Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 9/18/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading:
I'm still reading The Mark of Athena. I haven't really had much time other than my 15-20 bus rides everyday. I'm about 4/5 finished. It's getting really good. I just need to buckle down and finish it up. House of Hades doesn't come out until October so I have about three weeks inbetween books.

What I'm Writing: That brief writing break turned into a long writing break. College drains me. I have to get back to that balance. I can do it. I'm just a little lazy. I've been thinking about whether or not to do NaNoWriMo. I have my novel idea, I'm just not sure if I want to spend November being stressed out about NaNo and the play I'm stage managing. This story is such a personal story for me, I don't think it can be rushed. On the other hand I have a bad track record with starting novels and not finishing them. I'm kind of a at a loss right now.

What Inspires Me Right Now: I'm drawing some personal experiences for the new novel. That's inspiring right?

What Else and I've Been Up To: I'm about three weeks into classes and I am beat. In less than two weeks I start rehearsals. But I've been sending emails and doing paperwork since classes started and I still have a lot to do. YAY responsibility.

What's up with you? How is your week going?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 9/11/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading:
I'm finishing up The Mark of Athena, the third book in the Hero's of Olympus series. I actually like this one a little more than the other two because it's less background information and everybody's on the same page.  I'm not sure what to start next. I might get a library card soon. If I have time.

What I'm Writing: I'm currently on a brief writing break. I've been having computer troubles and I saved my novel on a jump drive, but I've misplaced it. I'm not terribly concerned. It's still in my house. The question for me is whether or not to continue on my computer, (which is currently working, but still having issues) or start working from my jump drive. YAY choices.
I'm about to start drafting and new novel and a play. I'm still not sure if I'll participate in NaNoWriMo this year. It literally begins during tech week. I might need to keep my sanity.

What Inspires Me Right Now: Nothing. I'm not writing.

What Else and I've Been Up To: College. I've been extremely busy with classes, theatre, and socializing. Rehearsals start for the show I'm stage managing in less than three weeks. Right now it's the calm before the storm. I'm still doing paperwork and all that jazz. My computer troubles are freaking me out a bit though. I stage managed my first play when my computer broke the first time. That was an epic struggle. I cannot do it again.

What's up with you? How is your week going?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Senior Year

Sorry I've been MIA for a while. I've been nonstop since I returned to school two weeks ago. The first few days I had to run auditions and call backs for the show I'm stage managing this fall. Then classes started .On top of that, I coordinated a 24 Hour Play Fest that went up this weekend. I'm still not fully recovered. Thankfully it's Labor Day, so I can breathe and relax.
It still hasn't hit me that I'm a senior in college yet. I've said it out loud several times, but it hasn't quite set in yet. Maybe it will second semester. I'm keeping myself busy with theatre (what's new) and writing. Now that the 24 Hour Play Fest is over, I can concentrate on other things, like sleep, school, reading and writing.
In my three years here in college I've learned how valuable time is. Since this year will by far be the busiest I have to take everything one step at a time. I can't really bank on keeping a schedule. College likes to play games with me. The minute I get comfortable doing one thing, college throws a curve ball and I'm doing something else or juggling two things at once. In my three years here I still haven't gotten a the hang of it. But it's okay.
My goal for this year is simple.
Take things slow.
This is my final year in college. I've missed out on a ton of opportunities because I was moving a mile a minute. I need to take everything in and hypothetically smell the roses (my allergies are going crazy).  
Senior year is going to be amazing.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 8/21/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: I have to return my books to the library today. I just started Jessica Spotswood's Star Cursed and I need to finish it before I leave. But I have a million things to do today. When I go back to school reading time is limited. I have so many books I bought over the past three year that I haven't touched. I'm determined to finish them all before I graduate.
What I'm Writing: I've been a little slow this week. The good news is I finally got passed a scene I was stuck on for days. The bad news is I changed a lot in that scene so everything from then on had to be altered in some ways. I had to go back a couple times keep up with continuity. My plan was to get this round done before I head back to school, but that's not happening. So new goal. Finish this round before classes start and life gets crazy..
In other news, I have this new idea for a story in the back of my head. But there is another idea floating around too. I don't know which on to work on first. One is a contemporary with a hint of fantasy (Magical Realism I guess? I hate labels.) The other is a fun, quirky fantasy. I'm going to do a rough outline of both of them and choose from there. I'll start working on it after I finish the next round of edits and send it to my imaginary Beta Reader. I should really get on that. I have a hard time keeping CPs and Betas.

What Inspires Me Right Now: Nothing. Why do I even bother. If I was inspired this round of edits would be done by now. :(

What Else and I've Been Up To: Packing. Packing. Packing. I've mentioned this three times already, but I'm going back to school! I have some much work do do before classes start on Monday. This weekend is loaded with auditions, call backs, more auditions and several meetings. I won't have a moment to relax until Labor Day. I'm dead serious. That's my life, I have to get used to it. Getting back to school will be great. It's my senior year! I'm so close to being done. If I can pass two more semesters of Italian. These past three years have flown by so fast. It's kind of scary, but awesome at the same time.

What's up with you? How is your week going?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Question of the Day

This week I'm participating in the Blog Circle of Hair Anxiety started by author Justina Ireland. It was inspired by Beyonce's (short lived) pixie cut and the anxieties African American women feel about the upkeep of their hair. Justina asked writers to share their hair anxiety stories on their blogs.

My hair has gone through a lot of abuse in 21 years. I'm not the most stylish person. If I had a choice I would go all day with out touching my hair. I don't hate my hair, I'm just lazy. Even when I style it on my own, it's not good (according to my mother). I do however like the feeling of freshly relaxed hair, but after the second day it never looks the same.

As a child I had a signature style. Twisted pigtails, colorful balls and matching barrettes.

As I got older my hair was easier to style when it was straightened. My mother would put her old fashioned hot comb on the stove and spent long time taming my thick mane.

Unfortunately I was an active child and by the end of the day I would sweat so much my hair would frizz up again. In the fifth grade mom took me to get my first relaxer. For those of you who don't know a relaxer is, it's basically a chemical that straightens hair. According to my mother, getting the relaxer did not change a thing. My hair was straight, but it still took the same amount of time to keep it looking nice. It also cost a lot of money. My roots would grow back curly, so every 4 to 6 weeks I had to get it touched up.

13 year old Leslie hair
relaxed, flipped and fabulous 

To be honest, I was the worst patron. I'd always complain about my itchy scalp. My former hairdresser knew how to handle me. If it burns, then she'll wash it out. If it itches, tough luck. One time my usual hairdresser was out and I got my touch up from a different lady. It itched. I complained. She washed it out. Big mistake. My hair was not done processing, so in result my hair started to fall out. It was never the same after that. My once thick mane thinned out over time.

Joy in Cinderella
Being in theatre didn't help either. In high school I was pledged with with multiple wigs because I couldn't style my hair to look period appropriate. As a result I ended my high school career with short thin hair. Up until my senior year in high school, my mom took care of my hair for me. Every morning she would flat iron my hair before I went to school. When I graduated I had no idea how to use a flat iron, let alone curl my hair. So ultimately I decided to get micros. It was either my second biggest mistake or a wake up call.
Chorus in Kiss Me Kate
Miss Flannery in
Thoroughly Modern Millie

Only photographic evidence
I hated the braids. They were too hot and always in my way. Overtime the braids would fall out and my short hair would stick up. After three months I finally took the braids out and my hair was jacked up. I went to a local hairdresser and she gave me an ultimatum: continue living with unhealthy hair or chop it off. It was a tough decisions, but I had to do what was best for my hair.

This was actually 8 weeks post relaxer. Still looked good.
This was the best decision I made for the time. It grew back longer and healthier than ever. For months I took good care of my hair. It took hours to wash, deep condition, moisturize and style. My favorite style was the curls.

With the curls I was able to stretch the time between relaxer. The more less stress I put on my hair, the more it grew. So by the end of 2012 my hair was back to it's original length and thickness.

After a stressful semester year. Keeping up with my hair became problematic. So I decided to chop it off again. It's so much better this way. It's growing back quickly. I don't know what I want to do in the future. Maybe I'll keep growing it out or maybe I'll go natural.

Obviously these pictures are of my hair at its best (a.k.a. immediately after styling). I don't even look like that half the time.
8/20/13 I have not combed my hair

I try not to let my hair define me, but it's something I can't ignore. Most of my anxiety comes from my mother coming at me with a comb right before we go to church.

Mom: Comb your hair!
Me: I already combed my hair!
Mom: Really? Let me just touch it up.


She blames it on me not playing with dolls as a child. I hate dolls. She bought me a black Barbie hair styling doll when I was younger. You know, just the giant freaky head. Never touched it. But let's be real, that Barbie's hair did not reflect the texture of my own hair. So what was that going to do?

African American woman in the media keep their hair looking good in the public, but behind closed doors I bet they go through as much struggle as I do. Whether it's relaxed, natural, weaved or wigged "What am I going to do with my hair?" is always the question of the day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 8/14/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: I finished two books this week Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. Both gave me feels in their own special way. I'm currently reading The Lost Hero the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I read all the Percy Jackson books in high school and I'm glad I can visit Camp Half-Blood once again.
What I'm Writing: I'm over halfway through Suspension of Disbelief revisions and my timeline is all screwed up. Originally the book took place over the course of six months, but I ran into a road block when I realized that winter happens. My MC has earth powers, the cold defiantly affects her. So now I have to incorporate the weather. On the plus side it did allow me to add a Halloween dance scene, where a lot of their classmates were dressed like their superhero personas. All and all I'm having a lot of fun with it. Once WriteOnCon is over, I'm going to put the pedal to the metal. I go back to school soon and my free time will be limited.

What Inspires Me Right Now: No. Just no.

What Else and I've Been Up To: If you follow me on twitter (@laboyden) you already knowWriteOnCon has invaded my life. If you don't know what that is right now stop what you're doing and CHECK IT OUT! I'm all over the forums and tweeting like a madwoman. I enjoy reading everybody's work and giving feedback. I posted my first 250 words, the first 5 pages and a really rough query of Suspension of Disbelief. I didn't have a query until yesterday, but I wanted to get feedback so I can know which direction to take. No responses yet and right now it's buried deep in the forums. But I'm sure someone will get to it eventually. I got some positive feedback on my other post. It was the confidence boost I needed. If you're attending the conference and would like to take a look at my threads here are the links.

1st 250 Words
1st 5 Pages
But Seriously...

Well that's what's up with me? How are you doing?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 8/7/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: Last week I read Anna and the French Kiss per your suggestion and I LOVED IT. I was a little hesitant at first because I'm not to biggest contemporary YA reader. But about a third of the way through I couldn't put it down. I finished it around one in the morning yesterday. I can't wait to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. What I'm reading right now is Transparent by Natalie Whipple. It's really good. The great thing about this is that I've been following Natalie for a couple years now and followed in real time her road to publication. I'm glad I finally got my hands on a copy..
What I'm Writing: I finished Suspension of Disbelief (for real this time). I don't know what type of draft to call it though. It was a second draft, but the ending was added so the ending is a first draft. I guess I should just call it a second draft. Well anyway, now I'm editing it again. This edit is more for adding details that I skipped. I'm also adding new scenes and cutting them so it could flow better. I think this will be my last lazy revision. When I'm finished I'll have to to print it out and give it a heavy duty face lift. My goals for this week is to finish the lazy revision. I'm positive I can do it in a week, because it's so low pressure. I'm exploring the story more and having a lot of fun doing it.

What Inspires Me Right Now: Oh God, that word again. Can I say myself or is that narcissistic? Okay let me explain. I have not finished a manuscript since 2008. I've had ideas and wrote parts of stories over the past five years but I couldn't finish anything. Even after I completed NaNo last November, the story wasn't complete. I needed a confidence booster. So I made a goal to finish this novel this summer no matter what. I guess it was that drive and determination that inspired me to finished. Since then I've had new ideas and ways to improve my story along the way. Does that answer the question?

What Else and I've Been Up To: WriteOnCon. WriteOnCon. WriteOnCon. Yes, it's that time of year again. WriteOnCon the online Kidlit conference is upon us. It officially starts next week, but the forums are open. I was worried about participating since I was so concentrated on finishing my novel. But now that the draft is completed I could relax a little and enjoy the conference. I'm kind of bummed that I can't enter contest judged by agents. I was hoping to have a polished manuscript and query for the Ninja Agents but that's not going to happen. I might post my first 250 words for a critique, but at this point I'm not comfortable enough. Last year I spent most of my time looking for a CP but all of them fell through. I don't know if I could go through with it again. I haven't had the best luck with CPs. I found a good one from a different site, but when my laptop broke we lost touch. I'm still debating whether or not I should seek one another one. It's such a delicate process, I really don't want to mess it up.

Well that's what's up with me? How are you doing?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 7/31

Due to my seven month absence, I totally missed the What's Up Wednesday boat. Lucky for me I rowed out in the middle of the sea, waved my absent blogger flag and hopped right on. What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: I just finished Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. I loved it. I requested the sequel to to come to my library, but it won't get here for another couple days. Right now I'm torn between reading Anna and the French Kiss or The Diviners next. Both are two completely different books, but it might be nice to get out of the paranormal world every once and a while.

What I'm Writing: I recently finished my slight revision of my NaNo novel Suspension of Disbelief. I mentioned last year that I had to stop and go over it because I didn't like where the ending was going. Well life came along and punched me in the face, so I didn't get started until two weeks ago. Anywho the first 3/4 of the book is fixed. Now I have to tackle the ending. Endings are hard. I've always envisioned how I wanted the novel to end, but getting there is the challenge. It's like one decision the main character or any character makes affects the entire ending. And right now I'm at a crossroad. When you think about that, it's a lot of power. I need to choose wisely. My goals for this week is to finish this draft. I'm getting myself in NaNo mode, because frankly this is the only way it's going to happen.

What Inspires Me Right Now: I've been reading a lot this week for inspiration, but nothing has been sparking. Since Suspension of Disbelief is a superhero novel I've been watching lots of clips from Smallville and other superhero shows. But really nothing is popping out screaming INSPIRATION!  But I've been working through it. Lately I've been trying to write with music. I put my headphones in and listen to the John Williams Station on Pandora. It's kind of nice to listen to movie scores, except most of the time the music does not fit the scene and draws me out of the story. I think I just need to make my own playlist.

What Else and I've Been Up To: Since I've been back home not much. I've been
reading a lot and trying to write like I've said above. I haven't left the house much in two weeks. My only freedoms is when my mom doesn't want to dive/pick up my brother from work or band camp. I don't know. I'm kind of dull I guess. Whatever.

Well that's it. What have you guys been up too?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


     So it seems like I disappeared off the face of the earth. Well I did for a while. And then I came back. But then life happened, finals, then I got sick, then theatre happened. So that pretty much sums up my disappearance for the months...oops.

     I made a lot of progress with the blog last year and I really got into a groove. When I didn't have my laptop for three months, I just lost it. Four months later and here we are. I've literally had this post in my draft folder for months and I've changed the numbers multiple times. Yeah.

     I wrote a long time ago that I didn't believe in writer's block, just procrastination and laziness. But for the past few months I've been stuck. I just keep opening the file and...nothing. I have to admit that I was wrong. I keep telling myself that Creative Writing ruined me, that I lost my confidence after that whole ordeal, but that's not it. It's been over two months since I got out of school. There should be no more excuses. But here I am. Blocked.

     I've had a pretty active school year and summer. I've been working in the theatre nonstop. I have about two months before I work on my next show. This should be the time for relaxing and getting back on track, but instead it's filled with laziness and procrastination. I go back to school in a month and I really want to get back into the habit of blogging. First semester I did a really good job of balancing blogging, school and theatre. I just have to start fresh.

Reading: To help with my writer's block I've been reading a lot lately. I finished the first two books in the Divergent trilogy and the first three installment Mortal Instruments series. The books were fabulous I just didn't feel as inspired. Usually reading sparks inspiration and motivates me to work. This time it didn't. Maybe I need to just read more since I haven't been reading all year. Who knows? I'm going to the library soon so I'll get my fill of books for the summer.
Writing: Well this writer's block sucks. My goal was to have Suspension of Disbelief edited and polished in time for WriteOnCon but that's less than a month away. Unless I get over this writer's block and work really hard that's not going to happen. As for new ideas I got nothing. Sometimes a good way to get rid of writer's block is to start something new, but I have no new ideas. I really just want to focus on my current projects. Unremarkable hasn't been touched in almost a year. I'm going to try to look at that, but it's one of those projects that midway through I wanted to go in a new direction. I'm planning on getting back to it eventually, but Suspension of Disbelief is my top priority.
Chocolate: Milkshakes. That is all.

So what's next? More Road Trip Wednesdays? More random updates on my writing goals? Who knows? I'm not going to make any promises. Not right now at least. Right now I need to focus on me. Try to remember why I love writing. If anybody (who is not my mother) can give me some advice it would be most appreciated. Leave something in the comments or tweet @laboyden.
Also, I'm glad to be back.
Happy Reading!

Monday, January 21, 2013

I haven't forgotten about you

Laptop's down. It might be another month or so to get it fixed. Boo, I know. I will be back I promise.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

YA Highway RTW: 2013 Goals

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: What are your goals for the new year---for reading, writing, or other?

I touched on my some of goals for the year in my last post, but I wanted to talk about a personal goal for me as a writer.

I'm taking a creative writing course for the first time in about two years. Yeah I know I'm a junior and it's my minor, what's wrong with me? Anyway, when I got there on the first day I was really excited to be in a class with other writers my own age. And I was right, it was actually a lot of fun. But at the end of class my professor gave us a prompt and we had about seven minutes to write. I froze up. I had no idea what I was going to write. Everyone else was writing furiously while I was crossing out every few sentences and changing the story all together. By the end of the seven minutes I had two paragraphs of complete crap. I closed my notebook and didn't volunteer to read it to the class. When my classmates read their stories they were actually good for the seven minutes we had. I hate to say this but I felt a little inferior because I couldn't crank out a semi decent story in seven minutes. 

For 2013 my goal is not let this stuff bother me. I know my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I can't write a story in seven minutes even if it's semi decent. I've always hated writing prompts in school and apparently that hasn't changed since college. When I get an idea it has to fester in my head for a while before  I finally write it down. That's just the way I've always been. My writing may not have as much imagery and detail in the first or second draft. It may have way too much dialogue and not enough action, but that's just the way I work. All of that stuff comes later once I have a clear idea of what I'm writing. Maybe by the end of the semester I will be able to write something semi decent in seven minutes. I know for sure that if this ever happens again I will not let my insecurities get in the way. Sure my stories won't be descriptive and with some deep emotional undertone and hidden meaning. I just need to stay true to myself and my style and I will be fine.

This translates to my personal writing. I can't let all of my fears and insecurities stop me from doing what I love to do. I keep seeing announcements for 2015 debuts already and I keep thinking to myself "That could be me. If only I'd finished blah blah." Well, 2013 is a year of change for me as a writer. I want to have two decent manuscripts by the end of the year. I want to at least begin to query in the later months as well. It will take be a lot of work on top of school, theatre and jobs. If I have the drive and determination I'm sure I can do it.

2013 is going to be an excellent year. I can just feel it. What are your goals for the year?

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hello 2013

Happy New Year! Yeah I know is's a couple days later, but this is my first post of the new year. 2013 has already started off amazing and I have a feeling it's going to get even better.

2013 in reading: My goal is to read at least two books a month during the school year. A small goal but I think it could be accomplished. I want to finish all the books I own before getting new ones, but that's probably not going to happen. :P

2013 in writing: Revise. Revise. Revise. I'm revising. I'm not sure how long it's going to take to get my novel to my liking. I still kind of don't have an ending... yeah. On top of that I want to finish my WIP I started last year. I might just try to NaNo it and see if I can finish the rest of it in a month.

2013 in chocolate: I made cake balls...kind of. My friend and I winged it and hilarity ensued. They're edible.

As for blog stuff I'm playing around with setting a schedule so the posts will be a little more consistent. Also I can't promise you anything but March will be my third year blog anniversary and also my birthday month. I'm going to try to do something big to celebrate. 

To everyone who has stuck with me through the years thank you. Without your support I would have given up a long time ago.

Happy Reading!