Category Archives: Inspiration

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to. And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Rainbow Rowell’s Landline, which was predictably glorious. Now I’m reading The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan by Atia Abawi. It’s a modern-day story about two teenagers of different Afghan ethnicities who fall in love, and it is brutal. So far, I’m captivated. Here’s hoping it finishes as strongly as it’s opened.

What I’m Writing: I finished another round of revisions for my story Where Poppies Bloom. It’s in the hands of a few betas now, and I’m hoping to have it off to my agent in the next few weeks — yay! Now, I’m mentally gearing up to revise the shitty first draft of my summertime WiP, The Road So Far.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Mama stuff: shuttling my daughter from school to guitar to cheerleading. I also started practicing yoga again after a long hiatus. I found a great class in my town and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the way my body’s fallen right back into the poses.


I finally got to see If I Stay! My expectations were admittedly low. The novel is one of my very favorites and I did not want to be disappointed. Luckily, I ended up blown away. I LOVED IT. Even my husband, who hasn’t read the book and had no idea what the story was about, admitted it was better than the “chick flick” he’d been expecting. I thought Mia and Adam were just perfect. I adored the music and Mia’s parents and the way the romance came alive onscreen. I’ve been reading lukewarm reviews, but I say… Go see it if you haven’t already!

  
I crossed a Thirty Before 35 goal off my list when I baked a Rainbow Cake for my daughter’s sleepover. Because I only have two 8 inch cake pans, I had to bake the layers in shifts; combined with frosting and decorating, this was a time-consuming project. Totally worth it, though! It was tons of fun to prepare from scratch, and it tasted very yummy!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Music. I bought the If I Stay soundtrack, plus I’ve been listening to a lot of Sugarland and Tom Petty and Tim McGraw (obviously). I’m letting my mind mull over a bunch of tiny new WiP nuggets and there’s no greater way for me to do that than to zone out to some well-loved songs. 

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

c0500-tree7025

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Landline, which is predictably glorious. I’m pretty sure Rainbow Rowell is incapable of mediocrity. All four of her books are must-reads if you’ve yet to check them out.

What I’m Writing: I’m working on revising my WiP, Where Poppies Bloom, according to my CP’s notes. It’s coming along, and I’m looking forward to sending it off for one more round of feedback before my agent gets a read.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Aaah! SO much!


My girlie started second grade. *sniffle*

   
Shortly after, we flew across the country for my brother-in-law’s wedding in Portland. My husband was the Best Man, and my daughter was a flower girl. <3


From Portland, we headed to the Seattle area, where my in-laws live. Of course we had to make a special trip to the American Girl store.

  
We also went to a Washington State University football game. We pre-funked with my in-laws (including my new sister-in-law!) and I got to visit with my longtime friend (and fellow Coug), Kari Bradley.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: My fellow Ready. Set. Write! participants! You all did amazingly this summer — congratulations on your successes! I cannot wait to see what comes of the novels we worked on over the last three months! Also, the enthusiastic response I got to last week’s Wanna Beta post. Knowing people are intrigued by my little story is so motivating and humbling. THANK YOU! <3

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

Wanna beta?

Okay, RSWers! Today is your opportunity to share a bit about what you’ve been working on all summer, and hopefully find a CP match made in blog heaven!

If you’re looking for new readers or are interested in beta reading someone’s WiP, and you find someone you think you might connect with, feel free to peruse that person’s RSW posts from this summer (a lot of us have been sharing lines from our WIPs so it might give you a better idea of writing styles), and leave a comment on that person’s post indicating your interest in beta reading. There’s a chance not everyone will find a potential partner this way, so if others don’t take you up on your offer to read or if someone doesn’t offer to read for you, please keep in mind  that there are any number of factors involved (ie: timing, genre, whether a person needs one or more betas, etc).

Hopefully the stars are aligned for a beautiful critique match-up! I can’t wait to learn about your story, so don’t forget to sign up on the linky below!

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I’m looking for feedback on my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom, the first story in a potential duology. It’s a mystery/romance (heavy on the romance), and it’s definitely on the upper end of YA. I’m looking for big-picture comments regarding the mystery, specifically. I’ve overhauled this manuscript, and I need to be sure all of its elements are working together and making sense. It should be ready in the next few weeks. 

First Line

I never used to be the type of girl who hotboxes her bathroom.

Visual Inspiration

   

  

 

Love List

Scars
Victorians
Swimming
Lost Love
Found Love
Rain Storms
Beach Kisses
Breakfast

Power Ballades
Ghosts
Cluttered Attics
Crashing Waves
Kittens
Beating Hearts
Poppies
Bookstores
Bonfires 

Intrigued? Wanna read? Let me know in the comments. <3

Mood Boards

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a super visual person. Instagram is my favorite social media forum, and I’m an enthusiastic pinner. In fact, I make Pinterest boards for all of my WiPs, some secret, some not. The drawback to pinning WiP-inspired images on Pinterest, though, is that it’s hard to get an over all picture/mood/feeling for a story without pulling up the whole board. And you can’t use the board unless you’re logged on to Pinterest, which isn’t always convenient.

Imagine my excitement when I heard author Jenny Han talking about mood boards (via Sara Zarr’s awesome This Creative Life podcast). In short, a mood board is an online bulletin board that can be constantly changed, updated, and personalized. Using Mood Share (free!), creative people can “tack” images (uploaded or searched for by way of the site) to their board(s), then save the board(s) for personal use (that’s what I do) or share with other users. It’s fantastically fun, not to mention inspirational. I set the board I made for my WiP, The Road So Far, as the desktop background on my computer so I can access it easily. Every time I look at it, I want to open my doc and write, write, write!

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 2.50.58 PM

So cool, right? Check out Mood Share (and the above-mentioned Sara Zarr/Jenny Han interview) and let me know what you think!

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and and Siobhan Vivian, which I’m loving (no surprise — I’m a huge fan of both authors). I’m also beta reading for Jennifer Pickrell. Her contemporary YA has been delightful so far.

What I’m Writing: Now that my Where Poppies Bloom revision is complete, I’m back to working on my road trip manuscript, The Road So Far. Normally I much prefer revising to drafting, but after the challenges Poppies presented, I am more than happy to be pounding out new words. More about it all HERE.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve skipped the last few What’s Up Wednesdays because things have been crazy with family and revisions and life, but I’m happy to be back. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy…

   
We spent Independence Day at the (insanely crowded) beach with my parents, Nana and Poppy, and then we met up with my brother and his girlfriend for BBQ and chocolate cake.


We had tons of fun hanging with Nana and Poppy in humid Florida for a week. :-)

   
I spent last week shuttling my girlie to and from Zoo Camp, which she loved. (Win-win for Mama, who had tons of extra revising time!)


And, we’ve been taking advantage of Destin’s shopping, restaurants, and beautiful sunsets.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Author Sara Zarr‘s “This Creative Life” podcast. I’m new to podcasts (if you have any recs, please do leave them in the comments!), but I’ve been catching up with this one obsessively. It’s awesome because it’s about as close as I’ll ever get to having a National Book Award finalist as a personal mentor. Sara is so wise and gracious and real, and I’ve learned so much from her and her guests (Stephanie Perkins, Nina LaCour, Siobhan Vivian, Nova Ren Suma, Sarah Dessen and Bennet Madison, to name a few). The conversations she has about creativity and balance and why/how/when creative people do what they do make me feel so… normal. And inspired. And like part of a community. All of the anxiety and doubt and fear and joy that’ve bounced around in my head as I try (and try and try) to get published are pretty standard, it seems. If you’ve yet to give “This Creative Life” a listen, I highly recommend it.  

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

c0500-tree7025

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Oh dear… I’m still working on Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters. I haven’t had a lot of reading time lately, what with revisions and writing, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t fall for this last installment of the trilogy until about 200 pages in. That said, when I fell, I fell hard. The Akiva/Karou scenes… SWOON. Hoping to finish in the next day or two.

What I’m Writing: Still working on my Where Poppies Bloom revision (almost done!) and my The Road So Far first draft (about halfway). You can read more about my writing progress in Monday’s RSW post.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: My girlie and I spent the last week in Arizona! Ready for an onslaught of photographs?

   
Traveling is fun… :-)


With Poppy and Nana. ❤

   
This girl had so much fun!


One of my Thirty Before 35 goals was to teach my daughter to swim well, and I think we accomplished that during this trip. She can now swim all the way across the pool, as well as jump in and make her way to the wall. Yay!

     
She’s suddenly a little fish!


Already ready to go back!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: These fun YA-reading-themed activities…


An awesome Summer Reading Challenge from the YA Buccaneers. I’ve already crossed off “Read a Non-YA Book” and “Read a Book by a Debut Author” with the same novel — AN UNTAMED STATE by Roxane Gay, which is incredible.


And a super cute YA Photo A Day Challenge from writer Jaime Morrow. I’ll be participating in this one via Instagram, and I hope you will too!

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

c0500-tree7025

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun (September, 2014) and it’s now on my short list of YA favorites. It is gorgeous, guys, and I can’t wait for you to read it! My daughter and I also finished Katherine Applegate’s The One & Only Ivan. We both loved it dearly. Over the weekend, I read Tammara Webber’s Breakable (a companion to Easy, of which I am a fan). I was a little worried that it would be gratuitous retelling from Lucas’s point of view, but the story was deeper than that. It gave a lot of insight into Lucas’s past and his character. It was also, like, seriously steamy. Now, I’m reading Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the conclusion to a series I’ve loved from day one. The writing is predictably beautiful and brilliant!

  

What I’m Writing: Still working on my Where Poppies Bloom revision and my The Road So Far first draft. For all the details of my last week of writing, you’re welcome to check out my RSW update HERE.


Knocking out words at the local music store, where my girl takes guitar lessons.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: My girl and I are off to Phoenix to visit my parents, so pardon my slow blog responses. We’re excited to see Nana and Poppy, and to leave the muggy heat for dry heat — yay!

  
Last week we visited the Gulfarium and met lots of water-dwelling creatures. It was tons of fun, and if you’re ever in the Destin area, you should check it out!


We also enjoyed a beach day with our neighbors/friends — I’m sure you’re shocked. ;-) My daughter and I are going to be in for a rude awakening if we’re ever stationed in a land-locked state. Yikes.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: This video, which I’ve watched about a dozen times. I adore a good deployment homecoming clip (trust me: there are few things better than seeing your significant other after a long stretch of time apart) and this one is up there with the best I’ve seen. The couple is adorable, they’re at a kick-ass fraternity party, the soundtrack rocks, and the girl is so obviously shocked… I bet you’ll cry happy tears for these two!


I also read two super inspiring blog posts this week. The first was from Jessica Love, who spoke about the death of her friend Laura (who was clearly an amazing person), as well as kindness and thoughtfulness and trying to be better. I love this beautiful post, and now I’m inspired to be kinder and more thoughtful. And the second, from Leila Austin at YA Highway, about writing and anxiousness and letting go of the things we can’t control. Very timely for this writer.

Tell me… What’s up with you today?