Black History Month

So, hello again. It’s been a while, I know…

In honor of Black History month this February – I will share some of the book I am reading. And so far I have read some amazing ones:

Check Out:

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A great graphic novel account of Congressman John Lewis’s experience of civil rights and justice.

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A transforming look at the true story behind the Triple Nickles who were America’s first black paratroopers

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A new age spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet tale with a cast of diverse characters.

Transformed FREE giveaway!!!

Hey There!

In celebration of my soon to be released YA debut Transformed, I figured I’d do a FREE giveaway! Yeah!

Simply fill out the form below to be entered to win a signed galley of Transformed. Winner will be notified by mid-November. Good luck!

Whew!

Well, I’ve completed the second draft of my novel. Yah me! But the journey is not yet over. I’m about to begin the process of my third draft where I’ll put some things into perspective, build on some plot points, fine tune some characters, etc. I’m not quite looking forward to this. My journey of writing this book has been a very chaotic and unorganized one – which thus has led me to this point of third drafting. Yet, I’m happy to say I have the story as a whole done.

This goes to show that in the process of writing things aren’t always fine-tuned and together. In fact many writers start writing at the end, that is the very last chapter! I one heard an author talk about writing a novel and then completely deleting the finished product and start again from scratch! Imagine that. Anyway, I have started looking for an agent, and I look forward to the continuing journey ahead.

The Ring

I came across this very short story I wrote a while ago from a prompt and decided to share it here. Hope you enjoy:

The Ring

The glove compartment’s contents were a chaotic mess inside. As Jenny shifted the items around to find her car registration her fingers dug into something sharp. When she fished it out she saw it was her mother’s engagement ring. The one passed down from five generations back. How could she have been so careless to leave it there?

She enclosed the diamond ring in her left palm and reached again in the glove compartment for her vehicle registration. After a few questions the officer let her off with a warning and took off. Jenny pulled back onto the highway reluctantly. She was still shaken about her carelessness with such a treasured piece of their family’s heirloom. Ten minutes later she pulled into her driveway.

After shutting off the car, all her worries flooded through her mind. Jenny closed her eyes to contain them, but the most important thought squeezed its way through. Was she forgetting things? Then like a bomb it hit her. What she heard Bob, her husband, saying on the phone a couple days earlier:

“It’s getting worse Pete. First it was little minor things I thought were accidental.” He had paused as though he couldn’t bear the thought, much more to say the words aloud. “But for the first time yesterday we were talking about Kate, and she didn’t know who Kate was. How could she forget her own daughter?”
Jenny could picture her husband’s brother on the other end of the line asking him what he was going to do.
“I don’t know. I’ve scheduled an appointment. I guess from here we just have to hope for the best.”

The sound of an airplane above brought Jenny back from her memory. Tears strolled down her rosy cheeks. Then a small whimper escaped her red lips as she leaned forward onto the steering wheel. It seemed like forever but only a few minutes passed. Composing herself, Jenny took the ring from her lap where she had placed it after finding it in the glove compartment. Its prongs bore into her palm as she clutched tightly, determined this time to give it to her daughter before she lost it. Jenny desired to give the ring to her daughter after hearing about her engagement a few weeks back. Now she had the opportunity once more and she would make the best of it.

A few days later, Jenny sat in a diner waiting for Kate. When Kate showed up they ordered their meal. Jenny had told Kate over the phone that she wanted to give her something. As they ate they discussed fond memories of when Kate was growing up. Halfway through brunch Jenny stopped eating and stared out the window. It had begun raining.
“I have an extra umbrella in the car if you need it mom.”
When Jenny didn’t respond Kate went on, “so what was it you wanted to give me?”
Jenny continued to stare outside. Kate reached forward and touched her mother’s hand. For the first time since they sat to eat Kate noticed the ring on the table.
“Mom, you okay?” Jenny picked up the ring and rotated it between her fingertips. It was as though she was trying to figure out how it got there.

“Mom?” Kate started to feel flushed and jittery from her mom’s unresponsiveness.

Jenny looked up at Kate, “do I know you?”
Shock went through Kate because her father’s update on her mother’s condition could never have prepared her for that. Shaking, Kate retrieved her hand but continued to stare at her mother. Tears welled in her eyes, and her lips began to quiver, “Mom, it’s me. Kate.”
A few minutes passed then Jenny reached across the table. She gently wiped a tear from Kate’s eyes although her own tears ran down her cheeks.
In a bare whisper she said, “It happened again, didn’t it?” Kate reached across the table and held both her mom’s hands in her own and squeezed.
“I’m sorry sweetie.”
Kate shook her head. “There’s nothing to be sorry about mom. I love you.”
Kate took the ring off the table and replaced it with the one her fiancé had given her. “Thanks for the ring mom, I promise to cherish it.”
Jenny was so glad to have kept her promise. She got up and slid inside the booth beside her daughter and they embraced.

A Jumbled Mess

The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

As I’m going over what hopefully will become my final draft of the book, I’m looking back at a time when I thought everything was so jumbled up I would never actually be able to separate the junk from the good stuff. Actually, every writer won’t necessarily go through this phase of crisis that I went through with this particular book. One of the main reasons it happened to me was because the thoughts and ideas I started with for the book emerged into so many different aspects along the way. I began in first person, then totally changed to third person, which, let me tell you, is a lot of work to fix – especially if you have actually written a good bit already. Additionally, characters I started with phased out and didn’t seem so important to the story anymore so I had to get rid of them. Simultaneously, the roles of some characters who stayed changed and had to be adjusted accordingly.

So, drafts can be a big pain, but I’m proof that there is hope. Looking back in comparison to where the book is today, I am so excited and hopeful. Of course there are things that can be done to avoid my experience all together, but sometimes when ideas are coming at you more than you can consume, it’s hard to organize well enough. Working with an outline is one way to stay organized, although for some reason, I don’t quite do so well working with one. When I do have an outline, it’s pretty, basic nothing intense. I do find it helpful though, to jot down notes and new findings along the way that I can refer back to as I write.

So have no fear, your writing will become clear!

Excerpt from my YA novel in progress… Metamorphic

Kyrra nodded her head in agreement. Vox’s conviction was so strong she didn’t know what to make of it at all. And was that a deep fear she saw in his eyes as he regarded her? Vox held his face in his palms for a few seconds. He looked up and looked in her eyes.

“I know you probably don’t think so, but everything’s gonna be alright, okay? Trust me, I won’t let anything happen to you.”

Then before Kyrra could even think of what answer to give back Vox stood up and went back to his own room. She was left wrestling with thoughts of what was happening to her, but even deeper on her mind was why Vox was so interested in taking care of her. Did he feel obligated because her father said he could stay at their apartment? She would have to talk to him in the morning because moments later sleep claimed her.

(This scene takes place in the early pages of the book, and reflects Kyrra’s fear from experiencing the beginning transformations she is to go through to become her true self… and no, this is not a vampire/werewolf or angels/demons story)

Copyright © 2011-2012 by Nicola McDonald. All rights reserved.

The 365 Challenge

So, as the new year approaches, I thought about my attempt to start the 365 challenge, which mine would have been to write 365 days of the year. But, I digress because I believe, as the saying goes, “it’s not what you do, but how you do it”. In reality I would love to write every single day of the year, I mean which writer wouldn’t? Yet, I would much rather to write something substantial on a weekly basis. So, thus my personal challenge – I’ll write and post a blog at least once each week.

I wish you all an awesome new year filled with everything you need! And, I look forward to sharing more of my writing with you! Cheers.