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Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Four!

1. What am I reading? I've been reading some really wonderful books lately! If you're looking for recommendations, I would recommend all of these wholeheartedly: PIECES by Chris Lynch, THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young, ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell, and THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith. Seriously, read these books. Especially ELEANOR AND PARK.

2. What am I writing? I just finished up a revision on LIVING OUT LOUD! I cut over 20,000 words during this revision. Phew! I still think this book needs a lot of work, but I plan to do a read-through to find the obvious errors and then find a beta reader to get some outside feedback before I go back in to do anymore. I'm thrilled to be on the other side of this revision, though. It was tough!

3. Lots going on this weekend for me. First of all, I'm off to a homeschool curriculum fair to purchase supplies for schooling my son for the next year. I find these fairs really fun--there are so many great and creative resources for teaching kids these days.

4. Many of you know I've been a professional Polynesian dancer for many years. I love it, and I've been asked to be a judge this weekend for a big international Polynesian dance competition. I recently had to write up a bio for this event, and it was funny because I write a lot of bios for different events, but this one is so...non-writing-focused. Since most of you only ever here about my writing adventures, here are a few highlights: Over thirty years of dance training, traveling internationally as dance captain and performer with Paul Latta Show Productions, owner and operator my own dance school for eight years, and co-promoter of Canada's largest natural bodybuilding competition (with my husband) for nine years.

This doesn't include my background as mushroom farmer, church secretary, or jewelry manager, among other things. I've had a very varied life (which I love!) It all gives me plenty of fodder for writing (though, I admit, I have not written about a Polynesian dancer yet).

Happy weekend to you all! Hope there is plenty of sunshine and happiness ahead for all of you :-)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Four!

The Program (The Program, #1)

1. What am I reading? I'm thoroughly enjoying THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young. Funny, the love interest in this one has the same name (first and last) as an old friend of my husband's. But the characters are so well-drawn and captivating, I had no trouble getting over the name thing. Do names sometimes hinder you when you're reading, because of personal experience with a name or expectations of a name?

2. What am I writing? Still working on LIVING OUT LOUD. I've cut almost 15k from this manuscript in the last week and a half, so I'm really happy about that. My sentimental side has almost completely been shut off. (Hopefully temporarily!)

3. I'm planning a writing class for the fall, for homeschool kids around my son's age (nine), and it looks like we will have a houseful! Twelve kids want to take the class (or their parents want them to take it). We will meet once a week to learn about novel-writing through September and October, and then the kids will all be working on their own "NaNo" projects through the month of November.

4. Other than that, I don't have much planned for upcoming events. I will be signing books at the Surrey International Writers Conference (hopefully), and have submitted a few conference proposals. If you have a local writer's conference that brings in out of town authors, let me know. I'd love to travel a little in the next year teaching on FAST FICTION to coincide with my book by that name.

I'm off to my son's judo tournament this weekend, and then a birthday party with "The Reptile Guy." Maybe I'll let my husband take my son to that one! The sun is shining. Happy weekend!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Four!


1. What am I reading? PIECES by Chris Lynch. This guy is a freaking phenomenal writer.

2. What am I writing? Same ol' same ol'. LIVING OUT LOUD. But I've finished up the tedious revisions and I'm now onto big picture stuff--deleting entire scenes or chapters, moving stuff around, creating new sub-plots, that sort of thing. Right now it's sitting at over 100k, and I hope to get it down to at least 80 in this revision.

3. I was recently asked to answer this incredibly difficult question:

"What do you think you'd do if someone you knew confessed to you that they'd committed a murder, and what do you think you'd actually do?  

Terra Elan McVoy posted my answer, along with five other brilliant and varied answers from other authors on her blog this week, in celebration of her release of her latest YA novel, CRIMINAL. Here's the link! It's definitely worth checking out.

4. I'm off to the Cloverdale Rodeo this weekend! I recently read a friend's manuscript, which was set among the rodeo circuit. I've never been to a rodeo, but it really intrigued me. So when the secretary from my church asked me if I'd be willing to help at their Horse Camp booth at the rodeo, I said sure. I'm excited about it, though I don't know if I'll actually get to see any of the rodeo performances. Have you been to a rodeo? What do you like best about them?

I am getting caught up this week! Or at least I'm trying my best. If you're waiting for an email or interview or vlog or anything else from me, I'm hoping to get to it to you in the next week, and thank you thank you for being patient!

Happy weekend, everyone, and YEEEHAWWWW!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday - Characters

I just finished up a revision, and so I'm doing what I often do during mini-breaks between revisions: letting my mind dwell on the characterization of my characters. What's working, what's not. What kind of strange or offensive or unlikable qualities I've unknowingly woven into my manuscript.

So this week I thought I'd focus my WYR questions on characters. No rules here, except you must pick one or the other, even if your answer lies somewhere in between.

1. Would you rather read about a character who is too perfect or too flawed?

2. Would you rather read about a character who is too brash or too nice?

3. Would you rather read about a character who is smart and knows it or who is dumb and doesn't know it?

Have fun! And feel free to give examples if they come to you off the top of your head. I'll be back with my answers soon...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Celebrating ALL Women Today!

Mother's Day is an interesting holiday. I don't deny that mothers give a lot of themselves for their kids--24/7 for many years beyond the ones when they're changing diapers or helping with homework. I agree that this deserves celebration. I have a wonderful mother, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. Thanks for everything, Mom!

But I've looked at the holiday from a different perspective many times as well. As someone who has struggled to become a mom, struggled to sustain a pregnancy, our society and it's focus on Mother's Day can actually be pretty wounding. I can't tell you the amount of times I felt less-than on a Mother's Day because I couldn't do something that so many women seemingly achieved so naturally and easily.

Since then, of course, I've realized that is not necessarily the case. I can't count on my fingers and toes (even several times over) the amount of women who have contacted me after I post something about this on the blog and mention that they've struggled with something similar. And that they've struggled with feeling like less of a person on a day that celebrates mothers.

I've been blessed with a wonderful little boy who is nine now. This is after four miscarriages and one tubal pregnancy and many years of trying to conceive. I can't say that the parenting journey has always been easy either (even though I know I've had it really good compared to some). So I honor and salute all my friends who have endured the joys and sorrows of parenting. But I also honor and salute all of you who, for whatever reason, haven't. I salute you even more, because there are probably less of us that understand each other and can give each other (((cyber-hugs)))

Many blessings to all of my women friends today! May you be honored, cherished, and understood among your friends and family!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Four!

Crash (Visions, #1)

1. What am I reading? I think I have a little author-crush on Lisa McMann. I've been listening to the audiobook for CRASH, and I really love so much about this book. I think you may find it listed in my top twelve (blog sidebar) soon. I don't normally gravitate to books with paranormal elements, but Lisa McMann weaves that stuff in so well that I feel completely like I'm still in a real-world contemporary book. The only problem with CRASH is that it has a love interest named Sawyer, who has been the main character's crush since elementary school, and is forbidden to be with him due to family situations - all of this hits way too close to one my current books. So that's annoying, but, SIGH, I can't help but love this book anyway.
How I Lost You2. What ELSE am I reading? HOW I LOST YOU by Janet Gurtler. If you love YA contemporary and haven't read anything by Janet, you should definitely do it. She is an asset to the genre. This book was JUST released, and I should also mention that there were some pretty amazing books also just released this week. Like THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr (see sidebar top 12). If you love books about music prodigies, or just plain good writing, this (and VIRTUOSITY by Jessica Martinez) are great choices. Also, CRIMINAL by my author friend Terra Elan McVoy just came out this week, and I haven't read this one yet, but it sounds awesome and I can't wait to pick up a copy. I'm kind of on a book-buying ban at the moment, but I did suggest it as a purchase for my library, so hopefully it'll be in soon!

3. What am I writing? UGH. I don't want to talk about it.

But, okay, I will, because this is my blog and I'm supposed to be honest here, right? I've been plodding through a very tedious revision of a book that I have tentatively titled LIVING OUT LOUD. It's going so slowly and I'm finding lots of big issues that I have to somehow solve in the next draft. Trying to think about two revisions at once is overwhelming, so I'm trying to regularly remind myself not to do that. The tediousness is mostly in converting it from third person (Trev said...) to first person (I said...) and also half of it from past tense (he was) to present tense (he is). And did I also mention that I'm converting this book from adult to YA. It's a huge job, and to be completely honest, every morning I wake up hoping my agent or editor will send me something that is higher priority. Yeah, I'm not very proud of my attitude at the moment.

4. If you follow me on Facebook, you may already know about this (and find it incredibly annoying that I'm talking about it AGAIN). But this is one area I'm really proud of myself in. I did my first front handspring this week! I'm talking the first one in my LIFE. It wasn't great, but I did land on my feet. This is a big deal for me for several reasons which I'll go into detail about in another post. Also, I just got some breakdancing dvd's from the library, so this will be the next venture for my son and I.

The sun is shining, and every time I'm on my computer I find myself wishing there was a laptop that was as clear in the sun as indoors. Like my Kindle. This is what I want: a laptop with e-ink. Is there such a thing? Will there ever be such a thing?

Anyway, hopefully you are having beautiful weather too wherever you are. Happy weekend to you!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday...

It's nearing the end of the school year, so I thought this week I'd focus on a few school questions. Even if you're not in school, try to remember what you were like when you were. Or maybe you have kids in school and you can put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

Remember you have to choose one or the other, even if the answer falls somewhere in between.

1. Would you rather be an A student with very little free time, or a C+ student with lots of free time?

2. Would you rather be known as the teacher's pet or the class clown?

3. Would you rather go to school year-round with shorter school days (4 hours) or have long summer, spring, and Christmas breaks, but go to school for a long time each day (8 hours)?

I look forward to your answers, and I'll be back with mine soon...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And The Winner Is...

Remember that contest I had last week for the entire box of ARC's and books? Well, has helped me pick a winner!


Please send me your mailing address to d(at)denisejaden(dot)com and I'll get it out to you ASAP.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Four!

1. What am I reading? THEN YOU WERE GONE by Lauren Strasnick. If you haven't read a book by this author, I highly recommend it, especially if you are an author. She is brilliant at saying so much with a few perfectly chosen words. I was saying on Twitter how I feel like I've taken a writing course after reading a Lauren Strasnick book, and it's true. A very enjoyable writing course.

2. What am I writing? I finished up my revision of FINDING HOPE a few days ago and it's off with a reader. I have a few things I need to get caught up on--marketing questionnaires, promised vlogs and interviews, etc. but I can feel myself resisting working on my next work-in-progress revision (another companion novel to LOSING FAITH called LIVING OUT LOUD). I've decided instead to push myself to get going on this revision. Once I'm caught up in it and enjoying the work (which I'm convinced will happen eventually), I will allow myself to put some time into other less-creative ventures that would probably otherwise take over my writing time.

3. Speaking of LIVING OUT LOUD...I won't tell you too much about it yet, but I will tell you this: It's in a guy's point of view (Trev, Tessa's love interest from FINDING HOPE). I've written a few short stories from guys' POV's before, but never a full novel (other than this one). Many of my point of view characters in my novels have stretched me, but this one is definitely stretching me the most. How do you get in the head of a guy (and why would anyone want to? LOL) Besides the male POV, I'm also changing this book from third person to first person, and changing much of it from past tense to present tense. I'm moving things around and trying to work with an alternating timeline. Not sure how it's working yet, but I will finish it up, put it aside and come back to look at it with fresh eyes and see.

Do you have a favorite male POV book you would recommend? I'd love to read a couple of good ones over the next little while.

4. The audio book of LOSING FAITH is finally available! I've already told you guys how excited I am for this, so I won't go on and on and on again. But if you're interested, you can get it from Audible or it will be up on Amazon and iTunes within the next few days. Even if you aren't able to buy a copy, I hope you'll stop by and listen to the sample (and ask your library to get it in). Becca Battoe did such an amazing job at bringing Brie's story to life, and I really want to share it with everyone who is part of my life. 

May the Fourth be with you all this weekend. (Yes, my Star Wars Christmas tree is still up in my living room, for those who are wondering.) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Would You Rather Wednesday!

I totally did not realize it was Wednesday until just this second! (This is what happens when you homeschool with a flexible schedule). Three quick questions for today. I look forward to your answers, and will be back with mine later...

1. Would you rather read a book that is extremely funny or one that is achingly good but sad?

2. Would you rather read a book that scares the pants off of you or watch a movie that scares the pants off of you? (remember, you must pick one or the other!)

3. Would you rather read a book that keeps you entertained from start to finish, or read one that has dull spots, but also has some extremely insightful moments?