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November 30, 2010

Two For Tuesday: I'm Only Sleeping

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: I love sleeping. Sleeping's my favorite.

I don't like to go to bed, though. Not until at least 2:00 am. (Case in point: I'm writing this post at 1:11.) Turns out my night owl proclivities mean I'm smart. So smart, in fact, that it took me several tries to spell "proclivities," and it still looks wrong. Like perhaps it's secretly a dirty word.

Or maybe that's also the 1am talking.

So! All this night owling (late night hootery? look, I don't even know) means I am also a fan of naps - both the adult kind, which are conveniently supported by Jennifer at The Practical Napper, and the adorable child kind.

Are you a night owl? Or are you one of the freak morning people, like my husband? (He claims to bring me coffee in bed as a gesture of love and affection, but we both know it's at least 50% self-defense.) Where's the craziest place you've ever fallen asleep? Any tips on how to fall asleep at a normal hour or wake up before noon? I could use them. For now I'm going to bed... after I look at one... more... thing........

November 24, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: November's Best Book

Kate Hart
First of all: How the hell can it almost be December already?

Second: I didn't get a tremendous amount of reading done this month, but better than October. Some > none.

Image SourceMost of what I read was research for Refuge rewrites. I took detailed notes on several titles suggested by my lovely agent: N. Scott Momaday's The Names (a memoir) and The Way to Rainy Mountain (a book of Kiowa myths), and for lack of time, I skimmed his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel House Made of Dawn. Here are a few of my favorite quotes.
"The first word gives origin to the second, the first and second to the third, the first, second and third to the fourth, and so on. You cannot begin with the second word and tell the story, for the telling of the story is a cumulative process, a chain of becoming, at last of being."
The Names
"The events of one’s life take place, take place. How often have I used this expression, and how often have I stopped to think about what it means? Events do indeed take place, they have meaning in relation to things around them."
The Names
Image Source
"There are things in nature that engender a awful quiet in the heart of man; Devil's Tower is one of them."
The Way To Rainy Mountain
"A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things. By means of words can a man deal with the world on equal terms."
The Way To Rainy Mountain
"I have great faith in words, but in this there are no words at last; there is only a kind of perfect silence-- the stillness of a late autumn afternoon in the village and the valley-- in which I listened for the sound of her voice. In a moment she will speak to me; she will speak my name."
The Names
Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

November 23, 2010

Two For Tuesday: Get In Character

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: "What do I do, now that I've finished my book?"

The standard answer: "Start writing your second."

I desperately, desperately did not want that to be good advice. Why the hell would I have bothered writing the first one if I didn't think it was good? What a waste of time! Oh but then I started querying, and rejection got me down, and to pass the time I thought, "I'll just start a new book for fun. No expectations."

Lo and behold, the second book got me agented. But that's not why I suggest you write a second book while querying. I suggest you take this advice because regardless of your query success, writing the second book will help you make the first one better. Writing completely new characters made me focus on how they differed from book one's cast... and made me realize I didn't know book one's cast nearly as well as I thought.

That fact has become painfully obvious now that I'm trying to rewrite book one. Changing to first person has helped a little, but I'm still having a lot of trouble pinning down my male MC. I have the feeling he should be more of a d-bag at first, but I can't seem to write him that way, and I don't know if it's me or him-- but it's easier to blame him, which is why I've been trying some good ole fashioned character building exercises, and thought I'd share them with you.

Writer Online has a cool set of character tests. The results give you an archetype to consider, complete with "personality indicators," their general personality components, and which mental illness your character would be most likely to have.

None of the "character charts" out there quite did it for me, so I combined my favorite parts of each into one massive character-building worksheet. It's an Excel file that you can download  here if you're interested - it includes categories for physical characteristics, relationships, personality traits, random details, your character's top ten lists, and questions about the character's place in your story.

Any other tricks and tips for creating characters? Tell us in the comments! :)

November 22, 2010

Monday Meme: 15 Most Influential Writers

Kate Hart
The Meme: Borrowed from Amy Whipple

The Rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who have always influenced you and will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes, and they don’t have to be listed in order of relevance to you.

The Twist: I decided to just do this stream of consciousness. I'm not even going to defend or explain my answers.
Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

Start: 3:46 PM

1. Margaret Atwood
2. Stephen King
3. JK Rowling
4. John Green
5. Dean Koontz
6. Larry McMurtry
7. Laurie Halse Anderson
8. Virginia Woolf
9. Seamus Heaney
10. Madeleine L'Engle
11. Ann M. Martin
12. Stephenie Meyer
13. Pablo Neruda
14. Shakespeare
15. Mark Twain

End 3:49 PM

Well that was fun. Share yours in the comments or link me to your own blog posts, por favor y gracias!

November 17, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: Wanderlust

Kate Hart
“The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.”
Like Mandarin ~ Kirsten Hubbard

Mandarin and Grace, the main characters in Like Mandarin, do some crazy things -- a little skinny dipping, a nighttime mission to liberate the town's animal head trophies, you know. The usual. Have you ever done something crazy, on a whim?

Photobucket I'm more a Grace than a Mandarin. I always wanted to be the carefree, spontaneous girl, but I'm just not - except when I travel. The precedent was set from the very first trip my husband and I took together: Just pick a direction and drive.

So we point the car west and go. Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho... We tried to get to Oregon and Washington once during college, but ran out of money in northern California and had to turn east, back toward some friends in Colorado.

PhotobucketWe take a few guidebooks to scout for attractions (hence the last minute decision to see the petroglyphs at Thermopolis, Wyoming), and when we can make it work, we route ourselves through towns where friends live (which made it possible to stay in places like Santa Cruz and Berkeley when our budget was only $500 for two weeks). 

PhotobucketWe did Europe the same way. We bought Eurorail passes that lasted a month,  made a list of countries, and got on the train. Every few days, we picked a new city to visit and headed that way.

Have we ever regretted it? Almost. When we showed up in Rome and were told that every hostel in the city was booked, when we got lost in Paris and wandered the streets with heavy packs until 1am, when we accidentally crossed over from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez and ran out of gas with no pesos.... yeah, we almost regretted it. But we survived, and now we have good stories to tell.

And nine times out of ten, we've seen and done amazing things. Like catching Mass at Notre Dame. Or soaking in the Tabacón volcanic hot springs in Costa Rica. Or meeting the bed & breakfast owners in Dover who gave us an engagement gift - that turned out to be the money we'd paid for our stay.

It's a little harder to do those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants road trips now that we have two little boys, but they're already big fans of picking places on the globe to learn about. In a few years they'll be old enough to point to spots on the map and tell us which way to go.

Yes, I'm already planning to teach my children how to be spontaneous. I still fail at it.

But I'm looking forward to it.


Want to win an ARC of Like Mandarin? Enter at YA Highway - playing along with today's prompt gets you an extra entry!

Photo locations after the jump

November 15, 2010

Monday Meme: Music That Changed Your Life

Kate Hart
Author Amy Reed posted this meme on her blog last month, and seeing as I am a sucker for memes, music and lists... here we are. I may be about to out myself in some serious geekery. Please go easy on me.

In chronological order according to their appearance in my life:

November 9, 2010

Two For Tuesday: Native American Heritage Month

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: I have mixed feelings about "awareness" months, no matter what the topic, mainly because they seem to imply that their topic doesn't matter the other 11 months of the year. But then again, obviously the topics haven't been mattering, so maybe it's better to matter for 30 days than none at all.

Obviously the issue is a lot more complicated than that, but I can't deny that if we have to choose a month to raise the profile of native cultures, November's the month to do it. All over the country, schoolchildren will  start making pilgrim hats and construction paper headdresses and fake tipis, and I will rage that the plains Indians wore headdresses, not the people in the Northeast - who also did not live in tipis - and for the love, will someone please at least attempt to tell children a Thanksgiving story that is in the least bit realistic... and so on and so forth.

Luckily there are a lot of folks on the internet raising awareness on a daily basis.

General Knowledge and Discussion:
  • Native Appropriations: "Discussing the use of Indigenous cultures, traditions, languages, and images in popular culture, advertising, and everyday life." Most recent posts include discussion of a Harvard frat's decision to throw a "Conquistabros and Navajos" party. To paraphrase Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers: REALLY, HARVARD? She also has an amazing guest post about the New York mosque controversy and the desecration of holy spaces.
  • My Culture Is Not A Trend: "Hi, I'm a Native American, and I'm fed up with the appropriation of my culture by those desperate to be trendy, hip, ironic etc." Tons of interesting conversation, a great deal of which is sadly instigated by hate mail the blog owner receives. 

More Specific:
  • Want to counteract the myths and stereotypes that your kids pick up? Lee&Low Publishers has a list of good books.
  • Like Native fashion but smart enough not to don a hipster headdress? Learn about Native American designers at Beyond Buckskin.
  • ETA: Unfortunately I'm late in posting this, but the Red Nation Film Festival went on last week in LA. And on their website, I found...  WTF. "To date there have only been 4 contemporary American Indian women stories ever produced in film history in the United States." I repeat: W. T. F. 
  • I found that website via Gil Birmingham. THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT. I follow the dude who plays Billy Black in Twilight. And he tweets a ton of good info on indigenous causes and happenings around the country and abroad, so I'm not even going to pretend to be embarrassed.

November 8, 2010

Monday Meme

Kate Hart
A few weeks ago, Nancy Coffey Lit played a little meme game on their blog. I copied the questions, started a post and... promptly forgot to answer the questions. Punctuality has never been my strong suit. But here we go:

1. If you could have a superpower, what would you have? Why?
I want to have the power of compulsion. Because I'm pretty sure if everyone would just do what I think they should do, the world would go much more smoothly.

No really. I dunno. I want to Apparate. And do spells. And be an Animagus. In other words, I want to live at Hogwarts.

2. Who is your style icon?
I suppose it says something about me that I have no style icon. Do jeans and boots constitute an entire style? Because that's all I got.

3. What is your favorite quote?
"To get the true value of a joy, you must have someone to divide it with." - Mark Twain
4. What is the best compliment you've ever received?
That I write good boys and good smut. Also, a surgeon once told me my insides were lovely - "brightly colored," I believe he said.

Photobucket 5. What playlist/cd is on your ipod/cd player right now?
Playlist is here; current CD is The Boxer by The National.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Suuuuuch a nightowl. 

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
I preferred dogs until mine ran away. :( Now I have a hard time with them.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?
Fairly self-explanatory, but I can tell you why my mother named me Katherine: She knew a girl by the same name who was very cool and collected and had it all together. She hoped (in vain) that it would be a transferable quality.

I'll follow NCLit's lead - instead of tagging 8 people, I'm tagging anyone who reads this and wants to play along. Leave me a link if you do! :)

November 3, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: If I Were King of the (Publishing) Forest

Kate Hart
This week, RTW wants to know:

If you were made supreme ruler of the publishing world, what would be your first ruling?

In my limited research, I have found that one can agent from afar (as in, not New York or Cali). But being an editor requires residence in one of those places, usually the former.

I don't really want to be an agent, but I do think I'd make a good editor. Especially if my first decree was that editors do only that: edit. Acquisitions meetings and sales projections and... and... whatever else they have to do that requires their physical presence in New York... those things don't exist. Or at least can be done via the interwebz. 

Then of course my second ruling is that editors get paid a gazillion dollars a year, as do authors and by extension, their lovely agents. 
And apparently my third ruling needs to either render math null and void, or completely restructure the spending habits of your average consumer. 

What would you do, if publishing were up to you? Head over to YA Highway and let us know!

November 2, 2010

Two For Tuesday: November 2

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: Election Day!

1) I didn't get to attend the Rally For Sanity and/or Fear, nor did I get to watch it this weekend. But several of my friends, including the fabulous Sarah Enni, were lucky enough to go - and these folks had amazing signs.

2) Go vote.
Photobucket Photobucket

More info here.

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