Taking just a second to say two (I think?) things about Cassandra Clare's City of Bones.

  • One, while I totally get the logic in using Stephenie Meyer's name to hawk a product (sell, baby, sell!) I'm still a little disturbed by how the cover designers actually worked the cover so Meyer's endorsement of the book featured more visibly than the author's name, and possibly even the title of the book. And me, being the girl with an obstinate rebellious streak, almost did NOT buy the book just because I thought that was pretty freakin' tacky.
  • Two, at first I didn't really enjoy the book. I don't know if my 'editor' pants where stuck around my ankles or what, but I just couldn't stop nit-picking, but then I took myself by the collar and told myself to stop being a hag about it and really started enjoying the book. It's not my favorite, but it's one I'll likely reread in future, and I don't regret buying the first two in one purchase. In fact, Clare even has one particular character I'm a bit envious of, because she's developed him beautifully and he is sharp. His name is Jace, if you're curious and want to check out City of Bones, though I do suggest you try Wal-Mart instead, because I got it there for a buck cheaper and obviously sans postage.

So, there's that. Also, the fact that it's another almost-500-pager worries me. In comparison Silver's anorexic. I think I have word-count issues.

Amethyst out!

Lullaby and Goodnight

Personal Note: My husband and I have been to see very few bands in live concert, but we've made the effort to catch shows of our favorite bands (Train for me, and Nickelback for him, respectively). He took me for our anniversary that year and I surprised him with tickets for his 27th birthday. There are only two other bands we'd move a mountain to see because BOTH like them so much, Matchbox 20 and Aerosmith.

Last year on January 28th, sometime in the middle of the day . . . wait, you know what? That's not the beginning of this story. Let's try again.

Sometime in late November or early December of 2007 I went to Wal-Mart and, as is usually the case if I'm in any store that sells books, the glorious aisle of reading material called to me, and I ended up purchasing a paperback copy of a book called Twilight because I'd seen an interview with the author the week previous and figured, "Eh, why not. It's only twelve bucks."

And then I read it. And then I read the next two a couple weeks later. And while I absolutely loved the books reading them made me sad, and I couldn't explain why. I didn't understand it myself. Until I went on Stephenie Meyer's website to see if/when a fourth book might be coming, and then I got it, because while reading about the eventual existence of Breaking Dawn I also found Meyer's "Unofficial Bio" and her "How I Came Up With the Idea For Twilight" sections. I'd been bummed because part of me knew I could do that. Not that I was 'allowed' to do that or 'free' to do it, but that I, Amethyst, had the ability, but I'd never used it. That's really sad, to have a skill, something you come by naturally, and never use it, right?

So, this realization rattled around in my head for a couple of months, which brings us to January 28th, 2008, sometime in the middle of the day.

I made the command decision to try to write a novel of my own. I didn't tell anyone but my best friend Denise because I was scared my tendency to drop a project halfway through would rear its ugly head and bite me in the butt. I emailed Denise because I knew she'd keep me on track, and boy did she ever. From her first email to the end of the first draft, she propped me up and railroaded me into finishing.

So, by April 19th, 2008 I had a 127,000 word manuscript. And I in July I sent it out to fifteen agents who all rejected me, which was the nicest thing they could have done, because I knew Jack about writing WELL. So, I sucked up the hurt and my indignation and decided I'd fight for this book, which meant learning how to write it. I took a year reading everything online I could, joining writer communities, making excellent writer friends, editing, hack-n-slashing, rewriting, and over all committing myself to the project. A YEAR, people. I've never voluntarily dedicated a year of my life to anything before, but this? I'm doing this, come Hell or high water, folks.

And now with my first novel, Silver, a hairsbreadth away from being ready to submit once again to agents (along with a crap-ton of new knowledge just how to go about that), armed with so much more education than before, I am ready to put the book to bed.

And I'm following one other piece of advice from the sages: Do it all again.

Readers, welcome to the journey henceforth known as Golden.

It's okay with Jules If Tristan's too stubborn to realize he's fallen for her; she's brilliant enough to make him see the light.

Jules's best friend Joss may have fallen in love with her own Guardian first but there are some trends Jules doesn't mind following, and that includes making the eldest Solis triplet realize running from Fate doesn't do anything but give you leg cramps. But Tristan's trained to persevere under any torture and he intends to use every superhuman trick up his sleeve to make Jules's job impossible. Add a whirlwind chase across North America to track down escapee villains from the summer before and you've got yourself a tale of masquerade balls, Guitar Hero marathons, and gritty cells in the pits of New Orleans.

In Which I Don't Actually Rant About Anything--For Once

Personal Notes: I learned how to mow the lawn Tuesday. With a push-mower. In sub-tropical heat. Have decided I need to work out more.

I think it's safe to say the majority of my readership is female so I want you to think about what I might mean if I say I get in this mood every so often. Got it? Okay, we can proceed.

I am at an interesting point in my 'trying to become a published writer' career, one of those borderline points. In case you didn't know, everything in my head has a physical, visual representation and in this case it's like one of those FourSquare courts, a square divided into four equal parts and I'm standing there, bouncing my ball in the first one, but I'm just about ready to step into the second one. This first square is writing my first book, learning what it means to write a book, learning how to edit it. The next square is scarier; putting it out there, being open to judgement, being open to certain failure, because while someone eventually will say 'yes' a lot more people will say 'no' first. And the next square involves writing a second book because one doesn't promote the first book to the exclusion of any other work.

And that scares me. Rejection is painful, but at least I'm familiar with it. I know I can take it. The unknown of writing a new book scares the crap out of me. I spin in circles, unsure of what to do next, all my possibilities crowding in on me.

It's crazy, that's what it is. I am on the playground for the Sanity-challenged and we're all fighting over the teeter-totter.

XXXL OR "You Won't Like This Post Much"

Personal Note: I totally include myself in this post and for the record, my fingernails are an awesome prismatic silver color (see ), Pandora just spit out one of my favorite songs from the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack, "I Want You To Want Me", by Letters to Cleo, and here's proof I'm not just mean to you guys:

So, for a while I very actively, slavishly participated in a website called Authonomy. You've probably heard of it. It had a lot of press in writerly circles. Anyway, so there I was, soaking everything up like a sponge and rather caught in the idea of getting my work in front of Harper-Collins' editorial staff's eyeballs (and for my part I have to say they've done just as they promised and they PR-ed it like no tomorrow) so I raced along, trying to charm, bribe, shock, WHATEVER my way to a higher ranking (every 30 days the top five ranked books get reviewed by HC) just like everyone else.

And then I got sick of it. Sick of playing nice and pretending not to be myself so I didn't step on toes. And I quit playing. This doesn't make me any better than the people who still 'Authonomize', than those who are making the mad dash for the 'Editor's Desk', but it's just not me.

I recently started popping in here and there to make contact with a few of the people* whose opinion I regard highly, asking if they'd be willing to search out weak places in Silver for me. In the process I had to wade a bit through the forums and comments and I actually felt dirty when I came back out. It was like walking down the seediest part of Vegas (I assume, as I've never been), only if Vegas were run by vulgar preschoolers. People prostituting themselves like crazy, people throwing huge hissy fits when they didn't get the critique they wanted, people slandering others, just really the worst of human traits splashed all over the place like a pride banner (being proud of your culture, your gender, your sexuality, your beliefs, that one thing, but to glorify the darkest, least redemptive aspects of your species? C'mon!)

And that brings us to the blog title today, a least the first part. XXXL.

What must writers truly think of themselves, how do we aggrandize ourselves to think this behaviour is acceptable? We bust have some ENORMOUS heads, seriously, to fit in all that ego. We come off sounding as if we're untouchable, our work beyond judgement, the standard to which all others should be held. What is WRONG with us?

I even fell into that pit a little this morning when I got in a line-critique from a writer friend who deals in a seriously different genre than I do. I got my back up because she kept pointing out places where I used an action as a dialogue tag (such as "Hi," he smiled.) and then, thankfully, I grew the Hades back up and felt grateful to her for pointing it out. I'm still not sure I agree with it (grammar rules aside--I know, *gasp!*) yet, but dagnabbit, that woman spent some of her well-earned three-day weekend to help ME improve MY brainchild and I am going to darn well be thankful for it. And I am.

Just remember guys, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Always. Being 'a writer' doesn't excuse anyone for needing their share of modesty, and it doesn't make one infallible. If you've seen the early drafts of Silver and have recently seen where a year of learning and re-writing, and basically kicking my own butt all over the place because this is it for me, this is IT, you see what a heartbreaking/dream-making effort it all is.

If you love it, if it's part of you, if writing is IT for you, somewhere in your spirit you'll just know when it's time to put yourself aside and let someone else have a go, and while it certainly may hurt, you'll still appreciate it, because the pain is worth it. The pain is worth swallowing your protests, setting your "But, but, but!" aside and letting all the work.

Let someone else wash the muck off you. What's left will be truth, and as you know, it always wills out.

*I feel like I should insert here I DID make several very good, talented, helpful friends there who were very involved in my learning about the art of writing (you can often find one or two commenting here, in fact). Again, I stress Authonomy isn't all bad, just the parts that are bad are bad enough keep me mostly away. I do keep a copy of Silver there for safety's sake (so I have a digi copy out in the world; my computer has crashed on me once already) and because, yes, every once in a while someone finds it among the piles of slush and has something to say about it. I just don't promote it.