Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Angel Room - Readers' Circle

We had our readers' circle for The Angel Room (working title) on the 16th at the Gardeas' house in San Tan Valley, so nearly everyone had a long drive to get there. Except for Laura, she Skyped in. Thank you so much Jon and Rachel for hosting our circle!

Before the circle, Rachel helped me put out a display of book related items.

Slurpees, Skittles, books, crayon drawings, popcorn, cookies, a typewriter with Eleanor's story just started, and a horse wall. The horse wall was what actually made me the most excited. It just started coming to life for me then, having her belongings sort of materialize in front of me.

I tried drawing the pictures with my non-dominant hand, but I'm mildly ambidextrous, so they're weren't as primitive as I would have liked.

We started at the beginning of the book and worked our way through, discussing any issues that anyone had with the manuscript. A few readers did line edits, but in the circle, we talked about characterization, plot, themes, motivation, etc. There were a few moments when members of the circle discuss things pretty strongly and I wasn't even talking. It was awesome, because they were invested in the characters, in the story, and in the message of the book.

I received amazing feedback and everyone expressed their admiration that I wrote a whole. entire. book. It was great to hear everyone talk about the main character and how much they identified with her and her journey. It was especially great (in the week before the circle) to get texts and emails when people were finishing up the manuscript telling me that they were in tears, or how much they loved it.

So I have started the 2nd draft. It's going to take a lot longer than I thought to go through the first round of edits, but I feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel and I can't wait to take it to WIFYR.

Thank you to all of my readers so far: Katherine Anderson, Laura Platt, Brenda Evans, Kenna Rieske,
Rachel Gardea, Jon Gardea, Kilee Luthi, Ben Luthi, Rebekah Bales-Dunford, John Hill, Catherine Hess, Bill Smith, Jillian Young, Renee Klug, and Alisha Geary.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Readers' Circle

Tomorrow night we will hold the first Readers' Circle for The Angel Room (working title) rough draft. I will be fielding questions, and taking notes, suggestions, critique, revision ideas, and website brainstorming from my group of available (I say available because some of the readers can't come) advance readers.

Check out this copy of the novel that Jon got printed and bound. He showed it to me and holding it in my hands in paper form, it really hit me how much work I did. How cool is this?

So for those of you who are readers and can't come to the group, don't forget to get your notes in by tomorrow afternoon so we can discuss them with the group.


Thursday, May 8, 2014


You know that novel? The one I've been working on for a loooooong time?


This morning, after working two days straight (with breaks for DawgArt stuff), at 4:30 am, I finished my novel.

92,856 words
345 pages

It's done.



I cried.
You know I did.

Now I wish I wasn't broke so I could go celebrate.

the world didn't implode.

but I might.
to. bed.

we all giggle at this frodo meme.
but i really feel this way.
you know everything frodo goes through to get the ring to mt. doom?
and then how he feels at the end, after it's done?
all that trauma, and agony, and awfulness, and it's finally done.
yeah. that.

now. to. bed.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


You know how for months I've been saying I'm really close to the end of my novel, and then it's just been stalled? For a long time?

I've had some emotional upheavals in my life that have taken their toll, and it's been difficult to cope, much less pursue creativity. So the novel has been on hold.

But my attendance at WIFYR was sponsored, and my plane ticket to Utah to attend WIFYR was also sponsored and now I HAVE to finish it. I have people who have invested money in their belief in me.

So the novel is almost there. SERIOUSLY. I'm seriously serious. It's actually going to be done. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's getting brighter daily.

Here's the current word count: 71,233.


Five more chapters. That's it. Then it's done. It's seriously done.


Book Reviews - April 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

This novel is an amalgam of racing metaphors and a canine POV. Yes, this is a book from a dog's point of view that deals with racecar driving. I know. But it works.

As Enzo studies and lives with the humans in his family, he becomes heart-breakingly acquainted with the deepest sorrows life can provide. Through his eyes, we follow the triumphs and pitfalls of a modern family.

I literally sobbed at the end.

Warnings on: language, sexual situations.

Adult read.

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

Those of you who have read this book and liked it will say that the movie fell woefully short of capturing Mitchell's vision. But I came to this book through the movie, which I found fascinating. The book is even more mesmerizing, with the narrative split into different timelines, beginning with the oldest, working to the middle of the book with the timeline furthest in the future and then back to the oldest again. Mitchell is a master of various genres, voices, forms, and styles. With themes threading through each timeline that bind the whole together, Cloud Atlas is a stunning work. The motif of consumption alongside the preservation of souls was the most interesting to me.

Warnings on: language, violence, sexual situations.

Adult read.

Salvage - Alexandra Duncan

This YA book, reminiscent for me of Across the Universe by Beth Revis and Inside Out by Maria Snyder, is the author's debut novel. Lovely prose and an interesting storyline, Salvage follows Ava from her life aboard the Parastrata, to Gyre, the floating trash island, to Dubai, where she searches for long-lost family. As Ava struggles against the constraints of Parastrata culture, where she is dominated by the males in her life, Duncan's world-building is fully-fleshed and vivid.

I love good sci-fi, and Salvage is good.

Highly recommended.

Warnings on: sexual situations.