Sunday, January 30, 2011


As my favorite TV personality, Tim Gunn, often says “Make it work.” It’s become a sort of mantra for me as a writer. Obviously as any aspiring author I think I have something to give to the world. I think to want to be a writer there is a certain amount of self-love that must be involved before you can jump from just writing for yourself and deciding “The world has to read my thoughts! I’m amazing!” (Like wise with Blogging too I feel.) But even the best writers have thing they struggle with, things that they turn to their support group for. And that’s what I want to know, what are your flaws? When do you have your “Make it Work” moment?

I’ll make it easy, I’ll go first.

I know right? An aspiring author who counts spelling and grammar among her biggest flaws? Why not just give up now? Well let me tell you it’s something I struggle with every day, and for a long time kept me from even wanting to attempt sharing my story with the world. This is one thing I can point to and know with out of doubt in my mind that bad schooling led to this. I don’t know what it was but I could never spell. Each week we had a new list of words we had to learn and at the end of the week we had a spelling test, and I would write out the words (what felt like) hundreds of times, be quizzed by my parents, nothing helped. And I remember ever so clearly my teacher passing back yet another test I did poorly on and patting me on the shoulder as I held back tears (failing never suited me well) and telling me “Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world, now they have computer that fix that sort of thing for you.” And went on her merry way. But in my 8-9 year old mind it was like a cloud had been lifted, there where blue sky’s ahead! I never had a thought to work at it ever again, and somehow the teachers in my life just let it slide and it wasn’t until late in high school when I figured out how much I was held back by my self-made handicap.

But I think knowing the problem is half the battle. I know that when I finish my WIP that I will have to have some very patient friends comb over it and help me out before I send off my quarry letters.

Now I can speak at length in real life, I can hold hours of conversation without blinking an eye. Why is it so hard for me to make my characters talk to each other? Hell even their inner monologues are fine, but their outer ones? They always feel flat to me. Cheesy.  Very much:
“I like cheese.”
“Cheese is good.”
“Swiss is my favorite.”
I mean what the hell? My characters can think coherent thoughts but the moment the words need to come out of their mouths? Nothing.  It is super frustrating.  But luckily I have my writer’s night girls who help me through the major kinks.

I have a few other minor ones (like fight scenes, how in the hell am I supposed to make my MC move naturally? Why can't I just have her punch everyone in the face and light everyone on fire and win? If I got punched in the face and lit on fire I would just give up.) but those are the big two. The two that I truly have to put my nose to the grind stone and not matter what just “make it work.” Because if I want to be published then I have no other choice.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simply Hot Mugshot Blogfest

I’ve never done a blog-fest before, so I hope I do this right *crosses fingers*. I want to become a part of a community here on blogger and this seems like a good way to get around and meet people. A friend of mine did this one, and like her coffee is my life force so it seemed like a good way to dive into the world.

I love coffee, tea, hot cocoa, really as long as it is steaming and in a glass I will drink it… that sounded a little like a challenge. Lets just make sure nothing gross makes its way into my mug.  Now I own over 30 mugs (yes I know I have a problem, let me direct you to my last post to see a real problem) so narrowing it down to one mug is near impossible!

Do I pick the mug that fits the best in my hand? May favorite coffee mug that always seems to hold the perfect amount of coffee and keep it hot? My favorite cocoa me? My tea mug? The one I painted myself? The one that is my favorite color? The one that’s snarky and crass? The one I got on my surprise birthday trip my dad sent me on to NYC? Can I post the one I painted and feel like I’m not copying my friend Lindz?

As you can see I had a lot of things to ask myself before I could pick something to show you all.
I hemmed and hawed most of the day over it. But then I finally decided. It has to be my fire mug.

I painted this mug at the same time Lindz painted hers; it was such a great time just sitting at the table in this little shop chatting about life while listing to weird x-mas music that we really wanted to turn off. This mug is the representation of the MC from my WIP. Each of my main characters is tied to an element and (I hope) obviously you can tell my MC is fire. The quote on the mug is a quote that pretty much sums up my character (I have picked out famous quotes for all of them) and has become the working title of my story. And besides the personal reasons for loving this mug I also love the shape of this mug, I live mugs to be curvy like women, they fit so nicely in my hand that way. And while this mug is big, it is perfect if I only fill it 75% full and then I get all of the drink I need and don’t feel like I’m going to spill all over during the first few sips.

Also there is a little surprise on the bottom of the mug that just makes me giggle in the way it to pertains to my MC. Also I painstakingly painted the inside as well, so I would have something pretty to look at as I drank.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Books! Glorious books!

I was reading on a blog I follow about the depreciating value of books the second I buy them. I don’t really want to talk about that, but reading this I meekly looked over to my own book case. I have a problem.

The dictionary defines ‘Bibliophile’ as “a person who loves or collects books, especially as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like.”

I own approximately 375+ books (not including Boyfriend’s books that I might want to read one day but know I probably won’t make time) and that is after I just purged my shelves of about 30ish books that I didn’t want (ones I won as door prizes but had no interest in, ect.) and I know that about 75-80% of those I have bought new with my own money.  Averaging $15 a book and about 76% of my book I figure I have nearly $4,500 invested into my shelves. I recently also just when through and updated many versions of books I have in series so the covers matched or all the books where the fame format.

I have an idea where the compulsion came from; when I was in high school I borrowed a few books… and never returned them… for like a year. And I had used my dad library card; this obviously resulted into a very heavy fine and my dad forbidding me to go to the library (a place I still avoid to this day). And thus began my journey into book buying. Very early on I became very particular about my books and how I treated them (mostly after I lent a friend my favorite book at the time, Tithe by Holly Black, and it was returned to me mauled by her and the people she let borrow it when she was done) because if I was spending my money on them I wanted them to stay nice. I do not dog ear the pages, I always remove the dustcovers of HC while I am reading them, and I never fold back or crack the spines of my paperback, and I pretty much do not lend books out except to very trusted friends… just to name a few. I’m pretty sure I did not become crazy about my books overnight, it must have been a slow process, but sometimes it feels like it.

But I love my books, I know I will never “get my money back” for them, but selling them never entered my mind. When I think about my books I think about them like friends. Each one holds a special place in my heart because reading them left a part of them with me, and I left my mark on them (though I’m sure most people wouldn’t notice lol). Each of them a special jewel in my mind’s eye, a special place and a special set of characters. As an aspiring author I can’t help but hope that if I am ever published that someone will covet my book as I have coveted too many other authors’ books. Recently my best friend read one of my favorite series (Songs of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce), we have been friends for a long time but when she was done I looked at her and said “Yay! Now we can be friends!” in truth I was joking, but there was some truth to that statement. While we have been friends for a long time I honestly feel now that she had read books that made such an impact on me that she can now understand me better and we can commune on a deeper level. It didn’t even really matter if she liked the books or not, just that she understood that part of me.  

Do you collect books? Why? What is it about books that sets your heart all a twitter?Am I crazy? Ok, don't answer that last one!

My name is Alexis and I am a bibliophile.