Thursday, June 30, 2016

My June Reads

In June, I finished 8 books (this brings my total for the year to 61):

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
McSweeney’s Massive Treasury of Thrilling Tales by Michael Chabon (ed.)
The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow
In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu
4 A.M. Breakthrough by Brian Kiteley
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

My favorite read of the month was my first. If you have not read The Raven Boys series, I command you to start doing so. Go. Right now. I’ll wait.

Okay, now that we’re on the same page, amazing, right?

Reading this series has made me a little crazy. When I read these books, I waver between wanting to light everything I have ever written on fire, because it is utterly in consequential by comparison and wanting to make my current work in progress this good.

I have tried to figure out why I love these books so much, why they hit me so hard. I realized it is the voice, the tone. The wit that sneaks up on you from behind and gently nudges your spine.

This month I had an epiphany regarding my own writing and Maggie Steifvater’s series. Part of my love for her books is that the voice and tone are in the same vein as my own natural voice and tone. Not identical, mind you. But on the same family tree.

I also realized that I haven’t seen this particular voice in a lot of novels. And that I’ve been suppressing it in my own work, at least a little. I have been tamping it down, making things more orderly. Reading The Raven Boys triggered a huge change in my current round of revisions. I have been given permission to let my voice go, stop trying to corral it.

Sometimes books are a PSA telling you it’s okay to be yourself.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

#PitchWars Updated #pimpmybio

It is PitchWars time again! This bio was initially posted in June 2016, and updated in July 2017 in preparation for PitchWars.

If you are familiar with #PitchWars, a word of warning. This post is gif-less. Not that I dislike gifs. I appreciate all the gifs that other writers have to offer. I just choose to abstain, myself.

If you are not familiar with #PitchWars, a different word of warning. You may find this blog post confusing. Or incredibly fascinating. The purpose of this post is to introduce myself to other writers entering #PitchWars and to the mentors that will be working (potentially) with us.

#PitchWars is a contest for writers with a finished, polished novel manuscript. We submit a query, and a writing sample to a handful of mentors (I wish we could submit to them all!). Each mentor chooses a mentee to work with. These amazing mentors guide us newbies through revisions and an agent round. The goals? Connect with other writers, make my novel the best it can be, and maybe have an agent fall madly in love with it!

Some stuff about me:
I have called Colorado home for the bulk of my adult life (previous homes were in California, Kansas, Florida, and Texas). I am married and have three human boy children, and two feline boy children.

I will hold a tarantula in my hand and be perfectly fine. Show me a tiny, dainty little spider, however, and I will lose my mind.

I attended a high school of the performing arts (theatre major, woot!). I started college as a double major in theatre and premed (yep, I am that crazy). I then dropped premed to focus on theatre (I am also sometimes indecisive). A year later, I transferred schools and changed my major to wildlife biology (This is how you take six years to get a bachelors degree).

I also have a masters in cell and molecular biology, which is what I use to pay the bills. I work as a food safety microbiologist during the day (Salmonella, Listeria, and E coli are my co-workers), and write slightly off-kilter stories at night.

My #PitchWars manuscript:
My manuscript is a modern-day, young adult retelling of the Greek Cassandra myth. If you aren’t familiar with that one, Cassandra is a mortal given the gift of foresight by Apollo. She doesn’t cooperate with Apollo’s advances, so he adds a curse- no one believes her warnings. Gods can be jerks.

Want to stalk, I mean, meet the other contestants? Click here.
Want to stalk me on Twitter? @sumomcgrath

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Side Effects May Vary

When I wrote this, I thought it was the beginning of a story. I stopped writing and walked away for a bit. When I came back to work on the story, I decided it was actually finished. A story in less than fifty words.

What do you think?

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU. The smiling girl in the ad looked so carefree. I wanted the fresh start she represented. I wanted her happiness.

I ordered.

Thirty minutes after I swallowed the pill hunger hit hard. A very specific craving. Brains.

I should have read the fine print.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May was meh (What I Read)

In May, I finished 13 books (that makes me 4 ahead on my GoodReads reading challenge):

Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
Pen on Fire by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett
Song of Susannah by Stephen King
Beware the Little White Rabbit by Shannon Delany and Judith Graves (eds.)
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Saga Volume One by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
This Side of Home by Renee Watson
Map of Fates by Maggie Hall
The Practice of Deceit by Elizabeth Benedict
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

This was an odd reading month for me. I read a lot, but there is nothing on this list that I am madly in love with. There isn’t even anything here that I have a lot to say about. I feel very meh about this list. That makes me sad.

Reading should take you somewhere, put you in a world or a situation that differs from your everyday life. It should be an amazing vacation.

I’m not sure why nothing on this list really did it for me this month. Maybe it was just the luck of the book-draw.

Maybe I myself am meh. It is possible that all of these books are beyond amazing and if I had read them at a different time I would be raving about them right now. (Is that the readers version of “It’s not you, it’s me?”)

All I can do is read on. I know that another book will come along and hit me at the right time to knock my socks off.

Does this ever happen to you? Have you read a book that you know you would/should love, but you just didn't love it right now?