Wednesday, July 31, 2013

101 Noteworthy ASD Sites

The Spectraland Saga has been featured on the list of 101 Noteworthy Sites on Asperger's and the Autism Spectrum as published by PhD in Special! I am happy and honored to say that Joel, Felicity and the gang are in very good company - check out the entire list here.

PhD in Special Education is a resource to connect students who are interested in teaching those with special needs with online higher education programs that can provide graduate degrees on a flexible schedule. You can find out more information about them here and here.

In other good news, Book Two's word count is back up to 17,600! When you silence the internal editor (at least during the writing of the first draft), good things happen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Two Update: Remember, It's Just The First Draft

It's been over a month since I wrote a post about Book Two's progress. I re-read that post today and realized, much to my dismay, that my word count is almost exactly the same as it was over a month ago. I feel like I've been writing like crazy (including thinking up plot points in my head), so how in the world is that possible?

Well, for starters, I re-wrote an entire chapter not once, but twice during that period of time. The second re-write was just meant to be a quick clean-up, but it ended up turning into a complete purge-and-start-over, which I seem to be doing more and more often these days.

Also, a lot of the "writing" that I feel like I've been doing has actually been more like "editing," where I'm spending a lot of time re-reading earlier chapters and making minor tweaks and adjustments here and there.

Fortunately, I attended a NIWA social gathering this past Sunday, where I was indirectly reminded of an important concept: your first draft is just that - a first draft. I had forgotten about the method I used to write Book One, which was to turn off the internal editor and just write something, anything, just to get the words down on paper, and then go back and fix it up after the whole draft is done.

So at the risk of jinxing myself, I can say that I now feel like I'm finally back on the right track. Yes, I realize I've said that before, but this time I mean it. Seriously. So hopefully, the next time you read a post titled "Book Two Update," I'll feel less like this:

And more like this:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

See No Sea

Last night I had the privilege of being a guest author at the launch party for See No Sea, a terrific YA paranormal romance penned by my good friend and fellow NIWA member Roslyn McFarland.

Good company
It was held at the Hunan Pearl Chinese Restaurant in Lake Oswego, OR, a place I had never been to before (the restaurant, I mean. I've been to Lake Oswego before.) My kids and I liked the food so much, we asked them to open another restaurant closer to our house.

See No Sea is a fun, breezy tale about a fifteen-year-old girl named Lee whose height (six feet) and swimming ability (Olympic-caliber) makes her a target for bullies. Things get even worse when Lee has to spend her summer training in a dreary Canadian town full of polluted air and boring suburban landscapes. Eventually, however, she finds herself drawn into an incredible adventure that quickly turns her bland sort-of-vacation on its head.

The book - Roslyn's debut novel and the first of a trilogy - reads like a reality-based teen-relationship story injected with healthy doses of fantasy-type action, and the blend works together in a way that is seamless and effective. I don't typically read many novels in the paranormal romance genre, but I fully enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a unique and entertaining book for the summer - or any time of year.

From right to left: Lee Thompson, Courtney Pierce, Roslyn McFarland, some dude
Besides Ros and her family and friends, I also got to hang out with fellow authors/NIWA members Lee Thompson and Courtney Pierce, who, if you recall, were guest authors at my relaunch party back in April. Check out Jeremy's Kiss and Island of Regrets by Lee, and Stitches by Courtney.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat some delicious leftover Szechuan pork...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Speed Date An Author

So, yeah, I like taking long walks through the bookstore, watching the reflection of the sunset in my e-reader, looking for hip little coffee shops to write in, and...wait, what? This isn't that kind of speed dating? Oops...

Last night I had the pleasure of participating in the Speed Date An Author event, presented by the always-awesome Northwest Independent Writers Association and the Tigard Public Library.

The purpose of the event was to give aspiring authors a chance to talk to those of us who are a little further down the indie publishing road. Conducted in a speed dating format (ten minutes at each table), it was a fun way to share our experiences and pass on a little knowledge. I had a great time and met some cool people with some really interesting ideas.

So if you're a writer looking for an opportunity to meet other writers and pick their brains, I highly recommend coming out to this event next year. Or heck, just join NIWA now and start right away!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Finding More Time to Write

Here's a question I get asked a lot: "Where do you find the time to write?" My response is usually one of the following:

(a) I have no idea
(b) Sleep is overrated
(c) Hermione's Time-Turner

Ms. Granger, can I borrow that?
The answer, of course, is (d) All of the above. Seriously, though, one technique that really helps me find extra writing time is something that I like to call "Writing In My Head."

The basic premise is simple: you don't have to be at your computer keyboard in order to write. You can write while you do other things that you have to be doing anyway.

You can write while doing chores. You can write while tending to personal hygiene. You can write while doing thirty minutes on the stationary bike at the gym (okay, technically you could skip the gym and sit in front of your computer instead, but c'mon.)

And how is this done, you ask? Simple - just think about your writing as you do these activities. I often work out plot points in the shower, come up with character motivations while folding laundry, and, yes, even compose lines of prose and dialogue as I walk through the grocery store (important caveat: make sure that these are activities that don't require your full attention and concentration. Folding laundry is okay, because if you fold your t-shirt backwards, no real harm is done. In most cases.)

Basically, just replace whatever idle thoughts you used to have with productive thinking. A side benefit that this technique has had for me is that it keeps my mind off of how terrible the Mariners are yet again. Another benefit is that, often, doing this will get me into the writing "mode." Or "mood." Whatever. Sometimes I'll get so into a groove that once I do sit back down at the keyboard to capture the idea I was thinking about, the words will just continue to flow. For example, I actually wrote this blog post while I was brushing my teeth this morning.

Well, gotta run and take care of other things on my to-do list. Now where did I leave that time-turner...