Monday, February 28, 2011

Writing is NOT a Solitary Business

Well, at least, it isn't for me.  In fact, I'd have to say that since I started taking my writing seriously and sought out a way to connect with other writers, I've been around more people (theoretically speaking) in the last couple years than I have in my entire life.

Never before have I felt so non-solitary.

Sometimes I feel like I'm in the middle of this enormous crowd, struggling for readers' and fellow bloggers' attention.

And in what other industry do workers express themselves as much and to as many people as writers?  Writers write to connect with the world around them, to tell the guy next door and the guy across the ocean, "Hey!  This is who I am!  And this is how I see the world!"  

Does the guy in the cubicle ever get to do that?  Or the truck driver who spends countless hours on the road, away from his family?

No.  We do.

Even the physical act of writing is no longer solitary.  We have things like NaNoWriMo to let everyone know just how many words we wrote and maybe even how many hours we spent doing it.  As we write our first drafts, we send them to CPs to help us hone our strengths and fix our weaknesses.  And when that's all done, we send it to even more people.

No.  Writing is not solitary.  It may have been once upon a time, but those days are gone for the majority of us out there.

So why do we cling to this idea of aloneness?  

You tell me.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review--The Maze Runner, by James Dashner and a Movie!

Back of the book blurb:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

What I liked:

Pretty much everything!  Thomas was a sympathetic character the whole way through and the plot moved along at a steady (and sometimes heart wrenching) pace.  In fact, that warm and fuzzy feeling you tend to get when reading books because you know the main list of characters might get hurt really bad but they certainly won't die is in as much danger of being squashed and consumed as the characters in this book.

Few authors have made me dread as much as need to turn the page as James Dashner.  In THE MAZE RUNNER, you just never know what's going to happen, but you're pretty sure it's going to be bad.  

What I didn't like:

I wouldn't say this is something I didn't like, but it's definitely a warning.  This book is intense and should be read with caution by the younger members of the YA crowd. There were parts that made me, a 28 year old U.S. Army veteran, a tad squeamish.  

So, what kind of rating would I give THE MAZE RUNNER??




5 stars! 

(as in, what are you still doing reading this post?!  Go out and buy this NOW!)

Yeah, THE MAZE RUNNER just is that good, and it's a wonderful start to what I foresee as one of the best YA trilogies out there.

For your purchasing convenience, I provide you now with this link.

And now, because my kids seem to want to keep me perpetually sick (or at least sick 90% of the time), I missed yesterday's post and had to combine it with today's.  So...

Enjoy this movie!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Unlucky Second Guy

Can you imagine being the band to come after Pink Floyd at a concert?  It's an awesome opportunity, but come on!  This is Pink Floyd we're talking about here.  How do you follow that?!

Well, that's kind of how I feel about today's post.  How can I possibly follow the EPIC POST OF EPIC EPICNESS?

I'll tell you how.

With clowns!!!!

Hehehe.  It's good I can laugh at my own jokes. :)

But seriously, I didn't want to just have the EPIC POST OF EPIC EPICNESS and then go back to business as usual.  I wanted to take the time to really share with you guys how I came to my decision and just how utterly excited about it I am!

And so to do that, I'm going to answer some questions no one really asked, but I'm sure you were thinking anyway! :)

Why publish independently?  Why not go the traditional route?

I thought for years I did want to go the traditional route.  It was all I really ever knew.  And the little I did know about self-publishing was bad--scam publishing companies, bad product, etc.

Well, over the last year or so, I'd been doing some research, figuring out what authors do when their books come out.  You know, what works and what doesn't.  I've listened to agents, writers, readers, editors, subconsciously gathering information about breaking out with your debut novel.  

And a few weeks ago, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I realized I really could do this on my own.  And then I realized I WANTED to.  Not just, "ho hum, well, if this doesn't work out, I'll upload my novel into Amazon and then I'll be published."  (which is such a bad idea, I can't even go into it now because it needs its own post--which I will do)


I am THRILLED about the business aspect of this!  I love getting to decide all the little details.  Never before has the world of publishing been so available to writers!  In practically every other industry, you make a product and you sell it.  And if you want to be successful, you better make it the best darn product you can.  And now, we as writers can do that!  

We can do what we want!  And no, I'm not speaking ill of traditional publishing in any way shape or form.  I love it, in fact!  Publishing companies have done wondrous things for thousands upon thousands of writers and without them, I doubt we'd have some of the gems that grace our bookshelves today.  I love that both options are viable now and that they can both learn from each other and help each other to grow into the next generation of publishing.

How are you going to handle it all?

Oh my goodness, there is a LOT to do.  A. Lot.  In fact, I am doing everything I can to make sure ELEMENTAL will be as polished and professional as any book that comes out this year.  

But I have a team of people who are helping me get ready for the big day, so I'm not doing it alone.

What kind of fun stuff are you going to do to make us super excited?

Cover reveal!  Contests!  ARC giveaways!  Blog tour!  You name it, and I'm doing it!  In fact, if you have any really unique ideas you'd like to see me try, tell me about it and I'll probably do it! :)

Now, I'm opening it up to you, dear readers.  Do you have any questions I didn't already answer?  Ask them!  Please!  

Monday, February 21, 2011


The day is here!

Break out the wine!

Celebrate with me!

Why, you ask?  Oh, I'll tell you.  It's something big.  It's something grand!  It's something every writer dreams of!


ELEMENTAL (coming Summer of 2011)!

After much contemplation, prayer, and chocolate I've decided to go indie.  And I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it's been working out all the little details you only ever assume your publisher will handle!  

The photoshoot for my cover is scheduled for this week!  I've got a brilliant artist who is going to make my cover gorgeous!  And no, I'm not sharing her yet because she's MINE!  :)

I've been versing myself in html (not as tough as you'd think, by the way), preparing to format my ebook!

And so much more!

Over the next few months there will be contests!  And giveaways!  An all-out celebration in preparation for ELEMENTAL's release date!  

And I will be obsessively hopping around the blogosphere, so if you'd like to celebrate with me, go ahead and email me at emilywhite_1112(at)yahoo(dot)com! 

Help me make this the most EPIC of epic releases EVER!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Morning Movie

It's that time of the week again!  And today, I have two great videos for you, inspired by my current WIP, TALES OF MORCAH (see linky under Pages).

These two songs really sum up the theme of MORCAH, which is about a girl who finds out she's even more of a freak than she dreaded.


and this one:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review--The Hating Game, by Talli Roland

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. 

After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. 

Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money  she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end.

What I Liked: 

I'll be totally honest here:  I did NOT think THE HATING GAME would enter my list of favorite books.  I don't tend to sympathize with man-hating women.  But I bought the book the day it came out because the plot sounded interesting and well, I follow Talli's blog!  So, of course, I had to show some support.

Dear readers, I LOVED this book.  It was witty and fun from page one to the end.  I completely sympathized with the MC because she didn't exactly fall into your stereotypical I-am-woman-therefore-must-be-worshiped-by-inherently-inferior-men man-hater.  She was like a broken little girl who hid her weaknesses behind her faux pride.  And she was wonderful!  

Not to give away any spoilers, but the ending is MORE than satisfying.  Only the most perfect little twists and conclusions can make me clap and giggle like a little girl.  And, well, I might have done that with THE 

What I Didn't Like:

In the spirit of fairness, I like to include this section in my reviews, but I can honestly say there wasn't a thing I didn't like about Talli's novel.  

So, with all that in mind, I would give THE HATING GAME

5 stars!

And you all, of course, remember that 5 stars means "What are you doing still reading this post?!  Go out and buy this book NOW!"  

For your purchasing convenience, click this link and buy THE HATING GAME, by Talli Roland today!

Discussion:  Have any of you read this book yet?  What did you think?

Oh, and stop by Monday for a post of EPIC EPICNESS!!!!  Seriously, big news coming your way!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Would You Invent?

One of the best things about writing science fiction is the world-building.  Every tech, every possibility you've ever dreamed of comes to life on paper.

As readers, we've seen laser swords, self-aware robots, hover crafts, floating cities, and weapons so powerful they can make a star explode.

But what kind of tech would you invent?  What do you want to see in the real world?  Would you build a city that could reproduce its own buildings so that it could grow like a forest?  Would you create vehicles that could transport a person from one place to another instantaneously?  What would you do?  And what do you wish scientists would focus on?

Go ahead!  Be an inventor for a day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Heart You

A chocolate heart for your pleasure :)

My husband knows I love him.  I tell him everyday.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  So, we don't really need St. Valentine's Day to express our devotion to each other.

But do you, dear readers, know how much you mean to me?  

Well, you do.  

You make the hours of internet browsing and blog hopping so worth it.  I sign in to yahoo with anticipation every day.  And when I see all those happy little emails in response to a blog post I wrote, I get a little warm inside.  Cheesy?  Yes.  But oh so true.

So thank you, and will you be my Valentine?  :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Movie

Now that I've figured out how to post videos again, I've decided to bring back this little Saturday feature!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review--Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher

Synopsis: (ripped from Ms. Fisher's own website

Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas. Imagine a prisoner with no memory, who is sure he came from Outside, even though the prison has been sealed for centuries and only one man, half real, half legend, has ever escaped. 

Imagine a girl in a manor house in a society where time has been forbidden, where everyone is held in a seventeenth century world run by computers, doomed to an arranged marriage that appals her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires. 

One inside, one outside

But both imprisoned.

Imagine a war that has hollowed the moon, seven skullrings that contain souls, a flying ship and a wall at the world's end.

Imagine the unimaginable.

Imagine Incarceron.

My own summary of the book:

Finn is trapped inside a prison while Claudia's living in the 17th Century splendor of Protocol on the Outside as the daughter of the Warden.  Finn's life is rife with problems between escaping the psychotic whims of a self-aware prison and the power-hungry (and often drugged-up) rulings of a Winglord.  Claudia has only one problem:  She has to marry the prince.

Except the prince she's supposed to marry might be stuck in the prison.

What I liked:

The plot is actually pretty unique, and there are a lot of twists and turns that caught me by surprise.

I especially enjoyed Finn.  I thought he was a great character full and depth and genuine emotions.  

The settings were spectacular both Inside and Outside Incarceron.  I often felt like I was literally inside Ms. Fisher's world.

What I didn't like:

Oh dear, there were a few things, unfortunately.

For one, I couldn't stomach Claudia.  My dislike for a character doesn't usually sway my opinion of a book (after all, unlikeable people are very realistic), but she started out as a stuck-up snob from her first page and stayed a stuck-up snob even up to the last page of SAPPHIQUE.  And considering I really did like Finn, I ultimately ended up hating Claudia's treatment of him. 

I also found myself wondering what POV Ms. Fisher was trying to write in.  She seemed to start out in strict Third Limited with POV shifts separated by chapters.  However, as the books (INCARCERON and SAPPHIQUE) went on, the POV shifts started happening within scenes and then from one paragraph to another.  I found I had to backtrack a few times to even understand whose voice I was in.  And considering she started adding more and more POV characters as time went on, it became increasingly difficult to stay rooted in the story.

The twists and turns may have been fascinating, but by the time I finished SAPPHIQUE, I still had questions (questions that will forever go unanswered).  Perhaps this isn't such a big deal, but I do like to have everything wrapped up nicely by the time a story is finished. 

My Rating:

1 star: Don't even bother
2 stars: It may be your cup of tea, but it ain't mine
3 stars: Pick it up at the library some time
4 stars:  Go ahead and buy it.  You might like it!
5 stars:  What are you doing still reading this post?!  Go out and buy it NOW!

I give the INCARCERON series...

2-3 stars!

Ultimately, I may not have liked it as much as I would have hoped, but there IS a lot of positive buzz for Ms. Fisher's books.  

So, it may be your cup of tea, but it ain't mine. :)

For your purchasing convenience, click this link to order INCARCERON!  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Things I Learned at the SCBWI Conference

In the last post, I talked about things I'd learned by listening to what agents or other industry professionals had to say.  This post, I'll share with you what I learned just by experiencing the whole event.

      1. Come prepared.

Do you guys remember when I asked you all for help to prepare for the conference?  I had an inkling of what I needed to do, but I still needed to get that extra information from all of you to make sure I felt totally prepared.  And walking into the conference, I was.

I had my pitch perfected and memorized, samples of my work in case anyone asked for it, copies of my synopsis, business cards, and I was dressed to impress.

Those who weren't prepared stood out, but not in a good way.  You see, I made it a point to introduce myself to as many writers as possible.  And through the course of the conference I heard a lot of pitches.  Most of them consisted of a lot of "ums" and "well, it's about (insert theme here)."  Okay... Well, I lost interest because I really didn't know what the book was about.  I asked a few questions to clarify, but most of the writers couldn't narrow the story down to the plot.

Not. Good.

It really made me sympathize with what a lot of agents have been saying about really preparing for stuff like this.

       2. Mingle

You never know who you're going to talk to and what you'll learn by talking to them.  In fact, on Friday evening, I met up with a blogging buddy and a few of her friends.  Those friends happened to know of a meet-and-greet going on later that night at a local pub.  If I'd given in to my shyness and not hunted my blogging buddy down (though I'd never met her in real life before), I would have missed out on that opportunity.

And, of course, I made some really great new acquaintances over the course of the weekend.

      3. Agents are human beings

In fact, they're often quite humorous human beings.  They are not people to be feared, and you certainly shouldn't feel like you have to perform in front of them.

That was one of the greatest things about the little get together Mary Kole organized with her blog followers.  She'd made it clear that she didn't want to be pitched and it really took the burden off our shoulders.  I felt like I didn't need to pretend around her or make sure I was always on.  We talked about movies, our favorite books, etc.  There was absolutely no pressure.

And here's something we all should remember:  If you can't be comfortable around an agent, you can't work with an agent.  If you're constantly thinking this is a person who carries your life in his/her hands, how can you possibly be open and honest with them?  Your business relationship should be an equal partnership where both parties seek to benefit from the other.

Discussion:  How do you guys feel about the whole agent/author relationship?  And do you have any questions for me?  Ask away!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Things that make me go grr...

I had half the post done of More Things I Learned at the SCBWI Conference, and paused to feed my kids.  Well, when I came back, my computer shut down of its own accord and now that post has disappeared.


Sadly, I have about a half an hour before I have to take my son to the library so I don't have enough time to rewrite the whole thing.  :(

However!  I will write it for Wednesday!  And now that the plague has left my house, I can guarantee you that I will actually have a post.  :)

In other news, while sick and potentially out of my mind, I opened a facebook account.  Check it out!  And after I come back from the library, I promise to visit everyone!  It's been a while since I've had time to thoroughly check out all of your blogs.

So, what have you guys been up to lately?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Things I learned at the SCBWI Conference in NYC

Firstly, I just have to share this with you, dear readers:

Also to be found on where Mary Kole shares her own memories of the conference

Uh, yeah, that's me in the front in the sweater dress and high boots.  But who is that in the back?!  Yup, Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Now, let me be forthcoming here and admit a lot of the overwhelming feelings I had stemmed from the fact that there were quite a few brilliant agents at this conference.  Mary Kole is, of course, amazing, but she was by no means the only amazing one there (she is, however, the only one I have proof of meeting).  Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, LTD and Dan Lazar of Writer's House also happened to grace the event.  And let me tell you, they are both people I would LOVE to work with. 

Hah!  Wouldn't we all? 

But I digress.  You wanted to hear about what I learned.  

What I learned:

1. Different agents want different things.  

Duh, right?  

Well, we all know to look out for what agents want regarding genre, but did you ever stop to think that maybe each one feels differently about how a query should look, too?  Again, we all know the basics like put the personal stuff on the top for one agent and on the bottom for another, but I'm talking MAJOR differences.

Dan Lazar, for example, almost seems to prefer the gimmicky stuff.  Now, that's not to say you should go all crazy and write a query from the POV of your MC's cat, but the examples he gave of good queries definitely did seem to be written in the voice of the MC (which some agents caution against).  A couple of his favorites might have even had some swearing in them. :o ;)

Ginger Clark, on the other hand, prefers a straight-up business letter.  Get to the point in as few words as possible.  No gimmicks, just plot.  If you were to send a query with swearing in it to her, I'd hazard to guess you wouldn't pique her interest.  

What does this mean?  

Well, if you plan on querying more than one agent, you might need to start thinking about having more than one query written up.  And the golden rule is to definitely, ABSOLUTELY do your research.

2. The future of YA is looking bright.

We've all heard that a million times, but don't you ever wonder if it's really true?  Well, according to the industry professionals at the conference, it absolutely is true.

Sales in YA have been virtually unaffected by the e-book revolution (not so with adult books) and it seems that today's youth prefer the nostalgia of paper over technology.  This is actually important to note because there's less profit to be had from e-books as opposed to hardcovers.  

The big chains have begun moving their YA books into their own section (out of the children's department) and devoting more space to them.  Not only is this great because it shows the chains recognize the profit they're garnering from YA, but it also means more potential customers may be wooed to purchase YA (i.e. customers who previously may have been uncomfortable purchasing something in the children's section).

3. Science Fiction is the next vampire

Holy cow, guys, you have no idea how excited I am!  EVERY agent said this.  Every. Single. One.  I swear my brightened face must have been seen from the moon I was so happy.

And you want to know something else?  They're desperate for space operas.  Do you see my eyes popping out of my head like Roger Rabbit right now?  No?  Because they are!  

Why, you ask?  

Well, I've actually been trying to avoid the whole space opera label because I'd read most people think they're trashy.  But I'm now proud to admit to all the world that ELEMENTAL is a space opera!  Phew!  I feel so much better for getting that out into the open.

For those who aren't necessarily aware of what a space opera is, think of Star Wars.  They're stories on a grander scale.  Instead of planetary tiffs, galactic empires battle for control.  Instead of just a bad guy, it's the war between good and evil.  Usually there's some massive battle scene where some really huge stuff gets blown up (which I have, by the way :) ).

So yeah, super excited about that one.  

Side Note: I rewrote my query for ELEMENTAL, so please check it out and let me know what you think!

And to read more about what I learned at the SCBWI Conference, check in next Monday!  Friday, I'll be getting back into book reviews (so don't miss it!). 

Discussion: What do you guys think?  Are you excited about the future of YA?  Did I say anything here you didn't already know? (and if I didn't, that just goes to show how lame I am because this was all new to me)