On the Slopes #newadult #novella

My new adult novella, On the Slopes, is forthcoming in June 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Snowboarding means everything to Charlise, but she hasn’t met Sam Miller yet.

Charlise is a snowboarder with a promising career ahead of her. Despite the fact that her father hates her risking her life on the slopes that had taken the life of Charlise’s mother she is determined not to give up her career the way her mother did when she fell pregnant. Charlise wants to win medals, lots of them.

The last distraction Charlise needs is the American freestyle champion, Sam Miller, who utterly enthrals her with his wit and friendliness. Refusing to risk her career for a relationship, Charlise returns home for Christmas, determined to sort things out with her father. But the holidays culminate in an epic fight, and with a repeat of the painful breakup with Sam. However, new discoveries from her family’s past might change Charlise’s mind about Sam …

 

To see whether Sam is more than just a distraction for Charlise, you’ll have to wait until June! But I’ll be giving you a sneek peak at the gorgeous cover soon. And it is gorgeous, I swear.

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Free copy of Letting Go & $100 GC for Amazon

letting-go-teenHere’s your chance to win a free copy of Letting Go. Comment on my guest post on the Long and Short Review website to win an ebook copy, and enter the rafflecopter to win a $100 GC for Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

Read about Harper and Isabelle and how Chloe helped them realize they had feelings for each other. In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to read how Chloe is a far less successful matchmaker when it comes to her own love life. In My Summer Roommate, it’s Harper who gives her love advice. Shocking, isn’t it?

Two 5* reviews have already come in for My Summer Roommate. I’m so grateful for my readers! I love you all.

First or third person POV?

As a reader, I never really paid much attention to the point of view of a story. It was only a question of whether I liked it or not. That mostly depended on characterization, so if I liked the character from whose point of view the story was told, I liked the point of view.
As a writer, you have to pay a lot more attention to the POV you use. Not all points of view are appropriate for every story. I realized this was the case while writing my two novels where the first one, Letting Go, was written in the third person point of view, told from Isabelle’s perspective. The second novel, A Pretty Big Love, I chose to write it in the first person point of view with two narrators, so that chapters alternate between Chloe’s story and Chris’s story.
The major difference between the third and the first person point of view that I became aware of while writing was that the first person point of view allowed me a lot deeper insight into the characters. On the other hand, it made things more difficult because I had to be really honest and very precise with the characterization. With third person POV, there are things that you can hide behind the fact that the story is not being told directly by the person in question. With the first person POV you’re there, you’re on the spot, you’re the person, you see what they’re thinking and you have to relate that in the story. You have to be exact about what the characters feel and think because you can’t hold something back and ten pages later use it as a plot twist. That does not sound real, does not sound authentic and it disrupts the narrative. It makes the reader distrust the narrator (this, of course, can be used to your advantage if you’re writing a story that can benefit from an unreliable narrator). First person POV is a very intimate POV, very revealing and very difficult to write.
Because I have two narrators – Chloe and Chris – I had to pay really good attention to the characterization. I had to make it clear who the narrator was, I had to pay attention to their speech patterns, the words they use, the things they hold back from one another. All these details are important in first person POV.
I also think this is a very rewarding way of writing because as a writer you feel closer to the character and I think that also transfers into the reader/character relationship, so that the readers also feel closer to the characters. With that, identification is made easier. There were occasions when I wrote the story when I realized things about my characters that shocked me or thrilled me. Although the characters from my first novel were close to me too (obviously), I think this time the closeness was even more pronounced. This made it easier to express very strong emotions throughout the story.
I started writing the story from the first person POV, but after a few pages I started doubting it and I rewrote it in the third person. But every time I started writing again, I subconsciously reverted into first person. Halfway in, I realized there’s no point in rewriting it. That proved to be the right choice since A Pretty Big Love is a lot better written in the first person POV.

 

*A Pretty Big Love is a YA contemporary novel, coming in August from http://www.EvernightTeen.com

Good news

 

ImageMy to-do list for the summer has just gotten longer. But since it means my second YA novel will get published in August, that’s a decidedly good thing. I’m very excited about it even though I’ll have loads of editing to do instead of enjoying the holidays.

It’s appropriate that it will be published in August, I think, since the story takes place during vacations. You’ll get to see Chloe again, Isabelle’s best friend from Letting Go. This time, it’s all about her and how she’s trying to resist the charm of an ex snowboarder, Chris. But it’s not all fun and lovesick gazes; a life-time of insecurities rush to the surface when Chloe struggles with her trust issues, and just as she thinks she’s back in her comfort zone, Chris makes a terrible mistake.

Also, I’m sure everyone who liked Letting Go will be delighted to see Harper dish out love advice. Because, yes, he’s back too. 😉

I’ll post more details when the publication process starts, so be sure to check back. Until then, enjoy your summer/winter. 😉

How writing has improved my week

This week hasn’t been a very happy one. It was very emotionally taxing for reasons that are wrapped into a very long, boring story. But the good side to that was that in order to distract myself I buried myself into my manuscript.

I was taking a break from the book I’m translating, so I decided to do some editing on my own novel. I haven’t had a look at it in one month, and the distance did wonders. I re-wrote the pivotal scene with a completely different outcome, added more scenes and another side character. He’s an old, grumpy pastry chef with a penchant for bad language and soap operas. He was so vivid in my mind that it was a delight to write him, even though he only has a few short scenes.

My WIP is not all unicorns and rainbows, there are some fairly heart-breaking moments in it, but working on it was still a source of joy for me this week, when nothing else seemed to work. And there are a few funny scenes. At least, I hope the readers will find them funny, too, because my sense of humor can sometimes be pretty weird. 😉

Plus, you’ll get to see Harper dishing out love advice. Yup, you heard that right. It’s Harper who shares some love wisdom with the inimitable Chloe. Though, he’ll have to move over and make some space for the hero of this novel, Chris.

Here’s a tiny snippet of a scene between Chris & Chloe, shortly after she moves in with him (told from Chris’s POV).

“I’m hotter than you by a mile. Or make that a hundred degrees.” Chloe jabs her finger in my chest and I cover her hand with my own, but she wriggles it away quickly and retreats to her bedroom for more stuff to bring out.

“Does that make me cooler than you, then?” I call after her.

I can hear her tumbling laughter even through the loud music. “That was a good one,” she says.

I like how she laughs. I love that she laughs at my jokes.

Writing Process Blog Hop

I was tagged to do this by Danielle Belwater who recently published the first book in a trilogy, Of Fire & Roses. She’s a fun and talented Aussie girl that you must visit at her blog.

 

Now on to answering the four questions in the Writing Process Blog Hop.

1)     What am I working on?

I’m currently working on two projects. Both will probably end up being novella-length pieces. One is a companion novel to Letting Go and it features Chloe, Isabelle’s best friend. Those who’ve read Letting Go probably remember Chloe being a feisty, intuitive and caring friend who helps Izzy get over her heartbreak. Well, now she’s in for love troubles of her own. On the outside, Chloe seems a carefree, outgoing, party-type girl, but she’s got issues with trusting people and having meaningful relationships. Along comes a boy that could help her fix that. But he makes a crucial mistake and afterwards, Chloe is convinced she can’t trust him anymore.

 

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure that it does. Letting Go, and now my WIP, are both YA contemporary romances. They have all the characteristics of the genre, but of course the characters are unique, like any other literary character. I try to portray my characters as detailed as I can, I want them to be as special to my readers as they are to me, so I invest a lot of time and effort in portraying them. I could write a lengthy character sketch for each of my characters just including the info that didn’t get into the final version of the novels, the things only I know about these people.

 

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always loved YA. I studied YA literature for my Master’s Degree. I read a lot of YA and MG books. It’s a genre that I love to explore, both as a reader and as a writer. If I could write anything else, that’d be crime stories and psychological thrillers, but I’m not very good with complex plots and multiple storylines. So I’m left with YA. 😉 But this is what I’m passionate about, this is what I want to write.

 

4)     How does your writing process work?

My writing process is fairly messy, I think. I’m not much of a plotter, I focus more on the characters than on the story, and that sometimes makes it a little bit complicated, putting the story together. Like I already blogged a while ago, I write the scenes as they come to me, in no particular order, or should I say, in the order of their importance? Because usually, the first scenes that I write are the ones that are crucial for the story, the most emotional, intense ones. Then I try to fill out the rest of the story until it gains a satisfactory shape.

My first drafts are dreadful. Inconsistencies, loose ends, ramblings, mistakes, typos … Even second drafts are no better. Maybe by the third, but definitely by the tenth draft, the story gets better, characters are more consistently portrayed, the plot is tight and flows. But there’s a lot of work to get there. I love to write first drafts in flow – that is, put down words as they come, without applying any censors and filters. That’s why my first attempts are always crap and I prefer for no one to see them. But I simply can’t imagine writing a good first, or even second draft. I’d find that tedious, I think it would limit my creativity too much to be so careful about writing the story and shaping the narrative. I believe I have enough opportunity for that later on in the writing processletting-go-teen.

 

The first result of my writing process is Letting Go, available on

Evernight Teen
amazon
amazon AU

You can also friend me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Next in line for the blog hop are:

Jennifer Macaire

Jennifer lives in a small town near Paris – she has been writing and drawing since she could hold a pen, and she loves to spend her time daydreaming and reading. She’s married to a wonderful man (30 years now!) and has three great kids, and they are all owned by a little dog with a big mustache!
http://jennifer-tri-via.blogspot.fr/
http://www.jenifermacaire.com/

L. A. Cadieux

L. A. Cadieux loves a good YA romance — and she turns into a fangirl over Marvel Superheroes, Game of Thrones & Jane Austen (a combination of all three is even better!).
Lacey’s new book, One Life, is out with Evernight Teen in June 2014. Check her out via these links:
http://www.lacadieux.com/

 

Harper’s POV

It’s Friday (finally, I might add), and my brain is tired. At least I have 8.000 words of my WIP to show for it (should be 10.000 after today). I saw the Veronica Mars movie (Mmmm Logan, Yowza! Dick, but also mmmm Piz). I read two books, one of which I plan to discuss here very soon. I finished re-watching the first Sherlock series. All in all, I was so busy I didn’t even manage to cook much – which for me is a telltale sign of being overworked.

This morning, I sat down to write a blog post. What happened was – nothing! My brain said what’s enough is enough and it shut off. So I  said, okay, how about this? You have a moment to recuperate, while I post an already written text. How about that?

Since several readers said that they would have loved to see Harper’s point of view in Letting Go, I’m posting an excerpt here. This was part of an earlier draft where I wrote several scenes from his perspective. It’s essentially a scene that ended up in the final version, only retold from Isabelle’s POV. It’s from the beginning of the story where Harper comes pick her up at the airport. Bear in mind it’s unedited, though. Happy reading.

 

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Letting Go – Harper’s POV

It wasn’t his fault that he was late. Because of the heavy rain the roads were horrific, with two accidents obstructing traffic on the way to the airport.

He found her standing under the huge white clock. She looked lost.

When he hugged her and kissed her cheek, she asked, “What was that for?”

“Just so your return from France to the crass America won’t be too difficult.”

She tried hiding her smile, but he caught it, pleased with himself. The week before she left for Paris she’s been reserved around him. He guessed them dancing at the spring break school dance unsettled her. He’d ruffled her polished feathers a bit too much for her comfort. So she tried her hardest to let him know she was in a relationship with his brother. As if he hadn’t noticed.

“Where’s your luggage?” he asked when he didn’t see any suitcases nearby.

“I don’t have any. It got stolen.”

“Seriously?”

She nodded.

“Are you okay?” he asked. Jamie didn’t tell him anything about Isabelle being robbed.

“I’m fine,” she said, more than a little stubborn. “I didn’t even see how it happened. I had my suitcase by my feet and there was a little crowd at the train time table so I didn’t notice anything until I reached down to get my purse to go buy the ticket. But then I didn’t have enough money … I tried calling Dad, but I couldn’t reach him.”

“As long as you’re not hurt. You can always buy new clothes. Actually, you could use some more feminine pieces,” he grinned, checking out her blue tailored jacket and jeans. She didn’t look half bad, but she had so much potential to look scorching hot.

She made a face.

“You ready to go?” he asked to hide his amusement.

Isabelle nodded and he led the way to his car.

“So you went home over the holidays?”

“Yeah, I went home on business.”

It amused him how she was trying to act all cool. She wasn’t the kind of girl that talked a lot, so her attempt at small talk suggested she was nervous and uncomfortable. She’d always been a bit shy around him. He guessed that was in part who she was, but that he also scared her a little because he was different from Jamie. She probably didn’t know what to do with him. He found that strangely endearing because watching a confused Isabelle was a treat.

He opened the car door for her.

“Anywhere else to go before we leave? The police?” he asked as she got in.

He had to admire her. For a girl that had had all her luggage stolen, she was acting pretty composed. Most of the women he knew would have panicked and started pulling their hair out. Isabelle was upset, but she took it calmly.

“I talked to them already. We can leave right away if you don’t mind. I’d like to get home as soon as possible,” she said, and rubbed her temples.

It was six in the afternoon and it was a five hour drive. The weather was foul. He knew he’d ruin her plans when he said, “I was thinking of stopping in Perry later tonight and spending the night there. Driving at night in the rain sucks, and we’ll only be home a few hours later if the rain eases up by tomorrow and we’ll be able to drive faster in the morning. That okay with you?”

He could tell that it threw her. She hadn’t expected that. For a short moment he felt sorry and even considered changing his mind. But he was driving and he didn’t really feel like going through the night in this weather. Besides, he was looking forward to the opportunity to spend time with her alone, without Jamie around. He would make her squirm and sweat. He suppressed the grin that tugged at his lips.

“I don’t have enough money,” Isabelle said, pulling two banknotes from her pocket. “I’ve only got four dollars left.”

Like at the airport earlier, she seemed lost and frail. Not something he was used to with her. But when he remembered how obsessed she was with making sure everything went according to plan, it occurred to him that she must be more distressed than she let on. “Don’t worry, I’ve got a credit card,” he said.

She opened her mouth to say something, but then obviously changed her mind.

“You can pay me back once we get home.”

“But …”

“I mean it. Don’t sweat it.”

“’Kay,” Isabelle agreed, but she still looked troubled. Harper hoped she’d relax soon or this would be one awfully uncomfortable road trip.

 

First draft

For the past two weeks I’ve been working on the companion novel to Letting Go. I’ve been wanting to write it since the moment I wrote about Chloe in Isabelle’s story. Unlike Jamie, Harper, or even Isabelle, Chloe came to me as an elaborate, well-rounded character.She’s been the same since she uttered her first lines in the story (those being “You’re doing what?”).

It’s not just her character that fascinates me, but also how different and at the same time the same she is with Isabelle. Their friendship grew almost out of necessity. They met in first grade and quickly realized they had something in common – absent-minded parents. They supported each other and amused each other with stories of their parents’ incompetence. Their friendship isn’t based on trivial things girls their age talk about, it’s based on a lot of sadness and loneliness, and perhaps it is that much stronger because of that.

Where Isabelle is reserved and a control freak, Chloe is open-minded and straightforward. The fact that she had to be responsible from an early age doesn’t lead to her seeking even more responsibility and control, but to her trying to find freedom. She wants to be free from anything that could anchor her to one place, limit her. Including boyfriends. She avoids serious relationships; she claims she’s too young for that, and that she wants to have fun until she’s old enough to settle down. Then she meets someone who is determined to change her mind.

Chloe is darting across my screen as I write her scenes; she’s alive with energy and inspiration. Work on the novel is going really well, although it was slow to start. Her story has been months in the making, until the last piece of the conflict fell into place last week and I started writing. Sometimes, you can have an entire story, peopled with fantastic characters, but still something’s missing. It can be a tiny bit of information, a secondary character, or just a glitch in the time line, but until you resolve it, the story won’t develop the way it’s supposed to. Let’s celebrate the moments when the last piece of the puzzle completes the picture.

I hope to finish the first draft before May when I’m going on vacation to Tuscany. I can’t wait to go, because I’m sure I’ll find plenty of inspiration there, among those sweet-smelling hills and in the olive groves. Maybe my next story will take place in Tuscany.