Thursday, April 26, 2012

The YA or Bust! Tour in San Diego

Last night I went to my favorite bookstore Mysterious Galaxy to attend the YA or Bust! tour that featured authors Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman, and Nina LaCour. We moved from Fargo a month ago, so you might imagine the excitement I felt about going to a book signing with not just one amazing author, but three (and then there is the moderator Kirsten Hubbard!).

I will admit, I haven't read a lot of contemporary YA in the past few years. I've focused mostly on the science fiction and fantasy genres since that is what I like to write. Right now there is so much of it and it takes a lot to keep up at times. Every once and a while, I do come out of my cave to read something new and out of that realm.

These authors completely blew me out of the water with their novels, and really shook up how I see my own writing. I've been working on my Japanese inspired novel (Kin) for the past three years between work and being panel coordinator, swagmaster, and social media maven for the convention CoreCon. I formed Stone Circle Writer's Group in my community, and that helped keep me motivated with all my writing. I really took on a challenge by choosing a culture that is so drastically different than my own.


The authors were asked about their setting, and Nina LaCour talked about traveling and how it helped shape her book in ways that simple research on Google Maps wouldn't have provided.  It reminded me that just almost a year ago we visited Japan and some of our experiences made it into my book. The authors also  talked about balancing work and life with their writing. Even though I'm now working from home thanks for my soulmate husband (with a cat cleaning himself in my lap as we speak), I'm trying to find that balance between things. I need to treat writing as a job, not just a chore on a list. I don't know why, but when I hear about author's experiences, it really gets me inspired like I can do what they did. And I know I can.

Honestly, it wasn't just seeing the authors in person that shook up my writing. Their books helped me see through the fantasy details and aspects, and to look further into the people in the story. The family is the center of my novel and each member needs to stick out. The audience needs to care for them, and then we can root for the main character's choices for her family. Gayle Forman does a breathtaking job at doing this with the family in If I Stay. When I do the next read through, I will focus on if that is the case and how I can liven it up a bit. And not only the family, but there is a romance in there too. Stephanie Perkins really knows how to write about budding relationships in ways that I don't know how to really describe, and that has me thinking a bit too.

I haven't looked at Beneath the Moon and Stars since we decided to move to San Diego over two months ago. I'm working on a different novel right now, and when it is completed by the end of May, I think I will have a new way to approach revising my novel. I know I'm close to something.

I'm looking forward to catching up with the authors latest books in the next few weeks, and for the tour Fierce Reads to blaze on through in June. Who knows what I learn about next about myself and my writing? If you are looking for something new to read, I totally recommend picking up the books from these authors.

Natasha

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Leaping Across the Universe


If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For you have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!
-Invitation, Shel Silverstein

We moved. Not across the universe, but across the country from Fargo to San Diego. It has almost been a month since we survived the sandstorms, rainstorms, and snow of Wyoming, awed at the beauty of Utah, gazed up at the buildings of the Las Vegas Strip, found an unexpected corner of Arizona, and bumped along the familiar roads of the Dakotas. 

Love this gas station in Wyoming
Kitties waiting for their new home
We are really fortunate to have helpful friends that went on the journey with us and our two kitties. We took a giant Budget truck and our hybrid in two and a half days. We listened to lots of music, talked about all different things, and missed out on Little America (and some argue that it was a mirage).

Park City, Utah
We unpacked the truck in record time, and once we were rid of it, we were able to enjoy the different sights of San Diego.

We went to...

The Japanese Friendship Garden at Balboa Park. 


 Ziplining at the San Diego Safari Park

See the video of the zipline below from Joey's helmet cam!

Dipped our toes into the Pacific Ocean.



And wore our hats at Seaport Village.


I couldn't have done it without these people and it is quiet around here. I look forward to visits, video chats, and trips back to North Dakota. 

Joey has settled into his job here and I'm working on my writing. I'm making good progress on a new project and going over some of my notes before I jump back into Kin. I'm finding my balance here as I go, but I don't regret this leap that we have taken. I look forward to finding new friends, more writing, and discovering more and more about this lovely place.

Natasha

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Heroine's Geeky Faves: April 12th, 2012

We have moved across the country, and while doing that, I'm discovering more about myself. That I need inspiration, laughter, and friendship to keep moving on. Friendship is probably the hardest right now since most of mine are long distance. We're hoping to remedy that since I have signed us up for a few Meetups. Writing this, I realize that it sounds a bit like Internet dating while bringing my husband along. I've only dated my husband, so is this what dating feels like? I guess I will find out.

In the meantime, I've been using the Internet to keep in contact with people and to finding inspiration and laughter. That is where my New Favorites come in. 

Category: Video
I'm not sure when I first became aware of Felicia Day. We caught sight of her at Comic Con 2009, so obviously, it was before then. She is someone that truly inspires me these days. I see how she is tackling all these projects and remains this fun, quirky person. She has helped launch a new channel, Geek and Sundry. I'll admit that I'm slowly letting myself become involved in their videos so I don't get too sucked in. So, right now, I'm only obsessed with The Flog (though, I'm excited for Sword and Laser's book club!). I've also joined her Vaginal Fantasy group on Goodreads. I'm trying to not to get all fangirl like, but seriously, how can I not? Sigh. I'm still trying to figure out the most perfect question. I want a typed letter, yes I do!

So here's the first episode of The Flog. I recommend that you click on it and Subscribe to the channel. Now go!



Oh, and did I forget that The Guild put out a new music video? 



My second video is something that I happened upon by my best news source, Twitter. It is a modern version of Pride and Prejudice. You can learn about the behind the scenes concept of the videos at this article from Mashable


Lastly, this a video about The Birth of a Book is a fun watch.

Category: Links
Having something Star Wars related is a necessity:

And something writing related:

And don't forget my favorite April 1st prank from AdBlock:

The Honorable Mention
The Hunger Games movie. Do I really need to say anything about it that hasn't been said except that I loved it? (Latest news: the director won't be coming back for the sequel)

What I am looking forward to next:


Do you have any favorite that you would like to share?

Natasha