Happy Release Day, LOVE SUCKS!

Today Love Sucks is released into the wild.

As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited.  There may be some wayward exclamation points that sneak into this post.  Just possibly.  Watch out for them, they’re sneaky.

(!)

Tonight I have my release party.  It’s going to be a fun time of good food, blinking heart necklaces, games, maybe a reading, and lots of chocolate fondue.  Right now I’m stressing about the reading.  I’m not exactly the best talker.  But I have listened to a lot of audiobooks, so I’m better at reading aloud than I used to be.

I have to decide which chapter to use.  There’s always the first one, which admittedly hasn’t failed me in the past (lots of requests from agents who had the first 10 pages).  But I thought maybe I’d do a different scene.  So then the question became… which boy?  Because it’s true that most chapters have either Eric or Logan in them, but not both.  One of the later ones does, and it’s my favorite chapter, but do I go that far into the book?

I’ve almost decided “no” on that chapter and the first one.  That leaves me deciding between two chapters.  Do I choose demon problems or human problems?  Cheerleaders or Disney characters?  Eric or Logan?  Oh, my god, it’s like trying to get Mailee to choose a boy when I first wrote it.

Anyway, I will probably practice all these chapters all day long.  Then tonight?  Chocolate fondue!

If you want to buy the book, it’s currently only available through Musa.  But it should be up on Amazon and B&N soon.  Remember it’s an e-book, but you can get it for Nook, Kindle, iPad, and as a PDF.  Here’s a secret.  It’s awesome to have on my Kindle, but it is absolutely gorgeous as a PDF.  These are the two formats I’ve seen it in, so I’m not sure how the Nook or iBook version compare.

Anyway, I’m off to practice reading!

(!)

Lots of love,

Sage

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Workout Wednesday – New *Mile*stones

It’s been a long time, Workout Wednesday, but I haven’t forgotten you.

Today I hit a new milestone, and I thought, “wish it was Wednesday so I had an excuse to write about it” before realizing itis Wednesday, lol.

A little background, my workout schedule looks a lot different from what it looked like when I used to post these.  My PT is different, we meet on a different day, and I’m more likely to skip a class to do something on my own.  I’m also less likely to do a double workout, although I did one today.

So here’s this week’s workout.

Thursday: Aqua fitness class

Friday: Circuit: spinning at different speeds for certain intervals; arm weight exercises–bicep curls, high row, and shoulder press; ab work–leg raises and knee tucks

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Same as Friday

Monday: 50 minutes of Zumba Fitness on my PS3

Tuesday: 2 miles jogging

Wednesday:

  • Circuit: One minute each x3 sets: Jump squats, “driving the bus” (arm exercise with 10-lb plate), sumo high row (squat then stand into a high row with 10-lb plate)
  • 4(!) miles jogging

About the jogging.  A few weeks ago, I didn’t know that I could actually jog more than a mile.  The pool was closed one Thursday, but I had my gym clothes with me and had already taken my inhaler, so I decided to use the track.  I wasn’t planning on working out long, since I didn’t have my iPhone for music or a book (which I could have read on the treadmill).  After walking a few laps, I decided to jog a few more, then leave.

I did 3 laps, which is a quarter of a mile, and thought, “Huh, why don’t I try for a mile, and just see how far I get?”  So I did.  Without music, I didn’t have a beat, and my pace was set by how fast I felt like going, not by how fast my music is going (which usually leads to me wheezing too much to go at a slower pace later).  I finished the mile.

And then I did another.

Since then, I’ve started using the track more and more on cardio days.  Since I’ve done the 2 miles, I refuse to quit before I reach that far.  Instead of music, I listen to an audiobook to keep me entertained.  And today I bought a counter for my iPhone so that I don’t have to keep track of the 12 laps/mile on my fingers, which causes them to cramp and causes me to stop at 2 miles even if I thought I could go further.  Obviously, this was a great plan, as I doubled my mile count today.

I’m going to see if I can build up my endurance and convince myself to sacrifice more time out of the day (I do about 10-11-minute miles) and see if I can work up to a 5K/10K/half-marathon level (not expecting myself to be able to do 26 miles, like, ever, but 13 maybe?).  It gives me a new excuse to return to WWs too, if I have new progress to chart.

Anyway, that’s my progress this week.  Any good workouts you’ve done lately?

Lots of love,
Sage

Surprise Teaser Tuesday – cut scene from Love Sucks

Hey, I thought that in honor of Love Sucks coming out on Friday, I would do a teaser from it.  But I don’t know how my editor would feel about that, so I’m doing a teaser from a scene I cut solely for length.  This is the first half of a scene I loved, but something needed to go from this section of the novel, and this was the scene that was least important.

I feel bad that Eric doesn’t get equal time as Lo, so maybe I’ll tease with an Eric scene next week.  Unless you guys say you want to see the nerdiness that is me posting the actual D&D scene that occurs after this excerpt.

Context: Mailee drains love with her touch and has been on a quest to become human, but she’s taking a break with Logan and his friends, Tyron and Adam. Mai and Lo are pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend as an excuse to keep him touching/feeding her and his friends from touching her at all. Lo has diabetes.  And…I think that’s all you need to know.

The doorbell rang.  When it rang the second time, I realized nobody was going to get it.  I peeked through the peephole.  Pizza delivery.

“Hey, that’ll be 23.98,” the delivery guy said when I opened the door.  Uh oh.  I didn’t have any money.

“I got it.”  Adam sprinted up to the door, wallet in hand.  “Mailee, could you run these down to the guys while I pay.  Don’t let them suck you in.  If you don’t come back in five minutes, I’ll assume they incorporated you into the cult, and I’m not going in after you.”  He grinned.  “Thanks, doll.”

Which was how I ended up carrying three pizzas downstairs to the room across the hall from my bedroom.

“Hey, babe,” Lo said when I entered.  Everyone looked up.

“Oh em gee,” a guy with red hair and freckles said.  It took me a second to figure out he was speaking in letters and not a foreign language.  “You didn’t tell us your girlfriend was a Halfling.”  And I was confused again.  “Look how cute she is.”

The other guy–with a shaved head and stockier than Freckles Guy or Tyron–chimed in with, “Give her a break, Chris.  She’s at least tall enough to be an elf.  Yeah, definitely elf-like.”

The girl with curly brown hair giggled while the one with straight black hair and a pointed nose rolled her eyes.

Tyron snorted.  “Way to be the most stereotypical gamers ever, guys.”

“I brought you your pizza.”

“Here.”  Lo stood up and grabbed the top two boxes.  “Follow me.”

We put them down on a table to the side.  “Do we have to pizza every time, guys?  I’d like for my blood sugar to at least have a fighting chance.”

Tyron ignored him.  “Mailee, you going to play with us?”

“Oh, yes, do,” the curly-haired girl said.  “Let’s try to balance out the testosterone level in here?”

“D&D is supposed to be testosterone-full.  This is already more girls than I’ve ever seen in a game.”

“Don’t give me that gaming is for guys crap.  My Serenity game has three times the girls than guys.”

“Yeah, but that’s Serenity.  I mean the name itself is girly.”

Chris and the other guy threw some dice at him.  “Don’t mess with the Browncoats!”

“Does this make sense to you?” I whispered to Lo.

“Sorta.  Don’t think I’m too much of a geek.  This is more Ty’s thing.  Do you want to play?”

“What do I have to do?”

“She’s playing!”  Chris was way too excited about this.

“I’ll teach you.  And you can eat with us.”  He kissed me before I could flinch.  I’d have to talk to him about that.

“Oo-ooh….  Logan,” said our personal Geek chorus.

“Okay, now you’re the most stereotypical gamers ever,” Lo said.  He took my hand into his to keep me from playing with my fingers.  “It’s okay,” he promised, and only I knew he meant the two of us touching.  “You don’t have to play.”

“No, she has to be an elf.  Come on, Girlfriend of Logan,” the bald guy said.

“Stop pressuring her.  Mai, you don’t have to play, and if you decide to, don’t let them tell you how your character should be.  You can be anything you want.”

And then he said the two little words that got me to play.  “Even human.”

Hope you enjoyed.

Lots of love,

Sage

Less than a Week until Release

So what am I doing this weekend?

  • Reading through my galleys
  • Reading Hannah Moskowitz’s Gone, Gone, Gone
  • Writing an author’s bio
  • Doing interviews
  • Going to Earth Day events
  • Listening to free concerts downtown
  • Playing with cats
  • Sleeping in until 10 (just today)
  • Betaing a novel for a friend
  • Downloading Train’s and Jason Mraz’s new albums
  • Working (just tomorrow)
  • Eating chocolate-covered espresso beans
  • Bouncing (see previous point)
  • Counting down the days

Hope everyone out there is having a great Earth weekend.

Lots of love,

Sage

Gone, Gone, Gone/Austin Song Contest Winner

All right, after a minor dilemma about the winning song, I’ve decided on a winner, yay!

The winner is Megan for Kid Rock – Warrior.

There were a lot of close runner ups, which was part of my dilemma today.  It turns out that I can’t actually buy “Warrior” and put it on my soundtrack.  Kid Rock does not let iTunes sell his music (or Amazon as single mp3s, either).

But the contest was for the song that fit Austin best, and “Warrior” was the truest to his character and situation, so Megan will still be getting a copy of Gone, Gone, Gone (as soon as I find one, sigh).

There were several other songs that were close, so I will be throwing them all on my playlist temporarily to “audition” them for the part.  The song that makes it might be the one that suddenly strikes me as perfect (one line can sometimes do that) or the one I decide  I just like to listen to best.  Or it’s still entirely possible that some other song will fall out of the sky and hit me and be Austin’s song.

Anyway, thanks for all your entries, everyone.

Lots of love,

Sage

Empathy and TV shows

I find that as LS’s release comes closer, I have a harder time thinking of something to post here other than, “wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!”  😉  So first I’ll start off with a reminder that it’s the last day to enter the Gone, Gone, Gone giveaway contest.  Get me your songs if you want a chance to win the book.

So I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time, and I’m still not sure if I’m even going to make a point with it.  But I’ll start out by admitting that I rarely cry for books.  I cry a lot, though, for television shows.  Some of this is the music.  Nothing will evoke tears from me faster than the right song.

But something that has made me more teary than usual lately is this sense of empathy I’ve been feeling for TV characters.  Oddly, it’s not always the characters you’d expect.

Two similar examples I can give from recent shows are West Wing and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Nobody knows how to make me cry worse than Joss Whedon…unless it’s Aaron Sorkin.

Warning: This post will have spoilers for shows that aired ages ago, so, yeah.

I’ve been listening to WW on my iPhone (more dialogue than visuals makes for good listening material) during work, and today I had to pretend that it was allergies that made me go blow my nose in the middle of a test.  Really it was Annabeth telling Josh that Leo had died.  Leo features in another of my teary WW moments, when he runs through the White House to tell President Bartlett that his daughter’s been kidnapped.  There’s something about imagining what it would be like to be the person who tells the bad news that gets me, I guess, because my first-impulse Buffy example?  Buffy telling Dawn that their mother has died.

I personally have a hard time showing empathy in real life situations.  I know the way I should be reacting, but sometimes I’m worrying about not looking like I’m sympathetic enough (even if I am sympathetic).  So it’s interesting that I can effortlessly put myself in these characters’ minds and feel the anguish they must be feeling in giving the bad news.

The Buffy example goes beyond what Buffy and Dawn must be feeling because Joss has cleverly turned the cameras to the people in Dawn’s art classroom, watching Buffy tell Dawn and clearly feeling exactly as helpless as the viewers at home.  A pane of glass separates them from the scene (as it does us), and they can no more go to Dawn to comfort her (because it’d be intruding on the moment, which belonged to her and Buffy) than we can (because it’s a tv show).  So it is very easy to put ourselves in their place and understand what they must be feeling.

Just so you don’t think that a character’s death is needed for me to do this, another Buffy example is when Buffy is given the Class Protector award.  For three seasons we watch Buffy protect people around her with no thanks.  In fact, except for the other MCs, the rest of her class seems ungracious and mean.  Buffy used to be popular and would love to be popular again, but the whole Slayer gig keeps her from achieving that goal.  So to get an award at the prom and be told that her classmates wrote her name in for it, that they recognize all her hard work, that they’ve paid attention to her this whole time, it really gets to me.

I don’t think I used to watch TV this way.  I had tragic (or happy!) moments that made me cry, sure, but sometimes it was the music, and sometimes it was the tragic beauty of the scene (Buffy sending Angel to Hell, Buffy killing herself to save Dawn).

I don’t know if it’s writing that has made me go beyond the text of the scene and delve into what the character is thinking (or, in some cases, what I think the writer/director/actor decided the character would think), or if it’s listening to a show while working and having more thought processes to go through when I’m not distracted by the visual.  Because it was definitely WW that got me going deeper into the heads of the characters.

But I think it helps with writing.  It helps to go beyond the surface of what’s being portrayed on screen.  I don’t do it much with reading because everything is right there on the page, and with rare exceptions, I take the author’s word that that’s what the character is thinking.  Plus my mind is more occupied with reading the words and processing them into images and the scene to stop and go deeper into the character’s mind most of the time.  But I hope that analyzing and empathizing these emotions through other media helps me express things in my own writing that I haven’t experienced myself.

So I wonder how deeply other people go into the heads of characters they’re watching.  Do you dive into your favorite character’s minds or just stay at the surface of what the TV show or movie is showing you?  Do you find it easier to relate to the emotions of novel characters instead?  Has going deeper (if you do) helped you with your writing, particularly with things you haven’t experienced before?

Lots of love,

Sage

A Sniper, a Soldier, and all of Craig’s Animals Walk into a Bar

And it’s a karaoke bar, because it’s time for another find-Sage-a-song contest, yay!

The Prize:

The winner of this contest will be receiving a copy of Hannah Moskowitz’s Gone, Gone, Gone, which, btw, is my favorite Hannah book.  Here’s the Goodreads description.

It’s a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives. Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him…and if he’ll do it again…and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.Lio feels most alive when he’s with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable…and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.

This intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer is a poignant look at what it is to feel needed, connected, and alive

The Character:

And what do you need to do to win this excellent novel?  Well, I need a song for the Taylor-Made soundtrack.  Austin, my soldier Simulant and a pseudo-POV-character has no clear song, and I want him to have one.  Justin has two and Taylor has a soundtrack-worth, but Austin is merely alluded to until the climax.

So here’s some info about Austin and his POV.  He’s an android built to fight in this war for America so that human soldiers don’t have to die anymore.  He’s aware he’s an android and he knows that he’s not going to get a parade when he gets home.  They sent him and all the other Simulants because he’s expendable.  Despite this, his loyalty to the U.S. is unwavering except for one brief moment where he questions it before his programming takes over.  When the human commander in his unit is killed, he’s put in charge, so he does have authority, but we never really see him use it, so I might kill that bit.  Halfway through the novel he meets a spy from the other side of the war, and she promises to help him get to the weapon they’re trying to get to and disable.  He falls for her.  He’s hard, he’ll shoot to kill without hesitation, he swears every fifth word, and until he meets this girl, he is entirely focused on the war.  After he meets her, he dares to dream about life after the war, with her.  A tease from his POV can be found here.

The Rules:

To enter, all you need to do is suggest a song that could be Austin’s character song.  It might be about soldiers or war in general or freedom or anything you think matches the above description of him.  Every song you mention is an entry, with no limit.  The winner is the one who chooses the song that most fits Austin, which hopefully will fit him so well that I’ll fill that hole in my soundtrack.  Even if no suggestion is perfect, I will still choose a winner.  If you could link or embed a YouTube video or lyrics, that would be lovely, but it is not necessary.  Just make sure the title and the artist are correct so I can find them.

Songs I do not need suggested to me are: “Citizen/Soldier” by 3 Doors Down or anything by Green Day.  I have already considered these and rejected them.

The contest will go on until 11:59 p.m. April 16.  On April 17, I will announce the winner and go out and buy two copies of Gone, Gone, Gone (one is for me).

Good luck!

Lots of love,
Sage