Friday, November 28, 2014

Weekly Muse #13: Things That Inspire Me

Alex Steele here for your Weekly Muse! So, this week I thought I'd do something a little bit different. I'm going to list out a few things that have inspired me to write my newest book (my NaNo novel: This World In Gray). Now this is different because it's not just going to be songs and pictures, it's going to include things like feelings and colors... It might be a bit weird, but I'm really excited to share it with you all!

not that weird...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our Journey So Far #11: NaNoWriMo

Alex Steele here to update you on some of my projects! This week I'm mainly going to be talking about my NaNoWriMo project!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Advice For Writers #12: Get Out Of That Comfort Zone!

Alex Steele here to discuss one of the biggest, most important, pieces of advice I have ever given. That's to get out of your comfort zone. This is the thing that has helped me to grow most as a writer. I'm sure you hear it all the time when it comes to your reading habits(at least I have), or your socializing habits, but it goes for writing too!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Muse #12: Romantic Songs

Hey guys! Penelope Grace, here. And don't you love romantic songs? After writing The Black Queen (which may or may not be romantic), I'm suddenly in the search of romantic songs. I hear them on the radio, read about them in newspapers, and listen to my friends babble on about this new song from Taylor Swift. I do have to agree that Sean O'Pry looks hot in her music video, "Blank Space." 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Journey So Far #10: A Few Queries

Oh... Wow. Last week, I  posted about all the queries I sent to literary agencies. Well, not all of them. I sent a few more after that crazy Halloween spree. (For The Lost Princess)

But this is what happened so far.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Advice For Writers #11: The More You Write, The MORE You Write

Alex Steele here with your weekly dose of writing advice, which will hopefully help you with your writing or at the very least entertain you while you read this post!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly Muse #11: Sad Songs

Alex Steele here this week to bring you more inspiration! So last week Grace shared some epic couples whose love she finds inspiring. This week I'm doing something similar.

I am someone who always has music playing in the background of whatever it is I'm doing, whether it be reading, writing, baking, the dreaded exercising. So, of course I like to "set the mood" when writing. Meaning I almost always make a playlist for the theme of whatever book I am writing. If it's an epic fast paced fantasy it tends to be a lot of rock and some of the fantasy style songs I mentioned in my last muse post. If I'm writing a cutesy contemporary it's lots of Taylor Swift and Mayday Parade. My NaNoWriMo novel is more... sad. Its overall tone is sad yet hopeful. So, of course, one of the first things I did when I started preparing for NaNo was to make a playlist! Now I'm going to share with you some of my favorite sad songs that inspire this story I am writing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Journey So Far #9: What I'm Doing

On October 31, I sent out five queries. It is so scary, especially for the first one. I was like... "Oh, my goodness. Should I crack a joke? Or maybe I should add in some details! Maybe the agent won't like it. Oh, crap... It is time to send!" 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beautiful Books #2: NaNoWriMo Novels

One again this is a Meme hosted by Cait @ Notebook Sisters and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Basically we're talking about our NaNoWriMo novels again this month, if you want to find out more about all this pop on over to their blogs!

Alex Steele's Novel:

1. Be honest: how is your writing going? Pretty good! I'm ahead of schedule and my book is turning out pretty much just how I wanted it to! I'm enjoying taking my time on it, and I love writing it.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
  Some days are destined to be full of sunshine: weddings, birthdays, carnivals. Some days are destined to be full of snow and that warm glow of a fire. Then there’s the other days, the days that should be full of rain clouds, not a ray of sun in sight. Days that should be filled with mournful howling, and weeping trees, collapsing under the weight of the world.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book? I did make a cover...but it's kind of lame...

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.) No pictures, I will do my best to describe them!

Lacey: With a heart shaped face, wide eyes, and sharp features(sharp chin, high cheek bones, small yet pointed nose), Lacey looks like some kind of pixie. Hair cut short and choppy into a pixie cut and dyed a deep royal blue that has faded at the ends, she's about 5'3, on the short side.

Grace: See above^. "The differences were small, Grace and I were always switching places, you had to be trained to tell the difference. Of course, the illusion was broken the moment one of us would talk. 
Grace had a dimple in her right cheek, I had one in my left, like we were each given half of the same smile. Grace would smile with her mouth open, teeth on display, while I was always the closed lips kind of smiler."
The main difference is that once they cut their long blond hair, Grace's hair was short(like Laceys') and pink.

Oz - Skeleton like in how tall and skinny he is, looks like the goof ball he is. Dark skin the color of dark roasted coffee beans. Narrow dark blue eyes, a narrow and round face, and a bald head. He often wears cargo shorts and tshirts, plain colors, the kinds with the little pocket that no one EVER uses.

Mason - Tall(though shorter than Oz), with wide shoulders and slight, well defined, muscles. He has messy blond hair that's just a touch too long as if he's trying to grow it out, or simply forgot to get it cut. Wide eyes that could either be blue with green specks, or green with blue specks. His eyes are wide, with matching lips, you tend to forget to take in the rest of his face. Slender neck and matching face, with a nose just slightly too big, and a sharp chin.

Okay, done. Oddly enough I think that's the most I've described Mason so far...which is why it kind of sucks!

5. What scene are you most excited to write? It's a scene later in the book (somewhere in the last third or so of the book) and it's the introduction of two of my favorite characters: Erin and Darla. I'm very excited for it!

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
 These were the moments that Grace came alive. That she stopped thinking, stopped caring, about the fact that she was wedged in on all sides, surrounded by strangers and would no doubt go home with a little of all of their sweat on her. She just existed. She was as loud as anyone, screaming and jumping around the two feet of space she had and I couldn’t help but be drawn in with her. Those were the moments that I understood Grace’s love for music, because nothing else, not books, not movies, not the biggest beer fest in the world, could bring people together like this. Everyone in that room with us was united and alone, all that mattered to them was the music and that united them even though they more than likely would never be able to recall the face of the person next to them.
  Grace had always said that music is life, without life there’s no music, and without music life becomes dull, pointless. Sometimes it seems as if Grace was my life. And I know that’s dramatic, and maybe a little creepy, but when you go through your whole life as part of a duo, one half of a whole, never straying away from someone who was your best friend, your other half. That’s the way the world looked when they were gone; dull, pointless, gray.

-This is from a flashback chapter that I wrote yesterday, it's about the first concert they went to by themselves.

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined? The two main things that have turned out a bit differently are actually two of my characters. Besides that, not much has changed from my original outline and plot...yet.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write? There's an aspect and a character both. My story mostly consists of inner monologue and my character being alone (it's supposed to), so anytime she's around other characters it's a little difficult to balance her still being depressed and anti-social, with her reluctantly making friends and almost having fun. 

Mason,the love interest, is probably the hardest character to write.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character? I really love how...simple this book is. It's not some complicated plot or anything, I love all the metaphors and how my character, Lacey, views the world.

Hmm. Overall my favorite character so far is Oz, I just love him. But Lacey and Grace are my favorite characters to write.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters? Umm. Well the character of my main character (Lacey)'s grandmother is highly influenced by my own grandmother. 

The main theme of this story is grief and death so I've definitely drawn on my own experiences with those things. Also, it's Lacey's sister who has died, and they were super close, and I am super close to my siblings, so I draw on that stuff and how I would feel if something happened to one of my brothers.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters? Yes. An enormous 147 song playlist! I'll just share one song for each of my most important characters!

Lacey - Memories by Panic! At The Disco
Grace - I Don't Care by Fall Out Boy - because it's her favorite band!
Mason - Stars and Boulevards by Augustana
Oz - The Downfall Of Us by A Day To Remember
Darla - Angel With A Shotgun by The Cab
Erin - Song For Someone by U2
Dakota - How You Get The Girl by Taylor Swift

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with? Oz. He sort of becomes Lacey's best friend and I love him. He's basically a male version of me, in his most basic characteristics.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount?(Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?) Well, I don't really reward myself daily except with sleep. For the month as a whole though, my brother is holding my Fall Out Boy concert tickets hostage and I don't get them until I win NaNo.

14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?
So, it's kind of weird, but it's this one:
“Writing stories is a kind of magic, too.”
― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

Who doesn't want to have magic? And I guess for me writing has always been about the magic, so I just love this quote.

15.How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
Oh jeez, I don't know. I'm not really laughing, definitely not. I'm happy and excited still? I think. Yeah, this book, even though it's sad, still makes me feel happy and excited to write.

Penelope Grace's Novel:

1. Be honest: how is your writing going? Honestly? It is done. Finished. 75K and finished. First draft. I'm thinking about working on a second novel, but I don't feel the spark... No spark like the first... I definitely am not going to write the second book. I'm probably going to wait until I find my inspiration again.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
'“Checkmate,” says Gloria, moving her black rook against my white king. She smirks at me while Grandmother Four watches on.' -The Black Queen, first paragraph

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book? Nope. Sorry, but I don't have any pictures that inspire me. For either book. 

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.) Well, no. But I can tell you that Ashlina (narrator) is Chinese and pretty short. Eric (main character) is much taller than her and is French. Simon... Well. That guy is a douche.

5. What scene are you most excited to write? Oh... There are so many. If I tell you which scene I'm most excited to write, I'm going to be giving so much of my plot away.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing. No! Sorry. I can't give away my plot! Let me tell you that there is a lot of hint, hint, nudge, nudge kind of thing.

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined? Subplots, definitely. Main plot... Um... Not so much. 

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write? Oh, yes. There are two of them actually (not going to tell you their names). But they are those Russian dolls. You pull off a mask, and there is another within. Countless number of character layers. So many. And it is hard to write their POVs, because they are complicated and they are guarded. They don't want the world to see who they really are. 

Sorry, I probably gave too much away.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character? Definitely the hints. As I said before, I'm pretty much pooping them everywhere. Thanks, Alex, for taking that to Twitter. 

As for characters, I'm definitely a fan of Liesel, the Black Queen.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters? Of course! But I'm tight-lipped on this. 

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters? Mostly the Billboard. Some old songs from the old days like Billy Joel's "Vienna." 

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with? Ha! That one is a easy one. Definitely Eric, because he is... Oh. Darn. Giving that away is a minor spoiler. 

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?) NaNoWriMo itself. I had been thinking about The Black Queen for a long time. Like two years ago, and it has already remain in my mind. Seeing it come alive... Well, that is a beautiful experience.

14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice? Gosh. I think my favorite says something like "Write on!" That kind of thing. I'm not one for looking up quotes and finding advice, though I do like giving people a piece of my mind. 

15.How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated? Laughing for sure! After writing a long scene with a bunch of hint, hint, I can't help but giggle for the rest of the day.

How's your NaNo going? Don't forget to leave us links to your posts in the comments!

Happy NaNo-ing!

-Grace & Steele

Monday, November 10, 2014

Advice For Writers #10: How To Win NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo. National November Writing Month. The craziest acronym I have ever seen. With the exception of Misha Collins' scavenger hunt's acronym. Remember that one? GISHWHES. "The ugliest acronym the world has ever seen" as stated by Misha Collins somewhere. I agree. 

Wholeheartedly, of course.

But how do you win NaNoWriMo? I think it is safe to say that everyone wants to write a novel by the end of the month. Or at least a novella. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly Muse #10: Lovey Dovey Couples

Don't we all love those lovebirds? Eh... Not always, but you are sometimes moved by the very power of their love and their... Ahh... I'm getting into it now. Okay, I'll start listing, alright?

In no particular order, here goes the five fictional couples... With the most powerful and amazing love. Yes, with amazing love stories.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Journey So Far #8: Looking Back On Last November (NaNoWriMo)

Alex Steele here today. Have you missed me? So! With NaNoWriMo preparations, and that feeling of Fall in the air, not to mention the lovely scent of all things pumpkin spice flavored, I've been thinking about last November. Last November was my first NaNoWriMo (which is where thousands of people try to write a 50,000 word novel in 1 month!), and it was kind of a disaster. I won. I wrote my 50,000 words and finished most of that book, but it was bad. Then I got thinking, how have things changed since then? How have I grown as a writer and a person?

Last year was a big year for me. Over that summer I wrote my first book, and I got really serious about writing, but this year has been just as important, if not more so. I feel like I've learned a lot more about writing and about the kind of writer I am, what I can and cannot pull off. I've really started to grow into my own, I feel. Which got me thinking; how different is this NaNoWriMo going to be from last years? The answer: I think it's going to be vastly different.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Advice For Writers #9: How To Properly Procrastinate

Everyone knows that procrastinating is a big part of being a writer, it can get your writing juices flowing and help you focus (kinda?). Either way, it's very important to know the proper way to procrastinate (though really there's no wrong way to do it). Therefore, Grace and I are partnering up for todays Advice For Writers post to bring you the top 6 ways to procrastinate!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Second Anniversary By Months: The Fact Sheet

Hey guys. It is Penelope with Alex here. Joint post again! Sort of. This time, it is going to be a grand total of thirty facts about both of us. Fifteen facts each, of course. And this will be awesome, though unfortunately, we are referring ourselves in third person. Like Dobby from Harry Potter

Penelope Grace: 

  1. She loves watching tv shows like Castle, Arrow, White Collar, Bones, and Supernatural.
  2. If she couldn't become a writer (which is totally not possible, because she believes it to be impossible), she would probably become an engineer or an accountant. 
  3. Penelope considers herself excellent at math (anything from basic math to Trigonometry). 
  4. She was about to become a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, but never took the test to become one. Don't you dare ask her about the latest tax laws. She isn't the news reports or Congress itself. And most definitely not IRS.
  5. She has a passion for pop music (anything from the eighties to present) with a few exceptions, which include rap songs, hate songs, and just plain weird songs that doesn't make sense. Like "What does the fox say?" by Yvis. 
  6. She is definitely crazier than Alex, but that is obvious. So we'll add that she is eccentric. 
  7. She is an overachiever. 
  8. Penelope has a liking towards inside jokes. But she is most definitely not Batman and neither is Alex. No one but Bruce Wayne can be Batman. Not even Richard Grayson. Terry Mcginnis is an exception to that rule. He is Batman Beyond.
  9. She has no clue what her future will be like. But if she has to predict, she will say that she hopes to be an awesome author by the next ten years. 
  10. Penelope has a very large bookshelf, not including the books on her Kindle. Most of them are stored in boxes while the most beloved ones are right at her fingertips. She reads a lot.
  11. Cinder, Harry Potter, Ink, Percy Jackson, and more are among her most favorite books. (Written by Marissa Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Amanda Sun, and Rick Riordan respectfully). 
  12. 2014 NaNoWriMo will be her second year at a NaNoWriMo. It is also her first year anniversary of writing. Well, typing and writing on a computer. Technically, she has been writing ever since she was twelve.
  13. Her NaNoWriMo name is Phyre Song. Go ahead and add her as your buddy. She will most likely add you back, if she isn't busy with her next book. While you are at it, you can add Alex Steele (whose name is Nobody53). 
  14. She has a very picky taste. 
  15. Her favorite ice cream is strawberry. And she never had coffee before. She is more of a tea person. 
Alex Steele:

  1. Alex Steele doesn't think she's Batman (though she too loves inside jokes), however she believes Dick Grayson aka Nightwing) is better than Batman.
  2. She has a soft spot for romantic comedy's and YA contemporary.
  3. She has a love/hate relationship with commas.
  4. She has a very wide and varied taste in music, loving everything from Katy Perry to Lady Antebellum to Linkin Park to Metallica.
  5. Alex Steele's caffeine intake has increased by at least 70% since she started seriously writing.
  6. Her favorite books include the Percy Jackson series, the Seven Realms series, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.
  7. Alex is obsessed with books and reading.
  8. She is also obsessed with old Disney Channel movies (like Halloweentown, Now You See It and Zenon).
  9. Alex Steele is an uber nerd who loves Star Wars (Han shot first!), The Big Bang Theory and Batman.
  10. She's been to San Diego Comic-Con twice (best moments of her life).
  11. If she couldn't become a writer (impossible), she would want be either a baker or a vet.
  12. 2014 NaNoWriMo will also be Alex Steele's second NaNoWriMo!
  13. She keeps all her documents (book related) on a flash drive that she wears on a chain around her neck (she's the crazy one!).
  14. She burnt down the cabin during Camp NaNoWriMo (though she retains that she was influenced by Penelope!).
  15. She has two tattoos! A golden snitch from Harry Potter on her right wrist, and a Mockingjay from Hunger Games on her right upper arm. (She hopes to get more before the end of the year!)
This is technically Alex's idea, and I think it is a great one. Fact Sheet! Love it. Find anything interesting about us? Probably about me. Don't ask me about the latest tax laws. Ask (or email or Twitter) me about the next writing subject you want me to cover. Beware that Alex and I might have already covered it. Anything else to add, Alex?

Don't ask about the burning of the cabin. Do ask about us about our next secret project! And tell us if you're interested in more posts like this!

-Steele & Grace

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrating The First Day Of NaNoWriMo!

Alex Steele here, I thought I would help inspire everyone for the first day of NaNoWriMo with a post of gifs! The following gifs represent all our feels about the first day of NaNoWriMo!

Tell us! Are you feeling good about NaNo so far? Are you excited??? How's your first day going!?!

Write on, write on.

-Alex Steele