Category: Witches

Doing the wrong thing for the right reason in Lillian Clark’s “Immoral Code”

immoral code
Image belongs to Knopf.

 

Title: Immoral Code
Author:  Lillian Clark
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Five friends. An absentee father who’s a billionaire. One nefarious plot.

Nari is a genius digital hacker. Keagan is her sweet boyfriend who would follow her anywhere. Reese is a visual artist who dreams of traveling everywhere. San is headed to Stanford on a diving scholarship and wants to go to the Olympics. And Bellamy is a physics genius who gets into MIT—then finds out the father she’s never seen is a billionaire, destroying her hopes of financial aid.

Nari’s not going to let her best friend’s dreams be destroyed by some jerk who wants nothing to do with her, so she comes up with a plan:  hack into Bellamy’s dad’s computer empire and plant a code that skims enough money off millions of transactions to pay for Bellamy’s first year of college.

What could possibly go wrong?

This group of characters was fascinating. A group of individuals who form a fantastic team with an unbreakable friendship. I did not entirely care for Nari, who was very bossy and demanding (autocratic comes to mind), but I loved the rest—especially Reese and her vibrant hair. The relationships were complex and believable, and Keagan was my favorite character:  he’s the voice of reason, as well as being the lone “ordinary” soul in the group. Definitely a good read.

Lillian Clark grew up in Wyoming and now lives in Idaho. Immoral Code is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Random House Children’s/Knop Books for Young Readers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

#immoralcode #lillianclark #knopfteen #ireadthereforeiam #books #bookstagram #bookreview #reading #netgalley #netgalleyreads #contemporaryya #ireadya #yalit

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Looking for Inspiration

Today, I’m looking for something to get me writing. Inspiration, motivation, some kind of cattle prod wired to my chair that zaps me if I get up…. You know, the usual.

I work best under pressure, or with “too much” to do. Something about knowing there are a ton of things that need to be done keeps me focused and allows me to get things accomplished. (A close friend once told me, “You get more done before 9 a.m. than most people do all day!” This is easier if your days routinely start at 3 a.m. I’m just saying…)

My new class—my first journalism class—starts tomorrow, and I’m moderately terrified (likely to upgrade to “completely”.). My job responsibilities changed last week, with the addition of an entire second location to do administrative tasks for. Then there’s the novel I’m writing, the one I’m actively revising, and the one I’m outlining. Not to mention the copywriting class I’m working my way through. And the book reviews that are due or past due. Blogging. I think you see my point.

While this would normally prove super-motivating and really keep me focused and on-task, sometimes, I have to fight a little bit harder to get inspired. (Hence this post instead of my first 500 words of fiction for the day.)

With that in mind, here are four things that might motivate you (and me) to write:

31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing, by Leo Babauta

Inspiration

A Writer’s Inspirations, by Shea

10 Tricks For Getting Inspired to Write, by Jonathan Morrow

 

Local Writers’ Event and Reader’s Indecision

This week was fairly productive, considering it was the first week of grad school (Eep!). I did a tiny bit of writing—1,000 words or so—in The Fall, plus outlining 10 scenes in it as well. Having an outline made the writing flow pretty well. Something I know, yet I still started writing this story with no outline. Smart move, there.

I did a little outlining in the Witches revision, also. I’m sort of feeling my way with that, since I’ve revised the story several times, and this is more of a re-write than a revision, but I’m using the current draft as a guideline. We’ll see how that works out. My voice and style have changed significantly since I originally plotted the story.

Yesterday I attended a local authors’ event with a friend. It’s part of the library’s Year of the Book promotion. Each author had a table, and they each spoke for 10 minutes.

yotb
Lineup of authors.

My friend and I went because we both love Rachel Caine’s work. (I’ve read The Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season spin-offs, and her re-telling of Romeo and Juliet. I’ve been wanting to read her The Great Library series as well.)

Somehow, by sheer luck, we arrived about 15 minutes before Rachel’s talk, just in time to hear Sarah MacTavish. (I feel like I’ve heard of her, but can’t swear to it. I read SO MUCH that authors sometimes get a little bit mixed up in my mind sometimes.) I enjoyed her talk, and the short chat I had with her afterwards, and bought her book, Firebrand. Young adult fiction about the Civil War from an author who carries her supply of books in an R2D2 suitcase? I’m sold! I’m looking forward to the read, just as soon as I wrangle enough time from my schedule for it.

My purchases for the day:

books

It’s been quite a while since I purchased physical copies of fiction. The bottom two books I bought at the event, the top three at B & N beforehand. I was so excited when I got home, but I had serious reader’s indecision:  What to read first?

Answer:  Firstlife, by Gena Showalter, because I’m hoping to get approved to review the second book in the series, and because I’ve been interested in this one for a while. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

Confession:  I read the entire thing last night. Loved it! The concept is so unique, and the characters compelled me from the first page. You should definitely read this!

How I Did in 2016…and Goals for 2017

happy-2017

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had/is having a good holiday weekend.

This is, of course, the obligatory re-hash of my 2016 goals, as well as a public declaration of my goals for 2017.

In 2016, my goals were:

Writing:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN. Didn’t happen. I started work on it, and realized that I have to re-write the story from scratch (mostly).

2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song. Done! (More or less.)

3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.   Nope. I did write some of it, but not much.

4) Start Camelot  Done! (To the tune of 1 chapter, a sort-of prologue, and some brainstorming.

5) Revise Casting Shadows. Didn’t even look at it.

6) Finish copyediting classes and make X dollars at it per month. Also no, although I did work on the classes some.

7) Have 500 followers on this blog. Only up to 314.

8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog. Only up to 199.

Reading:

1) Read Gone with the Wind. Done!

2) Read 1 book per month from my TBR shelf. Done!

3) Read all books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class (8 total). Done!

4) Read one classic per month. Done!

5) Read one book of poetry. Done!

6) Read 2 books per month to review. Done!

7) Read one inspirational book per month. Done!

8) Read 75 books total. Done! Actually, I read 128 books—WAY over my goal—which I’m pretty happy about. You can check out my books on the 2016 Goodreads challenge here.

Goals for 2017

Writing:

1) Finish draft of The Fall.

2)  Finish draft of Camelot.

3)  Finish Witches revision.

4)  Self-pub something or find agent.

5)  Revise Chasing Shadows.

6)  Publish/sub Chasing Shadows.

7) Do/win NaNo (with the Southern Fic story).

Reading

1)  Read one book per month set in a different culture or by an author from a different culture.

2)  Read 100 books.

3)  Read one classic per month.

4) Read one spiritual book per month.

5) Review 5 books per month.

6) Read one book from TBR pile every other month.

7)  Read Battlefield Earth.

Mid-Year Goal Update

At the beginning of the year, I set quite a few goals for myself (not resolutions). Eight goals in each of three separate categories, one being reading and one being writing. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how I’m doing on those goals, since we’re halfway through the year.

Reading goals:

1) Read GWTW.
2) Read 1 book per month from TBR.
3) Read all books on AWR list.
4) Read one classic per month.
5) Read one book of poetry.
6) Read 2 books per month to review.
7) Read one inspirational book per month.
8) Read 75 books.

I haven’t read any of Gone with the Wind since January, so I better get on that. I have read one book each month from my TBR pile.  I successfully read all of the books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class. I have read a classic per month. I have not read any poetry. (Oops.) I’ve read and reviewed at least two books each month. I’ve read at least one inspirational book each month. And I’ve currently read 69 out of my goal of 75 books.

Writing goals:

Writing goals:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.
2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song.
3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.
4) Start Camelot.
5) Revise Casting Shadows.
6) Finish copyediting classes and start making money at it.
7)  Have 500 followers on this blog.
8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog.

 

I’m still working on the revision of Witches. Siren Song is outlined, but I stopped working on it, and started writing on The Fall again. No progress on Camelot. No progress on Casting Shadows. I’m still working on the copyediting classes. I’m still chipping away at the blog goals.

Verdict:  I’m doing okay on my goals, but I need to get it together and get on all of them!

Weekly Update: the End is in Sight

This week has been plenty busy. Craziness at work (which should soon be resolving itself in a very positive way.). Trying to get everything for the first week of classes done, as well as the reading done for the second week (Just about have that complete.). And perhaps I should pack sometime today, since I’m leaving for Atlanta tomorrow. Perhaps

However, HTRYN Lesson One is going well. Sort of. It’s a bit depressing, but I should finish the first pass through Witches today. I’m seeing a lot of the same issues. Being aware of them is the first step to fixing them, right? (Here’s hoping.) I’m seeing a lot of telling-not-showing, and there’s more distance from my characters than I’d like. I do have an idea about fixing one issue that’s been bothering me somewhat for a long time, however.

I’m also less than five scenes from finishing the outline of Siren Song! I’m really happy about that, even if it’s not the greatest outline ever. I’m hoping there will be less wandering about with an actual outline to work from. (Knowing my tendency to get distracted, I’m almost positive that will be true.)

I’m off to finish things up so I can enjoy my sort-of-mini-vacation!

New Year, this Time with Some Actual Goals

Happy new Year 2016 Images (20)
(I do not own this image.)

Happy New Year!

I used to make very complicated, intricately planned-out lists of resolutions every year. A few years ago, I stopped that, but this year I decided to give it another go. I ended up with three separate lists (Life, Writing, and Reading), each with eight goals.

Here are my Writing goals for the year:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.

2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song. 

3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.   

4) Start Camelot

5) Revise Casting Shadows.

6) Finish copyediting classes and make X dollars at it per month.

7) Have 500 followers on this blog. (I can dream, right?)

8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog (It’s a goal.)

HNY

Here are my Reading goals:

1) Read Gone with the Wind (for at least the 25th time. I normally read it every year, but it’s been a few years.).

2) Read 1 book per month from my TBR shelf.

3) Read all books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class (8 total).

4) Read one classic per month.

5) Read one book of poetry.

6) Read 2 books per month to review.

7) Read one inspirational book per month.

8) Read 75 books total.

The Week of Big Goals: Result Update

So, I was supposed to be off all last week, and I had big goals:  “writing two essays, starting another, and beginning work on a leadership project, in addition to a plethora of textbook-reading), but I’m also going to get in six solid writing sessions. At least that’s the plan. And six brainstorming sessions as well.” How’d that turn out?  I’m glad you asked. (I’m pretty sure you asked, didn’t you?)

I actually ended up working Monday evening  and Thursday morning for a few hours, so the week wasn’t quite as free as I planned. But…I got those two essays written, and 1/5 of the third one done as well. Made a start on the leadership project. Did all the homework/quizzes/reading for this week. I think I only got in four writing sessions, but that’s twice as many as a normal week, so I’m calling it a win. I also edited TWELVE FREAKING CHAPTERS in Witches (I totally didn’t realize it was that many. Wow.) I also moved all my drafts to Google Docs, which took a ridiculous amount o f time, considering there were 10 manuscripts. I worked on brainstorming/outlining for my three current WIPs. Wrote a total of six blog posts. And read six books.

Dang. I was way more productive than I thought. Even snuck in a couple of naps, too.

That was my week, for the win!

Mischief Managed

The Muse is being mischievous.

I haven’t gotten much writing done this week (if any), between working six days and wrestling with trying to decide whether or not to start drafting another story. I’m still pretty torn.  The Muse wants something new to play with, but she still likes Siren Song, too.

Decisions, decisions.

So…I think I’m going to get Siren Song outlined as I continue writing bits of it (I have an outline for the next couple of thousand words anyway). I’m also going to work on brainstorming, then outlining The Fall and the Camelot story. Then…I’ll start drafting at least one of those ideas, albeit in smaller chunks than Siren Song. This will keep the Muse entertained and engaged. I’ll also continue to do my POV-edit on Witches, then do an in-depth edit when I finish that.

There.

Mischief managed.

Results

I started the switch from third-person to first-person on Witches yesterday.  Have you ever paid attention to how many times you use some version of a pronoun in your writing?  No?  I hadn’t either.  Trust me, the answer is: a LOT.  Sometimes, it felt like I was changing every other word.  At others, I wouldn’t touch two or three paragraphs at a time.  I like how the switch to first person lets me deeper into the characters.  I like it a lot.  Two chapters down yesterday, three on the agenda for today.

Plus some writing.  I wrote about 1,500 words Sunday. That’s not an extreme amount, but it’s a very solid chunk for me currently.  I’m pretty happy with that productivity level (Which, BTW, is actually 3-days’ worth of words that I didn’t get in last week.  500 words four times a week is my–admittedly small–writing goal these days.  I can remember doing 10,000+ word-days during NaNo years ago.  Sigh…)

So, writing and revising, before school starts in a few weeks.  What’s on the agenda for you?