Monday, August 30, 2010

I heart books

I love buying books. I love owning them, being able to look back through my bookshelves and remember how much I loved certain stories. I rarely ever sell my books back or give them away, unless I thought something was a real stinker. Soon, I'm going to have to ask my dad to build me another bookshelf. My current ones are getting a little out of control.

I buy most of my books from Half Priced Books or off Ebay's website. I just ordered two books today for under $5 each- and that included the shipping costs, my friends. I don't mind reading "gently used" copies at all. Most of the books I've gotten from are in decent shape too. I've never gotten anything that's like, missing pages or written all over and unreadable. For someone who likes to buy at least a few books a month, HPB and are a godsend. It's certainly not like I'm made of money over here.

That being said, I think I'm finally going to venture into that crazy place that lets you borrow books for FREE, as long as you promise to bring them back. Yep, I'm talking about the library. I could also mean my sister in law's spare bedroom- she has way more books than I have!- but right now I'm dying to read more YA stuff. What exactly are the kids into these days? Of course you have your big series like Harry Potter & Twilight, but what about the lesser-known stuff? I just found a couple YA authors I'm dying to check out- Cecil Castellucci (this month's book club author, thanks to yours truly), Eileen Cook (author of What Would Emma Do which I read a few weeks ago- I would love to write like her! So funny), Maggie Stiefvater (she writes a werewolf series), and today Holly told me about Suzanne Collins & her Hunger Games series. There are so many others too. I'm seriously going to go broke if I start buying all these books at once, half-priced or not.

Although who am I kidding? Once I love an author, I have to OWN everything by him or her. But, at least this way I can check things out for free first, right?

Is it sad that I'm actually a little nervous to go into a library? I'm pretty sure the last time I set foot in one was when I was in college. I know it's ridiculous, but I might need a tutorial on how they work these days. I guess I'll find out soon enough. I plan on stopping one day after work this week. There are THREE libraries I could potentially hit on my way home from work. Three!! It's ludicrous that I haven't checked one of them out yet.

I might have to beat down some kids for the books I want though...heh.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Up Late

I totally shouldn't be awake right now. You know how sometimes your mind just won't turn off? Your body is exhausted, but you can't quiet all the thoughts & ideas racing around your head? Yea. That was me from about 6 am til I finally gave up and got out of bed at 8. Pretty sure a nap will be in order later.

Last night my good friend Debbie came over to watch the last 5 episodes of the first season of The Vampire Diaries on my DVR. We ate Chinese food, drank wine, and watched these two fine specimens for about 4 1/2 hours:

Meeeeeow. Hello, Salvatore Brothers. If you don't watch The Vampire Diaries, gaahhhh why not??? It's such a good show. The writing is witty, funny, scary, snarky and exciting. And hello? Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley (above) certainly provide enough eye candy for 45 minutes of your time.

Oh, you're not a 13 year old girl? Well, me neither, obs. And I love it. But then again, I've been into all things vampire since I was around 13. The Lost Boys? Yes, please- can quote every line. Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire series? Read 'em all at least a few times in junior high. I know I have a vampire novel started in my crate of books somewhere. But, at this point, who wants to write yet another Twilight wannabe? I love the Twilight series as well, of course, I freely admit that. But seriously...damn you, Stephenie Meyer, for ruining anyone else's chances of writing a successful vampire series.

Anyway. Debbie left around 11:30, and I grabbed my lap top, intending to turn it off and head up to bed for the night. I'd had 3 big glasses of wine and was buzzed and sleepy, and my contacts were killing me. Instead, I found myself starting a new section of In My Mind's Eye that I'll have to tie in later. There was a scene unfolding in my head that I just had to get down. It's sort of a pivotal point in the little love-triangle-that-really-isn't-much-of-a-love-triange I have going on. I would add a snippet here, but it would give way too much away. I ended up writing three full pages, over 1,100 words. And was up rereading them and changing things here and there until about 1:30 in the morning. Whoopsie.

So, I'm tired today, but it was worth it. Any progress is good. I've given myself an end of the year deadline to have the first draft completed, so I need to keep moving forward as much as possible.

Thank you, Damon and Stefan Salvatore, for inspiring me to write like a fiend last night. Sometimes it doesn't take much. Wink, wink.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day One

Well hello there and welcome to my new blog. I've been talking for months about starting a blog up, and I finally decided to just bite the bullet and do it. Please bear with me, because I might not be all that interesting for a while. I promise I'll get better at this.

Let's see, I suppose I should start off with a little introduction to myself. My name is Joanna. I am almost 34 years old, and I'm not entirely sure where my 30s are going. These past few years have been a whirlwind. Three years ago, I bought a horrendous condo in foreclosure with my then-boyfriend. It's now a lovely condo, thanks to about twelve weeks of remodeling and lots of help from friends & family. The following year we got engaged. Last year we were married. Now, things are dying down, and my husband and I spend our time hanging out with our cats and not really doing too much. I rather enjoy our boring life together. He's truly my best friend. And I apologize for that out of nowhere mushiness.

Last year was a wonderful year and a terrible year all rolled into one. Planning a wedding was one of the most fun things I've ever gotten to do. Stressful, of course, but fun. I'm lucky enough to be somewhat ridiculously organized, so it wasn't all that difficult for me. And the wedding day itself was completely perfect. However, while my personal life was going fab, last year was a bad, bad year at work. A year that made me question why on earth I was willing to go through life not really doing what I wanted to be doing. Don't get me wrong- I like my job for the most part. I work with some outstanding people and the work itself can be challenging and somewhat interesting. But anyone who knows me knows that I've always wanted to write books.

I've been writing stories since around the fifth grade. I remember bringing them in for classmates to read and the feelings of excitement and pride when they asked to read more. Writing was my escape throughout high school, when I was a miserable teenager wishing to live anyone's life but her own (as if I really had it that bad). I have a whole crate of notebooks with handwritten stories in them still living at my parent's house somewhere. One of these days I need to get those and see if there's anything worth salvaging.

The story I'm working on now is called In My Mind's Eye. It's a young adult novel about a teenage girl whose parents were murdered when she was five years old, the way she's dealt with the murders, and how her life changes when a new boy arrives at her high school. It's about being different, falling in love, and awesome friendships. In a nutshell, anyway. I obviously don't want to give too much away. I'm almost at the halfway point- I have just over 40,000 words, and I'd like to get to about 100,000 before I start doing the major revising. It's been slow going at times; I started it last year and then with all the wedding planning, got sidetracked for a while. It's actually based off a short story I wrote in high school. I changed a lot, added new characters, etc, but it's coming along pretty nicely now. I'm excited to write it and can't wait to share it with people. Some people have already gotten a sneak preview, but I expect that by the time I'm finished it'll be a lot different from those first few rough drafts.

So, to close out my first blog post ever, what you should expect to see here: Snippets from In My Mind's Eye that I'm especially proud of, boring stuff about my everyday life, maybe some fun pictures here and there...I don't know. I'm just gonna roll with it. Thanks in advance for reading this! I hope it's going to be at least somewhat enjoyable.