Dec 30, 2012

Farewell 2012.

2012 was a strange year for me. Writing-wise, there was a lot of waiting (isn't there always?). ALL THAT GLOWS still has another year before it finds a snuggly shelf home, but that hardly means I was sitting on my butt all year. No, no. I've been hard at work, finishing the rough draft of Cutthroat novel and starting the rough draft of the sequel. With a few rounds of edits and short stories in between.

But there were a few unexpected surprises along the way. We bought a house. I got a new baby cousin and simultaneously become a godmother. My husband filmed a cross-country documentary. I got my nose pierced.

It's amazing how quickly a year seems to go, yet how much actually happens in that time.

There were some amazing things this year in regards to music and books and movies.

Some amazing books I devoured:

Some amazing musicians I discovered:

Jenny Dalton

Nick Drake

Kye Kye

I hung out with some amazing people:

Isn't my niece the cutest?!

So. 2013. What will you hold?

My goals are to get Cutthroat Novel into submission shape (I still maintain it's plotting to kill me). To plant a garden. To travel to Bolivia and convince my designer friends to create handbags for my sister-in-law's nonprofit. To explore a screenwriting class with my brother. To hang out with my cousins more. To get a puppy (I am slowly but surely wearing my husband down on that front).

And... hopefully... to publish my debut novel! (I say hopefully because it's scheduled for Winter 2014, which could be December 2013 OR January/February 2014)

What kinds of goals do you guys have for this next year?

Dec 21, 2012

winter wonderland (of glass!)

Yesterday I got to go to the Dallas Arboretum. It was chilly and cold and rather wintry (though seeing as it's almost Christmas I'll allow it), and I had to shove my hands into my pockets, but the trip was well worth it because of these:

Pieces of Chihuly glass! I'd actually never heard of Chihuly before this venture, and I was really surprised at how many people (including my editor!) messaged me and said, "Are those Chihuly pieces you're posting?"

What impressed me was the mass of his work; how elaborate they were. The sheer vision that went into crafting ever single, fragile breakable piece of these masterpieces. How every piece fit together just so.

There were pieces that looked like lilypads.

There were baubles in boats.

There were ones that caught the sun and sang it through colors.

 There were ones that looked like amethyst stalagmites. 

And ones that simply awed.

Just look at the detail! Can you imagine spending all those hours crafting each single curlyque?

It's times like these when I remember just how much art amazes me. Not just glasswork, but art in general. When I see what my friends can do with words, a paintbrush, a camera, a pair of ballet flats... how they take these tools and make them pure magic... it stuns me every time. 

Even when I read over a finished piece of mine, it's still hard to believe it came from me. That my conscious (well, mostly sub), wove all these hundreds and thousands of elements together to become something bigger than just a story. It's times like these when it's easy to put credence into Elizabeth Gilbert's theory about the creative genius. How it lives outside ourselves.

Also, in the spirit of the season, there was an entire collection of nativity scenes in the Arboretum! There were over 300 different scenes, from all around the world, made out of anything you could think of. Car parts. Corn husks. Cork. Cross-stitch.

My very favorite one was from Peru. Made out of an ammunition box. I now really want one for my own. (Guess I'll have to go to Peru first...)

The likelihood that I'll be posting back here before Christmas is rather low, so I bid you all farewell and wish you guys the best of holidays and times with loved ones!

Dec 19, 2012

the next big thing

This title sounds a tad pretentious doesn't it? I mean, I really, really hope ALL THAT GLOWS becomes the next big thing. But it's seems a bit heady to predict that. However, this is the name of the blog series that's been going around the interwebs. I've been tagged by the lovely Lisa Ann O'Kane and Matt Sinclair over at The Elephant's Bookshelf Press. So clearly, I had no choice but to bow to peer pressure. :)

1- What is the working title of your book?

The title is no longer working! Hooray! It's been known under several names (among them Godmother and Luminance Hour), but the final title for my debut novel is ALL THAT GLOWS.

2- Where did the idea come from for the book?

The seedling for his novel actually came from a prompt for an anthology submission. The anthology was looking for short stories that portrayed faerys in a "modern, sleek and sexy" way. That prompt got me thinking about the traditional Fairy Godmother and what it would look like for them to guard a modern day, partying prince. I jotted out the short story over a weekend and handed it to my coworker to read. When she finished it, she looked over at me and said, "Ryan, this is a novel. Not a short story." As soon as she said it I knew she was right, so I started writing.

3- What genre does your book fall under?

It's a heavy blend of paranormal romance and fantasy. 

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

You know, I actually haven't thought about this too much. Can I get back to you?

5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When a Faery is forced to guard the prince of England from assassins and paparazzi, she finds herself feeling more than she should for him. 

Or this one, which is more like a run-on sentence: In which a partying prince falls in love with a Kate Middletonesque fae, who has been protecting the British royal family for centuries, and who must make an impossible choice amidst a backdrop of a palace murder and paparazzi mayhem.

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am blessed and fortunate enough to call HarperTeen my publisher. *pinches skin* *still can't believe it*

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months. (March 09 - June 09)

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Shiver. Beautiful Creatures. Daughter of Smoke and Bone. 

9- Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A mixture of many things: Traveling to England when I was young. An Encyclopedia on Faeries that my sister-in-law gave me one Christmas. Taking classes on Old English, Tolkien and J.K. Rowling when I was in college. The song "Saelic" by Helium Vola. Reading deliciously written love stories and wanting to craft my own.

10- What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

For the record, I started writing ALL THAT GLOWS long before Kate and Wills got engaged. But Kate Middleton's popularity didn't hurt in my search for an agent and publisher.

The book is coming out in Winter 2014! So keep an eye out! Or an ear, I'll probably be screaming about it all across the interwebs.

And since this is a blog hop and I'm supposed to tag people, here goes:

Wendy Higgins

Kathryn Rose

Wesley Kapp

Dec 12, 2012

the fall goodreads giveaway

So, the anthology my short story Hairline Cracks is in is giving away a free copy on Goodreads! So scoot on over there and add your name to the pot! There are plenty of great stories in there, that will give you chills and make you think about life... How it's worth fighting for.

And if you do read my short story, let me know what you think!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Fall by Matt Sinclair

The Fall

by Matt Sinclair

Giveaway ends January 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Dec 6, 2012

color and gloom

 Can you believe it's December already? Me neither! Time is ghosting by. As it always does.

Winter has always been my least favorite of the seasons. So dead and colorless. But I'm preparing by putting even more splashes of brightness around my house. We've joined the "paint-your-door-a-pretty-eye-catching-color" trend. I'm quite pleased with the shade of teal hubby and I settled on. 

Woodpecker is very happy with the shade of his door.
Also, one of my good friends just sent me a wonderfully bright paper-bird cutout from China. An artist cut this design out of tissue paper (which blows my mind). But I think they look really lovely against the yellow paper and orange frame.

Also: baker's twine and parcel paper. Who knew such simple items make for such fun gift-wrapping? The snowflakes are perhaps a bit more elaborate. I blame Pinterest. 

And while we're on the subject of crafty things: aren't these pinecone Christmas trees the cutest? I made them with my preschoolers today. All it takes is pinecones, spraypaint and pom-poms. And its super easy for little ones (as long as they're careful not to poke themselves.)

I've been hard at work on the sequel. It's very slowly (might I emphasize the very and the slowly) coming together into something that resembles a story. (Yay!) I'm definitely resigning myself to the fact that I am indeed a pantser. And not a plotter.

I tried to plot. I really did. But the characters were not cooperating.


I got this in the mail a few days ago:

*this is supposed to be my scary face...

It's the anthology I was telling you about a few weeks ago! The one with my short story in it!

Here's a quick teaser of said short story:

I'm sorry that I've now ruined Gushers for you forever. Probably KFC too.

Want more anyway? You can get it here (electronic or actual book-style).

the creative genius

One of my friends brought this TED talk to my attention about a week ago, and it really spoke to me. Elizabeth Gilbert really captures and conveys the artistic struggle and how to relieve a lot of the pressure that comes along with the job of making things.

If you're a writer or artist of any kind, I suggest giving it a watch!