NaNoWriMo 2013 Kickoff!


Image from NaNoWriMo.org

It’s 9:00p.m., November 1st, and so far I have 0 words for NaNoWriMo. Sounds about right!

2013 marks my third or fourth attempt at NaNo. I haven’t won yet, but one of these years I will. This year I have quite a few fanfic projects I want to finish, as well as some original ideas that have been kicking at my brain for months.

I’m going to try to go back to weekly writing/blog/life updates, because I’ve missed doing them, and it’s fun to look back and see what I was doing/obsessed with.

So! Any other bloggers participating in NaNo? I’m always looking for writing buddies. Leave a comment :D

Kindle Worlds, or Why I Love Fanfic

I’ve wanted to do a post on fanfic forever, so here we go. It’s the first of many, I’m sure.

When I first heard Amazon was going to publish fanfiction, I thought it was April Fool’s Day. At it’s core, fanfiction is fiction that fans write without the intention of making money. Profiting from fanfic would violate copyright. I always use a disclaimer in my fanfic, saying something along the lines “XYZ does not belong to me, and no profit is made from this work.” So Amazon paying fanfic writers? Big deal!

I’m not going to get into the fine print of the contract a writer would sign with Amazon/Warner Bros., because other people that get the nitty gritty of legal stuff have already done that. Just Google it and you’ll get a ton of results. It’s not really a good deal for the writer, but that’s another post.

I happened to check out the Kindle Worlds books on Amazon, and I was impressed by the branding (they all have the same style of cover), and the positive reviews. I also recognized the names of some of the authors — turns out Amazon commissioned already published authors to get the ball rolling. Amazon’s behind it, and in a big way, because I’m sure they’ve considered how publishing fanfic is going to make them even more dollars.

Legal and financial stuff aside, why I am even talking about Kindle Worlds? Because I am a passionate supporter of fanfic*, and I’m happy to see it get some legitimization. Right now, when someone asks me what my hobbies are, I blush a bit and say “writing fanfic.” I usually get a raised eyebrow in return, or “what’s fanfic?”

I think fanfic has a bad rap as either being unedited, out of character/inconsistent with the original work, full of Mary Sues and Gary Stus, or a thin excuse to write porn. Hell, fanfic can be ALL of those. And some of it definitely is.

But there’s also a lot of amazing stuff out there. Some writers take their fanfic very seriously, and have gotten their start there, including:

  • Marissa Meyer, author of the The Lunar Chronicles, started with writing Sailor Moon fanfic
  • Cassandra Clare, author of the The Mortal Instruments series, started with Harry Potter fanfic. Slash fic, yo.
  • E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series … well, everyone knows that’s an Alternate Universe Twilight fanfic

Fandoms are a wonderful place. They give people somewhere to talk about their favorite telly shows, books, movies, comics, and everything else. If something exists, chances are there’s a fandom for it. I’ve met some great people online because of writing fanfic, which is one of the other great things about fandoms. Oftentimes those people stay friends, even when you move on to another fandom.

Another reason fanfic is great, in my opinion, is because it gives people a start in writing. For the most part, if someone comments on a fic, they do it in a polite, supportive manner. (Even if it’s bad.) Which can be really good for someone just starting out. Immediate feedback is also gratifying, because unlike with traditional publishing, there’s not a long wait to see other people reading your work and hearing what they think about it. I love when I get an email that I’ve gotten a comment on something I wrote. A tiny little comment can improve a bad day, or make a good one even better.

Playing in someone else’s sandbox can be just as hard as writing original fiction. For example, if you try to take Draco Malfoy and make him a nice boy that’s BFFs with Harry, well, readers are going to say, “That’s OOC!” (out of character). But if a fanfic author can make me believe in that relationship by creating a credible, authentic set of circumstances leading up to it, then I’m all in.

One more reason (can you tell I have a never ending list?) I like fanfic is because it’s a great way to experiment with new writing styles. I’ve tried writing in present tense, second person point of view, not using dialogue, using only dialogue, crunching a complete story into 100 or 200 words. That list goes on and on, too. I like to think all the experimentation and seeing what works and what doesn’t work makes me a better writer.

TL;DR version? Fanfic rocks.

*I don’t mean to leave out fan art, vids, fanmixes, or any other type of fan created works. Fanfic is just what I personally know the most about.

– leeanna

Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon

At the last minute I decided to sign up for the Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon, mainly because I want to get a lot of reading done, and I think the bat on the banner is cute! I like bats just as much as I like owls.

The readathon runs from February 7 to February 14, and I’m going to put all updates in this post. I will probably spam Twitter and Instagram with updates too, so follow/interact with me there — links are on the sidebar.

Goals:
01: Finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
02: Read Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
03: Read Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
04: Read Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri
05 Read The Holders by Julianna Scott
06: Review Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
07: Review Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
08: Review Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri
09 Review The Holders by Julianna Scott
10 Review Incarnation by Emma Cornwall
11: Review Lady at the O.K. Corral by Ann Kirschner
12: Review City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
13: Review Trickster by Jeff Somers

As you can see, my main goal is going to be reviewing all the books … I hate getting behind in reviews. I might also start a reread of something fun, either Percy Jackson or World of Warcraft.

Updates:
February 7: I read to page 351 of Shadow on the Crown.

February 8: I finished Shadow on the Crown sometime in the early morning. Because I have quite a few reviews to write, I’ve picked up World of Warcraft: The Well of Eternity for a fun read. I even got a couple hundred words in last night, writing-wise. So far I’m having a good run … and I probably just jinxed myself.

February 9: Sick.

February 10: Sick.

February 11: Sick.

February 12: Sick.

February 13: Ugh! It seems to be my luck that I always have SOMETHING interfere when I try to do a readathon. I’ve been suffering from a weird cold for the past few days, which has put a huge damper on my reading/computer time. I spent most of the time flat on my back, a heated beanbag or pillow over my eyes, because I had such a bad headache. After a few days away, I feel oddly disconnected from the blogosphere. Fortunately now I’m almost back to normal, and I did get in a little reading time. With real books. How old fashioned :D

Here’s what I’ve read:
World of Warcraft: The Well of Eternity, War of the Ancients 1 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: The Demon Soul, War of the Ancients 2 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: The Sundering, War of the Ancients 3 by Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden

I’m in the middle of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle and Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black. I had hoped to have a review up for Dance of Shadows yesterday, but got sidetracked with being sick. Both of these were actually started earlier in the week, and I anticipate finishing them before much longer.

I’ve been rereading the WoW books for fun, and I have to say that I’m sort of missing my days playing World of Warcraft. Uhoh.

February 14: The last day. Sadness. I didn’t get to hang out on Twitter like I’d hoped, but at least I got some reading accomplished. Not as much reading or reviewing as I’d hoped there either (I’m starting to sound like a broken record) but it was still fun! Today I finished The Hallowed Ones and am more than halfway through World of Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb. I may or may not finish it tonight.

And that’s it!

Total books read: 7
Total reviews written: 2

– leeanna

2012 Favorite Books of the Year

The only limit to this list was that I read the book in 2012. There’s a mix of books published this year and in years past. Several are books I’ve reread several times over the years, hence why they’re on my favorites list.

I went down my spreadsheet of books read in 2012 and picked out the ones that leapt out. So I probably missed a few favorites, but they’ll show up next year, I’m sure.

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Date read: January 2, 2012 and November 5, 2012
Review: Haven’t posted it yet
I read Bunheads twice this year. I really hope the author writes another book set in the ballet world. Or any book — I’d love to see more from her.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Date read: January 11, 2012
Review: See comment
I still remember how excited I was to see an ARC of this at work. I very excitedly emailed the teen librarian and asked if I could borrow it. I never reviewed this, because I was too full of squee to do so properly.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Date read: February 29, 2012
Review: Here.
A few weeks ago I got an email that my blog will be one of the ones listed in the paperback of Cinder as a thanks for supporting it!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Date read: April 27, 2012
Review: Here
I haven’t yet reread Shadow and Bone, but I definitely want to. It’s YA fantasy with Russian influences, and I’ve convinced at least one person to buy it.
The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
Date read: February 8, 2012 and May 17, 2012 and September 23, 2012
Review: Here
The review I linked is an old one, from my previous blog. Seeing as I’ve read The Fire Rose three times this year, and countless times over the years, it marks right up there in my favorites. It’s just one of my comfort reads.
Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
Date read: May 22, 2012
Review: Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground
I love both of Patricia Briggs’s series on shifters, but Alpha and Omega slightly edges Mercy Thompson out for my favorite. Yet another series I’ve read multiple times since first finding it.
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Date read: July 7, 2012
Review: Here
I will always remember Incarnate as one of the very first books I saw when I got into the book blogosphere. The scavenger hunt the author did on her blog was the first event like that I’d seen.
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Date read: July 28, 2012
Review: Not written
Sometimes I get way too excited over a book to write a review for it. Huntress is one of those books. I love, love the author’s writing style.
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Date read: September 31, 2012
Review: Here
Libriomancer was the subject of my first ever v-log. This is one of those books that I really, really wish was true, because how cool would it be to use the magic in books?
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Date read: October 6, 2012
Review: Not yet reviewed
The Dark Wife is probably my favorite indie of the year. It’s a fantastic retelling of the Hades/Persephone myth.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Date read: October 10, 2012
Review: Not reviewed
This is one of my favorite classics, and I reread it once every year or two years.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Date read: November 5, 2012
Review: Not reviewed
Hands down, Kushiel’s Dart is my favorite epic fantasy. I had to buy a second copy this year because I wore out the spine on my first.

– leeanna

All Quiet on the Writing Front

I’m not going to post a lot about writing this month. Or at least, I don’t plan to. I’m sure you guys get sick of hearing me go on and on about it ;)

I’ve got so many thoughts and ideas swirling in my brain. Some of them have been around for years, and are now combining with other ideas. It’s kind of cool, really, to know stuff I’ve thought about for so long is still something I like and want to do.

Aside from reading books, I’ve also been reading tons of author blogs and interviews, and I’ve bookmarked or saved bits from a lot of articles/interviews. There’s a lot of good stuff I’m taking away, including:

♥ Write every day
♥ Read a lot
♥ Write what makes you happy
♥ Write what you want to read
♥ Don’t be scared
♥ It’s okay to mess up

And so on. A lot of it is common sense, but the more I see it, the more it sinks into my mind. I know I’ll finish my first novel one day — I just have to try and quell my impatience to have it done NOW. I also need to quit worrying that no one will want to read what I want to write.

Right now, I need to remember why I love writing. So I’m spending the rest of September (how is it the 8th already??) working on fun stuff. No more stressing about original fic and how I should have something written by now.

Maybe in November I’ll attempt NaNo again, because having a deadline and a goal can be good for me. If I stick to them, that is.

Now wish me luck, because I’m going to try doing a video review! Here’s hoping I don’t sound or look like a dork, and that someone watches it.

– leeanna

Instagram for August

I’m still on my Instagram kick! Follow me, I’m leeannac.

Camp NaNo August Session: Update 1

camp nano

As usual going into NaNo (this is my fourth attempt, I believe), I did virtually no prep work. You’d think I’d learn, huh?

Nope.

My sum accomplishment for the week is making a fancy spreadsheet to keep track of my word counts. Other than that, I’m having a slow start. I’m at about 1k. I’m hoping next week will be better — I had a migraine most of the weekend, so I wasn’t able to get any writing in.

How are the rest of you doing? I know there are plenty of us doing the August session!

– leeanna

Writing Inspiration via Strange Chemistry

One of my favorite things to do lately is look at the websites of publishers I like. I check out their upcoming titles, author bios, and submission guidelines.

I’ve known of Angry Robot for a while, ever since one of my favorite authors, Paul S. Kemp, mentioned that he had a book coming out with them. I found my way over to Strange Chemistry, their YA imprint. So here comes my geeky side: who wouldn’t want a publisher with a cool name like Angry Robot? Or Strange Chemistry?

I wasn’t a fan of normal chemistry, but I like Strange Chemistry. :D

So what about them inspires me? Other than the cool name? Some of the great books they have coming out!

My Waiting on Wednesday posts are scheduled pretty far in advance, so I’m spotlighting a few of the books I’m looking forward to.

blackwood Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back. [more]

broken

Broken by A.E. Rought

Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. [more]

poltergeeksPoltergeeks by Sean Cummings

15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection. [more]

 

 

A story about Roanoke, a modern twist on Frankenstein, and a pun on poltergeist? Yeah, that’s just some of the neat stuff. My geeky side is quivering like C3P0 in front of a group of Jawas.

You may ask how these titles are inspiring? Reading a good book always makes me want to write.

– leeanna

Instagram for July

Here’s my Instagram roundup for July. As I’ve said before, I’m an Instagram nut. I don’t usually like sharing pictures, but I’ve found it to be a fun way to get to “know” someone other than through words. Follow me, I’m leeannac!

– leeanna

Instagram Photos for May/June

In lieu of a real post, I’m putting up Instagram pics. Ever since it was finally released for Android, I’ve become an Instagram nut. I’m always looking for more people to follow on there. I’m leeannac.

I tend to take pictures of books I’m reading, and random other things. I think it’s a fun way to “meet” the blogger behind the blog.