Woo! Completed First Draft of WIP!

This post so couldn't wait until WIP Wednesday

So, everyone, my big spring break goal was achieved. I COMPLETED THE ROUGH DRAFT OF PERFECTION IS MY ENEMY! Wooooo! *throws confetti*

I was so stuck on it for the longest time. Actually, I think it was since my last school break in February. Then, last Saturday, I'm not sure what hit me, but I wrote like a maniac all week. Early on, I never expected to finish it... but as the week went on, and the words weren't giving up, I started thinking I could.

My total word count this spring break week wracked in at 22, 488 words. (Holy whoa, my eyes bulged out just typing that.) And the total word count of the book rings in at just over 68k.

And now I have a finished MS. My second finished MS. I'm already reworking the story in my head... cutting unnecessary scenes, adding more development to some characters, taking out unnecessary characters. But I really feel that this story has tons of potential. My first draft writing was miles better than DANCING THROUGH LIFE's was.

I have such a good feeling about this book, and I can't believe it's completed! I can't wait to continue working on it! Whoot!


The Carrier of the Mark Review

A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it?

A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRís calls to her body and soul.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in.

For those of you who don't know, I was lucky enough to win an ARC of The Carrier of the Mark through an InkPop giveaway!! Thank you InkPop! Eek, I was so excited to receive it in the mail, I kind of had a mini freakout. I think my parents think I'm weird... LOL.

The Carrier of the Mark is unlike anything I've read before. The premise is so unique, that it's almost hard to describe. I thought having it set in Ireland was quite refreshing and new, and I liked learning some Irish heritage as well as terms. I fell in love with Kinsale along with Megan. I loved all the magic in the book, and how a totally unique spin was put on it. Some of my favorite scenes in the book was seeing the magic in action and how it was described. And the mystery around it all is what's most enticing, and what will keep you reading.

One thing about this book is that there were so many characters! But Leigh handled them all extremely well, and each one had definitive qualities in the way that I never mixed anyone up. The introduction of each character was well done, and development throughout the book was strong. Oh, and thank you for sneaking in the pronunciation at points for a few of the names, because I would've had NO CLUE how to say Aine throughout the entire book! Haha!

I loved watching Adam and Megan's relationship blossom and grow. They were so perfect for each other, and their relationship felt real. So many "aww!" moments. Megan in general was just a wonderful main character to watch. She had the perfect balance of strength and weakness. While at points it reminded me of the Bella/Edward relationship... let's just say that Megan is no Bella! And Adam is no Edward either.

But while I loved Adam and Megan together... I don't know what it was, but I didn't LOVE Adam. I can't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe that's just because his whole overprotectiveness isn't my thing. Instead, I found myself crushing on Rian, Adam's hot older brother. Gah, I loved him! The angst, the torture within....mmm.... HOT. Which is funny because... WAIT. I shall say no more -zips my lips-.

And I know I've said this a million times, but after reading the story I feel the need to reiterate how much I love the cover of this book! It's beautiful, and really relates to the story. I love when the cover of a book is in essence what the story is about, because I've seen so many covers and think "what does that have to do with the story?"

For me, the story really started to pick up when the magic came into play. This was were Leigh Fallon showed off her magnificent story telling skills, and what a story she came up with. Leigh, how the heck did you ever think of all this? It's awesome! I mean, some elements we have seen before, but all the Irish heritage and ancient orders behind it is what makes it so unique! The writing itself is simple and really moved the story forward.

And the ending! What a perfect ending. I HATE when books leave off with this huge cliffhanger, and I have to wait over a year to find out what happens next. The Carrier of the Mark brings a satisfying ending, one that allows the book to stand on its own, yet there's enough unanswered questions to make you read the sequel.

I was so fortunate to be able to read this book early. And it was my first ARC ever too! One problem, who am I going to talk to about it until it hits stores? o.O

The Carrier of the Mark hits bookshelves everywhere October 4th, 2011.
Add The Carrier of the Mark to your goodreads shelf.
Like The Carrier of the Mark on Facebook.
Follow Leigh Fallon on Twitter
Follow Leigh Fallon on her blog. (Speaking of which, there's an ARC competition over there going on RIGHT NOW. Go enter people! Extra goodies are possibly involved!)

Hmm.. there appears to be a lot of loving going around when it comes to The Carrier of the Mark!

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

I was fortunate enough to read the first few chapters of Dark Inside back when it was on InkPop, where I met and became friends with Jeyn. And let me just tell you, I am dying to read more. The writing style, the action, everything is gripping right from the start. I know this book is going to be HUGE when it's released, and I will be counting down the days!

Don't know what Dark Inside is about? Well, here's the goodreads blurb:

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wrecka
ge, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

Epic, right? Dark Inside has been described as taking on a genre of it's own, and I'm so anxious to get my hands on a copy of it this fall.

Dark Inside is being released in the UK on September 2nd, 2011, and in the USA November 1st, 2011.

God, November feels so far away right now! :P


An Award? For Me?

My first blogger award, wahoo!
Paige over at the828.blogspot.com awarded me this:

So apparently I'm stylish ;)
Anyways, thanks Paige! I met Paige through InkPop and she's been such a huge supporter of my writing, especially Dancing Through Life. Might have to do with the fact that we're both dancers. :) Anyways, you rock! I'm honored :D

So, seven things about me. Hmm...

1) I've been dancing since I was three years old.

2) Confession: I wasn't the biggest fan of writing or English class for the longest time. I mean, I enjoyed making up my own stories well enough, but those assignments were rare, and the teachers I had were so boring. In seventh grade I had the most amazing English teacher, who is definitely the reason I fell in love with writing. If it weren't for her, I have no clue how I'd be spending my same time.

3) I can't start something without finishing it. People say that they have a lot of abandoned projects they haven't touched in ages. I had a completed rough draft of DTL in five months. Needless to say, it was horrible, but I could still say I finished a book.

4) I'm Vice President of my class.

5) I'm sentimental and tend to have a tough time throwing things away.

6) I love to travel. My life goal is to visit every single state and set foot on every continent (well, maybe not Antarctica :P) Dream vacation would be to Australia (I have an unhealthy obsession with it.) I also want to travel all throughout Europe.

7) I love musicals and Broadway and everything about Times Square and New York City. (Well, apart from the rude people and the traffic.)

Now for passing on this award. I give the stylish blog award to:
1) Laura (http://lauratoeniskoetter.blogspot.com)
2) Kristia (http://xokristeeauhox.blogspot.com/)
3) YAtopia (http://yatopia.blogspot.com/)
4) Zoey (though I do miss that monkey layout! LOL) (http://zoeysuncreativelytitledblog.blogspot.com/)
5) Erika- considering it's ACTUALLY fashion blog. With the cutest stuff too! (http://cafefashionista.blogspot.com/)


Where She Went by Gayle Forman

It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

This week I read a book whose words were too beautiful to describe. Where She Went by Gayle Forman is an emotional roller coaster with the dry humor, despair, and hope all mixed into one.

There are no words that can describe how much this book moved me. I loved seeing things through Adam's eyes, and seeing how much he loved Mia and how he dealt with her leaving. It might have to do with what a sucker I am for the tortured artist.

Everything about this book felt real. The characters, the relationships, the emotions, all of it. To be honest, I wasn't sure how it was going to compare to If I Stay, because that book was so heartbreakingly beautiful and left me in tears. But I instantly fell in love with Adam's voice and connected with him in a way I've connected with few characters.

Surprisingly, the tears never came with this book, except slight watering of the eyes at the end. Instead, I found myself completely numb, not quite knowing what to say or feel that could do this book justice. This is the kind of book that will stay on your mind for days after you finish it.

This book will stay with me forever. I only hope that one day I'll be able to write a book that touches others the way Where She Went has touched me.

WIP Wednesdays (2): Dancing Through Life

As I mentioned in my first WIP, Dancing Through Life is in the process of undergoing a major rewrite. I'm cutting out a lot of the overly dramatic soap opera-esque scenes that I thought were fantastic when I originally wrote them, and made a huge plot change that I'm finally going to reveal.

Here it is.

Chloe's dad isn't going to die. (GASP!)
I know, I know. But after thinking long and hard about it, I've decided that Chloe is going to have a long time boyfriend/dance partner named Ty, who dies months previous to when the book begins. I feel like this will be a way to further develop Chloe and her relationship later on with Jake. It'll be harder for him to win her over!

Also, I want to delve further into Jake's childhood and his father. Make him more rounded out and realistic.

I'm really excited as to how it's coming along so far. I really do believe these changes are going to make a world of a difference. And the writing itself is a lot stronger, I feel. I began this book when I was thirteen years old, and I'm so excited to begin this new chapter with Dancing Through Life.

Word Count as of the last WIP: 10,688
Current Word Count: 16,449

My next goal: Surpass 25k by the end of my spring break, i.e. April 24th.

For now, here's a piece of chapter one of the new DTL. I've love for you to tell me what you think in the comments!

It’s funny how quickly circumstances can change. How one second, I feel like I’m diving head first into my dream. How I’ve never wanted anything more in my whole life except this one chance. This one opportunity to become the best dancer I can be. Then, in another millisecond, the moment I here the words, he’s gone, I’m so sorry, everything just stops. Suddenly, that dream doesn’t matter anymore. In fact, it means nothing. Because he’s not here with me, to share all the excitement. I want to turn back time, go back to before I took that leap. But I can’t, because once you jump, there’s no going back.

"I'm not going." I say, fists clenched at my sides, looking around at the cluttered mess that surrounds me. "I'm not."

"You're already packing," my best friend, Mandy, replies. "And this…" she holds up my acceptance letter to the New York School of Performing Arts, "…is why. You're going because you're talented and you will be knocking the socks off of every Broadway producer alive when you get out of this program and you're on an official audition. This is the proof that you're going to be a fantastic dancer.”

“The thing is, I don’t dance anymore. Never. Nada. Don’t you get it?” I cross my arms over my chest and fall back onto my bed.

“Right,” Mandy says sarcastically, rolling her hazel eyes. “I know you miss it. Don’t even deny it. Plus, just think, you’ll have the story to go with your auditions. 'My boyfriend died in a car accident and he is my inspiration to be the best dancer I can be.' Chloe, you have to dance. You were born for it. It's all that you've known."

"Except Ty," I reply. "And he's not here. It's been five months, Mandy."

"I know, and look where you are. If I were in your situation, I wouldn't even be going. I would have tried to get the application fee back. NYSPA would have understood your situation."

“If you wouldn’t do this, why are you pushing it on me?” I snap.

Mandy sighs, exasperated, and twirls her copper-colored hair with her fingers. “Because you deserve this opportunity. And I know for a fact that this is what Ty would want for you. Don’t even deny it.”

My hand shoots up to the ballet slipper pendant around my neck. Even though I stopped dancing, I never take off this gift from Ty. I finger the pendant and close my eyes, letting the lost memories of Ty, my boyfriend of two years, come back to me.

He should be with me right now. This isn’t how it was supposed to happen. I was supposed to have the summer of a lifetime in New York City dancing with my boyfriend.

I remember the last time we danced together. We were at the studio all day, recording our audition videos that were to be sent to NYSPA. We could spend hours at that studio together without a dull moment…

When the music ended, I sat in my split. My breathing was as heavy as if I had just climbed Mount Everest. In the mirrored walls I saw my smiling reflection. I saw the sweat that had formed at the nape of my neck. I put my heart and soul into that dance, and in return it took everything I had left in me. I’d worked on that lyrical dance for weeks, months, to make it perfect. This audition was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I was not going to let it slip through my fingers.

“Chloe. That was…wow. I still can’t get over watching you dance. You never cease to amaze me,” he said. He threw the camera down and held his hand out to me. I took it, and he pulled me up to him, wrapping his arms around my waist.

“Ty! I’m all gross right now,” I said, trying to pull away from his grasp. He kissed me anyway, even though he knew I was all sweaty and hot. His hands slid down my arms and around my waist, pulling me into him.

Immediately, I eased up. I wrapped my arms around his neck, closing the space between us. It was amazing the effect he still had on me. Two years, and every kiss still felt like the first.

I broke the kiss. “Hey, it’s your turn now.” I brushed his disheveled black hair out of his warm brown eyes. “Get dancing, buddy.”

“Fine, but I was getting to that, you know,” he said, yelling over the song that was currently booming through the speakers. Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed my hand and started leading me into one of those silly, unprepared dances that we were so well known for. I was enveloped in a series of progressive turns and complex footwork, ending in a dip. I laughed at how silly this was, but then remembered we had to get back down to business. We only had so much time at the studio before classes started.

“Come on, Ty. We have to make your video!” I said with assertion.

“Okay, okay,” he said. He took his mix CD off the table and put it in the stereo. Our eyes locked for a moment, and I knew we were both thinking the same thing. That we wished we could just send an audition video in together. Only individuals were allowed to audition for this program. It was too bad. Ty was good. I was good. But together, we were fantastic.

He put together a hip hop/break-dancing piece for his audition. It rocked. Watching him dance was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen. He was always so in sync, his body and the music moving as one.

My lip trembles as I desperately attempt to hold back the tears that want to form. Memories of him always come rushing back and hit me at the worst moments. Just when I feel like I’m getting by, like I can begin to move on, all these little things about him will come back to me, and I’ll find myself choking back sobs all over again.

I look over to the mirror on my bureau and see my reflection. The black eyeliner that’s usually used to accent my bright blue eyes is smudged because I can’t hold back the tears. Permanent bags have formed under my eyes from the constant lack of sleep. My blonde hair is thrown up in a frizzy bun, pieces of it sprawling out everywhere. I am a mess.

Mandy sees the look on my face and immediately wraps me in a hug. She towers over me at five-eight, while I’m a mere five-two. I bury my face into her chest and start sobbing.

“I miss him so much,” I cry into her shoulder. “I—I thought it would get easier as time went on. It doesn’t.”

“I know,” Mandy says sympathetically. By now, she’s used to dealing with my emotional breakdowns. I break away from Mandy’s embrace, mindlessly grabbing the first articles of clothing I see and throwing them in my bag.

My parents think that shipping me off to New York for the summer will be good for me. They think I need to experience new things, meet new people, and try to ‘move forward.’ What they don’t understand is that I’m done with dance. I quit.

Why doesn’t anyone believe me when I say this?

“Bring this skirt. It’s really cute.” Mandy interrupts my thoughts, throwing a denim miniskirt in my direction. “Match it with this shirt—” she throws a pink flowing tank top “—and these shoes, and you’ll be the cutest girl on campus,” she says, holding up my pair of white wedges.

“Whatever,” I mutter, throwing the combo in my bag.

“Chloe, snap out of it already. Most people would die for the opportunity and talent you have. And you’re going whether you like it or not, right?”

I shrug, replying, “I guess so.”

“So stop whining and at least attempt to have a decent summer. No one is asking you to jump right back into dance full force. We don’t expect that. Go slow. Or at least delude yourself into thinking that it’s just a summer in New York City away from your parents and embrace the freedom that comes with it. God, Chloe, just live again. Please.” Her eyes plead with me.

I shrug off her comment. She sighs, and then eyes the pile of books in my ‘need to bring’ pile. I’ve been doing a lot of reading these past few months. It’s my coping mechanism of choice, a perfect way to escape my own pain and get lost somewhere else. Places that, unlike the real world, have happy endings.


I hope you liked it!

Is It Weird How Excited I Get Seeing This?

This is the video of Leigh Fallon receiving her first ever ARCs (and nearly assaulting the UPS guy!) What an exciting experience, and I'm so happy that she was able to capture the moment to share with us. She's the first InkPopper to be living the dream, and hopefully they'll be many more to come!


Fiction Friday: The Phantom of the Opera

I'm currently reading The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. The high suspense drama and stunning prose is making this book quite an enjoyable read. Being written in 1912, I expected it to be a hard read, but it's surprisingly easy to follow.

This book has a bit of a personal backstory, so this post will be a little different than future fiction fridays.
I've been a die-hard phantom fan since I was eight years old and I saw the movie. I found it fascinating, as opposed to creepy like I think any other eight year old would have. My parents are both huge Phantom fans, and have seen the musical multiple times.

That next summer, when I was nine, my family and family friends went on what was my first trip to NYC, where we saw Phantom. Even though it was six years ago, I still remember so much of that trip. It was in that moment that I fell in love with New York City. I remember walking down the streets, holding my mom's hand, just staring up at the buildings.

At one point we went into Phantom gift shop, filled with everything you can possibly imagine. Basic things like T-Shirts and Magnets, all the way to the rose and the mask. But none of these things particularly interested me. Nope, little nine year old me wanted the book.

Only, when I got the back, nine year old me was SO disappointed. In my mind, the book was supposed to be EXACTLY like the movie. That plus big vocabulary that I didn't understand is what made me put the book down after no more than thirty pages.

After my New York trip last week, I've been on a Phantom fix, constantly listening to the music. And I decided that I want to try the book again. And right now I'm LOVING it. What a fantastic read it is! This is classic gothic at its best.


Waiting on Wednesday (1)

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

My first edition of Waiting on Wednesday goes to debut author Leigh Fallon's THE CARRIER OF THE MARK. I remember reading the first few chapters of this book back on InkPop where I met Leigh, and thinking how great it was. Though I never actually commented because that was back when I was too intimidated to actually join InkPop, haha. When she finally spilled the news that CARRIER was being published through HarperCollins, making her the first Inkie to be published, I was ecstatic for her and for the book, and I've been following her journey to being published ever since via her blog and twitter.

There's been lots of buzz about this book, so shame on you if you DON'T know what it's about. But here's the blurb just in case. :)

A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it?

A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRís calls to her body and soul.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in.

Sounds awesome, right?

THE CARRIER OF THE MARK is being released October 4th 2011, and I know I'll be anxiously waiting to have a gorgeous copy in my hands. (Which is why I practically stalk her blog for any ARC giveaways... haha!)

Even early on, it's already clear that everyone will be talking about CARRIER as it's release date gets closer.


New York, New York

I just had the most amazing day yesterday. My school's music department took a whirlwind day trip to New York City. In a nutshell, we did a workshop, did a little shopping, ate at a NY pizzeria, and saw the brand new musical,Wonderland, a modern take on Alice in Wonderland.

First off was the five hour bus ride. But we watched Harry Potter the whole ride up, so it wasn't too bad. We got into the city at about 1:30. The last time I was in NYC was six years ago, I was nine and saw Phantom of the Opera. I've been trying to get back for years, and I was so excited to finally be able to. The gross, drizzly rain didn't even bring me down. In fact, my friends and I marched around NYC bursting out in "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the raaaainnnn."

The first thing we did was a workshop. We got to go to a studio where real Broadway actors rehearse. (I heard from one group from our school that there was a Bernadette Peters sighting.) It was unreal getting into the elevator and having a paper posted "4th Level- Les Miserables, Memphis" "12th Level- Billy Elliot" and such.

I did a Music & Movement workshop with a guy who's an actor in Memphis. He taught a bit of "Steal Your Rock 'N
' Roll" and the dance that went with it. So we're learning the dance, and after we do it, he specifically points me out and tells me,"You're awesome. You got this."

A freaking BROADWAY actor complemented ME. That just about made my day right off the bat.

After the workshop we made our way up to Times Square, one of my favorite places in the world. I love the energy there. At that point, my teacher either said we could go to Hershey or M&M, both of which are right across the street from each other, and set a meeting time.

I remember M&M from the last time I went, and it's seriously the coolest place ever. It's three floors, of the coolest stuff.

After that, we headed to a pizzeria for dinner in the theatre district. I have decided that it is true, NY Pizza is the best in this world. I mean damn, it was a good slice of pizza.

And then the show, Wonderland. Wow, it was amazing! Everything about it. The music, the cast, the costumes, the set. The dialogue was witty and hilarious, everyone was cracking up. And the dancing was too funny at times. The voices blew me away. Everything about it was great!

We got to see one of the first previews of the show, and it was too great. The whole audience was standing up as soon as the curtain call began. Another great thing was being able to see the original Broadway cast, the people who I'll hear if I buy the CD. There's something great about seeing the Originals, in my opinion.

All and all, an incredible day. Here are some more pics!

Broadway. The greatest place in the world <3

View from the second floor of M&M. Times Square in essence.

The Giant Yellow M&M :D

A fantastic show. I see Tony noms in your future ;)

My souvenir. I saw it and the theatre geek within simply couldn't resist.