New Websites Writers Should Hear About

While I realize I'm not the movingest, shakingest of people, I do consider myself to be perpetually curious.  Especially when it comes to writing, and the ways in which writing sort of amalgamates with other things, be it linguistics, anthropology, cultural development, young people, or the internet.

It's the latter that seems to be popping up lately.  Have you heard about Open Sky? It seems to be, if it's prevailing PR is to be believed, targeting itself toward authors and writers looking to expand and define their brand and sales base.  Which is, um, awesome.  The website (newly launched) isn't nearly so specific, and seems to be a broader minded Etsy prototype.

(Love me some Etsy.  Just bought these geekery items there the other day:


Back to OpenSky.  All in all, a very cool idea that will take a minute (and, you know, an actual book to sell) to see if it's really going to have the impact that it's hinting at.  I think it has a lot of potential, though, and writers should definitely be keeping an eye on it--sites like these could make self publishing a much more viable commodity.

And, a quick word about self pubbing, I was really fascinated by MoonRat's article (tweeted earlier this week; you should sooo follow me on Twitter), mostly because my favorite, most deeply obsessed with unreliable narrator EVER, Towner Whitney in Brunonia Barry's THE LACE READER, was self published.  I NEVER KNEW THIS!  And now I wish I paid more attention to how I heard about the book in the first place.

But I didn't.

Anyway, the other website I'm currently very curious about what it will mean for my curiosity and for the writing industry is  This website is pretty fascinating because, while still in beta testing, it's centered on this pop Japanese trend that has teenagers writing prose via cell phones, to be shared and distributed via cell phones.  It's like Twitter novels, except that, if the website is to be believed, it's wildly popular.  Could something like this catch on in the states?  Could Figment become the new Facebook for writers?  It's totally possible, and I'm downright curious.

Also, here's a good list of the best Creative Writing programs in the States, including PhD, which I found very useful because a CW PhD is always in the back of my mind, but there are few decent programs.

And that's all for now.  Happy Saturday.  xx

How Cool is Alyson Noel?

Alright, so I've avoided the paranormal craze like the plague, but I think this woman sounds like she kicks some serious ass.  Some basic highlights:

  • Had her first book published in 2005

  • Since then, she's published a whopping FOURTEEN books

  • She's been published in 35 countries and has topped every bestseller list I've heard of

  • And, oh yeah, she just signed a "healthy" "multi-million" dollar book deal.  FIVE YEARS after publishing her first novel!

  • In addition, she seems to also share my Mark Twainian philosophy of taking on every job that comes her way.

  • This from her website:  Important lesson learned: "That it's never too late to follow your dream, though there's nothing wrong with getting a head start."

My kind of girl!

Rock on Alyson, congrats on your book deal--I'm heading over to Barnes and Noble to check out your backlist!

4 Ways to Be a Writer While Not Being a Writer

So, I've been thinking a lot for the past ten minutes about all the fellowships and residencies and all the stuff I didn't get, year after year.  On the one hand, hey that kind of sucks.  Nobody likes not being picked for dodgeball.  But at the same time, from where I'm sitting right now, I don't think I was the person who *needed* that.  I just needed to be a little more, well, creative.  So, in that spirit, I'm celebrating all the ways you can write without needing a residency, fellowship, or time allocated specifically for writing.

1.  Be a freelance writer.

Hey!  You work from home!  You're on your computer all the time!  You're even sharpening your writing skills and getting your name out there! This sounds perfect!

I don't disagree, except there is little money and less security in it.  But it's an option.

2.   Be a secretary for a quiet place.

Most places like this you can sneak in some time on the DL to write, with or without your boss' knowledge.  Score!

Total score, because it comes with benefits and salary and air conditioning, but might not offer you the most consistent time to write.  Bonus, however--weekends off will mean you can have a Writing Saturday or Writing Sunday, which I'm particularly fond of.

3.  Work overnights!

You know those people who go to school and then work overnights?  They can do it because often, there's downtime on an overnight to get stuff done of your own, and less bossmen looking over your shoulder at what your doing.

If you can hack the hours, TOTAL SCORE!!  WOOT!

4.   Be something where you can't help but write.

Travel writer!  Airline attendant!  Florist!  Okay, maybe those are not your all time most inspiring jobs, but for me they totally would be.  Fun places!  Grumpy people!  Beautiful flowers!  It's all about keeping inspiration alive, no matter how you do it.

Because at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you're writing.  It's like walking.  You need at least thirty minutes a day to not die, and you can get it however you want--five minutes here, five minutes there, or the whole thing all at once.  How you do it doesn't matter.  Just get it done.

Or you'll die.

An inky, inky death.


Awesome Books I've Read Lately

What, have you missed me?  Well, I've been reading a lot this summer, and not blogging because of it, so whatever.

First, my favorite book so far this summer is Angie Frazier's EVERLASTING. The number one surprise about this book is how HOT a guy named Oscar can be!  As someone who has a serious and generations deep love for the sea, this book literally made me want to run off onto a clipper and never come back.  It's a gorgeous story about that emotional turning point you have in your teens that turns you from the person your parents want you to be to the person that is authentically you, and it's all done against the backdrop of adventure, intrigue, magic and love.  Um, what could be better?  Loved it, can't wait for the sequel.  Check out the book trailer and more about Angie.

Second, I can't believe how much in love I've fallen (and how quickly I've consumed) the Gallagher Girls series.  After following Kristin Nelson for a long time (who, by the way, reps a lot of my favorite books lately), I finally rented ID TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN ID HAVE TO KILL YOU from my library and read it (which, by the way, so epic because it's the longest title ever!).  The first book was fluff, but it's fun fluff.  The second (read just as quickly) CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY, was still fluffy.  The third, however, DONT JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER was where the danger got a little more real in the book, and the series genuinely grabbed me.  I got ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG to read on an airplane and I finished it before we touched down (and the flight was only an hour).  Ally Carter, you've got me hooked!  And this all was after reading (and not entirely liking) HEIST SOCIETY. I cannot wait to read what happens in the next book, and obviously I'm not the only one, because Ally has a very funny afterword in the book that laments how she can't write fast enough.  Get on it, Carter!

What else should I be reading, people?  Always looking for an awesome new YA!

fight fight fight

you know what, universe, frankly I'm a little sick of your attitude.  i don't appreciate you taking that tone with me.  i definitely don't appreciate this horrible feeling of being completely and rather helplessly downtrodden, victimized by fate, waiting for good news that hasn't come--that, maybe, isn't coming.

i've thought a lot lately that maybe i've lost my faith.  maybe i've lost that feeling that everything is going to work out, so just keep believing--and yes, that's true.  everything will not just magically work out because it has to, because i have some inane sense of entitlement about the matter.  i understand that perfectly.

i don't really think it has to do with faith, though.  I think it has to do with fight.  I was not raised, i am not built, to sit idly by.  i'm not really made for sitting by the blackberry waiting for that email, for that call, that will change everything.  i'm not this girl that is totally terrified and wallowing in it, paralyzed by the idea that i may or may not get published.  for the past six months, it's felt entirely out of my hands, beyond my control, leaving me in this suspended spiderweb of awkward limbo.

let me repeat, in case you missed in (in case I missed it)--I. am. not. this. girl.

Maybe it's hubris, maybe it's calling down the lightning bolts, but i will get published.  one day, one manuscript, it will all work out.  I hope it's scarlet, that would be fantastic, but i'm realistic enough to know that it took me a damn lot of tries before scarlet to get this far.  it would be fantastic to surf along on scarlet's wave right into the beach, but i understand that it might not be this one.

i think a lot of the trepidation i've been feeling has somehow been centered around the idea that this is my last chance.  this one's for all the marbles.  mostly because, for the past six months, i haven't lighted on a new project.  i haven't found the next novel, the next scarlet that will be my next best chance.  that's a terrifying feeling.  but it's also a damning cycle, because that fear has prevented me from finding that next novel.

at the moment i'm working on something new, but it's also got a lot in common with scarlet.  i'm going with it for now and i'll judge it later.

no matter if this novel goes somewhere or not, this is not my last chance. you hear me, universe?  you can put me down for the count on this one, but it doesn't mean you've seen the last of me.  it's doesn't mean i'm done.  i won't give up because i simply don't know how to give up.  it's just not in me, and though that may translate to a wretch with negative energy and substantial bitterness by the end of this, i don't care.  I've said from the first i'm in this for the long haul, however my verdict comes back.

learning to fight, remembering to fight, and struggling to fight is always the most crucial, most rewarding part of the journey.

and i'm not done fighting.

so bring it on.