Thursday, August 14, 2014

SUPERHEROES - And Why It's Time to Let Go of Them

Superheros. We love them. We're obsessed with them. And by "we," I mean everyone I know, except me.

Why are "we" so obsessed? Just today, CNN gave us this headline: "Meet your new Aquaman." Why? Why do I have to meet my new Aquaman? If I remember correctly, I liked Aquaman for about 5 seconds when I was a kid watching Super Friends on Saturday morning. Now he and Wonder Woman will be appearing in the "new" Batman vs. Superman movie, and I have to ask, "Who fucking cares?" Why is it that we keep recycling Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, waiting to see who'll be the next actor to succumb to the harsh judgment of millions of hardcore, purist, aging comic book enthusiasts out there? Have you even SEEN a kid reading comic books lately? No, because they don't. Why are "we" so obsessed with these old characters from an outdated, bygone era? Are we so afraid to let go of our childhood? Are we so afraid of new characters to love? Shit, if this were the case, then they should've made at least 16 new Snoopy movies for me to enjoy, because that was my childhood hero.

We don't just need new superheroes, but new characters, PERIOD. But is there room for new faces? We're a country with a huge film entertainment industry, and all we can come up with is, "Did you like the old Superman or the new Superman? Old Spider-Man or new Spider-Man?" Dude, has anyone noticed they're still the same superheroes over and over, even if played by a new actor? Why are we splitting hairs? As they say in Spanish, "Hasta cuando??" Until when? Come on, people. IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON!

Time for RISK-TAKING! There are thousands of writers out there, poised on the edge of a new creative renaissance, writers struggling to be heard, seen, read. Thousands of them, creating all sorts of unique characters for people to fall in love with, fascinating characters who explore new worlds, yet we keep dumping millions of dollars back on Stan Lee. Newsflash: Stan Lee doesn't need any more money!!! He's old, decrepit, getting more and more stinking rich on the business of recycling his old shit, while some young writer is struggling to pay his bills and feed his family with his fantastic new story lines, if only someone would look at them! Let's start letting in some new blood, new worlds, new civilizations, and I don't mean by making 5 more Star Trek movies. Yes, I love Star Trek, but it's 2014!!!! We do not need to see how Kirk and Spock would look and talk as played by yet more new actors. They're still Kirk and Spock! How will we fall in love and keep evolving as lovers of art if we are always looking at the Mona Lisa as painted by 5 different artists?? It's still the Mona Fucking Lisa! Please, I'm begging you...stop going to see these movies. It isn't until you stop paying for them and start demanding new ideas, new faces, new talent, that the film (and book) industry will evolve into the 21st Century.

Look what happened when someone decided to take a risk with Harry Potter, a new character 20 years ago--LOVE, EXCITEMENT...that's what happened. Young readers were so thirsty for something refreshing and magnificent that they fell in love with JK Rowling's "new" creation, and right they should! But now we need more. Please, editors, directors, producers of book and film entertainment...let's please put these superheroes and other old tropes to rest. They accomplished what they set out to do. They boosted morale pre and post wartime, and they united the country, and all that. Yay. Awesome. But now it's 60 years later, and it's TIME. Go see a movie you've never heard of before with actors you've never heard of. Pick up a book by someone you've never heard of, and if you're a writer, don't stop trying to be heard. Don't stop knocking on those doors. Be better than your competition. Eventually, you'll catch their attention, but we need help. We need for readers, viewers, consumers of visual storytelling to please give originality a chance. Let go of the old superheroes. And go find some new ones.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

4th of July SUMMER OF YESTERDAY Giveaway!

Hi guys! I was just sitting here, drinking my mango-banana smoothie, thinking, "How can I give back to my readers for all their support?"

And it came to me! Give crap stuff away! Of course! Then, I realized that the 4th of July is almost here, and my book, SUMMER OF YESTERDAY, takes place over 4th of July weekend in 1982! So I thought, "They might be home, reading, looking for something to do before they head out to the beach with their friends. Let's have a contest!" Yes, I actually thought all that! I know, I'm so thoughtful.

So, here's the deal: tell us all about the BEST ROCKING-EST SUMMER you ever had. Maybe you met a really hot guy one summer and hung out by the pier every night at sunset (omg, how romantic...why didn't this crap stuff ever happen to me?). Maybe you were at camp all summer and made the best friends ever to last you a lifetime (I know I wish I would've gone to camp when I was a teen)(#sadGaby). Maybe you went on a killer road trip, or maybe you just lazed by the beach and pool all summer checking out your friend's friends and their friends's friends, but it was relaxing and just what you needed.

Whatever it was, tell us about it!!!! 

SUMMER OF YESTERDAY is about the best summer 17-year-old Haley Petersen ever had, when she time-traveled back to 1982, Disney's Fort Wilderness's River Country, and met a super-hot, super-sweet, and super-smart towel guy named Jason. Soooooo, publicly tell us about YOUR best summer, mention SUMMER OF YESTERDAY in a post (Facebook or your blog), and TAGGG MEEEEE, so all my friends and fans can see it too, and you will be entered to win this saucy-beachy cute SOY Beach Tote!! Remember to mention SOY, this blog, or a link to the book and to tag me, or I won't see it :(

The tote bag includes: the tote (duh), 5 bookmarks to give to your friends, an awesomely cute spiral notebook with SOY on the front and back cover, a SOY lip gloss, AND....a signed copy of SUMMER OF YESTERDAY!!! What do you mean signed by who? Me!!! 

Okay, so let's get busy, girls and guys, and yes, even adults (because I know that you read teen fiction. You can't hide from me). I have 7 beach totes ready to go!!!! Write, write, write, share, share, share, and win, win, win!!!! Contest ends on July 14th, 2014 (just in case your best 4th of July summer hasn't happened yet).

Man, what the hell heck was in my mango-banana smoothie?

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Writing Styles, Sticky Notes, & Johnny Depp's Island

When it comes to writing, everyone has their own unique process, much like Johnny Depp has his own island, or the way every little newborn baby has his own unique hospital baby picture. Just look at my son's:

Cute, right? And it works for him, because he's a stubborn teen, so those little fists are super appropriate! But anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, writing. I've been tagged by my super-cool Crafty Chica friend, Kathy Cano-Murillo, to talk about my writing process. And, by the way, if you've never visited Kathy's website, then you have not experienced GLITTER at its full potential. Just look, Crafty Chica, and be prepared for your head to explode into an array of sparkly clouds. I usually don't like talking about my writing process, because I always feel like someone is going to come along and tell me that's not how I'm supposed to do it. But anyway, here it is, whether it sounds amateur or not...


 First, I make a list of things I want to write about, things I love. If I don't love the topic, I'm not going to spend 2-4 months of my time writing about it. I don't care how trendy it is or how many editors are looking for books of its kind, I. Will. Not. Write. It. Second, I select my favorite obsession du jour, then I figure out a really rough problem using "What If?" For example, "WHAT IF a teen girl obsessed with baking unlocks her late grandmother's magical spell that makes people fall in love through her baked goods?" Cool. It's a start. Then, I'll brainstorm all the different things that could possibly go right or wrong because of this, and put each of these on a sticky note. Then I'll put all these sticky notes in somewhat chronological order according to basic plotting points, such as Inciting Incident, Plot Point 1, Plot Point 2, Plot Point 3, Climax, and Ending. This way, I have a basic overview of what I'm about to tackle. It'll look something like this. Don't be frightened, it's just paper:

I have to do this. Because I suck at plotting in real life. Because if I just sit down to a blank page and write, my story will go in 5 different directions, and 3 of them will be dead ends, so this keeps me on a basic path. Then comes the fun part--characterization. I'll start a separate document where I'll just think of a character and start talking like her. I'll try to make her sound different from other characters I've written, just so they won't all sound like me. I give her a problem, and soon, she's talking about what she wants, who she dreams about, what makes her panties get into a twist. I also try to make sure that my story fills in these blanks, because, all in all, it's a story in a sentence:
This book is about ______ who really wants ______ but can't get it because of _______.


After this, I create a basic outline using everything I've created so far. I know what you're thinking. "Do you actually write anything when you're writing?" Actually, I do. 


So then...after I have this basic outline done, which by the way, doesn't have to be perfect, but I do need to see where I'm going, much like a road map, THENNNN I'll feel comfortable enough to start writing. I do all this, because in real life, I am a very efficient person. I only have 24 hours in the day with 50,383 things to do, so I must make sure I'm fitting everything in. I do NOT want to find out a month from now, that I've been going in the wrong direction with my story and have to start over. A little planning now goes a long way. Then the rest is smooth sailing.


I might light a candle and start writing. I might sit in my red leather chair and play with my curtains. I might blast Iggy Azalea and pretend I'm rapping at my book signing while dancing around the living room. I could do any number of creative things to get my mind flowing, but once it does, it does, and God help you all, because there is nothing to stop me until the book is done. 

Tag, You're It!

This has been my writing process in a nutshell. I will now tag two more teen authors whose books you might enjoy, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, the author of THE RED UMBRELLA and A THUNDEROUS WHISPER and Danielle Joseph, author of SHRINKING VIOLET, also known as RADIO REBEL on the Disney Channel, to see how their writing process is the same or different. And now...a picture of Johnny Depp and his island, just because. Goodnight, writers and readers!

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