Monday, September 6, 2010


wow - almost forgot my password!

well, i have been absent for months because i have been too busy to blog.
i've been too busy to read blogs (and believe me i miss seeing what my blogger friends are up to), and too busy to even think about working on my wip.

although happy about my new business venture (the reason i have no time for anything else) i really miss flexing my literary muscles. i'm hoping as things start to settle into a routine i will be able to add my writing back into my schedule.
time will tell.

BUT i do have some rather incredible news to share!

and of course it has to do with a-ha!

that's right - i will be attending their royal albert hall performance in london. AND because mr. write is such an amazing guy (who is quite secure in our love despite my 25 year long obsession with morten harket), i will also be able to see their concert in paris!
so the little blips of spare time i have are devoted to planning our european adventure. i'm excited to take the KidLit on his first trip across the pond and can't wait to let him run around le jardin luxembourg while i snap photos like crazy.

so my blogger buddies, i hope to catch up on all your news soon. you have no idea how much i've missed reading about your experiences.

Friday, July 23, 2010

follow me! or don't!

i've been not so great at updating my blog, i admit.
really, i'm trying to spare you every a-ha related thought that goes through my mind!

fellow blogger neurotic workaholic wrote this post about blogs, followers, and empty compliments.

i follow a fair amount of blogs, and there was a time when i could read all those and comment every time they had a new post. but honestly, it's been really hard lately to do that between the KidLit (and a-ha), thinking about the changes i need to make to my wip (and a-ha), and working on a business venture with mr. write (and a-ha). really, of all the blogs i follow, there are only a handful i regularly check.

i know followers are very important to some bloggers, and that's all fine and good.
but that's not me.
it might have to do with my personality. i'm more of a "take me or leave me" kind of gal. i find it too exhausting to be everything to everyone, so i figure i'll just the best me i can be.

i'm grateful for the readers i have, and i love when they take the time to leave comments.
but my self-esteem is not measured by a box of profile pictures on the side of my blog. my goal has never been to collect followers, or even a "fan base". if it were, i would have continued with my other blog, which although is never updated, still gets hundreds of hits a week. in fact, that blog is just about to have it's millionth hit, and although i'm happy people still get enjoyment out of it, i feel the same way about that blog as i do my current one:
if you want to read it, great! if not, ok.

some bloggers brainstorm on how to get more followers and suggest holding contests and giving out blog awards. if that's what works for you, and it's what you want to do, fantabulous.
but again, that's not me.

although i tend to follow blogs by unpublished writers, i wouldn't exactly consider myself a part of their community. not because i don't think they are a great group of people, just that where i update sporadically, they update regularly.
where i go on and on about my favorite band, they have themed posts dealing with the writing craft.
where i only use vague and cryptic terms when discussing my wip, they go into great detail.

i've made genuine friends on blogger. friends i couldn't have met if my time had been spent trying to accumulate more followers.
in a nutshell: i blog for the love of it, and i am happy to take this ride with all of you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

life imitating art (or at least a first effort novel)

i'll start off by saying i've done absolutely no work on my novel.
i know i should, and i'm sure i will, but right now i have quite a full plate.

of course, there is always time for a-ha!

for the moment i am decidedly anti-twitter, but that doesn't stop me from checking up on my favorite norwegian men. it was quite a pleasant surprise to see them uploading pictures from the set of their video shoot. i was, like many other fans, incredibly pleased to learn their last single would indeed have a video to accompany it.
but then they uploaded the end of day/video shoot wrap picture. 

and i was totally blindsided.

i can only guess what these three men were feeling as they embraced each other. 
the image alone was enough to bring tears to my eyes. 
and imagining the waves of emotions they must have been feeling as they shared a last hug on their final video shoot kept the tears flowing.

so what does this have to do with my first novel? 
nothing, i thought. until my friend pointed out i was pretty much acting the same way as a character in the manuscript:

Remember your best friend that lived and breathed for a certain musician or band? Rio does, but the friend is her mother and the band is from the 80's. LAST TIME LA LUNA is the story of Rio Luna's attempt to live her life in the present and escape her mother's unrelenting obsession with the past. Rio (named after the hit song by Duran Duran) is convinced Momma's fanatical behavior has permanently branded "MISFIT" upon her forehead. Having grown up without knowing her father, or experiencing life as a "normal" teenager, she spends her days wishing Momma would get with the times.   
When realizing Momma enjoys living in the past more than she enjoys existing in the present, Rio at last begins to take responsibility for her own happiness, but just as she starts to blossom, Momma spirals into a deep depression after waking up from her 80's induced haze to find the world has passed her by. Frightened by the empty shell of a woman before her, Rio does everything she can to get her Duran Duran obsessed mother back, stumbling across her long lost father in the process. His sudden appearance bewilders Rio and causes Momma to instantly regress to 1984 and her teenage romance. As Rio's and Momma's individual needs clash head on, both mother and daughter are forced to face past and present together. Rio's shame and resentment towards Momma melt into empathy and support and she finds her life filled with more than she ever wished for.

now it wasn't exactly flattering to hear i was mirroring the same obsessive behaviour of one of my characters. in fact, as i wrote the novel it was my intent to show Momma as selfish and immature. imagine the great fun i had realizing i'd pretty much prophesied my own emotional state.

the truth is, i've always wished i were a teenager in the 80s. and i wrote the Momma character through my own personality filter. so her reaction to her favorite band losing two original members, and my reaction to a-ha disbanding are almost identical. when i wrote the novel i had no idea i would actually live some of it. yes, it was cathartic when i wrote it, but i had no clue how close to home it would actually hit.

i guess i can be pleased i managed to write something so realistic. and if i really do have the ability to predict the future, i can breathe easy since Momma's story does indeed have a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

rah, rah ,rah!

i'd love to tell you the reason i've been absent from the blogosphere is because i've been cracking away at my manuscript - furiously flying through my revisions so i can start the climactic ending of my novel.
that would be a big fat lie.

i KNOW i'm supposed to be working on my opening chapters and making my work more cohesive and polished.
i KNOW i have to actually complete the darn thing if i'm ever going to submit it.
and i KNOW i should dedicate the small amount of free time i have to my writing.

i am heavily distracted. and of course you already know by who:

so, color me obsessed.
but can you blame me? they will only exist as a band for six more months.
i think that well entitles me to listen to their cds, watch their videos, swoon over photos, fantasize about...erm, uh, you know what i mean.

i know once the year is out, and my favorite group has disbanded, i will no longer be acting like an infatuated preteen. strange as it may sound, it's been fun to experience all this again as an adult in control of her life as opposed to the girl who felt helpless and had to turn to music as her only source of comfort. in a way it feels like i get to fully enjoy their music for what it is, instead of drawing from it what i needed.

i can't say for sure i'd be feeling this flood of emotions so strongly if i weren't in the middle of writing a YA novel. but, knowing me, i can't say for sure i wouldn't, either.

mr. write has been a dream about all this.
he's tolerated my love for a-ha for as long as he's known me. in fact, one of the first times he and i snuggled i dreamily informed him, "you smell like my a-ha book" so it's not like he didn't know what he was getting into when we started dating.
he was even genuinely happy for me when i scored tickets to their sold out concert in london.

yup - you read that right!

of course, this doesn't necessarily mean i'll actually be able to make it over the pond to see them, but at least i have tickets to their (very special and once in a lifetime) show at the RAH.

so, now that there is a glimmer of hope i might be able to see my band perform one last time, i REALLY need to get back on track with my novel. 
but who am i kidding? there's a ton of youtube videos calling my name right now.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i done been tagged!

dawn, one of my favorite bloggers of all time, has tagged me with "seven things i love about being a writer".

here goes:

1) it makes me feel like i'm a very productive person!
whether i've written a hundred words, or twenty pages, i walk away from my computer feeling like i've accomplished something.

2) i get to be in charge.
ok, ok, usually my characters dictate what needs to be written, but for the most part i'm in control. there are no orders or directives from other people and no one looking over my shoulder and telling me how i should write what i want to write.

3) i get to do lots of time wasting web-searching, so long as i call it research.
i'm one of those people who always has 3 or more tabs on my internet browser, which i switch back and forth from continually. sometimes i'll only manage half a sentence before i'm compelled to check out the awkward family photos site. i'm not ADD by any means, though you'd bet money i was by my behaviour in front of the computer screen.

4) i've met some amazing people on my journey to be published.
if i wasn't a writer, i would not be reading 70% of the blogs i follow. and i would not have had the extreme pleasure to become friends with some of these bloggers.

5) it helps mi be less "me-centric".
alright, motherhood has done this more than anything, BUT having crit partners and beta readers forces me to look at someone else's perspective and opinions. it gets me out of my own head (as fabulous a hangout it is) and allows me to look at my work more objectively.

6) it makes my morning cuppa taste better!
i've been a tea drinker for most my life because i absolutely love the stuff. but nothing has made my first cup of the day taste better than sitting in front of my computer reading over what i'd written the day before.

7) it...completes me
believe it or not, for years i fought the writing bug. for a very personal reason, i never wanted to live under that label. but i finally succumbed because i had to. it's who i am, and what i do, and it feels incredibly wonderful to live it.

thanks again, dawn, for tagging me!
and everyone reading - consider yourself tagged!

Friday, June 25, 2010

a source of f(r)iction

i do a lot of research when i write my novels.
a lot.

if i say a certain band was on the cover of a certain magazine in june of 1992 - well, they were.
if i write about a small wine bar within walking distance of the spanish steps - well, it's there.
if i have a wiccan coven use dandelion leaf in a protection spell - well, it's because they do.

do i do this because i fear a reader might be fact checking me?
no - because i'm sure readers have plenty more important things to do than googling to see if i did my homework. i do it because i believe it brings credibility and authenticity to my manuscripts.
"but, don't you write fiction?" you might ask.
yes. yes i do.
but i don't write fantasy (well, ok, there was this one time a few years ago but i haven't tried it since - i swear!).

now, i'm not saying all writers should or have to do this. and not all readers care about authenticity.
but this one does and it drives me up a wall when things just don't add up, or when they are completely false. luckily most the authors i read are very good about their facts, or making it seem like their fiction is factual.

but occasionally i will read a passage that will include something so glaringly untrue that it pulls me right out of the story. often it is just a few words or a short sentence - a phrase so inconsequential that my reaction might seem disproportionate. but even if i'm the screwy one without the ability to ignore these "truth smudges", i can't help but think less of the author. ESPECIALLY when these untruths have no real bearing on the plot and could have easily been corrected by just doing a simple internet search.

in my book (har har) that's just laziness.
and insulting to those who spend their money and time reading the words you put to paper.

Friday, June 18, 2010

book review - will grayson will grayson by john green and david levithan

my two cent(ence)s - well-paced, engaging story with some very memorable characters. definitely lived up to the hype!

i decided to read will grayson will grayson for two reasons:
1) i assumed it was a novel written in alternating first person pov, and
2) EVERYONE was gushing about how great a novel it is

well, my assumption was correct. like nick and norah's infinite playlist and grand & humble, this novel has alternating first person pov chapters. i was really interested to see how well it worked in this book since my wip is also an alternating first person narrative.
let me tell you that will grayson will grayson did not disappoint!

the book is written from the point of view of will grayson - both of them. i like how the authors not only gave each will grayson a distinct voice, but chose different text styles so you knew exactly which will grayson you were following at any given time.

i have to say, as a character i liked the first will grayson better, but as far as storylines go i was hooked with the second will grayson's chapters. i'm not going to reveal much about the plot because i would hate to ruin the book for anyone who's interested in reading it, but i have to say that at the halfway point of the novel i was totally sold!

each will grayson arcs beautifully, and although i thought some elements of the ending were "too convenient" and a bit contrived, it did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. i highly recommend it, and am quite pleased to say that it really did live up to all the hype it's generated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

over-thinking every little thing

i had fully intended to write my review on will grayson will grayson today, as well as finish revising my opening chapters, but i got seriously sidetracked by this song:

some of you might have read my post explaining how upset i am my favorite group will be disbanding after december 5th.

this song is their last single and written especially for their fans. it world premiered last night and i've listened to it on a continuous loop.
of course, any of you who know me probably already figured i was reduced to tears upon first hearing their last ever song.
and i was.

one of the reasons i've always loved a-ha is because of the stories their lyrics tell. being a writer, i'm often moved by songs that take me on a journey and are filled with emotion. usually, the words (i've always preferred the french word paroles) speak to me the first time i hear a song, but this time it took me several listens to decipher the meaning.

Butterfly, butterfly
Flying into the wind
You can be sure of it
That's no place to begin

Over-thinking every little thing
Acknowledge the bell you can't un-ring

Tomorrow you don't have to say what you're thinking
You don't have to mean what you say

Butterfly, Butterfly
Flutter in to the skies
Butterfly, Butterfly
Their molecular cries

Chrysalis dreams waiting on the fifth instar
These stained glass wings could only take you so far

Tomorrow you don't have to say that it matters
You don't have to turn something in
Stay with it through thick and thin
Butterfly, begin

Tomorrow you don't have to mean what you say
Left without a reason to stay
Comes the last hurrah
Here's our last hurrah

Butterfly, butterfly
You can be sure of it

i've heard several interpretations of these lyrics. some people think the butterfly is supposed to represent a-ha. others think the song is about the fans.
personally, i think there's a mix of both.

for instance, the acknowledge the bell you can't un-ring seems to be directed at people like me. the ones who don't want to think of them ending their career.

but these lyrics seem to be clearly written from the band's point of view:

Tomorrow you don't have to say what you're thinking
You don't have to mean what you say

Tomorrow you don't have to say that it matters
You don't have to turn something in
Stay with it through thick and thin
Butterfly, begin

Tomorrow you don't have to mean what you say
Left without a reason to stay

as much as i want to believe their 25 year career has been nothing but the best of times for them, these words show there was limited freedom in being known worldwide as a-ha. that after december 5th they'll no longer have to say "the right things" or constantly be pressured to deliver a new album. they won't have to be chained to their identity as a norwegian trio.
to me, it seems obvious a-ha is the butterfly. that they have spent the last 25 years going through a metamorphosis, and in december they can begin the next phase of their lives.

but, as all great songwriters do, they've left us with a bit of a mystery.
to me, this line Left without a reason to stay can be interpreted two different ways:
1. at the end of 25 years, they no longer had a reason to continue as a group
2. they chose, individually, to leave each other and disband. they didn't want to be talked into recording another album or doing another tour. and they didn't want to hear any reasons to stay.

i'd love to hear what you think - if this song sounds like someone yearning for freedom, or if it's a gentle reminder to adoring fans that life does go on.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a rejection in time

i feel i'm about the catch the wave of completion and ride it all the way to the shore.

i'm gearing up to write the last 15k words of my wip, and it's exciting, scary and nerve wracking all at the same time. i am still not exactly sure where my final word count will end up, and i checked my email records to see how many words my last manuscript was (47k, incidentally). 

now, it has been three years since i sent out queries for my last novel, and although my success rate was high for passing through the initial gate, i received rejections on all my partial and full submissions. looking through my past emails, i re-read this rejection:

I would love to see more from you. I thought TITLE REDACTED was a wonderful story. I think where it fell down was you left MAIN CHARACTER's point of view. You have a great voice and obvious talent... 
I really do mean it when I say I'd like to read more from you including MAIN CHARACTER's story if you put it in her pov. Either way I truly wish you great success in your literary career.

"wow." was my first thought. "how the heck did i miss this?"
i wondered if i was so consumed with the fact it was a rejection that i missed the part where the agent offered to give a second look at my manuscript providing i did a rewrite.
i know i'm not so prideful that i would refuse to change my novel if an agent asked. i've done it before (though still with the same result *rejection*) and would certainly do it again if i felt the changes were reasonable. and indeed, in retrospect, this agent's request was.

so why didn't i at least attempt a rewrite? and why did i have no memory of her liking my writing so much?

well, a little visit to the absolute write forums told me exactly why.
although this agent is/was not a scammer, she did not have any real sales to her credit. there were also more than a couple testimonials where writers shared their (not so great) experience with this agent.
and no, she did not manage to help these writers get any steps closer to being published.
it seems this agent no longer does business, and the handful of established writers she represented all ended their contracts with her.

honestly, i'm happy that three years ago i (apparently) did my homework, which is why i never followed up with this agent. i'm also happy that my vision wasn't so clouded by the stormy skies of rejection that i was blinded to a possible redo with an agent.

so now it's back to my wip.
before i start the big finish, i need to go back and read everything i've written thus far. and i guess while i'm there, i will make all those edits and changes i told myself i'd do once i'd finished the novel.
so yeah, there's a chance it will be a few more weeks before i start the conclusion, but at least everything else will be tight and polished, right?


Monday, June 7, 2010

may not be suitable for readers under seventeen

the other night i had the movie heathers playing in the background as i did laundry.

two things became very apparent to me while the film played:
1) it is not nearly as clever, witty or cool as i originally thought when i first saw it as a kid
2) there were things mentioned, portrayed and alluded to in the film that went completely over my head upon my first several viewings because i was a kid.

that isn't to say i didn't know what sex, murder and suicide were, nor was i so innocent (re: naive and gullible) to think i was watching a slightly roughed up john hughes film. but even though i had limited knowledge of such "meaty" subjects, i had enough imagination to make sense of the parts i didn't quite get.
for instance in this scene:

i always thought heather#1 moved out of camera frame to lie down on the ground so she and college guy could have sex and the sound of a zipper unzipping was her taking off her dress.
i did, however, wonder why the college guy closed his eyes instead of looking at the naked girl lying at his feet.
a minute later (i'm referencing the youtube video, not how long it took college guy to finish) heather#1 is in the bathroom looking in the mirror. she fills a glass with some water, takes a sip, then spits the water out at her reflection.
again - as a kid i thought she was just mad at herself for sleeping with college guy. i didn't realize there was a very specific reason why she had the water and spat.

the funny thing is, although i didn't fully understand what was going on in these scenes, it didn't take away from my overall understanding and enjoyment of the film. in fact, i probably would have liked the movie less if they'd been more graphic with the sex.

it can work the same way with novels, especially young adult ones.
i don't believe sexual situations have to be graphic or explicit to get the idea across, or for the reader to "fully" get involved with the characters. it's entirely possible to hint at, allude to, and make innuendo and still convey what needs to be made known.
just like my experience with the movie heathers, creating a certain setting and letting the reader "fill in the gaps" can be just as effective.

at least that's what i'm hoping since i will never be the sort of author who gives a blow by blow *ahem* description of a coupling act.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

context and continuity

pet peeves.

we all have them. some of us have lots of them.
and you've probably already guessed i'm one of those with a long list.

some of my pet peeves are just harmless annoyances:
when people say "i could care less" instead of "i couldn't care less".
when drivers don't wave thank you when you let them pull out in front of you in bumper to bumper traffic.
when someone misses the trash can when throwing their garbage away, and they just leave it on the ground.

and some of my pet peeves push my buttons to the point of irrationality. like my book pet peeves:
i HATE it when someone borrows a book and breaks the spine.
i HATE it when someone tells me the ending of a book that i'm only just halfway through.
i HATE it when someone tries to converse with me when i am clearly reading.

and i have author pet peeves. and these pet peeves seem to haunt me years after i've read the novel, silly as it may sound.

for instance, about four years ago i read the chicklit novel time after time. as someone who is admittedly 80s obsessed, i was looking forward to reading this book since it had some fun 80s flashback references.
but the book opened with a conversation in italics, between two girls, discussing a boy and his betrayal.
when the font goes back to normal, we see the book is actually written in first person, and that the main character is at her reunion. now, she was NOT one of the girls having the preceding conversation, nor was she the subject of it. in fact, the two girls never reappear in the book and their conversation is never referenced.
that is the sort of thing that REALLY annoys me.
i can only guess the author was trying to "set the mood" but the only mood that came over me was a foul one. we've all heard the importance of the opening page, and this one just seemed to be one huge non-sequitur.

i also hate when an author opens in a certain time period, and never goes back to it.
for the life of me i can't remember the name of the YA novel (i probably blocked it out) or who wrote it, only that the author wrote under a latino pseudonym because he didn't think anyone would buy a book about chicano culture written by a jewish male.
anyway, this novel opened with a drunk twenty-something man driving up a hill to look down at the valley below him. it was the valley where he grew up, and within the first five pages we are smack in a flashback and reading about the narrator as a teenager. the entire book is about his experience as a teen. at the conclusion of the story, the narrator (still as a teenager) lets the reader know he has a lot more adventures, but ends the book with this statement: "but that's another story for another time."
end of novel.

uh, WHAT!?!
you can't start a novel in the present day, tell the story in a flashback and never come back to the present!
well, i guess you can since that's what this author did, but it bugged me immensely. so much that i still get quite heated when i think about it.

it's true that as a writer you can write a story in any way, shape or form you want.
and as a reader i can be selective about which authors i will give my time to.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

book review - spanking shakespeare by jake wizner

my two cent(ence)s: fast paced, easy read that doesn't shy away from discussing bodily functions with great detail. very fun and unique voice, but lacking a clear plot.

i know spanking shakespeare has been under my "currently reading" label for weeks, but not because the book is a chore to get through. in fact, it is a really easy read, and keeps you coming back for more.

this novel is the record of a high school senior. he comes from a crazy family, he REALLY wants a girlfriend, he's a gifted writer, though tends to write about inappropriate subjects, and he is extremely self-conscious.
i'd say the best part about this book is the voice.
you know when you hear agents talking about "voice" and how it needs to be strong and unique?
well, this book certainly fits that bill! 
shakespeare's take on the world is unique and comical, and honestly i was laughing out loud during some parts.

but although i loved the voice, i felt the plot was really lacking. it felt more "stream of consciousness" as opposed to a flushed out novel. the story just kind of happens, which if the author did this intentionally to mirror how things just "seem to happen" to teenagers, well: kudos. but honestly it felt more like he had this funny character and wanted to showcase his thoughts and humor.

personally i could have done without some of the more graphic descriptions of bodily functions, but i'm sure teenage boys were cracking up during these parts. the "oh wow, i finally got a girlfriend" resolution at the end seemed a bit too convenient, but on a whole the book was pretty fun.

this was the author's debut novel, and i'm looking forward to reading his sophomore effort, castration celebration, to see if he can keep the awesome voice and add a bit more plot.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

how can i sleep with your voice in my head

i'm still grieving and sad, but i'm forcing myself to get back to my writing. wrote about two sentences yesterday.
hey, it's a start.

awhile back i eavesdropped on a discussion about words and how they can hurt. a woman was complaining to her male friend about his usage of the "C" word. his defense was that he had used it to put down a male, NOT a female, so she shouldn't be that offended. Her response was that the "C" word is vulgar slang for female genitalia, so it was doubly offensive since he seemed to think that would be a fitting insult for a man.

later i told mr. write what i'd overheard.
"it's funny because if someone calls me a 'bitch' or the C-word, it just rolls off my back. being called 'fat' would bother me much more."
to which he laughed.

for me, the words that hurt most are the ones that comment on who i am as a person, or the ones that insult my character. those are the ones i find most offensive.
once i worked for a smoothie company and my manager was a very hard-working girl who pretty much came from nothing. she told me that she wanted to take some computer courses because she felt she needed to know how to work a computer better.
"that's great!" i told her.
"and maybe, if i finish the computer classes, i can take some other classes and get my AA," she replied hopefully.
"absolutely," i agreed, "knowledge is never wasted. plus, once you get your AA you might decide to go on and get your bachelor's."

she talked about signing up for computer classes for the next couple days, but after a visit from our district manager, she changed her mind.
"you know, i've decided against those classes." she told me after i'd asked if she signed up for the next semester. "our district manager is right. i don't NEED those classes here since we don't use computers. so it would just be cutting into my free time. i'm fine here without them."

let me tell you, i was SO pissed!
to me it seemed our district manager was perfectly happy with her little worker bee the way she was and didn't want her to gain any knowledge that could better herself, or learn any new skills she could use in another career.
to me that was the real insult.

even the most innocuous words strung together can hurt.
and i'm hoping the four words i said to the careless woman in the grocery store parking lot are being played on a loop in her head.
i'm hoping she's having trouble sleeping at night because she can't rid herself of my voice.
i'm hoping my four little words creep into her consciousness and knock the wind out of her while she's trying to get on with her day.

what four words could wield such power, you might ask?
you're. a. bad. mom.

these are very powerful words and i only used them because this woman truly deserved them as does any woman who leaves a sleeping baby alone in a car so she can do her shopping undisturbed.
i'm sure she thought her task would only take ten minutes.
i'm sure she thought her baby would be fine.
i'm sure she thought no one would notice.

but someone did notice and someone had to speak up.
i hope my words hurt her. i hope they hurt her so much that she'll never even consider doing that to her baby again. and i'm hoping it's an insult that rocked her to her core.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

i know that i'll need this for the rest of my life

i haven't gotten any work done on my novel this week, but i have a really, really good reason.

i'm nursing a broken heart.


i had a really emotional night on sunday, and even though it's days later, i'm still reduced to tears when i think about it. i'm sure to many my reason will seem silly, juvenile even, but i can't help it. i have a hollow spot inside me, and i'm afraid it might never get filled.

you see, my favorite band of all time is breaking up for good. forever. never to tour or make music again and i'm gutted.
i first fell in love with them as a girl 25 years ago. i mean, look at them! who wouldn't?

clearly there's some damn good breeding in norway.

but my love didn't subside after their overplayed first hit disappeared from MTV. their second album i hold dear to my heart. it's their most passionate, in my opinion, and it really spoke to me. not just as a kid, but through junior high, high school, college and as an adult.
i bought all their albums through the years, including solo projects.

my love for them never waned, not even when they went on a seven year hiatus. and in 2000 they delivered an amazing album along with an amazing european tour. i even had tickets to see them play in brussels and paris, but at the last minute had to cancel my travel plans.

they have since released three more albums, and have toured all over europe. i always hoped i'd get to see them here in the states, and last sunday my wish was granted.
but at a cost.

i can tell you i had the best time at the concert. i danced and sang during the entire show, doing my part to honor the band that gave me so much. when they played songs off their second album, well i was very affected. it brought me right back to those nights i'd lay on my bedroom floor with my head touching my speaker so the music could flow directly through me. and when they closed out the show with their biggest hit, well.....
i stood there. and cried. i tried to savor every note, every last second of their performance.

photo by Catherine 

i had no idea i'd feel like a part of me was torn out when they walked off the stage. i always knew their music had a special place in my heart, and that i used their songs as a way to cope through many rough times in my life. but intellectually knowing something and emotionally feeling it are two separate things.

luckily mr. write is very understanding and allowing me to grieve. and really, that's what i'm doing.
it's one thing when your favorite band goes on a break. another when they announce they will no longer record or tour as a group.
the soundtrack to my life is made up of a-ha songs, and it hurts to know they will never contribute to it ever again.

it's all so heartbreaking. and final.

i know this is something i'll get over and it's not the end of the world, but for right now i'm willing to be consumed by my sadness. so, i've been spending my spare time watching uploaded clips of their final american concert (the one i attended) and trying to keep from having a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

it's all subjective

i was a senior in high school the first time i saw this piece by boccioni.
to me it was the representation of tenacity - the total unwillingness to be anchored down. it was the human spirit thrusting forth, no matter the obstacles.
my teacher, however, curtly informed me that i was wrong. that it was a representation of how traditional thought keeps us from moving forward and the artist's struggle with a society tied to the past.

in my opinion you are never "wrong" when it comes to your personal impression. no matter what the teachers, experts, or even the artists say, whatever message you take from an artwork is completely valid.
because it's all subjective, isn't it?

i think about boccioni's sculpture a lot because it's symbolism applies to my everyday life.
whether i'm running to get back into shape, or working on my novel, i often have to dig a little to find the endurance needed to complete that mile or chapter.

now, i could look at it the way my art history teacher did.

i could struggle with every word i type, hoping to string enough of them together to make a coherent sentence. i could check my word count every minute hoping to see progress, but realize i'm basically at a stand still.
when running i could focus on how heavy my legs are, as if i have lead weights around my ankles. how every step depletes my energy reserves and soon i'll be running on fumes.

but i don't view it her way, just as i didn't in high school.

sure, i might find myself struggling to finish a chapter, but every page that gets written is a page closer to completing my first draft. and if it takes me two days to write two hundred words, so be it. but those two hundred words are two hundred more than i had previously.
and every mile i put in, no matter how sluggish i may feel, is another mile of strength training. and every day i can measure the proof in my improved stamina and determination.

personally, i prefer my method of thinking to hers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

do i or don't i?

it can change everything, can't it?

one of the big arguments (or area of differing opinion) in YA is whether cursing is necessary when writing for a young adult audience.
there seems to be two main camps on this issue: those who believe bad words have no place, at any time, in YA fiction, and those who believe it adds realism to the story.

well, let me tell you my wip has A LOT of cursing.
not like in a quentin tarantino "i'm gonna strive to make every other word the F word" way, but in a normal teenage angst sort of way.
but not only are there bad words, there's smoking (from a certain faction of characters), references to sex, and some marijuana use.

when i look at it on paper it looks like my book is very gritty and dark.
and yes, parts of it are, but as a whole it is not intended that way.
as i've been writing the book i've felt the cursing, drug use and sex references were necessary because it's what the characters are doing. yes, i was the one who created them, but i think most writers find their characters flesh themselves out. they are the ones who tell you how they should be depicted. so when my character reached for a cigarette, i wrote that in. when i write his diatribe filled with swear words, it's because he actually said those things.

and honestly, i felt "hey, these are the kinds of things kids are doing nowadays anyway. it's YA fiction, not middle grade." BUT i have to say i'm starting to have some concerns. and my concerns didn't appear because someone made a good argument for no cussing in a blog, or that i happened to read an awesome YA novel that was PG. nope, my concerns are named max and connor.

i have known max and connor most their lives. they just turned fifteen this year and are great kids. they are both extremely athletic, and get good grades in school.
when i was thinking of rounding up beta readers later in the year to give me feedback on my manuscript, i though max and connor would be ideal since they are part of my target audience, and they could tell me if my male main character was real enough.

but then i got nervous. what if max and connor saw the language, sex and drug use and thought since i wrote about these things, i must condone them? what if reading about the situations made them curious to try them? all of a sudden i was doubting whether what i'd included in my book was absolutely necessary.
and then i wondered why i never had any cause for concern when i though of anonymous fifteen year-olds reading my work. why did it not cross my mind that they might think i was condoning the behaviour i was depicting. or that they might be influenced by what i had written.

well, after some reflection i've decided to keep writing in the manner i started.
i'm not saying it's set in stone, but since i'm halfway through the first draft i think it would be a mistake to go back and tweak things. so i will forge ahead, finish the manuscript and then give it to my beta readers.
if the consensus is i have too many gratuitous bad words, etc., then i will look at possibly changing parts of the novel.

but of course, that is waaaaaay in the future.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

a crime of fashion

besides working as a barista, i was also an assistant to a fashion photographer.
it was an extremely fun, high-pressure, and intense learning environment. i met some wonderful mentors, artists, and just plain great people at this job, but i also met my fair share of kooks.
there was one woman, a former model from brazil, who was very pleasant, until she found out i was a writer and became very clingy.

mi's mistake #1 - upon our first meeting i offered to read her manuscript and tell her what i thought.

mi's mistake #2 - instead of corresponding through email, i gave her my phone number. which she used. often.

mi's mistake #3 - within first three pages i could tell the manuscript was a train wreck, but instead of telling her it was not for me, i forced myself to read all 768 pages.

i think we've heard the old adage so many times: write what you know, but sometimes what you know isn't worth putting to paper, feel me?

this ex-model's manuscript was about the fashion industry.
ok, at first glance that's fine, right?
the book started out with a former model receiving a phone call from her ex-agent, in fact - the opening paragraphs weren't that bad. but this ex-model character (the first character the reader is introduced to) did not reappear until after page 300.
her ex-agent was only mentioned a couple times later in the book, and the subject of their phone conversation was never revisited.

the book was supposed to be about a high-powered fashion family and their exploits. apparently the reader was supposed to glean from the descriptions that the writer was referencing all the great designers, like lagerfeld, galliano, and donetella versace.
well, all that flew over my head, but maybe someone else could have sifted through the endless pages and description to come to that conclusion.
the most memorable character in her novel was one of the adult children in the high powered fashion family.
i take that back - he wasn't that memorable but his parrots were.
the author took great pains to tell the reader about this character's twelve parrots. she spent over a page on each parrot, giving physical descriptions and personality traits, as well as the best events and designer outfits suited for each parrot.

BUT this wasn't even the worst part of the novel.
the worst part, in my opinion, was that her manuscript was full of misspelled words, incorrect subject/verb agreements, and had no contractions. at all.
everything was "i am, can not, there is". let me tell you, 700+ pages of no contractions will make your brain hurt.

so, when it came to giving her my opinion i tried to be honest.
i told her that it needed to be edited. heavily.
it needed a fluent english speaker to proof read it (she asked if i could edit/proofread. i think you can deduce my answer).
it needed to have a different opening because it was very misleading to the reader.

she listened to me, told me that i just didn't "get" her book because i didn't know much about the fashion industry, and that she really needed some money so she was just going to self-publish it as is so she could sell copies to her friends.

it was at that point i wished her good luck and left our coffee meeting.
and decided i'd never again offer to read the manuscript of someone i'd just met.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

julie & julia & mi

i recently watched the film Julie & Julia.
for those of you who haven't seen the movie, it's the true story of a woman, julie powell, who begins a blog documenting her year-long journey to cook every recipe in julia child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. the film cuts back and forth between julie's blogging adventure, and the story of how julia child became a great chef and the author of one of the most popular cook books in history.

i really enjoyed the film, and as a blogger i found a sort of kinship with julie powell.
i remember so well getting that very first unsolicited comment on my blog. i remember how validating it felt to have more than a handful of people regularly reading my posts. i felt honored when people linked my blog on theirs, and downright giddy when i had on average a hundred page hits a day.

when i started my former blog, i had no expectations at all. it was just a way to blow off steam so i wouldn't blow up at customers. it was also an exercise in writing - a way to help fine tune my craft.
it wasn't a way to make money or gain notoriety. in fact, since i was writing anonymously, i wasn't really looking to make any waves in the blogosphere.

but then a crazy thing happened.
in the matter of one day my readership increased 400%.
i discovered an online article had mentioned and linked my blog. i now had readers from all over the globe. more and more online journals and columns began mentioning and linking me and i began to fear i'd be outed and fired from my job (which thankfully never happened, although someone in starbucks corporate was a regular reader of the blog).

during this time i was querying agents, hoping to land representation for my novels.
i mentioned my blog in my query letters, and received quite a bit of interest in it, but not in my young adult novels. i had a few agents suggest i write a proposal for a non-fiction book about my blog, and at one point i even sat down at the computer and tried to write one. but i couldn't.
i didn't want to.

now mr. write, to this day, thinks i blew a golden opportunity. although very supportive of my writing, he doesn't quite understand why i do it.
it's not for money, nor is it for notoriety.
it's for the sheer love of it.
of course, it would be a DREAM COME TRUE if i could one day be published and get paid for doing what i love. but even if i never land an agent, i will still write.

as crazy as it may sound, i did not want to be known as a blogger-author. i didn't want my first published work to be a regurgitation of a blog i did purely for enjoyment. i didn't want my passion for writing fiction to fall by the wayside because there were agents who wanted to jump in on a trend.

so, it's funny.
even though i felt that kinship to julie powell, i actually related better to julia child.
it was julia who was driven by her passion. it was her passion that led her to perfect recipes. and those recipes became part of a seminal work.
it's her journey i'd prefer to emulate, truth be told.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

not blocked - bored!

for the last four days (well, nights really, since the KidLit won't let me write during the day) i have been stuck on the same chapter. it's not uncommon for me to spend close to a week working on a chapter, but usually i've got momentum, pushing the plot forward.
this time i've written about  six pages and all i feel is *blah*.
i thought maybe my order of events was too linear, so i mixed things up a bit.

yeah - that didn't help.
so now i'm thinking of changing the order again. but i'm afraid i'll end up with the same result. oi.

the issue with this chapter is the exposition.
it's ALL exposition. too much "tell" and not enough "show".
the individual elements are necessary, and do indeed push the plot forward, but the manner in which i've written the chapter is just dull, dull, dull.
i mean, you know there's a problem when the author is bored to tears by her own work. i've found myself skimming through paragraphs while i proofread. THAT is just WRONG. so tonight i'm using a trick i haven't used in a while. tonight i'm doing my cut/paste/erase method.

that is to say, i'm going to cut/paste the chapter in a different file, but i'm erasing it completely from my wip. this way i'm not actually "losing" the work i've already done, but it's also not taunting black-type sitting there in front of my eyes, keeping me from looking at the work from a different perspective.
this method has worked for me in novels past, and i'm hoping it will work again. it's pretty obvious that i need to let go of what i've already written so I can move on and have the manuscript flow again.

it's kind of like cutting the dead weight. it's leaving an anchor behind so i can sail on unencumbered.
it's what i'm hoping will work to get me back on track.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

tragedy and comedy

last night, in between writing chapters, i watched part of the 1944 film Laura.
it's the kind of old film i love, filled with cliched characters: the brooding masculine detective, the beautiful and somewhat mysterious female lead, her charismatic yet immature fiance, and the older man-of-the-world who not so secretly loves her.

gene tierney plays the title role, and she is quite beautiful and alluring. i didn't know much about her as an actress, so i did some googling. i skimmed over the basics, like where she was born and how she began her career. what did catch my eye, however, was that she contracted rubella while pregnant at her only appearance at the hollywood canteen. as a result her daughter was born prematurely - deaf, partially blind and severely mentally retarded. years later at a tennis party a woman approached gene tierney and confessed that although sick with rubella, she'd snuck out of quarantine against her doctor's orders just so she could meet her favorite actress at the hollywood canteen.
i can only imagine the flurry of emotions running through gene tierney at that moment. i'm sure a part of her wanted to kill that woman who claimed to be her fan. a part of her must have felt relief that her daughter's condition was not her fault. there must have been a part that mourned for the normal life her daughter almost had.

my heart broke for her when i thought of her in that moment, facing the woman who had unknowingly changed two lives forever.

agatha christie used this incident in her mystery The Mirror Crack'd, and i can't blame her for using this story because it's so dramatic it almost seems like something out of a greek tragedy. but i don't know if i'd ever have skin thick enough to weave someone's true pain into a work of fiction.

and for the bit of comedy: did any of you read about this? just goes to show that spellcheck alone isn't always enough. wonder where the copy editor was on this one.

Friday, April 16, 2010

write, read, revise!

i'm feeling good about my current novel.
no, i haven't miraculously found more time to spend writing it, but the fact i'm still enthusiastic and pushing forward is pleasing. also, i've been getting positive feedback from my two readers, which really makes me happy.
i've posted before about my different state of mind with this novel - that i'm not rushing full steam ahead, and am carefully listening to my readers' critiques. for my first draft, i've only two people reading my chapters as i write them. neither of them are authors, and only one is actually familiar with the young adult genre.

"so why the hell did you choose those two to give you feedback?" you might be asking.
well, i'll tell you:
my female reader is a voracious reader. she often reads two books at a time and can spot surprise endings a mile away. i picked her to critique my wip because she can clearly articulate what works plot wise for a reader. she knows which characters need more development and when the pacing needs to be picked up. i picked her because she is part of my target audience.
my male reader has never read a young adult novel except for twilight (and he read that only because of the vampires). i picked him to critique my work because he's a screenwriter and knows how to develop a storyline and characters. he can easily tell when there are plot holes, or when scenes are overwritten.

every writer knows how important it is to edit their work (well, at least every writer will learn how important it is). i'm not even done completing my first draft and i'm already thinking about the changes i'll be making when i do my revisions! but no matter how much you revise/edit your own work, you still need feedback from other people, especially if what you write is intended for an audience.
i'm really lucky to have two readers who are willing to read chapter by chapter and give me feedback. i'm lucky to have already been able to use their critiques to improve my novel, even though it is still a work in progress.
and i'm lucky that they are willing to read it all over again once i've finished my second draft.

but even though my two readers are fabulous, and have great insight, i still will search out other beta readers when i've finished my novel (and my first edit). and i will listen to everything they have to say about my manuscript, whether it's positive, negative or indifferent. and i will use what they say in the best way i know how to make my novel as strong as it can be.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

book review - the body finder by kimberly derting

my two cent(ence)s - great premise with a great prologue. loved how the main character finds the bodies, but not in love with the writing or how the plot develops.

the body finder has one of the most promising openings i've ever read. had i not already bought the book, i would definitely have slapped my money down on the counter for it after reading the prologue. there was a beauty to how the paragraphs formed, and a wonderful sense of suspense as we are introduced to the main character. i absolutely loved the opening pages, which is probably why i felt so let down by the rest of the book.

violet is a high school student who has the ability to find the bodies of dead animals if they've been hunted or killed by a predator. she senses the bodies through "echos" which she can either see, hear, smell or taste. unfortunately for violet, these echos persist until she can give these animals a "proper" burial, and only then will the echos fade. she is also able to detect these echos on the predatory animals, like her cat who loves to hunt mice and birds. the reader discovers that when an animal kills, it is imprinted with the echo of its victim.
when violet is just a child, she discovers the body of a murdered girl, which the reader knows will not be the last she discovers.

see? really good premise, right?

violet doesn't just sense echos - she senses the changes her lifelong best friend, jay, has gone through over the summer. now, for the first time, violet sees jay as more than just her partner in crime. she can't help but want more from him, though she is too scared to admit this to jay, or her other friends. now, to the reader it is GLARINGLY obvious jay wants to date violet, but still violet goes through her inner monologue of "does he? or doesn't he?" which for me got old quickly.
now, i'm sure there are a ton of readers out there who love to know all the details of every encounter. they want to know every time jay's hand brushes against violet's how her heart begins to beat faster, and how her temperature rises, or how she's positive her cheeks are flushed, yadda, yadda, yadda.
obviously, i am not one of those readers.

the "tension" between violet and jay felt so drawn out to me that i was skimming the pages to get to the "body finding" part of the story. and when the author did bring us back on track to where violet discovers a girl who'd been killed by a serial murderer, well, it still fell flat for me.

at page 40 i knew violet would find more than one victim of the killer, the killer would realize violet is responsible for his victims being unearthed, the killer would come after violet, and violet would realize it's the killer because of the imprint he carries on him. and i didn't mind that i knew this in advance (i think most people would be able to figure it out) because the premise was so good i was sure i would enjoy seeing how everything unfolded. but i didn't. though i do have to give the author credit for an interesting twist (which i won't reveal here).

i REALLY wanted this book to be good, but it didn't live up to the promise of the opening pages. in fact, i felt the book was about seventy pages too long (due to the redundancies of violet's inner monologues). obviously i am in the minority. it appears to be pretty popular, and clearly enough people believed in the author's writing ability since it did get published. i'm curious to see how kimberly derting's follow up book will be.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

distracted by prince charming

i haven't posted or worked much on my wip in the last week because of two reasons:
1. i'm fighting off a bug, and
2. i've been distracted by the first man i ever loved

it started with a dream - vivid although extremely short, which got me thinking non-stop about the first person ever to make my heart flutter.
and this past week i've been hooked. i've been looking at pictures and videos, remembering the different places i saw him, basically obsessing.

i've been driving everyone around me bonkers, including mr. write, with my non-stop talking, researching, watching the former object of my desire. i couldn't really understand how one small dream could trigger my journey into the past, but a close friend of mine brought up a really good point.
"you've been reading nothing but young adult books that take place in high school," she said. "and your current novel also takes place in a high school. it makes sense your brain is processing things like a teenager because you're trying to recreate that world in your book. so it's no surprise to me your obsessing over your first love."

and i totally concur with this. although i first had feelings for this man at age 4, it wasn't until high school that i REALLY went overboard for him. i even told my high school boyfriend that we were only dating temporarily, since i was convinced i would end up marrying the man i was gaga over.

so, i'm hoping that this (wonderful) trip down memory lane is coming to an end so i can get back to writing!

btw - here is the man who swept me off my tiny feet at age 4, who was on my mind non-stop while in high school, and who i will always, always love and admire:

yes, the dandy highwayman himself: adam ant.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

book review - grand & humble by brent hartinger

my two cent(ence)s - a very quick read with a good premise. the surprise ending was good, though i wasn't taken with the writing.

i had heard of brent hartinger before (because of his novel the geography club), but i've never been too interested in reading his work. when i came across grand & humble and read the paragraph synopsis, i knew i had to read it. there were just too many elements and devices in this novel that reminded me of the one i'm currently writing. so, i quickly downloaded it on my nook and read it.

the story is written in third person point of view alternating chapters. harlan is a senator's son - the popular kid with the seemingly perfect life. manny is a guy who lives below the radar - hanging out with his deaf best friend and doing lighting for the school productions. both attend the same high school and have extremely different experiences there. and both are haunted: manny by vivid dreams of dying and harlan by graphic premonitions of dying. both are trying to unravel the mystery of why they are tortured by these visions/dreams. in the end, each one finds out he's been adopted and finally learns his family history and how it relates to what haunts him.

what i like about the ending is that it was completely unexpected. basically the reader discovers that manny and harlan are the same person, the book showing how manny/harlan's life plays out if he were adopted by his aunt, or if he were raised by his birth father. it's kind of like the gwenyth paltrow movie sliding doors, but in reverse. and not done nearly as well.

after i read this book i had to read other reviews about it, because i really didn't connect with the writing at all. turns out, people LOVE this book. so i guess it really is a matter of taste, and this was not to my liking.
as i said, the premise was good and as i was reading i was really interested in how the story would unfold, but i felt myself rushing through the pages because i was not enamored with the style of writing.
now, i can be honest and say that PERHAPS i was more critical of his writing because of the similarities to my wip, but i really don't think so. especially since it became very clear, very early the similarities are too general to even compare.
bottom line - don't listen to me on this one since i seem to be in the minority when it comes to opinions on it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

superstition or stupidity?

i know i've mentioned my work in progress often, but without actually revealing anything about the subject or plot. i've done this intentionally. and it all comes down to superstition.

now, i'm not a superstitious person by nature. i don't avoid stepping on cracks, i never toss salt over my shoulder and i've walked under more than one ladder in my lifetime. but even so, i admit to being superstitious when it comes to my novels, but not for the reasons you might think.

i know many writers (especially unpublished authors) try to keep the details of their novels a secret out of fear of someone taking their idea and selling it before they have a chance. although i understand this on an emotional level (i know i'd be gutted if i found "my novel" on a bookshelf, written by a different author), intellectually i know this is highly improbable. honestly, it's easy to find a book that resembles the plot of another. we see it happen on tv, in films - everywhere. in fact, the novel i'm currently reading has many similarities to my wip (which i will discuss in my next book review).
but this isn't the reason i hold back when i talk about my wip.

no, the reason i'm superstitious is because i'm afraid if i talk about my novel, i won't write it.
yup, i am afraid if i discuss my plot, the setting or the characters in detail, i will get bogged down in the discussion and it will take my focus off completing the manuscript.
i've already told you how i have limited writing time, so i can't let myself get off track (as tempting as it is to hear what other people think of my ideas).

there will come a time when i will post my query on this blog and ask for advice. i will request beta readers to give me a critique on my finished novel.
but not yet.
i have still so many more chapters to write.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

book review - cracked up to be by courtney summers

my two cent(ence)s - well-paced, and well written novel with really great dialogue. enjoyed it immensely until the big "reveal", which left me feeling a bit disappointed after the anticipatory build-up.

i have to begin by saying courtney summers is a really great writer. i think her dialogue is amazing, so realistic, and very witty and smart. and she is super talented at creating characters that seem very real, and not at all like stereotypes. in fact, each of her characters were such unique individuals, just by their voices and dialogue - nothing seemed forced at all with them.

the novel is about a girl, parker, who was once the most popular girl in her private high school. she was the perfection personified and the envy of the entire female student body. for reasons unrevealed to the reader, she has removed herself from the popular crowd to the point of being anti-social. she is rude, disheveled, and in danger of not graduating.
parker is forced to meet with the student counselor regularly and is under the watchful eye of the principal. she's disruptive, having shown up to class drunk before, and is detached from everything she used to care about.

the author uses a device (quite similar to one i'm currently using in my novel) to reveal small bits of information that show us why parker has become the person she is now. the backstory begins to unfold and we see a glimpse of the parker everyone wants so desperately to come back. we learn that parker had a best friend, jessica, who has been missing for quite some time and the reader is lead to believe there might be a connection between this missing girl and parker's newfound personality.
there is a relationship that develops shakily between parker and a transfer student, jake - which is quite realistic for all its starts and stalls. although parker doesn't want to connect with jake, she can't help being drawn in by him.
when jessica's body is recovered, parker begins another downward spiral, but is unwillingly saved by her former friends. we learn jessica went missing the night parker found evan (jessica's boyfriend) and another girl making out at a party. being drunk, parker lashed out at her best friend (who was trying to actually help parker by letting her know it was ok not to be perfect and anal retentive all the time) and revealed this bit of info, causing jessica and evan to fight. parker is in and out of consciousness for the rest of the party, remembering jessica dancing with an unfamiliar guy, fighting again with evan, and then heading into the woods.
this is the part that disappointed me: the reader learns that parker, still in a drunken stupor, wants to fix the relationship between jessica and evan. she goes into the woods to keep jessica from making the mistake of hooking up with the unfamiliar college guy. she fears she is too late when she sees them having sex, but soon realizes jessica is actually being raped. she heads back to the house, presumably to tell someone jessica needs help, but she allows herself to be guided back to the party and she keeps silent about the rape. she never even tells anyone she saw jessica after she disappeared into the woods. even when jessica is missing, parker never revealed anything about that night.

it just doesn't make any sense to me at all that someone who wanted to fix the relationship between her best friend and best friend's boyfriend, wouldn't say a word when she's being raped. she didn't even scream at the guy to stop. everything else about parker's character adds up for me except this.
still, i would recommend this novel because it is so well written.