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Things I’m Up To and Into

First, I want you to know I’m working on subsequent articles about social issues related to beauty, makeup, weight, etc., but I’m trying to move slow with them so I’m certain of my position and how I want to talk about this stuff. Glad to know you guys are as interested in it as I am :-)

Here are some things I’m doing now:

Writing. It’s been a bad few weeks, writing-wise. I’ve been stuck and unsatisfied, but it worked out, like it always does. I took a few steps back and just let my characters play around, and broke through my obstacles. Just asking myself, ‘how are they feeling in this scene? What do they want right now?’ really, really helps. I’m considering making posters of writer’s-block-breaking questions like this.

So ACORAS is moving forward, and I’m tinkering in my mind with a few side projects.

Running. Chris and I ran THREE MILES on Saturday! Whaaaat! Full disclosure: I only made it 2.25 before I had to stop and walk, but I finished strong!

Planning for Halloween. I’m attending a conference in early October in Atlanta, GA, and there’s going to be a costume ball! This year I’m going as Persephone when she’s Queen of the Underworld. My vision was big, black, and gauzy. Here are some of the inspiration photos:

   

I’ve also ordered a black wedding veil, and my sewing-talented mother is getting involved, so I can’t wait to show you all the final product. What are you going as for Halloween?

Last year I felt pretty lackluster about Halloween and autumn in general, so this year I avoided thinking about it so I’d feel ready to do it big!

I’m really loving this Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook. Picked it up at the magazine rack at the grocery store.

You can see my other Halloween plans here on my Pinterest board.

Preparing for Christmas. Every year Chris and I throw a party at our house for our two families. This year we went with a Godfather theme. Here’s the party invitation:

The menu includes  Chris’s Nana’s meatball recipe, home-made baguettes for custom crustinis, and home-made cannolis. Chris tested out the cannoli recipe at my parent’s house this weekend and they were so good. We made them with Kahlua filling ;-)

My color theme for Christmas this year is light green and silver. You can see my decorating ideas here on my Pinterest Christmas board.

…Have I mentioned that I love holidays?

Take special note of this pin. I’m currently making it in white and green.

DIY. Speaking of Pinterest, it led me to discover tons of DIY projects that rip off Anthropologie decorations. If you’re like me, you love Anthro but don’t want to pay the high price. Now you don’t have to. Special thanks to this blog, my new favorite.

Music. I’m adding music all the time to the ACORAS playlist, if you were interested. The latest piece is this absolutely beautiful instrumental piece from one of my favorite calming music artists, Liquid Mind. It literally made me cry. Do you know how rare that is?

I’m also loving Little Talks from Of Monsters and Men. I designed an animated music video for it in my head that is about ACORAS. What? You do it, too.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Chris and my dog Bella wrestling on the floor:

What are you doing for Halloween? What are you into lately? Got any Christmas plans yet?

<3, Savannah

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A Fluffdate: Playlists, Incest, and Help Me Remember a Fairytale?

What is a fluffdate, you ask? It’s an update with fluff in it. A fluffy update. A fluffdate. You’re smart; you get it.

Playlists

I’ve been steadily adding songs to the ACORAS playlist, which you can find on the ACORAS page. I’ve bolded ones that were major influences to the story, but the rest are pretty good, too, I guess. If you like awesome.

(The first part of The Funeral is my dream track for the ACORAS movie/book trailer.)

In particular, the lyrics of Little Talks had me nearly in tears yesterday. Nearly. Which is sobbing for normal people.

Incest

I talked about this a little on Twitter recently. Basically I realized that in two books I have strange, pseudo-incest romances. I’m pretty sure this has to do with my ideas about family, love, blood, water, etc., but let’s dissect it for fun:

In ACORAS, for Rose there’s the opportunity for romance with one of the descendants of her brother. He’s technically her grand-nephew. Sounds totally incesty, but does it make it better that Rose and her brother weren’t blood relatives? One of them was adopted, so she has no blood relation to this grand-nephew. Their ages are very close, and they never knew each other until Rose woke up, so it’s not like they grew up together.

Is that incest?

Second scenario: In a new book I’m fleshing out, the MC and her love interest are second-half cousins. They have the same great-grandfather, but their grandfathers were born to different women, so they were half-brothers. Legally you can marry your second-cousin but personally I still find that a bit weird. So I made them half-second-cousins.

So is it incest?

Look, I’m not a huge incest advocate over here. I am troubled that readers might find these relationships disturbing. I feel somewhat squicky about it myself. But here’s my feeling on why I think this stuff keeps cropping up:

I like family drama. When you are blood related there’s a strange biological compulsion there to help each other out. Yet at the same time, family is permanent; you can’t divorce or break up with family. Even if you hate each other you’re still part of the same blood. For these reasons I think a lot of people take their family relationships for granted, because no matter how thoughtless or careless or mean you are, you can never lose them. This causes people to be less kind than they could be.

And it also results in great drama sometimes: doing what you feel is best for someone even when they disagree, the obligation to care for and protect them, the dedication to face hell for them, the loyalty to choose them over everyone else. There’s so much potential for awesome moments and choices and conflicts.

But I also really love exploring relationships where deep love turns someone into your family even though there’s no blood relation. When you fall in love and marry someone you become family. But we don’t consider those relationships incesty. Family doesn’t automatically equal incest; blood does.

And I do truly believe that family is made of more than blood. Sometimes your blood turns on you. Sometimes your blood is really shitty. There are people out there disowning and being disowned, and deciding never to speak to their blood relatives again. Loyalty and dedication can be just as powerful when you are related by love and not blood.

There’s a country song that goes “Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood.” And I guess I believe that.

So going back to Rose – we have these two characters who are family, by love if not by blood. They are friends, and they are close, and they work together. If something sparks from that is it okay?

I think so.

And as for my half-second-cousin scenario… A huge part of the plot has to do with lines of succession. I needed the MCs to be of the same social standing, good friends as children, and for one’s disappearance/appearance to affect the succession of the other. Therefore they had to be somewhat related. Yet I’m feeling this thing between them that is stronger than blood. One sacrifices a heck of a lot to save the other, and I feel like there should be this deep, abiding love there. Love deeper than platonicness would allow. Hence, second-half-cousins.

What do you think? Would you be squicked out by this relationship? What about relationships that might be incesty except adoption takes away the blood relation?

Can you remember this fairytale?

I’m looking for fairytales or stories where someone is pulled into another world/underworld/shadow land, etc., and the other person has to go and save them, perhaps having to pass tests or sacrifice in order to get them back.

I feel as if there are some great stories like this out there, but I can’t remember them and I’ve misplaced my big book of fairytales. All suggestions are welcome, but here’s what I have so far:

  • A Troll in Central Park
  • The 7 Tasks of Hercules
  • Spirited Away
  • East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  • Hercules the movie

Can you come up with anything else? I feel like I’m missing something big here, and I cannot place it.

Personal News

I have always wanted to be a runner. For years I believed I just didn’t have a body that could take it. Whenever we ran in gym class I felt like my lungs couldn’t keep up with my body’s demand for oxygen. I have a big body, and I figured when you got to a certain point the proportions are all wrong and I just wouldn’t be able to keep up.

*cough* I was wrong. And now Chris and I are running! On Saturday I did a 2 mile run, 1.5 of it without stopping, which is a personal lifetime best. We’re about to do another 2 mile run tonight. What changed for me? I have no idea. Sorry. Somehow now I’m able to a) not get bored, and b) go for long periods of time without my lungs feeling overwhelmed. Yeah, I dunno either. I’m like 30 pounds overweight so this shouldn’t be possible.

The ACORAS rewrite continues to go well, and as you might have gathered, I also have a shiny new idea I’m working on. Hopefully I’ll get to tell you a little more about that later, but for now I’m trying to keep it on the back-burner while I finish ACORAS. Then we’ll talk.

<3, Savannah

 

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Music Monday!

First, a personal update: I’ve reached 30,000 words on the zombie story, hooray! It’s going to end up somewhere between 50-60k, I think, so I’m excited to find that I’m halfway done. I’ve been Tweeting about the weapons my characters use and the more violent situations they get in to, so if you like that kind of thing you should follow me on Twitter for live updates on zombie-killing :-)

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I don’t usually post about music because I have a complicated relationship with it. As a kid I rebelled against everything being a ‘modern teenager’ meant, and that included fangasming over music. As a result music isn’t a huge part of my life, and I absolutely cannot write when it’s on. I think it’s because I’m so word-driven that the lyrics distract me completely and soon I’m listening to someone else’s story, not my own.

Because when I DO get excited about music, it’s because of the story it tells. As far as I’m concerned, the music only exists to compliment the awesome lyrics. This means I don’t usually go after artists or albums, but individual songs. Today I thought I’d share a few of my odder favorites, and maybe they’ll become some of your favorites too <3

Professor Elemental – Fighting Trousers – Have you heard of Chap Hop? It’s hip hop in Victorian style. It’s completely amazing, and this is one of my favorites.

Alu – Circus Cosmos – Alu is an independent singer from California who has been described as ‘Kate Bush on a broomstick,’ which I think is very apt. She sings ‘Rasputina’, which to me can be easily described as ‘inspired by the creepy music that comes from jewelry boxes.’ This song has inspired a very loose plotline I think I’ll work on one day, about a haunted house and a girl who falls in love with a ghost. Alu is pretty amazing, and she has a new album coming out any day!

Is Tropical – The Greeks – This is another independent band, and they made an amazing music video for their single The Greeks. I listen to this one in the car a lot and relate it to both my sleeping beauty retelling and the zombie book. It’s chorus of ‘You only got what you give away / You only got it if you give it away / You only got what you give away / So throw your hate away’ really reminds me of the loss and sacrifice my characters experience.

Ramona Falls – I Say Fever – The music video for this is really weird and takes a lot of interpretation, but this song gives me goosebumps in the chorus because of the way the words are sung mixed with the beat. Plus I’m a sucker for slow-motion walking set to music. Also I love how the artist describes what he’s feeling. I know what it feels like to want a future with someone so badly you’re willing to throw away logic and caution because of the Fever.

The National – Sorrow – This song spoke to me on a very personal level. The opening lyrics are ‘Sorrow found me when I was young / Sorrow waited, sorrow won’ and it just breaks my heart. It’s a love song and a personal mythos, and I love it.

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What unusual favorites do you have?

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After Roses, with a Birthday Vlog!

Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented with love and support on the posts about finishing ROSES OF ASH. You have no idea what kind of confidence that gives me to keep moving forward. <3

Savannah and Heart
This is me trying to make a hand heart. But I’m bad at it because my thumb skin is naturally really curved…

Since it’s been a couple days I thought I’d update and let you know what’s been happening since the official finish:

I sent ROA to my first CP, and finished her edits last night. Thankfully the book seems to be in pretty good shape, and her comments had more to do with specific scene modifications than huge plot errors. Among her comments: “I love the fairytale tone of this. It really reminds me of the legends of old.” That sentence has pretty much carried me through the last week.

After a brief mishap where I lost a night’s work (thanks Open Office), ROA is now in the hands of my second CP. After her notes (and potential revisions), I will send it to my agent.

Now that ROA is off my plate (again), it’s time to return to NAMELESS revisions. I’m a little more than halfway through the book, and frankly feeling a little burnt out. Have you ever worked on a project so long you just get sick of it? The analogy I’ve been using is that NAMELESS is like a new adult who won’t move out of the house. I’m so ready for it to be out on the world and living on its own, but it still needs just a little more time and attention.

When I’m not working on NAMELESS (or ROA), I’m plotting and sketching out a brand new story, the pitch of with I’m excited to share with you today!

Here’s the one line pitch: It’s a Middle Grade magical steampunk Cinderella retelling, where instead of a slipper there’s an invention everyone is desperate to find the creator of, and instead of a Prince the goal is a scholarship to a Tinkering school.

I’ll share the full pitch soon (SOON!) in a later post once I hash out some of the later plot details. I already have the first chapter written and it’s adorable. But, I’ve never written a Middle Grade before, and this requires some research. If you guys could let me know your favorite MG books, particularly if they have magic in them, I would super appreciate it. I have some gift cards to B&N from my birthday I’m planning on using for research. I’ve already purchased a book called Creating Characters Kids Will Love.

Oh, did I not mention I had a birthday? Yeah, that happened on May 25th. Totally forgot to tell you guys. It was pretty neat. I even made you a vlog I planned to share, but then I forgot, and then it was out of date (it talked about me finishing up ROA and the plans for that, which you already know). However, I will share with you the intro I made for the vlog, where I sing and dance. Eep!

 

<3, Savannah