Thursday, February 5, 2015

sheep meets horse

i've been struggling with my blog for a year or two now.

at Ya'll Fest 2014 one of the panel authors casually remarked that, "well, we all know blogging is over" and i nearly stood up and cheered.

while i'm amazed at the fact that i used to blog three times a week(!), and i adore the people that read those posts, and i'm proud of the posts and grateful for the snapshot of my NYC life that they now weirdly, nostalgically, serve to provide, i also happen to be one of those people.

one of those - no you can't have my phone number. why do i have to give my email to buy a sweater? i don't wanna create yet another account - privacy spooks.

last week i paid a bill online, and i swear i heard angels sing. (except, excuse me, every time i put something in the mailbox i know i'm helping ensure a human a job for at least a little bit longer. also, stamps aren't hackable, the only personal information they share is contained inside the envelope they're affixed to, and, well, they're pretty.)

so what to do you with privacy phobias (they're so bad, it kind of inspired my latest novel) when succeeding at your chosen profession requires you to not only embrace, but hog every single last ray of that social media limelight?

like any mature adult you ignore the issue entirely, it weighs on your mind, and then your dad sends a friendly email that says, hey kiddo! where's the blog? and you figure it's time to address it.


while i continue to ponder all these emotions (and wait to discuss them with my agent extraordinaire), i'll do this in the meantime: if you want to know what's going on in my life RIGHT NOW, you can always follow my Instagram @corriegram. and even though it's a lil creepy to know that you'll be looking - chill, Corrie, we're all friends here. or are we?? dun dun dun - there you'll find photos of the doggie i'm fostering:

hi. i'm rosie.

the food truck i'm starting:

it's chirashi betch!

and the mind-blowingly gorgeous new city that i'm living in:

what, you say? there are fishing boats, palms trees
AND a pelican in this picture? but it's all too tiny to see?

so you'll add this picture, too,
because it's just obviously pretty? okay, fine.

even if i'm still a Brooklyn girl at heart:

don't you mean beast at heart?

i'm also going to two-for this post and attach the draft of a blog i wrote but never published almost a year ago.

(wait. we just read this post and now you're going to make us read another post? yup.)

as Chinese New Year approaches - what up, Year of the Sheep - i thought it might be nice to look back to when i was excited about it just turning Year of the Horse. i never published the post because i didn't want to share so much, but now reading that post a year later? i feel almost sheepish about it.

and that, young'ins, is how you work in a lil Chinese New Year pun.

and without further ado...

Year of the Horse

March 13, 2014

so a funny thing is happening to me and i'm not sure how to deal with it. i hate to even mention it because i'm not sure if i'm allowed to admit it. but my life right now...?

is excellent.

nonono, please don't stop reading. this won't be an annoying post. i've had lunches with that friend who can only gush about how GREAT she is. i know nobody likes her. so let me just quickly say, i'm in a little bit of shock because for the first time in my adult life, things are really good.

not that they've ever been bad. even during the 'eh' parts i've tried to keep perspective on how lucky i am. i am blessed. i have the best family and friends. (i know everyone says that, but mine are). and nobody who lands themselves in a restaurant job that they like can complain too much. i mean, while i've been wrangling a professional writing career into shape i was allowed to go to a place that in exchange for running my tail feathers off fed me dinner, gave me booze, more nicknames than i care to admit, and a collection of rabble rousing friends i adore. so yeah, fine arts majors. have no fear. restaurants are a great place to work while you get everything else sorted out. no, seriously. i highly recommend it.

but all that being said, for the last few years there have been lonely parts, and reaaally frustrating parts, and lots of defeats, and a to my core certainty that i would never accomplish what i wanted to professionally, and oh yeah, also? an additional certainty that i would never truly fall in love.

and then? i made changes. i moved on from a job that had become mind numbing. i moved on from a relationship that had become mind-searing. and most recently, i moved on from a professional relationship that had been wonderful but unfruitful.

suffice it to say, all these changes helped. and though i won't harp on all the excellence that has ensued, i do think it needs to be said that struggles get rewarded. great love can be found. and out of the muck sometimes a path emerges that perhaps, maybe, fingers all crossed, leads to exactly where you'd like to be professionally.

so hey! you there. that's right, you! don't be so worried. just a little over a year ago, my life looked completely un-excellent. now another new year is approaching. and who knows. this could be your excellent year, too.

Friday, September 26, 2014

i just gotta crow aka how Ellen Goodlett shall now conquer the world

something incredible happened this week. Ms. Ellen Goodlett GOT A PUBLISHING DEAL!

of all the arts, there's nothing i'd rather be than a fiction writer (fine. i'd happily be a pop star if you asked) but of all the arts, none are harder to get recognized in than fiction writing. i'm not saying famous, or even well paid, but simply acknowledged.

an actor might not hit it big, but there's always local theatre as an outlet. worse comes to worse, musicians can busk on the street for exposure. a struggling fine artist can land a group show (or coffee house) that will hang their work. but a writer?

you spend years on a manuscript, have a handful of people read it mostly for the purpose of criticizing it, and then if you're lucky enough to have an agent, you will get told by publishers who you're guessing didn't read past chapter 2, that they simply didn't love it enough. afterwards, your highly revised, barely read creation will simply become another file on your computer and you will begin the entire process again from scratch.

(yes, yes, self-publishing. but what fun are over-arching points if they're not dramatic?)

the idea of actually, for reals getting published? for those who have been rejected once or a thousand times, getting a book picked up is akin to landing yourself on Jimmy Fallon once it happens. there's a slim chance it could be possible, but the likelihood.... (do you see me planting the seed already? Jimmy and I are gonna have a blast playing situational facial gestures together.)

as Ellen famously tells it, she and i met, where else, but over the buffet table at a writers conference. looking back, it was one of the top five best things that happened to me while i was living in NYC. we've been blogging, drinking, cavorting, giggling, snacking, write-in-ing, sending each other manuscripts, query letters, please read this now i have to submit it tomorrow, i need a pep talk emails, ever since.

ain't no party, like a BEA party.

my mom once said that every time i'd talk about Ellen i referred to her as my writer friend, Ellen. 

you know, Mama said. Ellen's also just your friend, Corrie. 

but the designation was meant as a badge of honor. because, though i know this will change with time, Ellen is my only writer friend. why would i need more? she is the first to invite me to events, the first to sign me up for secret Facebook writer groups, the first to agree that we should avoid ghastly writerly networking by hiding in empty back rooms with drinks. the first to arrive at my going away party and the last to leave. (seriously girl, that stuff means a lot. and gawd am i getting nostalgic).

Ellen Goodlett is a fantastic friend and an insanely talented writer, so it is not only long overdue, but with awed excitement, pride, and spine-tingles, that i give you: Ellen's Publishers Marketplace announcement....

Ellen Goodlett's THE QUIET ONES, in which Hawaiian gods guide a narcoleptic teenager as she solves the mystery of her ex-girlfriend's murder - but their help only reinforces that she can't trust anything she knows, including her own innocence, to Jordan Hamessley at Egmont, for publication in Fall 2016, byBridget Smith at Dunham Literary (NA).

so three cheers!! my very excellent friend DID IT! 

and now let's all watch as she conquers the world.

[to read about the inspiring process of getting The Quiet Ones published, visit Ellen here!]

Monday, June 30, 2014

mission statement

yesterday i wrote a few pages of an entirely new novel.

it felt great.

although everything i write is as different as pie is from cake (both are delicious, btw) along the way i've made similar choices with each work. here are some of the things i remind myself of when i write.

reminder #1 my female main characters will be adept at using their limbs. they won't be adorably clumsy and trip at inopportune times or collide with large non-moving objects. they have eyes, after all. that being said, they will know that their foots do not belong in their mouths. the teens i know are witty as hell. i'll write for them.

remind #2 i will not villify my popular characters. as adults we strive to be happy, successful, and socially well-liked. most everyone i know is even ambitious and half-way intelligent (if my friends were all the way intelligent, none of us would be in the creative arts. woot!). i don't know why characters with similar traits get such a bad rap in YA. at the end of the day, even the popular kids are just doing the best that they can.

reminder #3 i will write boy main characters. i will write girl main characters. sometimes the twain shall have chemistry. most likely they'll make out. but never will i write a novel that solely focuses on the girl mc trying to win the boy mc. i've spent enough of my life obsessing about boys. i want to read and write about more exciting stories.

reminder #4 i am a white female. i was born this way. my non-white friends tease me about it all the time. (i can't help it if i like vanilla milkshakes.) and yet, my life is not comprised solely of white females. therefore i will continue to write books that reflect my world.

reminder #5 i just read/heard/Facebooked article linked/who the hell knows where i get my news from, that in the movie Frozen, Disney expected the younger sister, Anna, to be the popular sister. she's the goofy sister. the one with multiple love interests. the sister that is constantly tripping and putting her foot in her mouth i.e. the adorable, likeable, relatable sister. thus Disney made double the number of Anna toys.

they've been sold out of Elsa toys ever since.
or maybe it's Halloween costumes, but you see where i'm headed with this.

Elsa is the strong sister, a leader with much on her mind. her disposition is chilly and, fine, she's the sister that also happens to shoot winter out of her palms. but my point is, in my wildest dreams i never cast myself as "cute." (tho it's the real life descriptor i most often get labeled with.) in my wildest dreams i am f*cking fierce. a ninja who battles zombies. i will write fierce characters. and i will (try to) do so unapologetically.

reminder #6 i LOVE to write. and that's why i do it, no?

that's all. just needed to see these reminders in print. if you need to see your reminders of who and what you write about and why, i'd love to read them. my crit-buddy ellen goodlett has already thrown hers into the ring and even added a little of this action #missionstatement so we can follow along.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

re-writing evil

my sister and i have begun watching True Blood. you know, the over-the-top corny, exuberantly bloody, laughably unnecessary bare-boobied HBO show.

in the last episode sis and i watched, the main vampire-loving female character, Sookie, was being held captive in a church basement with a man who turned out to be a vampire traitor. a bad guy heavy arrived and beat up the traitor, then turned on Sookie when she tried to stop him.

as Sookie gets choked by a man (again), i grit my teeth and wait for the show to get on with it. all the characters get busted up, so you can't expect the women not to take some knocks as well. i like True Blood because usually the women are pretty bad-ass. but then the attacker pushes Sookie down and starts undoing his belt.

and i can't help thinking f*ck this sh*t.

i won't be able to properly describe the feeling i get watching this so-frequently-seen-it's-almost-cliche belt unbuckling scene. unease, distaste, frustration, anger, you name it. i exchange a frown with my sis.

this is rape for the pure effect of being salacious. it is meant to heighten suspense and provide a one minute cheap thrill. it's meant to make Sookie's (male) rescuer appear that much more heroic when he arrives to save the day. and i guarantee, for fifty percent of the watching audience, it causes the same awful visceral reaction that i so poorly described above.

what does True Blood's almost rape scene matter when any night of the week the plot of some police procedural will center on a woman being viciously raped and murdered? how can  a six season show about vampires and sex not have any rape in it? it's practically expected.

but WHY?

maybe, instead, we need better writers. i understand nothing makes your character more detestable than making him a rapist, but then try harder. you are writing fiction - rather ridiculous fiction - and in fiction you have a thousand possibilities before you. yes, i could stop watching these shows. OR you, oh screen writers who will never read this blog, could be more creative and make me hate your bad guy for any other number of reasons. i mean, the choking was plenty good enough. please stop writing these not instrumental to the plot, cowering women, belt unbuckling scenes.

seriously, please stop.

it doesn't make for good television. it is not enjoyable to watch, even in that knuckles-to-mouth suspense sense. all it does is make me click off my Roku.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


another case of over-zealous, library requesting strikes again. plus, i still have the only halfway finished Free Food for Millionaires on my e-reader (which i'm loving). 

oh happiness. 

ps are you reading anything good right now? always looking for recommendations.

Monday, May 12, 2014

audio wrong


that's the sound of me having another round of revisions under my belt. and also, hehehe, because whenever i finish a revision it makes me giggle.

so as i'm relishing in temporary doneness - yup, just revised a novel, don't care about sentence structure or proper word usage right now - i thought i'd share something awesome with you.

i stumbled upon it after a day of twelve hour edits, following a similar week. it was the point where you can't understand how anyone thought this manuscript was good to begin with, and if you read the same sentences again, you will cry harder ('cause dontcha know you're already crying.)

so seeing as i was having such a hard time reading my work, but still wanting to work, i pasted a chapter into GoogleTranslate and then i clicked play on the English side. just like that, it was like my book had been published as an audio book AND in Spanish translation.

not only did it make me laugh and feel unaccountably accomplished, but it sounded good. i mean, no, it sounded awful. excuse me Google lady, i believe you're putting the wrong em-PHASIS on the wrong SYllaBLE. also, commas are there for, a reason. use, them and stop, inserting, your own.

still, those nuances i'd been sweating so heavily on the page, all mushed together and spoken by a computer? they got along just fine.

i can't recommend this experience highly enough. so go ahead. tonight sell your audio and foreign rights. then take a deep breath and relax. it's all going to be okay, Corrie.

i mean, everyone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

blog amnesia

okay. so i have a little problem and i'm just going to come right out with it.

i've one hundred percent forgotten how to blog.

i think i'm still adept at stringing sentences together. gawd. let's hope so - revisions, revisions, revisions - but when it comes to entering words on this little white, blank blogger screen?

i've got nada.

i truly can't believe i used to do this regularly three times a week. it's like looking at a younger self who used to pull all nighters. except all nighters i can still do. (or like, 4 a.m.-ers with three hours of sleep-ers. that counts, oui?)

the first novel i ever wrote was about a girl suffering from insomnia and i haven't had a good nights sleep ever since. the novel i'm currently working on is about, very generally speaking, over-sharing. sure enough, now when i click on Facebook, i feel like i've undergone social media aversion therapy. every media forum makes me a little bit want to gag.

so be warned, at least for the time being, unless it's the manuscript i'm bending into shape, i can't stand the sight of words on screen. and not only this one. all screens. i had to send a few texts last tonight and the i-don't-wanna lifting of my phone felt so cumbersome, you'd think it was the dining room table i needed to send a message on. responding to and reading emails feels like benching my entire apartment.

and then i read A.S. King's latest blog post. it goes like this: "I am in the revision cave. I'm not coming out to blog unless something is on fire."

so that's what it is! i'm in the revisions cave. specifically, the nuanced part where i need to sprinkle in sentences here and there that make you, oh my reader, connect more deeply with my characters. no pressure. and who knows, maybe i've also written myself into a fear and dislike of social media, but we'll deal with that when i exit the cave. 'cause i do believe good things are brewing, and knock on wood - the dining room table perhaps, so long as i have it hoisted - soon enough i'll be re-engaging in all this online sharing like never before.

in the meantime, until i have some exciting misadventures to share and/or until i remember how to write about them, a word from Ellen Goodlett, a friend who hasn't forgotten how to blog. and you can always follow me on Instagram: @corriegram. because as luck would have it, i haven't forgotten how to shoot terrible photos.

like this one: