Friday, November 30, 2012

I Wrote 50,000+ Words During NaNoWriMo 2012

I just finished typing my 50,000th+ word for this year's NaNoWriMo challenge. 

I want to thank my wonderful husband who has been so thoughtful and supportive and patient with me during this month. It has been craaaaaazy. The winner banner that I'm posting here goes to him too!

I want to thank my children, just for being there. Reading aloud to them, a regular activity that we do, continuously reminds me of how important books, reading, and writing are.

I want to thank my fellow readers for their support in previous postings when I've mentioned that I was doing NaNoWriMo.

I want to thank my writer buddies for raising the bar and reminding me, with their daily increasing word counts, to get moving and to keep at it. 

I want to thank the new writer friends I've made this month for cheering me on.

I want to thank The Office of Letters and Light for hosting NaNoWriMo.

That said, I'm going to go to bed early for the first time this month. Yes, it's about 1 a.m. right now.

I'm leaving you with Train's "The Finish Line." I had danced to this at the end of one of my Zumba classes. It is both a happy and sad song. Though when you listen to it, I hope you think happy thoughts. Whether you've made it to 50,000 words or not, just give yourself a pat on the back for putting yourself out there. 

How was your November? Did you do NaNoWriMo, and if so, how did it go? Feel free to share, vent, or brag about how it went!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Author Interview with Lindsay Eland

It's Thanksgiving week so I thought I should feature a book that touches on themes of food, family, and friendship. I read Lindsay Eland’s SCONES AND SENSIBILITY (Egmont USA), a MG novel about a 12-year old girl named Polly who tries to play matchmaker with the people in her life. Her attempts to pair people up and break up couples seem like fun and games until her well-intentioned meddling starts ticking people off. What made SCONES AND SENSIBILITY a particularly fun read was Polly’s delightful narrative voice- she speaks and thinks like a character in an old school Jane Austen novel even though the story is set in contemporary times.  

I got ahold of Lindsay Eland for an interview. Lindsay was born in  Cincinnati, Ohio but grew up in several places all around Pennsylvania, including Pittsburg and Punxatawney. She spent what she calls her “growing up years” in State College where her family resides.  Lindsay now lives in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Can you share a favorite childhood memory?
I have so many amazing childhood memories that it’s hard to pick just one! But I’d have to say it would be sitting at the big wooden table at my MomMom and PopPop’s house eating mashed potatoes and peas and listening to the stories that my parents and aunts and uncles told. That table and those stories hold just as much magic for me now as they did when I was eight.

I get a strong vibe from reading SCONES AND SENSIBILITY that you're a Jane Austen fan. What is it about Jane Austen's work that appeals to you?
Yes, I adore Jane Austen. And really, everything about her work appeals to me. The atmosphere she creates, the characters she develops, the dialogue, the elegant romance, her witty humor. I just adore it all.

In SCONES AND SENSIBILITY, the protagonist Polly has such a distinctive voice. She is prim and proper, a little pretentious, and at the same time, she really means well and wants to help others. How did you get the inspiration for such a character and voice?                                                                                  
My inspiration for Polly came in a variety of ways. First, I adore both Jane Austen and the character Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Polly is a modern-day version of those two. My daughter also has a friend who, at the time, was very Polly-esque and I got such a kick out of listening to her. I also had a deep desire to come up with a heroine who didn’t have an ounce of tom-boy in her. 

There is also a fun baking theme in SCONES AND SENSIBILITY. What tip(s) do you have for writing a story where food plays a "supporting character?"
I think food is a very important element in writing that can add that bit of humanity, universality, and detail to any story. We all eat. We all need to eat. And, if you’re anything like me, you LOVE to eat.

What do you like to bake besides scones?  
I love to bake just about anything! Pumpkin bread, chocolate ├ęclairs, chocolate-chip cookies, brownies, cakes (chocolate preferred…are you sensing the pattern? 

What books did you like to read growing up?
I adored Roald Dahl (still do), Katherine Patterson, and any story about animals.

Are there any other projects you'd like to mention? 
Yes! My next book with Egmont USA titled A SUMMER OF SUNDAYS will be released on July 9th, 2013. It is the story about a twelve-year-old girl who is stuck, smack-dab, in the middle of her large family and spends her summer vacation trying to make her mark on her world. It’s a story full of friendship, laughs, and mystery. 

Thanks so much, Cynthia!

You're welcome, Lindsay! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quotes to Inspire

We're officially halfway through NaNoWriMo. To offer some encouragement to others who are pounding away at their keyboards toward that 50,000 word finish line, I'm sharing some inspirational quotes shared by authors who know what they're talking about. Enjoy, and be inspired!

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. -Mark Twain

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. -Robert Frost

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. -Stephen King

Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing. -Joyce Carol Oates

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. 
-Edith Wharton

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, how are you holding up?
Feel free to share any motivational quotes that you live and write by.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG: Why I'm Trying NaNoWriMo This Year

It's IWSG day. Thanks, Alex. NaNoWriMo has always been something I wanted to try...but only in the distant future. For the past few years, when November arrives on the horizon, there'd be a reason why I would decide to refrain from participating (e.g. work, morning sickness-they ought to call it 24/7 sickness, mommy duties, revision on my other WIP, etc...) So every year, I'd tell myself, I can't do NaNoWriMo this year, but maybe next year.

I gave birth to another child in May. My schedule isn't going to magically free up anytime soon. 

This year, I decided to give NaNo a try.  I've been staying up late planning my novel since the end of September. So I am pretty optimistic about where I'm headed but there are times when this negative voice in the back of my head whispers to me, There is no way you could write a novel in a month, not even a really crappy one. 

NaNoWriMo participants, have you ever felt that way? How are your novels coming along?

For those who have never tried NaNoWriMo before, what has held you back from doing this?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

KidLit Cares: An Online Auction to Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Author Kate Messner is hosting an online auction to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy's relief efforts. She is auctioning off manuscript critiques, Skype visits, and other neat stuff  offered by industry professionals. Check out the auction.

On that note, I just want to say that I am going to be a bit low key this month as I do NaNoWriMo.  I will still post stuff -in fact, I have an author interview coming up soon- but I might not be around as much. 

If anyone has heard of other fundraisers benefiting the relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy, feel free to share about them.

If anyone has started on NaNo and want to dish on how your first day is coming along, go for it. If anyone wants to add me, my profile name on NaNo is CynthiaWrites.

Update 11/6/12: I recently came across another online auction you can check out hosted by author Jen Malone. You can check out the auction here. The auction closes tomorrow.