Category Archives: Inspiration

L♡VE LIST

Guys, I won National Novel Writing Month!

I still have about 10K left to write in my story (the end — scary!), but I’m so super happy to have made it this far, and with time to spare. Yay!

To celebrate, I thought it’d be fun to share the Love List I made for this WiP, tentatively titled Stars Like Dust. Love Lists are kind of my favorite. <3

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

Castle Turrets
Cemeteries
Chai
Cottages
Dandelions
First Kisses
Flower Gardens
Foreign Words
Fortune Cookies
Goldendoodles
Hand Holding
Milkshakes
Photography
Poetry
Prayer Rugs
Princesses
Rumi
Sandy Beaches
Salty Water
Shooting Stars
Star-Crossed Love
Wishes

And a few of the visuals I’ve spent hours staring at…

         

This a kissing book, obviously.
Would you expect anything less out of me? ;-)

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 Losing It by Cora Carmack and thought it was a fun read. Perhaps not my favorite of all the NA I’ve encountered, but some trusted sources tell me her All Lined Up is excellent, so maybe I’ll try that one sometime. Now, I’m reading Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, a series of lovely, interconnected short stories about delightful people (so far). This one’s a contemp written in 3rd person which, when done well, I love. Luckily, this one is done VERY well. Plus it’s about a road trip, and road trip books are my jam.

What I’m Writing: Still NaNo-ing, and I’m getting SO CLOSE! Hoping to finish today (before Thanksgiving) so pardon me if WUW comments go unresponded to for now. I will get to them ASAP. Goal: Win NaNoWriMo!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Other than tons of writing, I’ve been doing Thanksgiving prep. We’re having a quiet meal at home (with Seahawks football!), but the many foods Thanksgiving are my husband’s favorite, so there’s a lot of cooking in my immediate future. He deals with the disgusting turkey carcass, and I do everything else. Fair trade! :-)

 
This little lovely has had all week off from school, so we’ve been hanging out plenty. Lots of coloring and puzzles and books and shopping.


I received the most EXCELLENT package from my #SipSwap buddy, Sarah Marsh, who is so generous and kind, and obviously has amazing taste in Harry Potter commodities. Plus, Chocolate Strawberry Tea, friends. So yummy!

What Works For Me: I spent all month making my way through Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and I found it incredibly inspiring — especially in the midst of the all the NaNo craziness. He’s so real and frank about his process and the industry and his past, plus he’s drily funny, which I dig. I highly recommend On Writing if you’ve yet to read it. What’s your favorite craft/writing/creativity-focused book?

What’s up with you today? 

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 Loop by Karen Akins and enjoyed it so much. I literally laughed out loud several times (a rarity), plus this one had awesome pacing and a super cute boy. Win! Now I’m reading Losing It by Cora Carmack which is funny and sexy and full of sassy voice. I can see why it’s so popular!

What I’m Writing: Oh, hey, remember when I signed up for National Novel Writing Month? No? Well, that’s probably because I joined the fun spur-of-the-moment on November 8th. (That’s right.) I mostly signed up because I was stressed about a lot other stuff, and I figured NaNo would be an awesome way to heap some different stress on my plate, therefore taking my mind off the original stress. See how that works? Anyway. I caught up last week, which was an amazing feeling, and now I’m on track to win and (since I started NaNo-ing with Stars Like Dust, a project I was already about 15K into) finish my first draft around the same time. So, yeah, I’ve been writing A LOT, and it’s so satisfying because even though my story is all kinds of messy at the moment, I love it.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Uh, freezing my butt off, for starters. Have I mentioned how much I hate being cold? I preheat my bed every night with a super-powered electric blanket, for example, and I complain (a lot) when the temperature dips below fifty-five, which it has often lately. Brrr…


My daughter, on the other hand, is loving the cold because she gets to wear her new “puffer” jacket out and about. Silver lining, I guess. And my silver lining? Chestnut Praline Lattes from Starbucks. Yum!

  
And can we talk about how cute Daphne’s been lately?

What Works For Me: I’ve talked about music before, but not this specific aspect of how I apply it to writing: Often, when I’m trying to draft but feel distracted and/or uninspired, I put on headphones and blast my WiP theme song(s) on repeat. The familiar lyrics and melodies help me find my writing flow (it’s pretty much a Pavlovian response now), and turning it up loud almost makes it white noise, which drowns out all of the nonsense swirling in my head (and house). For my NaNo WiP, my go-to songs are Shakira’s “Empire” and Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods.” Do you listen to music when you write? 

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

168cd-wuwautumn

“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 Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, and it was predictably awesome. I have such a book crush on Gansey, and I love that we saw a more vulnerable side of him in this installment. I adore these characters and this world (man… it is so deep), and I cannot wait to read the fourth and final book! Now, I’m reading Loop by Karen Akins, which is a super fun time-travel novel. It’s making my morning elliptical workouts fly by.

What I’m Writing: I’ve cleared 31K on my WiP, which is sort of exciting and sort of scary. I have a basic idea of how the story is going to end, but I still haven’t done much plotting or mapping of how I’m going to get there. Yikes. But… I *think* things are moving along okay. I’ve got a protagonist who I adore. I’ve got a cute, swoony boy. I’ve got a lovely setting. I’ve got tension. And, I’ve got kissing (finally!). What more does a story need? ;-)

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Over the weekend we went horseback riding and it was so much fun! I love horses (not horse books, though — go figure) and we got to explore some gorgeous trails. Cannot wait to do it again!

  
My horse’s name was Thriller, my girl rode Dusty, and my husband rode a badass black war horse named HoHo.


Last week I made Stromboli, which was much easier than it looks, and very tasty. We ate the whole thing in one sitting — yum!


I’ve been making all kinds of WiP notes in the gorgeous journal my CP, Alison, sent me. The title of the manuscript I’m working on (Stars Like Dust) is borrowed from a Rumi poem, and he’s significant to the story for lots of other reasons. So, new journal = most thoughtful gift EVER. <3

What Works For Me: Inspiration in its many forms. The Rumi journal I mentioned above. The lyrics of Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woodswhich play into my WiP pretty damn perfectly (I’ve been listening to it on repeat while I draft), and this excerpt from Stephen King’s On Writing

Who doesn’t want to be emotionally flattened by an amazing book? That’s why I read, and it’s my goal when I write. Curious: What’s the last story to sweep you away? (For me, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and When Joss Met Matt – recommend!)

So… What’s up with you today? 

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 finally finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King and ended up liking it a lot. My full review is HERE, as a part of my October Reading Wrap-Up. Next, I read Ellie Cahill’s When Joss Met Matt and loved it so much. It’s a contemporary NA about a unique and precarious friends-with-benefits situation (sorbet, if you will) and it is fantastic. The writing is spot-on, the characters are layered and likable, and the steamy scenes were just the right sort of steamy. When Joss Met Matt is one of those All the Feels books, and I can’t remember the last time I rooted for a couple so enthusiastically. It’s out February, 2015! Now, I’m reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue and damn it if it isn’t gorgeous. Can I be Maggie Stiefvater when I grow up? And I can have a Gansey of my own, too?

 

What I’m Writing: I’m still drafting my contemporary YA WiP, Stars Like Dust, and I’m still loving it. *sigh of relief* It’s super challenging, but from challenge comes reward (or something) and I’m doing my best. I’m up to about 18K, and I’ve set a 1K per day (with the exception of Saturdays — family day) goal. I’m part of a Google spreadsheet with some other awesome writers, and the thought of entering a number less than 1K in my little cells makes me feel like a loser, so I’m properly motivated. Whatever it takes, right?

What Else I’ve Been Up To: The last week has been busy! We did all the fun Halloween things like pumpkin carving and candy buying and dressing up…

   
My girlie and I were witches. She specifically asked to be “the pretty blonde witch from Hocus Pocus” (Sarah Jessica Parker) and I think we nailed it. ;-)


She also wrapped up her cheer season. The football team she cheers for ended up winning the championship game last night — pretty exciting!


The other day I baked Pumpkin Bread with Streusel and it was very yummy, more like a dessert than a bread. My daughter said, “This is healthy because it has pumpkin in it, right?” Yep. Pumpkin, plus three cups of sugar.

What Works For Me: Cheering on my friends as they do amazing things! Have you see the cover of Riley Edgewood’s VIP, the first of three acts in her steamy NA, Rock & Release? It’s gorgeous, and the story’s even better. If you like books featuring strong-but-searching protagonists and sexy musicians and beautiful writing, you should most definitely check Riley’s Rock & Release. Seriously. I love this story!


You can preorder VIP for your eReader (only $.99!) by clicking HERE.

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

168cd-wuwautumn

“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: Still working on 11/22/63 by Stephen King. This is one loooong book, friends. It’s super entertaining, though. Along with time travel and history and conspiracy theories, there’s a bit of romance. I’m moving right along, and hoping to finish before Halloween.

What I’m Writing: I’ve got more than 11K written in the new contemporary YA WiP I’m drafting. Its working title is Stars Like Dust, which is a line I borrowed from a Rumi poem, which is significant to the story for a lot of reasons. Plus, it’s pretty! This new story is challenging me in a lot of ways:

1. I haven’t plotted it. I am usually a very detailed plotter (my last WiP, The Road So Far, was plotted down to the gas station stops my characters made on their road trip) and it’s scary to just write, write, write without a set plan. That said, I know this story’s beginning-middle-end, and I’ve got a good handle on the main characters, so I’m hoping it’ll all work out.

2. One of my two main characters is from another country and while he speaks English well, he speaks it very formally and precisely. Still, he’s a teenage boy and I want his dialogue to flow naturally. It’s a fine line I’m walking.

3. I’m playing with writing small sections of the story in verse. I have never written in verse and it is super challenging. But… I’m kind of loving it. The bad thing? It takes me the same about of time to write 200 words of verse as it takes me to write 2000 words of good ol’ prose. Plus, the verse stuff is requiring TONS of tinkering. I’m still not 100% satisfied with any of it, but I hope I will be…

What Else I’ve Been Up To: On Saturday we went to the Pensacola Interstate Fair and it was so much fun! We rode rides, ate corn dogs and funnel cake, watched a rodeo, and saw Eli Young Band. One of their songs, Crazy Girl, is on my The Road So Far playlist, and seeing it performed live was awesome. And, it just so happens that go to a(nother) country music concert is one of my Thirty Before 35 goals, so I get to cross one more item off the list — yay!

  

What Works For Me: I recently read a post by Kat Zhang (for Pub(lishing) Crawl) about writing out of order, and I found it so helpful. Here’s an excerpt:

When I write out of order, I know “Okay, so I have Fun Scene A here and Fun Scene B here…now I just need to get my characters from Scene A to Scene B as quickly and efficiently as possible.” If the middle parts aren’t “Fun Scenes,” I should probably be either trying to get my readers through them as quickly as possible, or finding out some way to spice them up.

I’m jumping around while drafting Stars Like Dust, and even though my Type-A personality is unhappy about the chaos, it seems to be working. Kat shares some fantastic insight and awesome tips about why writing out of order is worth a try. Definitely check out her article! 

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

168cd-wuwautumn

“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 Amy Reed’s Beautiful and loved it. It’s stark and gritty and disturbing, not to mention incredibly well written. I can’t wait to read more of her work! Now, I’m reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. One of my Thirty Before 35 goals is to read and review one of his novels (I’ve never picked up his fiction, if you can believe that) and I chose this one because there’s no movie adaptation to spoil the story, and because I like time travel and history. This book is dense, y’all, but so far, so good. Look for a review soon!

What I’m Writing: I made a mood board for my SNI and it’s now my computer’s desktop background. It’s so pretty! (Incidentally, I used the collage function in Pic Monkey to make this mood board because the site I’ve used in the past, Mood Share, appears to be no more. Lame.) I also did some title research and found (what I think is) the PERFECT title. And, I wrote a query-like pitch, which helped me focus all the ideas floating in my head into (what I hope will be) a compelling story. My agent gave the pitch a thumbs-up, so I’m getting busy with some serious plotting and a little bit of drafting.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I pulled something in my neck (sneezing, because I’m awesome) and I’ve been dealing with tightness and spasming muscles for the last week. I finally broke down and went to the doctor yesterday, and now I have some glorious muscles relaxers that are making movement slightly less than torturous. Yay medicine! Other than that…

  
Lots of cheerleading with my little lovely. I adore the above photo of my husband giving her a pep talk through the fence. <3

  
We also visited Sweet Seasons Farm to make our way through their corn maze (my daughter: “I’m a maze runner!”) and pick out a few pumpkins. Fall is so much more tolerable when it’s 85 degrees ouside. :-)

What Works For Me: Accountability. I have some awesome writing buddies who help me stay on track with drafting/revision goals. One of my CPs and I often exchange snippets of what we’ve recently worked via email. Not for critique, but for encouragement and inspitation. Knowing that I have to send a sample off to her at the end of the day really keeps me motivated. Plus, getting to read her samples is an excellent reward! I also have a trio of writer friends who I check in with on a shared spreadsheet. Seeing that they’ve written 1K+ or 2K+ or 3K+ words in a day makes me want to keep up with them. Nothing like a little peer pressure to fuel production!  

Tell me… What’s up with you today?