday, November 23, 2009
That's why I want to follow Sara's example and post a "wippet" from my NaNo novel.
But there's a slight problem: I don't know what to post.
Right now, the story is so entwined; all the characters have different motives, so it's hard for me to pick something out that can stand alone.
This is very upsetting.
I suppose for now I will post when Jane (MC) meets August. It should be relatively easy to follow. All you need to know is that Jane's run away from home, accidentally run into a cowboy/Indian skirmish, broke her arm, and August is the doctor's apprentice that is fixing it up for her.
This is only a first draft, so bear with me. Sorry it's a little long.
August was upset to be splinting an arm when he could be treating “real wounds”, but he remained silent as he pushed Jane’s sleeve up her arm to better assess the damage.
“How’d you break it?” he began a menial conversation to take her focus off of the pain.
“My horse bucked me off,” she cleared her throat, unafraid to speak in her natural voice again.
“What were you doing riding a horse near open gunfire? And in men’s clothes? You can’t be more than fifteen,” his voice was full of judgment.
“I’m almost eighteen,” she locked eyes with him. His hands stopped their inspection. “You probably aren’t even older than me. Are you sure you know how to splint my arm? I could easily do it myself.”
“Oh, you could, could you?” he laughed. “It doesn’t seem like you can even stay on your horse.”
“I could outride you any day, broken arm and all,” she challenged him. Then her voice lowered. “An Indian with a spear was headed toward me when the horse got spooked. I didn’t have a chance to react.”
“Wait a second,” August found a piece of wood and split it on his knee to fit her arm. “You mean to tell me you were attacked by an Indian and lived?”
She nodded solemnly. “Look, I don’t want to talk about it. Can you hurry up and splint my arm?”
“As you wish,” he bowed. He peeked up from under his sheet of hair to see her rolling her eyes. They were blue in a way he couldn’t describe. He knew she would be beautiful with a clean face and a nice dress, but she looked wild and it was almost as appealing.
August had her arm splinted in less than five minutes, and she was about to leave before he stopped her.
“Where are you from?”
Once again, her eyes almost rolled out of her head. She turned and walked out of the building. He followed.
Jane pivoted on her heel to face him. He caught himself before he ran into her.
“It’s not worth talking about, okay?” a determined look in her eyes told him she meant business.
“Well, I know you’re not from around here,” he persisted.
“Correct,” she stared at her boots.
“Who are you staying with?”
“Why do you have so many questions?”
He put his hands on his head. “Because I’m training to be a doctor, that’s why. I need to know your medical history.”
“Look, August,” she pronounced his name slowly. “I’m not staying with anybody. I don’t even know where I am right now, okay?”
“If I tell you where we are, will you answer one of my questions?”
“Depends on the question.”
He pretended to scold her with one hand on his hip and the other pointing at her. “That’s not how it works.”
Once more, Jane turned to leave. If she was going to stay in this town, she would have to find something to do, something that would prove she was worthwhile. She walked away from August for a few steps, but then had a thought. Maybe he would help her get a job as a nurse or something. He seemed willing enough.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Without further ado, I introduce you to washboard abs, er, Ryan Reynolds!
I feel an Ellen Degeneres moment coming on...
AM I RIGHT LADIES?
It's moments like these I feel sorry for my lone male follower. Sorry, Davin.
So, Ryan Reynolds. I remember him from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and a number of college-aged guys movies, and it wasn't until I saw "Definitely, Maybe" that I really liked him. I mean, come on, he finds Isla Fisher's copy of Jane Eyre! That immediately won my heart.
Also, he's married to Scarlett Johansson. Power couple!
He loves baby seals!
Look at that smile!
Look at that thumb biting action! Wait, is he biting his thumb at me...?
Soon he'll be playing the Green Lantern. Mariah loves shirtless superheroes.
Now that I've wasted a significant amount of time writing this post, I shall bid you a happy weekend!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
1) This song fits in with what I'm writing right now.
2) Jane and August are in a fight. This makes me sad.
3) The bad guy, Isaac Strickland, is so marvelously bad. I love it.
Yes, I know that this sounds strange. I shall explain.
Strickland is originally introduced as the charming guy that Jane might have to marry. He's easy on the eyes, and Jane's looking for an escape, so she lets herself be smitten. Later, August reveals some information that stains the way she sees him, but the reader still doesn't know what to think about him. Then comes the scenes where he is revealed for the dastardly evil guy he is. Snippet:
"Strickland was left sitting alone in the dark corner of his house, using the dark corners of his mind to plot the end for a certain saloon girl."
Evil. Wonderfully evil.
I will say this: next time I post, I will be on schedule. I probably won't post (besides Fridays) until after Thanksgiving. This challenge is being posted online so if I don't meet my goal, I will have to eat my words. I don't like eating my words.
5) I have no clue why this post suddenly became double spaced.
6) Who should I write about on Friday? I feel like I've become experts on people I'm interested in, so I'd like to know what you guys want to read about. It can be people/things/places... whatever you want. Suggestions please!
Word Count: 22,303 (almost halfway!)
Chocolate consumption: Hot chocolate, I love the way you feel in my belly.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anyways, I thought I'd share a Wordle for the first 15,000 words of my book:
Guess who the main character is.*
Now to the meat of my post.
It's killing me.
My professors have decided that it's the month to stack paper after paper on top of my to do list. Sorry my blogging schedule has been erratic; it should return to normal next month, when I'll have my 200th post!
November is not an ideal time to write a book. I'm currently 10,000 words behind my target word count for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully, I can make this up over Thanksgiving. If not, I plan on finishing during December.
Speaking of December...
I've been planning my title contest and it's gonna be awesome. There will be a cool prize (well, cool in my opinion)!
Get here faster, December! Pretty please?
Ugh, this post was extremely random and all over the place. I guess that's what happens when I have blog withdraw.
Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Word Count: 16,367
Chocolate Consumption: I'd rather not say.
*No prizes will be awarded.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It's about the amazingly beautiful drawing the wonderfully talented Natalie Whipple made for me!
This is so beautiful I could cry. Natalie captured Jane and August better than I could have ever expected. I'm even more motivated to finish this novel, as well as think of a title.
I've officially decided (as of right now) to hold a novel-titling contest in December once NaNo is over and I've gotten some sleep. I'll probably also post some excerpts before then, so ya'll can git yer creative juices a flowin'.
Thanks again, Natalie! This makes me unbelievably happy!