Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Bit About Me--I'm a Wiener...I mean winner...

And apparently a funny one at that! Go figure.

Last week, Justine Dell hosted a little contest where a few of us submitted the worst one line pitches we could think up, and I proved to be the worst of the worst. Am I honored? Of course. I got the shock of my life when people actually seemed to think it was funny! I kid you not, dear readers, I was VERY close to emailing Justine to tell her to forget my line. I thought it was just plain dumb and I was about to humiliate myself in front everyone with something that didn't even resemble humor.

Judge for yourself:

"This dude meets this zombie/vampire/werewolf/mermaid girl and he's totally like whoa."

Well, when the votes started coming in, I decided to give my husband a looksie, and he thought it was hilarious! I'm still shocked. To be honest, I thought for sure that Cat Yack* was going to win. I wrote in the comments that my rib was starting to hurt from all the laughing, and I wasn't lying. You see, my husband beats me. Hehehe! No, not really. I just tease him about it all the time. I like to wrestle and he forgets that he's so much stronger than me. Well, when we were playing around a few weeks ago, I swear he dislocated one of my ribs when he gave me a bear hug. Now, whenever I get into a serious laughing fit, I have trouble breathing and moving all day. I really should get it checked out.

Anyway, I guess I'm just good at writing horrible, horrible things. And now, I'm looking forward to reading my signed copy of "Love and The Body," by Dave Malone. Plus my nifty little bookmark with a four leaf clover! I have never, ever seen one before so I'm really excited. Thanks, Justine!

Oh, and you may have wondered where I was during my regular blogging schedule yesterday! Well, I wasn't blogging. It was HOT, like 90 degrees outside, so I was lounging by my sister's pool. It was bliss.

So I'm thinking of posting an Award's Show tomorrow to make up for yesterday! Check it out to see if you won!

~Emily White

*If you are unaware of Justine's awesome contest, click the links given to see what it was all about!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BEA, Sandcastles, and You!

Sandy Shin Needs You!

Sandy Shin at in my sandcastle has a problem and she needs your help! Are you going to BEA (BookExpo America)? If so, then head over to her Have you gone yet? No? Well what are you waiting for? She's giving away free sketches of ALL your characters for your help!
All you need to do is grab two little books for her. Easy, right? Have you checked her blog out now? Good.

Her link is on the sidebar to the right, too, so you have no excuses. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Update on Aurumenas

Cailen didn't say anything. He just rubbed circles on my back and pressed his cheek against the top of my head. His silence urged me on. "When I left Sho'ful, I thought...well, I didn't know what to think. To be honest, I didn't put much thought into my escape, but I definitely did not think I'd start shooting fire and air out of my hands, and that some crazy little man would say I'm some prophesied Destructor, or that I have to worry about not killing people when sometimes that's all I want to do..." It was the longest speech of my life, and I didn't know how to finish it. I became aware of the muscles in Cailen's arms tightening around me and I was immediately ashamed. I had admitted to being a monster; the worst kind.

Happy Monday, everyone! That little blurb came out of the section in chapter 11 that I just finished working on this morning. That's right--chapter 11. That means I'm right about at the halfway point. A little, but not too much, ahead of schedule. I would like to be a lot ahead of schedule, and to be honest, it looks like I might be soon. As I'm nearing the latter chapters, I'm finding the writing is no longer straight up horse manure. I can actually work with half of what I've got. This means revisions go by much quicker. Yay for me!

On a not so happy note, I'm becoming frustrated. I no longer feel confident in knowing the genre of my book. Let me explain. I've done a LOT of research on genres and sub genres, so for the longest time I was quite confident that Aurumenas was an Epic Fantasy. Though it's set in a sci-fi military world with interstellar battleships, laser weapons, etc., the gist of the book is the war between Good and Evil (Epic Fantasy), with some really kick butt fairies. But then I started thinking about how I explain the rules in my book and there's the rub. Everything is explained scientifically. The fairies (known as the Auri) have special abilities, but it's not magic. They produce a special chemical that allows them to manipulate the elements.

So now I'm wondering if I should claim my book is science fiction, and not fantasy. And there's more to frustrate me, dear readers, much more. My MC is seventeen. I had thought that despite the young age of my MC, some of the content (such as faces being ripped off during the battle scenes, and other instances) was too adult. But I've been reading more and more YA lately, and that stuff doesn't seem to be beyond the realm of young adult fiction. So now I'm wondering if my book CAN be classified as YA and if it SHOULD be. And also, is it automatically YA just because my MC is seventeen? I'm writing this in first person now and that seems to be the viewpoint of most YA literature. Not that adult literature doesn't feature that viewpoint, but if I stay in the head of a 17 year old girl throughout the entire book, it seems like I've now written YA.

And honestly, part of me would love to get on the YA bandwagon. But my mind is too muddled to find clear answers to these frustrations. I need help.

Please! Please, dear readers! Tell me your thoughts! I beg you!

~Emily White

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Bit About Me--G.I Me

First off, I've noticed that there's been a surge of new members this week and that makes me ecstatic! Welcome, everyone!

I hope you're liking it here so far. I serve tea and crumpets on demand, so kick off your shoes and stay a while! :D

There is a weekly schedule that I stick to--Monday is when I offer an update on my progress on Aurumenas, my current fantasy/sci-fi WIP, Tuesday and Wednesday are whatever suits my fancy, Thursday is my About Me day, and Friday is when I start my weekend.

So today, I'm going to be talking about my little stint in the U.S. Army. Eight years, to be exact. I actually just received my honorable discharge last March. I still have to get a frame for my certificate. I'm very proud. :)

I joined when I was nineteen, got a nearly perfect score on my ASVAB, picked Civil Affairs as my MOS, and went off to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO for basic training in the summer. Ah, nine weeks in the blistering heat of Missouri with thirteen people screaming at you and calling you knuckleheads all the time--priceless. We even had a stapler thrown at our heads once. *shakes head* That Drill Sergeant was very angry.

I was gassed, smoked, pushed to my physical limits and then some, and turned into the ideal soldier. I can look on it with fondness now, but at the time, I assure you, it was not fun. We certainly did some exciting things, of course, like rappelling, learning to fire a rifle, etc., but the constant mental strain makes it impossible for you to ever really relax and enjoy the training.

When I was done with basic training, I went home for a few months for college (I was a split option) and then went to Ft. Bragg, NC for AIT (Advanced Individual Training). All throughout basic training, the Drill Sergeants assured us that AIT was going to be easy, like going to college. Apparently they were right, for everyone except those of us in the only two Special Operations MOS--Civil Affairs and PSYOP. Let me tell you, dear readers, Civil Affairs AIT was ten times harder than basic training, and it was three months long. Why? you might ask. Well, let me tell you. Civil Affairs and PSYOP soldiers can be attached to anyone in the military. Anyone. As in all those top little groups for the best of the best like Rangers, Seals, etc.--we can be attached to them, too. That meant we had to be trained to keep up with them. Ultimately, I never was attached to any of those units, but there's the possibility, so we had to be prepared.

Another reason for the harder training? Civil Affairs deals with the affairs of the "enemy" civilian populace. I put enemy in quotes because it's actually a lot broader than that. It's our job to make sure the unit we're attached to doesn't go blowing up a holy place or anything else that's important to the civilians in the occupied territory. We also work with the civilians to rebuild the infrastructure during and after warfare. We make sure they have food, schools, hospitals, water, etc. So we're there, quite literally, in the front lines all the time. We're with the first guys to enter a country, and we're with the last guys to leave.

Because of these close quarter encounters, we were required to spend a rather large portion of our training focusing on hand-to-hand combat. So yes, I do know how to kill someone with my bare hands. Mwahahahaha! We were trained so constantly and proficiently in it that I remember precisely what to do even after all these years. It makes me laugh because I'm a tiny person and I know that a lot of people disregard me physically, but the things we were taught made size obsolete. It doesn't matter how big you are if your achilles tendon has been snapped. Yes, I am sadistic sometimes. :) I told you my mind was Alice in Wonderland with a dash of Platoon.

So I finished AIT in the best physical shape I had ever been in in my entire life. I had no problem maxing the PT tests. Push ups, sit ups, two mile run? Bah! Bring it on! And then I was deployed to Iraq. I met my husband during pre mob training. I was attached to his Civil Affairs unit in Syracuse, NY because most of my company was already gone and I had missed their deployment.

We were stationed in Baghdad--me in the south, him in the north. They purposefully separated us because when we met, I was a SPC and he was a SGT. Our relationship was a no-no. I went through a lot of drama while deployed with certain personnel and now suffer from PTSD. I can't hold a job because of it. No it has nothing to do with loud noises making me go crazy, though I did wake up numerous times from mortars landing just a couple hundred yards from my trailer. Let me tell you...scary. My PTSD has more to do with the mental abuse I went through. I'm actually thinking about writing a book about my experience, so I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say I now have a crippling fear of authority. Like I said in a previous post, this blog is actually a type of therapy for me to learn to work past my fear. It's hard. Sometimes it takes me a whole day before I can even stand to look at the comments. I only do because I know that they're most likely positive, not hurtful. And they are! Thanks for all of your support, by the way! I really do love reading those comments. They make my day.

To be honest, other than all that drama, I loved my deployment. I loved the Iraqis, the food, most of the soldiers I met. The heat was bearable. Seriously, 145 degrees on the first day. Craziness. The rainy season was interesting, especially when all of Camp Victory turned into a lake. The palaces all over the city were beautiful, and the Iraqis really were great. They loved us and it was wonderful going out to see all their smiling faces. You will never comprehend how utterly grateful most of them are for what we did. It makes me sad to think of it sometimes, especially when I think of the palaces I visited where Saddam and his sons would bring women to rape them for a couple of weeks and then feed them to their tigers and lions. Ugh.

I don't mean to be judgmental or anything, but the vast majority of Americans have no idea the horrors that go on in other countries. In Iraq, when we first got there, there literally was no middle class. You had people living in their marble mansions and then you had the squatters that set up little huts on trash heaps. Yeah, some people had more permanent dwellings than the squatters, but they weren't much better.

After my deployment, I came home, married my fiance in November, had a few kids a couple of years later, and went into IRR. My rank when I left was SGT. I was quite proud.

So there it is, my abridged military career. There's a lot more exciting and funny stuff that happened, but that's going into the book. :D

~Emily White

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Twilight--A Review of the Saga

I think that by this point most of us know that the Twilight saga is about a plain Jane falling in love with a sparkly vampire and his mysterious obsession with her. Right. So I won't go into a "what this book is about" review. Instead, I'm going to give you my completely biased opinion on it.

You may remember me telling you a little over a month ago that I was reading the saga and that I was pretty much obsessed with it. Yes, it's true. I'm a Twilight fan. And no, it did not take me this long to read all four books. In fact, it took me a little over a week to finish them all, and then I just kept reading them over and over again. Seriously. I'm still reading them. I can't even tell you how many times it's been now. I honestly don't know. It's a lot, though.

I've also read Midnight Sun--the incomplete draft of Twilight in Edward's POV. For those of you who are aware of the drama concerning this one, I assure you that I found this copy on Ms. Meyer's own website.

After reading the saga numerous times, I've come to a few conclusions. The first is that, despite what a lot in the writing community may think, Stephanie Meyer has talent. And the second is that all writers make mistakes in their works, and I found them. And I'm not talking about those so called mistakes that many writers say she made like having Edward leave in New Moon and the mysterious disappearance of the sex scene in Breaking Dawn. I'm talking real mistakes. As in, certain data was changed between books, etc.

But first, let's talk about Stephanie Meyer's talent. I know, I know. I've heard the arguments. But truthfully, she did a LOT right when she wrote these books. For one, despite being written in First Person, all of her characters came to life. I don't feel like I didn't totally grasp a single one of them. Second, she artfully portrayed Edward's true character even through Bella's very biased filter. And third, she brought a mythological creature that was honestly getting boring in its repetitive usage in books and made it something completely different. This is what agents and publishers are telling us to do all the time, my readers. Don't get mad because these vampires don't do what you think they should do.

Now about those mistakes... Well, let's start with the first book. It's pretty well established in this novel that vampires have a hard time being around people without the bloodlust becoming a potential problem. Though the Cullen family is able to live through it after years of self-discipline, even they admit to losing it when blood is exposed. Admittedly, I didn't think about this problem until the beginning of Breaking Dawn, but if all of this is true and Edward would not have been able to resist Bella if her blood had been exposed prior to falling deeply in love with her...well, without being too crass...she wouldn't have lived through the first month. That's all I'm saying. I think you know where I'm going with that. *cough*

Second problem in Twilight is in the hospital at the end of the book. Edward had just saved Bella from becoming a vampire by drinking her poisoned blood. And yet, Bella made no mention of his red eyes (or murky brown if he was wearing contacts), which I find very odd considering how obsessed she was with the color of his eyes.

Other mistakes: the length of Edward's stay with the Denali clan repeatedly changed between two and six days, the Chevy was described as a '57 in one book and a '53 in another, and when Alice came back in New Moon, Ms. Meyer forgot that she had been there for two days before Edward called.

Why do I bring the mistakes up? Well, for good reason: it happens. Those books went through a dozen hands and these little mistakes are still in there (As for the first one I pointed out, I'm sure Stephanie Meyer was just hoping no one would pick up on that one). We obsess and obsess about our works all the time to the point that we don't bother putting them out there. Look, mistakes will be in there. If you write an engrossing book, your readers will forgive you and your editor might not even notice.

This saga is amazing and continues to succeed despite all the disparaging comments many have made. No, it's not literary, but it wasn't intended to be. It's just plain good.

So, what do you think about the series? Have you read it? Did you like it? For the adult men out there, my husband was not a fan of the first two, but he likes the fighting in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

~Emily White

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Horror!

Due to unexpected circumstances, and other such and such nonsense, today's post on my review of...dun, dun, dun!...the Twilight Saga will be delayed until tomorrow. Forgive me? I know you will. :)

In the meantime, check out my new pages up top!

~Emily White

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Update on Aurumenas

If I could have any say in the cover of my book, this is what it would look like (kind of). I'm no photoshop wizard, so I didn't know how to put the changes that need to be done, but this is pretty close. The little gems on the inner crystals would be gone and the center gem would be multi-colored, but clear (the whole prism effect thing).

What do you think? Isn't it pretty? "But wait," you say! "I don't get it!" Well, let me tell you my wonderful stalkers, er readers. That orange and red flower with the clear, multi-colored gem is the symbol of the Destructor in my book (and it's closely tied to my MC). So, I will be putting that picture at the top of every Monday post from now on.

Also, you know how on Friday I told you all about the quote of the week that I post to the right? Well, I'm going to post a small quote from the section I had just completed, and I'll also post it here during the update.

Without further ado...

The girl staring back at me was glowing with the halo of flames dancing around her. She looked happy; she looked complete. But there was something that she wanted, and I knew what that was. She wanted to release the burning ache in her back; she wanted to give in and let it all out. I would give her what she wanted.

And now I bet you're wondering just how much progress I made last week. Well, let me tell you. I cut about 17,000 words and added about 5,000 (give or take a few hundred). I had yet to get rid of all the scenes that were in different POVs, so this weekend, I decided to just buckle down and do it. It was a little depressing at first to see my word count go down so much, but it was refreshing to get those unneeded words out of the way.

My first eight chapters are out with some of my betas. One of my betas is being stubborn and demanding a hard copy, so I have yet to get to a print shop to take care of that. If his opinion wasn't so valued, I would have told him to forget it and refused to make him dinner. Hehehe. It's my husband, and I really can't refuse him anything. I will admit that finding people I know who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy is rather difficult. If you know anyone who's appealed by the idea of intergalactic fairies who ride around in battleships and control the elements of fire, water, and air, tell them to send me an email.

And finally, I've discovered that two chapters a week is what I can handle. I don't allow myself less, and it seems time won't allow me more. That being said, with only about twenty chapters left to do, I'll be done in a little over two months (right on schedule). So if my betas don't come back to me with major issues, queries can start going out this summer! Phew! Finally! (To the betas that are reading this, don't let that make you go soft on me).

Check in tomorrow for a book review I've been putting off for a very long time. You'll want to check it out so that you can voice your own opinion on this controversial novel!

~Emily White

Friday, May 14, 2010

Phantom Post

I missed yesterday's About Me post because well, I like flowers. And I chose to spend the day outside purchasing peonies for my pond garden. But I assure you that I was with you all in spirit and I wrote and posted yesterday's topic all in my head. It's there. You just have to enter the crazy, and sometimes scary, recesses of my mind. It's a bit like entering Alice in Wonderland with a dash of Platoon.

So, come and join me. I need the company. :)

On a serious note, I've been meaning to mention this, but if you want to enjoy little blurbs of Aurumenas each week, check out the Quote of the Week to the right. It changes every Monday, so take a peak!

Have a great weekend!

~Emily White

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I've been holding on to these two awards for a while now, just waiting for the perfect time to pass them on. And I thought today was a marvelous day for celebrating, so without further ado...

Thank you to Creepy Query Girl for thinking I'm awesome! I always knew it myself, but it's nice to have someone besides the voices in my head agree with me.

I thought I might honor some blogs that I've just started following. Due to their inherent awesomeness, this award is well deserved.

Check these guys out if you haven't already! You'll love them. Trust me.

And thank you to Nicole Ducleroir at One Significant Moment at a Time for giving me the Blogger Buddy Award. *blushes*

This one is going to be passed on to blogs that I've been following for a while now and really consider to be a staple to my day.

Go to them! Now! :)

You may pick your awards up here or at my house where I will be providing tea and crumpets.

~Emily White

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Contest, Update, and More!

First and foremost...check out the blogging idol contest going on at The Alliterative Allomorph! You may click the link here, or the one just to the right for your blogging convenience. Critiques galore are being given away, so I suggest you get over there and participate! :)

And because yesterday was Deleted Scene Blogfest Day, I didn't have a chance to update you on Aurumenas. Allow me to do so now...

My children were wonderful to me last week! I was able to actually work while they napped! It was amazing. Normally, they decide that they like to nap at different times of the day, but last week, they were extremely cooperative. As a result, I am well on my way to finishing chapter 8 within the next few days. Luckily, these next few chapters are in Nathadria's pov anyway, so I don't have to do a total rewrite. Just some major tweaking.

On another note, I'm gathering together my betas to read the book in 100 page increments. I find this helps to motivate me to get the next 100 pages done while also allowing me to know what needs to be fixed before I move too far ahead. If it's something major, I don't want to continue down the wrong path for the entire book. I'd rather know up front.

I'm both excited and terrified by this. For reasons I may or may not get into in my About Me posts, it is very difficult for me to put myself out there for people. Blogging is actually a sort of therapy to help me get past this so that I can actually query some day. Yes, I am slightly crazy. *shakes head* :)

And tomorrow I will be giving away awards! Yay! So check in!

~Emily White

Monday, May 10, 2010

Deleted Scene From LOTR

Mia over at My Literary Jam and Toast is having a deleted scenes blogfest today! Yay! I don't know if I'm too late to have my link up or anything, but I thought I'd try my hand at a very short scene anyway.


(By the way, this is a deleted scene from The Fellowship of the Ring)

With the heat of the balrog scorching Frodo's back and the bridge of Khazad-Dum just feet away, a new thought entered the hobbit's mind. He stretched his little legs to run past Aragorn and yank on Gandalf's robes.

The wizened wizard looked down at the teeny man with exasperation written all over the wrinkles of his face. "Get across the bridge, Frodo! Do not delay!"

"But Gandalf, this is getting pretty serious. Someone might get hurt, or worse! Why can't we just go into Mordor on the eagles?"

Gandalf laughed and patted Frodo's head. "Don't be silly, young hobbit. No one's going to die!"

I told you it was short! :) I hope you liked it!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Bit About Me--My Famous Maiden Name

For twenty-two years of my life I was known as Emily Dickinson. Yup. It's true.

There wasn't an English teacher who didn't immediately love me solely for the fact that they could now claim they taught Emily Dickinson. And wouldn't you know it, but everyone who found out about my name thought they were the first ones to catch it. Some even asked if I knew who Emily Dickinson was.

It actually got to the point where, after introducing myself, I would pause and wait for the person's light bulb to go off above their head, chuckle, and ask me the same thing that dozens of other people asked before them: "Did you know you have a famous name?"


But to be honest, I do miss it. Having a famous name does something to shape who you are. You aren't only judged by your own achievements, but by the achievements of the person who shares your name. It's odd. It shouldn't be that way, but people often had a hard time separating the two of us. I can't even tell you how many times I was asked to write a poem for someone.

I think that I always would have been a writer anyway, but I grew up feeling like my success was expected--like if I didn't want to dishonor my name, I better get out there and get published. It's hard to explain, but my name almost became this separate entity--part of me, but above me, too.

Now I'm Emily White and working on getting a famous name again. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Cowbell

I'm sorry, but Natalie Whipple posted a hilarious comment on Nathan Bransford's blog today, making it entirely impossible for me to focus. So...

I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Do You Do It?

Creepy Query Girl left an interesting comment on yesterday's post that got me thinking. Just how do we find the time to write a 100k word book (give or take a few thousand)? With rare exceptions, most writers are not independently wealthy bachelors/bachelorettes without a care in the world. We have jobs and families who demand our attention, leaving us with piddly few hours left in the day to write a word or two down.

So how does it get done?

Quite frankly, I often come out of a haze after writing, surprised at how much I'd gotten done with the short time I had. So, I can't really tell you what my secret is. All I know is I sit down, turn on my writing music, and a few hours later, there are 3,000 or so pretty new words on the screen. I can think of one thing that really helps out: a great husband who's willing to give me the whole weekend to work. I would NEVER get anything done without him. He's a lifesaver.

Now you tell me: what do your writing habits look like? Do you have a designated time each and every day, or do you just take it when you can?

~Emily White

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Update on Aurumenas

It's that time of the week again--another Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

First, I want to mention that the winner of the template experiment was...Sunshine Theme! Thanks to everyone who voted!

Now on to the update...

One particular fact became glaringly clear to me this weekend: weathermen don't know what they're talking about.

I really depend on Saturday and Sunday to get the bulk of my writing done. The weekdays are just too jam packed with kids and housework to be able to devote more than an hour or two for writing. And considering it typically takes me close to an hour to get into the right frame of mind, I often don't accomplish more than a tweak here and there. So when I heard that this part of New York was going to experience nothing but massive thunderstorms for the whole of the weekend, I was excited. What better writing weather could be had?

Well, the weathermen were wrong. The beautiful, sunny outdoors called to me all weekend long as I worked diligently on my book. I almost couldn't stick with it. But I did, and I'm finishing up chapter six today.

Say what? You couldn't revise two chapters in two days?

I know, I know, it doesn't sound like I got much accomplished, but to tell you the truth, this is more of a rewrite than it is a revision. Changing the pov from omniscient to first person requires a massive overhaul of the vast majority of what I've written.

And I've killed my prologue. Yes, I had one, but now it's gone. For omniscient, it worked, but I really want the reader to discover everything along with my MC, so I took it out. I don't feel one bit of remorse about it, either! Mwahahaha! Die! *little white girl wielding machete*

Okay, I'm better now. I have a slightly violent streak. *blush*

My final bit of news is I've also been working on my query. After practically a thousand different versions, I think I've finally found one I like. I've still got time to learn to hate it, though, so we'll see what it looks like when I'm done with the revisions.

Have a great Monday!

~Emily White