Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing (Week 26)

My awesome friend, DB Graves, has tagged me with this meme where I get to go on an on and on about my WIP (uhm, sorry?) BUT! Then I get to tag some other awesome peeps and you get to go read about their WIPS! (much better, right?) And if you click on the link above, you get to read what she posted about her (believe me, awesome) paranormal WIP last week.


1. What is the working title of your book?
  • You and I ... it used to go by Mini Sock Boy (or MSB) on this blog, but while working on a Bollywood flash mob scene, I pulled up some of my favorite music, including tracks from Hum Tum ("You and I.") The name just seemed to fit so well and the movie's theme of true love never quite remaining unrequited really resonated with some plot points. Now I have a little in-joke with the title :)
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
  • Anyone remember The Tale of the Mini Socks? Well, I was telling this story to someone and she said it might make a fun book. I had a problem, though- I was a paranormal/fantasy writer through and through... and I couldn't see how I could translate that little piece of life into an entire book-length story. But the idea rattled around in my brain, mixed with every awkward moment I ever had in high school, and out came book- and knitting- obsessed Phoebe, whose entire world is a giant YA novel waiting to happen.
3. What Genre does your book fall under?
  • Contemporary (GASP!!!)

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  • This one is hard. I tend to keep my descriptions fairly ambiguous for most of my characters because I want the reader to insert her/his own casting. Grace, for example, is described as having "strawberry blonde hair" and while I've seen caucasian actresses who would fit her character, I also saw a picture the other day of a Korean actress with bleached hair who would fit her as well. Em might have a Greek name (Ephemie) but her dark curls and dark eyes can fit into any number of cultures. But... let's try casting the two MCs:
  • Phoebe Martins: In my head, Phoebe is at least half Brazilian and part Portuguese, with grey eyes and a complexion that tans easily. Martins is a common last name in both Portugal and Brazil and her extended family lives in Massachusetts, which has a strong Portuguese and Brazillian community. (hi, background info that never makes it into the story :) !!!)
    • So, I actually chose a Portuguese actress who, in a perfect world, would play Phoebe: Mafalda Tavares, back when she was on Morangos com Açucar: 
    Her hair is that perfect wurly-ness for Feebs!
    Image credit:

    And this is totally Phoebe post-Grace makeover. She wears her hair curled most of the last 2/3rds of the story
    Image credit: The actress' facebook page:
     Phoebe also has an older sister, so who better to play Trixie than the other talented Tavares sibling, Cátia:
    Their age difference is so perfect and Cátia is also adorable. Who better to play her college-aged fashion-fairy godmother sister?
    Image credit: Fas da Catia e da Mafalda Tavares 
  • Dev Andrews (last name still in flux): Dev's parents hail from Mumbai, so I'm thinking:
  •  A younger Shahid Kapoor *swoon*:
C'mon. Wouldn't you want him to serenade you?
Image Credit: Bollywood Pictures Online:

 And he's just so adorable ("That's All I Really Wanna Do", from Teri Meri Kahaani):

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  • When book-geek Phoebe finds out the hottest guy in the clarinet section is crushing on her, she turns to her fictional idols for advice.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  • I'm still on the traditional publishing bandwagon *crosses fingers* and I'll just keep writing in hopes that someday I get picked up. Nothing against self-pub, it's just not for me right now.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  • I'm usually a fast first-drafter. This one has been slower than usual because of a lot of things that went on in my life (and lots of buisness lunch meetings, which cut into my lunch writing time.) I was already playing around with the two main characters back in February, was outlining March for a plot, voice and pacing came in late April thanks to the SCBWI Poconos retreat, and I really started around July. It will be finished either the end of this month or early December. I miss my 3 month draft binges!
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  • Probably Anna and the French Kiss, Smart Girls Get What They Want, and Anne of Green Gables (yup, rocking it old-school with contemporary)
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
  • I'd like to thank mini sock boy, who gave me the catalyst for Phoebe's absolutely miserable situation. Mwahaha. Other inspirations: Every single YA author on the planet, 6th grade camp, Concert band/Wind Ensemble, and the Pine Barrens.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
  • This is the book for any girl who has had book boyfriends, who can read and walk at the same time, who dresses like the fictional character du jour, and wishes she was the MC with the hot love interest. Translation: This is an ode to book geeks everywhere.
 Now for the tags. I want to tag each and every one of you because I'm dying to hear more about your WIPs, but since the list would go on forever, I'm only tagging two people based on theme:

In keeping with the Portuguese/Brazilian theme, I'm tagging Rebecca Carvalho
In keeping with the New Jersey theme, I'd like to tag Jaybird over at The Bird's Nest

Can't wait to see what you two ladies post next week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Still Thankful...

But busy! I thought Thanksgiving break would give me a bit of time to blog (and it did, a little bit-- you'll see tomorrow!,) but instead, I spent a lot of time writing and living. I'm thankful for the time I had with my family, including the most adorable nephew on the planet.. I'm thankful for the exercise and movement-- from long walks to my exhausting skating lessons. My WIP was so much fun to work on.

Work has been incredibly busy, especially with the time lost from the hurricane, so it was nice to sleep insanely longer than I usually would. It was wonderful to just curl up in front of the fireplace or disappear into a book for a morning.

Now, I'm back to craziness-- I was in the office until almost nine last night and seven tonight. I'm using up the stockpile of relaxation from this past weekend.

But I'm still thankful!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

RTW: The Alpine Path

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This week's topic:
Share your most inspiring and/or motivational video, book, or quote on writing!

Since I'm not NaNoWriMoing because I'm mid-WIP, this inspiration is just to keep pushing through my You and I contemporary WIP, now at 50K. This post is also serving double duty as a Thanksgiving Blog hop post. Wheeeeee!

I picked up the top left "Emily of New Moon" on PEI because my original book is falling apart, but the 1980's covers will always be my favorites
I'm so thankful that the Emily series were the books that introduced me to LM Montgomery's writing. While a lot of people say Anne is their favorite, from the moment 10 year old me picked up these books, Emily captured my heart. We're so much alike, and her passion for writing spoke to the writer in me.

Everything about these books inspire me as a writer, but especially the passages where LMM captures the magic (and challenges) of being a writer. Passages like these, which sooooo perfectly echoed how I felt when I finished the first draft of my first manuscript:

"Again, it seized hold of her imagination and called forth all her creative impulse. She would write it out-- she would begin this very moment. Flinging on a dressing-gown over her white shoulders to protect them from the keen gulf air she sat down before her open window and began to write. Everything else was forgotten-- for a time at least-- in the subtle, all-embracinbg joy of creation. Teddy was nothing but a dim memory-- love was a blown-out candle. Nothing mattered but her story. The characters came to life under her hand and swarmed through her consciousness, vivid, alluring, compelling. Wit, tears, and laughter trickled from her pen. She lived and breathed in another world and came back to New Moon only at dawn to find her lamp burned out, and her table littered with manuscript-- the first four chapters of her book. Her book! What magic and delight and awe and incredulity in the thought."
"Emily finished her book in six weeks-- finished it at dawn one morning. She flung down her pen and went to her window, lifting her pale, weary, triumphant little face to the skies of morning...

"Finished-- complete! There it lay-- A Seller of Dreams-- her first book. Not a great book-- oh, no, but hers-- her very own. Something to which she had given birth, which would never have existed had she not brought it into being."
-Emily's Quest, LM Montgomery

Since these books are semi-autobiographical, there's magic in knowing that over 100 years ago my favorite author felt the same way that I feel today. She covered the joy and self-doubt of being a writer. She wrote about rejection and heartbreak and starting again. For a little while, (SPOILER) Emily just gives up. And she gave me a chance to be Emily holding the acceptance letter for her first book.

What greater inspiration could I possibly have?

How about you? What inspires you to write?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Never Really Belonging

A little bit more thankfulness for the Thanksgiving Blog Hop:

The hardest part about growing up as a first-generation kid who would spend her summers back in the "old country" was this constant feeling in my life of never really belonging. We were raised too European for the US and vice-versa. As a kid, it sucked.

As an adult, I love that I was raised with roots in both worlds. I'm thankful for that gift that my parents and grandparents gave me.

And, oh, what an incredible gift:

The Dolmen da Orca, Oliveira do Conde (Carregal do Sal), Portugal. A 5500 year-old megalithic burial chamber
The other side of the Dolmen. A similar dolmen site closer to town is in ruins, but since this one is in the middle of nowhere, it survived

The Poco Iniciativo at the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal. This well's circular walkway lead to subterranean caverns and is one of the gems of the magic-infused grounds of the Quinta and Palacio da Regaleira. It takes a lot of wandering the forests near the house (estate? Palace?) to find this place.

Reading by the wood stove on a cool October night (and yes, my parents have a modern stove, too)

The castle walls of the Convento de Cristo in Tomar
And I have more pictures and videos from this year's trip on my Tumblr.

There's a burden with having so much history and having these roots. It can be a weight, sometimes, knowing (and caring!) that you have to pass this history to the next generation. It's hard to maintain a connection to Portugal when you grow up outside of the Portuguese community-- no Portuguese school for me or my sisters, limited exposure to other Portuguese-American kids.

It's hard to put down roots here (a place that I love) when I have roots there, as well. I have hundreds of years of ancestors weighing on my shoulders.

And it's so hard to walk out of my bedroom on the last day of vacation.

But for every heart-wrenching moment of saying goodbye for the year to our home there and all of the saudades that I have for this place that I've been tied to since before I was born, I've also been given a million moments of joy and inspiration.

What place are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on-- Portugal, books, hurricanes, nor'easters, Texas, and an epic head cold-- and I thought a wonderful way to start is by hopping on to Brenda Drake's Thanksgiving bloghop.

The bloghop turkey!!!

Since today is Veteran's day, of course my post will be about being thankful for our veterans. Not only for their service and their sacrifice, but for the continuous service many of them have provided to their communities long after their tour of duties. The US VFW and their ladies auxiliary hold a special place in my heart because, thanks to their Voice of Democracy speech program (I was the NJ state winner my senior year of high school), I went from a shy, awkward girl to a polished young woman. It would be so easy to just go home and forget about society, but they keep giving back. It's an incredible organization filled with incredible people continuing to do incredible things.

One of the prettiest (and somewhat saddest) memorials to service I've seen has to be the Memorial Chamber in the Parliament building in Ottawa, Canada. I was lucky enough to watch the page turning ceremony when I visited Ottawa in 2010.

Inside the Memorial Chamber

 From my travel blog entry (Feb, 2010):

And as I waited for the elevator up to the tower, I overhead one tour guide mention that her group was very lucky-- they were going to be able to observe the ceremony where the pages in the Remembrance books of the memorial chamber would be turned, a ceremony that very few visitors to the Parliament get to see (more on that later.) ...

This case holds more than one book, and the page turning was performed here by a family member of one of the honored soldiers
I did manage to get back to the entrance of the memorial chamber to catch a glimpse of the tail-end of the page turning. What this ceremony does (at 11am daily) is honor those Canadians who died in service to their country. There are five books in the chamber, each page filled with names. This daily page turning allows each name to be on display at least once a year. The chamber walls are inscribed with poetry, quotes, and psalms in English and in French ("In Flanders Fields" is one of those poems.)

It was a beautiful ceremony and, when we were allowed to wander around the chamber afterwards, I actually teared up a little bit on seeing the names in the books and John McCrae's words on the walls.

In Flander's Fields, on the wall of the Memorial Chamber. The book in the case is one of the books filled with names of those who died in service

"We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields."
-"In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae

I'm also thankful for the Peacekeepers, who continue to put their lives on the line for peace around the world. That's probably one of the hardest jobs of all.

The Peacekeeping Monument in Ottawa, Canada. This inscription reads "In the Service of Peace"
To our veterans (US and allies), thank you for serving and protecting.

That's what I'm thankful for today.