Over at the YA Buccaneers, it’s Spring Writing Bootcamp again! You may be hot off Camp NaNo and just need some helping finishing up your first draft of the project. Or maybe you’ve been knee-deep in a WIP for a while and just need some support. Whatever your reasons, the YA Buccaneers have got your back. Sign up for the Spring Writing Bootcamp today, and participate in word sprints, fun writing challenges, inspirational posts to keep you moving forward, and much more. Best of all? It’s free!

 

 

YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp

 

 

It starts this week, and will run for the next two months, from May 1st until June 30th, 2016.  You set your own goals, and we’ll help you make it happen. Have you participated before? Then you’ll know how much fun it is, and how the team will get you writing every day. The wonderful Dread Pirate B. has created some amazing worksheets, a printable weekly progress tracker, and much more. What’s the more?  PRIZES, of course!  But you’ll have to sign up to find out just what’s happening. Go and do it now!

 

 

I’m going to be writing this month. Will you?

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in Spring Writing Bootcamp, YA Buccaneers | Tagged Comment

I'm reading PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken.

 

I’m just starting this little beauty after a long month of prepping programs for work, so this is a much appreciated reward! But I have a feeling this might be one of my favourites for 2016….and it’s so early in the year! I’ll post a review a little later.

 

 

But this month, I’m totally obsessed with something I came across by accident, and I can’t even explain why.  It all started with this ridiculous YouTube video of a hairstylist who calls himself “Switchscissors”.  If you watch anything today, at least make it through the first five minutes of this…

 

HEAD & SHAMPOO MASSAGE

HEAD & SHAMPOO MASSAGE

 

 

Okay…did you watch it?  Seriously, is this guy for real??? (Um, yes, apparently.  But it gets better. You have to watch his hair cutting videos…..I mean, people actually applaud, and he’s like a cross between Neo from the Matrix and Edward Scissorhands….oh boy…just click this link to watch.)

 

 

Anyway, back to the head massage thing. If you made it through five minutes without bursting into laughter, I don’t know how you did it.  I’m pretty sure his hands get caught at one point in her hair, and he just has to figure out how to make it look like it’s part of the video, but…wow. All I could think was, “Someone is paying him to do this? For 25+ minutes??”  I couldn’t imagine going for a hair cut and having my stylist do this (look out Sue, I’m expecting this performance from you now!).

 

 

But what really startled me was the fact that all of the comments to the video are FABULOUS comments! People are into this guy! I was scrolling to see other comments about how crazy this was, and how funny it was….and just…..nothing. People dig this guy and what he does.

 

 

So, then I started really paying attention. He’s so focused and serious about what he does!  He really believes in this head massage (every single one is just as intense….yes, I’ve watched many), and how it is good for his client. He doesn’t laugh, snicker, or do a throw away. Nope, every single one is as intense from the beginning to end. I don’t know how he keeps it up…..my arms would be aching.

 

 

It got me to thinking…..am I this serious about anything in my life?  Anything???  I thought I was serious about my writing, until I saw Switchscissors wash someone’s hair.  And if he can pour everything he’s got into a sink full of hot water, I can do that with my writing. Switchscissors is my new idol!!

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in My Life, Ridiculousness, Writing | Tagged Comment

Salt to the Sea book review

 

 

I finished SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys after hearing so much about this book from everywhere. And I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t normally read historical fiction, but I loved the cover, and it was lauded as a fabulous book for distinct voices, so it was a must-read.

 

 

It tells the story of a little-known ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, carrying thousands of refugees from many countries during World War II presumably to safety. Sepetys offers us a unique look into the tragedy of war, delivering four different stories, from four  teens coming from…yes, four different parts of Europe. Each story plays out over the book, converging on one another once they board the ship. You can imagine the setup here–the massive outpouring of people trying to escape Hitler’s grasp to make it to a new world where they could be free.

 

 

This is not your usual WWII story, and yet it is. It has all of the angst, tragedy, peril, and heartbreak you can imagine. People fleeing their homelands, teens thrust into adulthood as a result of circumstance, and mistakes made at every turn. Oh, the mistakes. I’m not sure I would have fared any better under the circumstances.

 

 

I was very interested to read this after hearing this story was told in four parts, with four very distinct voices. As a writer, it is always a challenge to write multiple POVs, and I wanted to see how Sepetys handled it. I must admit, I started listening to this as an audiobook, mainly because I couldn’t get my hands on the book right away. I usually love audiobooks, but this had a few problems. First, the chapters are really, really short. Like, one page, two pages, short. So, it took quite a while to get used to the switch in voices which occurred very frequently. And second, one of the people voicing one of the characters either had a cold when recording, or has a slight speech impediment (or maybe a localized accent?). All of her words which included the letters “LD” together ended up sounding like “OD”. So, instead of cold, or old…they came out like ODE and CODE. I couldn’t get past it. Hard to believe how many times they talked about being cold in this book, and it was just too much.

 

 

Thankfully, I finally got a copy of the book and finished reading. I actually enjoyed reading through it, and found it went quite a bit faster with the short chapters, and the fact that I was half to three-quarters through already.

 

 

********SPOILER WARNING:  SKIP AHEAD NOW*******Of course, my distraction with the book was no fault of Sepetys. Her book was well crafted, with engaging characters and a gripping story. (Was it just me, or was the shoe poet one of the BEST characters in the whole book?) If you’ve seen “Titanic” at any point in life, you’ll find a lot of similarities in the ending (not just the fact that the ship sinks), so it made me question how much of this she thought she invented and how often she’s seen Titanic. Aside from those few instances, the book had twists I enjoyed, and characters that were well researched and thought out. She even made us feel some sympathy for a German soldier who longed to be someone. I’m glad she attempted it, at the very least.

 

 

SPOILERS OVER:   If you love historical fiction, this is a great read, and a fast one. I love that we weren’t bogged down by pages of info dumping. Sepetys skillfully weaves historical, geographical, and clinical facts into her stories so that we hardly know they’re there. If you’re looking for a book to recommend to a reader of YA historical fic, this is it. And if you’re looking for a book to give to a reluctant reader, this is also the book. The short chapters and engaging content will keep them turning the pages.

 

 

On to something new!

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , Comment

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

 

I’m on a non-fiction kick right now, which is typical of when I’m writing something new. I find it doesn’t interfere with my story process, and I can still get in my reading time. I must admit, I get my love of non-fiction from my mom. She’s a die-hard NF reader!!

 

 

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Paul Kalanithi’s WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR after hearing all about this powerful memoir published after this neurosurgeon’s death from a swift and terrible cancer. While the subject matter is difficult, Kalanithi is really searching for the meaning of living when faced with death, which makes the book almost uplifting when it could be heart-crushing. With gorgeous text, and a beautiful look into the world of doctors, I’m trying to savour it as long as I can.

 

Next up is Shonda Rhimes’ YEAR OF YES, which makes me all tingly just thinking about it sitting there on my table waiting to be devoured. A book from the creator of all amazing shows ever written (I’m doing a binge watch of Grey’s Anatomy right now, and so sad I’m almost at season 11), this is a little book, but it goes right along with my whole effort to bring some creativity back into my life this year. Honestly, how many inspiring books will be out there this year? I love it!

 

 

Have you read either of these? Are they on your TBR lists? Let me know what you think. I’m always up for discussing great books. (Hey Betsy, put BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert on your list….you’ll love it!)

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , 2 Comments

ideas

 

 

The other night, I woke up with a great idea.

 

 

No–it was a brilliant idea!

 

 

There were so many things happening with this idea, I felt sure it would connect with people on an amazing number of levels. I thought about it as I lay there in the dark, churning it over, examining it from all angles. It was THE idea of my lifetime, possibly.

 

 

I even came up with a hashtag for it. I was going to use this hashtag and splash it all over social media until it went viral. People were going to start coming to me to invent their hashtags, it was that good.

 

 

I spent so much time thinking about this, I knew it would all still be with me in the morning. I knew it, like I know my middle name (it’s not Meredith), and I know what I had for dinner last night (something with veggies, ’cause we’re on a veggie kick right now).

 

 

So, I didn’t write it down.

 

 

Nope, I went back to sleep, confident this idea was going to be mine in the morning, and forever, really. How could it not? I even had a hashtag!

 

 

Yep…lost it. I should’ve known. I’m sucky at hashtags.

 

 

#einsteindidntneedhashtags

 

 

heidi sinnett

Posted in My Life | Tagged Comment