Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hi! I haven't posted for What's Up Wednesday in a while. For more info on that, see go to Jamie Morrow's blog. Check here for participating blogs.

What I'm Reading

I'm finishing up the YA thriller Creed by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Curie. They are debut authors who also were fellow Pitch Wars mentors this fall. AND I got to meet them at Anderson's for a YA author panel!

What I'm Writing

NaNoWrimo! I'm plowing through plot holes galore in the spirit of literary abandon! This time I'm trying out a YA with spies and intrigue--the antithesis to my little summer beachstory I wrote last Nano.

What Works For Me

This section is new for me! So this month, the built-in goals of Nano work for me because there's a deadline, a goal, and a larger community to support reaching it. I have not yet lost a Nano in the 3 years I've done it, so that's motivation for me. Plus, having a new draft that's something different than the two manuscripts I worked on over the past year is really refreshing. Even if it's terrible, it's something different!

What Else Is New

I survived mentoring through Pitch Wars, I finaled in three RWA chapter contests (and won one of them! The Molly via Heart of Denver RWA). I've had ups and downs with my writing but I've been really encouraged by my writing colleagues. Still plugging away.

Oh, and I was in tropical bliss during our first snowfall back home. Happy birthday-slash-anniversary to me :)

Enjoy your holiday! (Americans).

What have you been up to? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

image: Goodreads

Not a Drop to Drink
Mindy McGinnis
Young Adult Dystopian
Published: 2013

I am not huge on dystopian world YA novels. I loved The Hunger Games and Legend. Divergent was OK, and I saw The Maze Runner movie (so you can see my investment waning).

Not a Drop to Drink scales the focus way, way back from governments and factions to one girl and her mother, who live off the grid and spend virtually every waking  moment defending their freshwater pond, as water is scarce. Sixteen-year-old Lynn has known nothing else other than her remote farm, her mother, and a nearby neighbor they are on cautiously friendly terms.

Until Lynn loses her mother (not a spoiler, it happens early), and she is on her own. When people camping nearby need medical attention, Lynn and her neighbor go to help. Only Lynn has been taught not to trust anyone. Even leaving her pond for an hour sets the tension high. Distant smoke sets off alarm bells, and stories of men traveling in packs to steal and destroy cause Lynn to further distrust. Every page there is survival, fear, and determination, and Lynn's struggle between her newfound compassion for others and the strict teachings of her mother provide a boatload of tension.

Warning here: there are some intense scenes in this book, and I will state right out that while there is a romantic thread, this is not a romance. While there is a hopeful ending, this is not a happy shiny rainbows type of book. If you're cool with that, I wholly recommend this book for showing the emotional impact of a post-apocalyptic world-gone-wrong, and one where you don't need to roll your eyes at forced world building. The fears built up in this world are human nature at its core, and that's compelling enough when it's written this well.

The author's companion novel In a Handful of Dust is available as of September 2014.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group IWSG

This month's timely IWSG post hits right during the middle of Pitch Wars agent requesting. Talk about insecurity--and I'm not even pitching! But I've mentored a writer for the past two months, having gotten to choose a writer from the Pitch Wars contest "slush" to help out for this very agent round. Whew!

And so far, no agent requests based on the pitch and first page. 
Which doesn't mean that the story isn't good, or that the writer isn't there yet. She's a phenomenal writer who I ended up choosing because her voice is excellent. When I read her stuff, I thought, she can write ANYTHING. 

Maybe this story didn't get bites from these agents with this contest, but this is only the beginning. 
Still, it's tough to see others get page requests when this one did not. We've still got another day.