Reading Journal: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

So I just finished reading Wither, the first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy ad I have no idea what to make of it. The book was advertised as the next great read for hunger games fans, but the only thing it has in common with Suzanne Collins HG trilogy is the post-apocalyptic setting. For every sappy vampire book Twilight brought to the forefront as a result of its success there is an dystopian tragedy waiting in the midst as a result of the success of the Hunger Games.  I admit, I fell victim to this craze, which is probably why I have about ten of them on my to-be-read list. The first of which was Wither. 

Plot Overview:
Wither takes place in a future world where genetic manipulation of the population has resulted in a deadly virus that kills off all of its victims in their early twenties. Women die at twenty-one, men at twenty-four.   There is no escape, there is no cure, despite the fact that members of the first generation (the only generation to live out full lives) are desperately searching for a way to reverse the curse. 

Rhine, the main character, is kidnapped and taken from her kid brother and sold to stranger to be one of his three brides. The story follows her struggles for escape and peace in a world full of death and disease. 

My Reaction:
Overall I enjoyed the book. It was a quick read, though it started out a bit slow, I found myself drawn into this mysterious and dark world and wanted to know more about what has and will happen to the characters. At first I found the main character, Rhine, pretty annoying. She is initially obsessed with escaping, unwilling to learn anything about her captures/husband or her other sister wives. She's set on finding her brother but (spoiler alert!) he never even gets an appearance in this book! It was hard for me to believe she is so desperate to return to such a grisly and dangerous life. It sometimes felt as though she were resisting just to resist. 

Later as she began to learn more about her new family the book becomes more interesting and you see new relationships born and difficult sacrifices made.  Still the whole book seems to be setting you up for heartache. After all, how likely is it that someone in this world is going to find a cure in the last three years of her life, if they've been searching for twenty years to no avail? Definitely a happily for now, kind of read. 

Market Spotlight: Entangled Publishing Flirt Line

So every time I run across an appealing market I feel the need to share with my other writerly friends and I couldn't resist getting a little hot and bothered about this one.  Thus far I am very impressed with Entangled Publishing and have been looking for something in my own drawer of goodies that is a good fit for what they are publishing.  This flirt line might just be the thing. I'll sleep on it.

They are looking for short novellas (10k-15K, which in my opinion makes them short stories, but novellas always sounds cooler) in all types of romance sub-genres to sell for 99 cents.

I have heard nothing but great things about EP thus far and my own interactions with them have been very positive. If your interested you should definitely check out the Flirt Official Guidelines on their submission page.

NANo Revisited (Part 2)

Happy First of November, a.k.a. official kickoff to NaNoWriMo 2012. To all those taking part in the challenge, good luck and godspeed. For those of you like me who plan on sitting on the sidelines and basking in the creative energy that exudes off of our writing comrades with hopes of meeting our own, much smaller goals this month...well good luck to you too.

Here's a little recap of some of my pointers on NaNo from years past. Enjoy.

NaNoWriMo 101 (Part 2)
Must Have Resources
Now that you’ve got the basics, here are a few must have resources to help you stick to the rules!

1. Visit the Official NaNoWriMo site
If you haven't already done so, visit the official website to learn the rules and sign up as a participant. Join the forums, build out your buddy list, and most importantly ask questions. You don't want to lose time searching the boards once November comes. You want to know how to update your word count and track words before hand. Remember, time is precious!

2. Do the plotting and character development exercises
There are tons of books out there that are designed to help writers plot and develop their novel. Some of them even tote the tag line, write your novel in thirty days. Here are a few that I recommend. Check them out at
No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days  Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook
3. Get the write (he, he) software
Most people use word by default, but it isn't always the best writing software, especially if you are trying to keep track of your daily word count. Personally I love to use Scrivener. In fact, part of the reason I went mac is because I needed a better writing program that worked with my personal writing and organizational style. The great thing about a program like Scrivener is that it allows you to create smaller separate documents within a larger project that are inter-related. So you can easily edit or move scenes, keep track of scene word count and my favorite, enter a full screen writing mode that blocks out everything else from your screen except for a basic document file.  There's no ads, no links, no Internet browser lurking about to tempt you away from your writing. Consider it a typewriter for the modern age. Scrivener also allows you store your research notes and prep work in one central place. Do you have pictures of your characters or settings? You no longer have to open up another program to view them. Did you create a separate PDF outline, link to a specific movie, or reference a certain web page. You can copy and paste it into the program without opening 100 word documents.

So, that's all fine and dandy, you say. But you don't own a Mac. Right. Well. That Sucks. I've been there. In a pinch, Word will suffice. Just familiarize yourself with the daily pacing vs the word count goal. i.e. on day 6 you should be at X words, so if you are writing everything in a single document, than you can easily see total word count with the click of a button. You could also do separate docs for each scene, but you won't have a running total and you will have to compile it all together at the end anyway. I do recommend using document maps and creating headers for each chapter to easily navigate through your 200 pages! it will help make highlighting chapters or scenes easier if you are trying to get a word count.

So that’s it! Happy writing and good luck.