Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Holidaze

I'm in a post-Thanksgiving coma! 20 hours in the car round trip is EXHAUSTING, and I'm glad to be spending my Sunday vegging at home, reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and smelling homemade enchiladas cooking. I even made my own margarita mix (simple syrup with lime/lemon/orange zest, the juice of many limes, 2 oranges, and 1 lemons, plus tequila).

I'm also starting to get the house ready for holiday decorations. We're getting a REAL. LIVE. TREE. this year, and I'm psyched to cover it with ornaments and have the scent of evergreen fill my house. This will only be the second time we've had our own tree. It usually seems like a big production to put it up and take it down, when we're gone for the whole week around Christmas. But this year we're doing Christmas in Boston!

Decorating back in 2009
Our very first Christmas tree, Bloomington, IN
And yes, the Christmas music is on full rotation. Currently enjoying "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses and "Christmas in Hollis" by RUN-DMC

Before I go, a huge thanks to Danya at A Tapestry of Words, who included Meant to Be in her Signed, Sealed, Delivered post on Thursday. So awesome to hear that people are looking forward to it! We're now officially less than a year from publication .. holy crap! SO. EXCITING!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lights, please? It's time to get psyched for the holidays!

Tomorrow I embark on a road trip from Boston to Ohio with Boy and dog in tow. I've got my laptop with AC adaptor charger, my notebook with many pens, and 9 library books to make the trip totally awesome. I never dread a long drive. We'll make it as far as we can tomorrow, stop for the night, then drive the rest of the way Thursday morning.

I'm not a big Thanksgiving fan. I love food and eating, but I have a relatively small appetite, so the dinner portion of the experience goes pretty fast for me. And believe it or not, I don't really like leftovers (I know... if you ever see me take leftovers home from a restaurant, it's because I'm too polite to have the waiter throw away my food. Instead I take it home in a box, leave it in my fridge for a day, THEN throw it away ... I suck).

For me, Thanksgiving has always been a day where the entire family hangs out in the family room, the parade followed by football is on tv, we eat, we snooze, we might eat again, we might play a board game, but mostly we just hang out. And that's awesome, but for me, Thanksgiving is just really the starter's pistol that sets me off and running towards the best holiday of all...

I love Christmas! December is so full of excitement for me, kicking off with my birthday on December 2. I set the tradition long ago that my birthday is the day I deck my house out for the holidays.

First, there's Christmas music, which I'll start listening to on the way home from Thanksgiving, whether the Boy and the dog like it or not! Confession: I love love LOVE Christina Aguilera's version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas! (warning, she gets a little off in this live version ... the album version gives me serious chills, though)

And of course, Mariah goes on heavy rotation:

I also love Christmas oldies, including "What Christmas Means to Me" and "Someday at Christmas" by Stevie Wonder. I'd share my Christmas playlist with you, but there's 167 songs on it... yes, I have a problem. No, I don't care to solve it.

But it doesn't just stop at Christmas music ... there's the Christmas movies, too!

I have an unending debate with my friend Patrick over whether or not Love Actually is a Christmas movie. I say absolutely yes (and so does Wikipedia!). He vehemently disagrees. Where do you guys fall on that one?

I also love watching Christmas Vacation ... enjoy this scene! (Not at work though ... NSFW due to language.)

I actually saw Elf in the theater, totally against my wishes, thinking it was just another stupid Will Ferrell kiddie movie. Oh how wrong I was. I love Elf! How could you not?

But the best of all....

A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love Linus, and during this scene my heart feels like it's going to burst from its chest and I get a lil tear in my eye. It's not Christmas until I've watched this very scene about ten bajillion times.

I'm also a big fan of All I Want for Christmas (an often-forgotten early 90s piece of awesome cinema), A Christmas Story, The Family Stone, The Holiday, It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged, The Muppet Christmas Carol (well, really ANY version of A Christmas Carol, except for the one with Jim Carrey ... no thank you), Rudolph and the stop-motion/claymation classics, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (ok, so not totally in the Christmas spirit, but I love it anyway).

Holy crap, just putting all this together is getting me so psyched up for the Christmas season.

BTW, one way I definitely WON'T be getting in the Christmas spirit? Black Friday. I've never participated, and I don't intend to. Ever. I will be trying to do the whole shop local thing for the holidays this year. I'll definitely be checking out my favorite local book shops to try and fill all my gift-giving needs!

So, what about you? Christmas music? Christmas movies? Baking Christmas cookies? How do you get in the holiday spirit?

Friday, November 18, 2011

I have been hiding ... and here's why

I'm woefully behind on NaNoWriMo. Like, possibly so far behind that without some kind of Popeye-inspired feat of strength and a hiccup in the time space continuum, I likely won't hit 50k by November 30th.

But here's the thing.

I'm not quitting.

I'm going to keep writing, and even if I only hit 20k or 15k on November 30, I'm still going to call that a win. Why? Because that's 20k or 15k more than I had on November 1. Progress! And that's what NaNoWriMo is really all about. And who knows, maybe with that never-say-die attitude, I might actually hit 50k during my epic Thanksgiving road trip to Ohio.

And now onto the why I'm not making my NaNoWriMo goals ... well, remember when I said I got a new job? Well, new job is AWESOME, but it is also BUSY. I work in admissions, our deadline is December 2 (which also happens to be my birthday). So I'm busy learning a brand new job while also working through the busiest and most stressful season of that job's year. So yeah, I haven't been getting my hour-long lunch-writing breaks in.

I've also been knee-deep in roller derby, even though it's the off-season. Long story short, the Boston Derby Dames have, in the past, practices at rinks and community centers all over the city. Lots of commuting, lots of hauling gear, lots of changing wheels to adapt to different types of floors. Well, as a member of the league executive board, I've been helping a team of skaters who are looking for a permanent home for our league. And we found one! We're going through the arduous legal process of securing a warehouse space in Somerville that we can call home.

The good news is that even though I haven't been writing as much, I've definitely been reading. I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor is an ARTIST. Her writing is just beautiful. I don't know how she weaves those stories, but WOW). And then I read Au Revoir Crazy European Chick in one sitting. That's a fun book that is destined to be a movie. If you have reluctant boy readers, put this book in their hands. They'll love it. And THEN I read Pretty Bad Things by CJ Skuse ... in one day! That's another good one to put in the hand of a reluctant boy. That's two books in two days, and now I'm on to Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My 11:11 Wishes

1. That you all love reading Meant to Be as much as I loved writing it. That you think my jokes are funny, my love interests are studly, and my main character, Julia, is someone you'd want to be friends with. It's a good year before it hits shelves, but some of you will be lucky enough to read it as early as the summer maybe (I've even heard there's a copy floating around Random House right now that folks are reading ... eek!). It's a sweet, funny, swoony story, and I just can't wait to hear what you think of it!

2. That I can get some kind of first draft done by the end of 2011. Working at a college means you actually get a full week+ of vacation around the New Year, because we close for winter break! That's many many days of uninterrupted writing time.

3. That 2012 brings as many amazing reads as I've had in 2011. Lola and the Boy Next Door, If I Stay/Where She Went, Mostly Good Girls, Fixing Delilah, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour ... I've had some great times reading this year. Many more to come, I hope!

What did you wish for on 11:11?

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 7: Procrastination Nation

Current Word Count: 9,922

Here are all the ways I procrastinated this weekend, instead of being a good lil NaNo and meeting my word count:

I finally went to Target and bought a frame for my Boston postcards. Not only that, I actually put the postcards in the frame AND hung it! Um, and tonight I plan to hang all my derby awards/pictures ... but I'll write tonight, too. I swear!

While at Target, I took a swing through the toy aisle. Because, why not? Aaaaaaaaand I came home with a 1000 piece puzzle of a vintage travel poster. We're a little bit farther now than when this photo was taken, but there's still several hundred puzzles pieces waiting to be snapped into place. This will provide quality procrastination FOR DAYZ.

I changed my closet over for winter, stored away all my sandals and sundresses (sob!), and got all my sweaters and jackets out. I don't know if you actually change over your closet, but I highly recommend it. Not only do you get more storage space, but when you open up your storage box, you'll get to see all those cute wool skirts and sweaters that you forgot you had. Early Christmas!

I made a scrapbook page for my teammate, Claire D. Way, who made Team USA for the first ever roller derby World Cup. She leaves for Denver this week to train, and then is off to Canada to compete. Our team made her a scrapbook full of fun pep talks and inspiration to take with her (my pep talk went in the little white cloud in the middle ... but I decided not to share it with the Internet).

I'm also in the middle of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It's a little bit too much paranormal for me, but it's ok because the story at the heart of all those monsters and angels is FREAKING AWESOME. I totally don't care that the sexy guy has wings or that people are walking around with animal parts of everyone has names I can't pronounce ... I'm sucked in. I'm reading it now in hopes of going to the Forever YA book club in my area, but I don't know if I'll finish in time. Oh well, still an excellent read!

Turns out the weekends are by far the hardest for me to buckle down and write. I do better on the weekdays, when I'm cramming 15 minute sprints in between meetings and lunches and bedtime. It's the same phenomenon that kept me from being a productive writer when I was only working part time. But never fear, NaNoWriMos... because though I fell just a bit short of my required Sunday word count, it was only by a little. Little enough that I  can easily make it up today and be back on track to finish. By the end of today, I WILL have 11,669.

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 4

Current Word Count: 6,949

Work was busy yesterday, so I wasn't able to take my standard lunch hour to eat and write. And then I got home and did something stupid ... I watched the pilot for Revenge. I can't help it! So many of you are going bananas for it on Twitter, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Uh, I totally get it. This show is crazy campy and borderline ridiculous, but it's somehow aware of itself in a way that makes it cool and ok. And it's ADDICTING. I watched three episodes last night. But then I realized it was almost 10pm, and I still hadn't written a word. Uh oh.

Emily Thorne says knock that shit off and write, dammit!
I was far enough ahead on my overall word count that I could have afforded to skip the day. I was totally tempted. I even closed my laptop and curled up in bed, ready to leave my word count behind. But who skips day 3? Seriously! It's way too early to start slacking, so I opened up Scrivener bound and determined to write SOMETHING. And what came out was an epic meltdown scene for my main character, which may or may not have been inspired by 3 hours of the 21st century version of Dynasty.

I didn't quite hit my daily word count, but I'm still ahead enough that it was ok. And today I'm going to make up for it by churning out an awesome follow-up scene where my main character has to pay for her epic meltdown.

And I'll probably watch some more Revenge ...

If you want to add me as a writing buddy on the NaNo website, just click here (my username is laurenemorrill, same as Twitter!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo: DAY 2!

Well, that first shiny day, when everything is possible and you think you might actually write 50k in ONE WEEK ... is over! Now we're on to day 2. Things are still sort of shiny, and if you wrote ahead yesterday, then you're feeling pretty comfortable. If you didn't? You're already feeling the pressure to break even or *shudder* catch up.

I'm up to 4,111 words, but I haven't written anything yet today (saving that for lunch). I'm definitely going to hit 5,000 today, maybe more if I'm a good little writer. The key for me is to get ahead in the early days, so that when I hit the dreaded middle, I can slog through without my procrastination doing too much damage. Then the end is just a dead spring downhill.

This is just a pop in to share my progress and hopefully inspire you guys to put your fingers on the keyboard and get writing. SO GET WRITING! And if you need a moment more of procrastination, here's a few fun things:

This NaNo wallpaper is pretty adorable, and it features a quote from the Gospel According to John Green. Amen. This came from a Tumblr user named serendipity-is-my-stripper-name (which is also pretty awesome).

Another tumblr post, this one from YA author Robyn Schneider ... isn't this writing fort just lovely? If I had a space like this, I could write ALL. THE. BOOKS.

And finally, some inspiration for when the going gets tough (and it will ... oh it will)

If you're looking for some more procrastination (because everyone needs a few minutes of mindless entertainment to keep the words flowing!) head on over to my tumblr. There will be plenty of mindless fun full of YA quotes, Downton Abbey, good looking fellas, and feminist humor.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy NaNoWriMo!

First thing's first, thanks to everyone who jumped on board my one-day-giveaway of Possess by Gretchen McNeil! The contest ended at midnight, but I was fast asleep at that point, so I drew a winner this morning. Congrats to Jesse B! I sent you and email, Jesse, so keep your eyes peeled.

So now that the Halloween giveaway closed and we've dawned on November 1st ...

Yes, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Yes, I've participated a few other times. No, I've never won. In fact, I usually don't make it past the first week. But this is the year, friends, I can feel it. I've got a great new idea (some of you saw on Twitter, but I've got a kickin' new character who, in my notes, I described as Lola Nolan + Blair Waldorf). I've got an excellent strategy (just write scenes, don't worry too much about flow). I've got my snazzy new MacBook Air to tote around with me everywhere so I can always write when inspiration hits. I'm using Scrivener to keep track of all my scraps of writing and my word counts. I've got NaNoWordSprints added on Twitter for some healthy competition and motivation. I might even hit up a local write-in or two!

Mark my words, blog readers. This year, I will win.

But in order to do that, I need you, writer and reader friends. I need you to motivate me. Kick my ass. Make me write! You can harass me via Facebook, you can Tweet at me like a drill sergeant, or you can leave inspirational comments right here on this very blog. And anyone who does this who is ALSO doing NaNoWriMo will get their very own inspirational, drill sergeant-y, harassing (with love!) e-pep-talks from me!

So c'mon, let's go write our 1,667 words of the day RIGHT. NOW. Ready? GO!