Category Archives: Inspiration

Friday Five

1. Have you seen the If I Stay movie trailer? Oh my gosh… it is so incredibly perfect. Exactly what I was hoping for. Seriously. #AllTheFeels. If I Stay is one of my most beloved books (it’s the novel that made me want to write contemporary young adult) and I have Very Strong Opinions regarding book-to-movie adaptations, especially when it comes to YA, and especially when it comes to books I love. Please, please, please let the movie live up the the trailer’s amazingness.

2. Yesterday I Rocked the Drop, and it was awesome. My girl and I dropped three books (Jellicoe Road, The Sky is Everywhere, and If I Stay — three of my favorite contemporaries) around our town. Here’s hoping three book-loving teens find them and adore the stories as much as I do.

   

   

3. Oh, hey, I wrote some new words. I have an inkling of an idea for a sequel to another of my finished manuscripts, and I started tinkering it with it the other day. I know that sounds ridiculous (why start a sequel to a book that hasn’t sold yet?), but I’ve got these scenes in my head and they’re inspiring me (keeping me up at night, actually) and I figure… Might as well write them and get them out of my system. Problem is, the more I write, the more ideas I have, and the more inspired I feel. A real story’s starting to take shape, which is exciting, but also scary. I can write this story, invest months and months of my life in it, but there’s a chance it’ll never go anywhere; it can’t stand alone without its predecessor. But, words are words and practice is practice, right? I’m pretty sure it’s okay to write what’s inspiring, and to occasionally let go worries of whether or not a story will sell. What do you think? How much time do you spend writing only for the pure joy of it?

4. Along with Open Road Summer (adorable!), I’m reading James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel From the Middle, which is pretty brilliant so far. It’s all about finding your story’s “heart and heat,” which is most often at its middle. James Scott Bell says some smart things about novel structure, but I’m even more taken by his thoughts on voice. He says, When an author is joyous in the telling, it pulses through the words. When you read a Ray Bradbury, for instance, you sense his joy. He was in love with words and his own imagination, and it showed. This, I think, is what’s at the the core of that unteachable thing we call voice. If you’re looking for a fresh take on novel structuring (plotter or a pantser), this is definitely a book worth checking out. 

5. Happy Easter weekend! My girl and I have decided to spend tomorrow at the beach, and Sunday in our jammies watching movies. She told me she hopes the Easter Bunny will bring her an American Girl sports watch, pink Peeps, and a Slinky. Good news… The Easter Bunny Mama has found and purchased all three items. That may seem indulgent (must get the kid exactly what she asks for!), but my daughter is growing up way too fast and if Peeps and a Slinky help keep the magic of childhood alive another day, then I’m happy to provide them. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

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: I finished Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I thought it was incredible. A must-read if (like me) you’ve been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Incidentally, Speak has been out for fifteen years now. The fact that it’s remained relevant through a decade-and-a-half of changing YA trends says more about its quality than I ever could. I also read Tess Sharpe’s debut Far From You, which is unflinching and heart-shattering and beautifully written. Loved it. Yesterday I started Emery Lord’s debut, Open Road Summer, which several of my book besties have promised I’ll adore. So far, so good! 

What I’m Writing: Nothing. But I did hear back from my agent regarding my most recent manuscript and… She’s on board! She got the characters and the conflict and the conclusion and reading her email was just about the greatest feeling ever. Huge, hUgE, HUGE sigh of relief. Now I can start something new without the weight of anxiety I’ve been shouldering over the last few weeks. In beta reading news (ready to be super envious?) I got to read Meredith McCardle‘s latest manuscript, which is freaking fantastic. I had the privilege of reading her upcoming debut, The Eighth Guardian, last year and it totally blew me away. It comes out in less than a month (yay!) and I can’t wait for you all to read it!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve tried really hard to get into The Secret Life of the American Teenager because I love Shailene Woodley in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now. But Secret Life… NO. Not for me, guys. Not at all. I found the message much too heavy-handed, and the dialogue is absolutely cringeworthy. Looks like I’m going back to Gossip Girl. Darn. ;-)

   
I’ve achieved another Thirty Before 35 goal! We took our first trip to the beach on Saturday, and it was beautiful. My daughter played with her buddies and I lounged and chatted with a few girl friends. We had a (sandy) picnic lunch, which is one of those things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Check!


And, much to my daughter’s embarrassment, I pulled the truck over while passing the above field of flowers the other day so I could take her picture. Just couldn’t resist all that pink against her little hippie sundress. 

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Rock the Drop, one of my favorite bookish events of the year, is tomorrow! It’s a celebration of Support Teen Literature Day during which book lovers can drop novels with “Rock the Drop” bookplates in public places for teenagers to find and read and hopefully fall in love with. I’ve rocked the drop for the last two years (2013 and 2012), and I’ll definitely be participating tomorrow. Look for photos on my Instagram feed, and here on my blog coming soon. Visit ReaderGirlz for all the details. 

Tell me… 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…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf and I really enjoyed it. It’s different from the contemporary YA I usually read (it’s not romance-heavy), but the humor is so spot-on, I didn’t even miss the swoon. Also, I found myself relating to main character Izzy’s worries and anxieties more than I’d like to admit. Not her issues with wanting to be sick, but to her almost overwhelming insecurities and strong desire to please everyone around her. Now, I’m reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, one of my Thirty Before 35 goals. I can already see why it and its author are considered YA royalty.

What I’m Writing: Nothing, at the moment, but I am doing lots of beta reading. Over the last two weeks, I’ve read a really lovely contemporary YA manuscript by Kate Scott (I love how she portrays characters with learning/social differences) and a super intense (and gorgeously written) futuristic YA crime thriller for Tracey Neithercott. Lucky, lucky me!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I watched the movie adaptation of the YA novel How I Live Now (it’s streaming instantly on Netflix, if you’re interested) and I’ve gotta say… I thought it was pretty amazing. I listened to the How I Live Now audiobook a few months ago, and I was torn about it. There were aspects of the story that I found so moving, and aspects that made me rather uncomfortable. Having now watched the film, I think I like the book more. Seeing what Daisy and her cousins went through… It was traumatizing, yet I couldn’t look away. And Saoirse Ronan is spectacular as Daisy.

  
In other news, I joined my daughter and her first grade class on a field trip to the zoo. It was really fun! I got to supervise my girl and two of her friends while they visited with all of the animals. Considering this is a small-town zoo, there was a lot to see: giraffes, tortoises, gorillas, and hippos, to name a few.

  
We also went strawberry picking at a local u-pick farm, and then made Strawberry Shortcake and homemade jam with the fresh berries. So yummy!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: A Pub(lishing) Crawl post by Janice Hardy called How to Turn That Shiny New Idea Into a Novel, full of questions for preliminary story planning. I’ll definitely be revisiting this one over the next few weeks. And, a post from Kate Brauning at Pub Hub called Editor’s Eyes: 3 Golden Rules for Revising, which applies to the drafting stage as well. And, What A Difference A Year Makes from my friend Jessica Love, who says: Life is weird, you guys. Things can and will happen that you never, ever expect for yourself. Try not to let the bummer times get you down, and leave yourself open to new opportunities, because you never, ever know what they can turn into. Do check out the rest of her super inspiring post. Finally, my friend Elodie Nowodazkij revealed the cover of her June, 2014 debut One, Two, Three and it’s beautiful. She’s hosting a giveaway, too, so do stop by to congratulate her.

Tell me… 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…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (out in June) and totally dug it, and I read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and fell head-over-heels in love. I talked about both books in more detail in my March Reading Wrap-Up. Over the weekend, I read The Infinite Moment of UsSince reading Shine, I’ve become a fan of Lauren Myracle’s style and prose, and Wren and Charlie’s story really impressed me. This is one steamy book, friends, and I kind of loved it. (Though, the ending — I definitely could’ve used one more scene for the sake of closure!) Now, I’m reading The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf and it is aWeSoMe! Seriously funny, and with a voice that’s just fantastically unique. How is this book not getting more hype?

   

What I’m Writing: Nothing, technically. But I am doing a lot of mental brainstorming for my Shiny New Idea, and I’m pinning all kinds of images and research sites to a (currently) secret Pinterest board. I’ve also been doing lots of beta reading, which has been a pleasure. I learn so much from immersing myself in the fantastic work of my talented friends.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve been weirdly sick over the last week. I’ll spare you the details, but it hasn’t been much fun. My girl and I have been laying low, watching a lot of The Voice and reading a lot of books. We did venture out of the house to see Noah, which sucked, frankly. There are fallen angels made of of stone, a creepy warlord who’s a descendant of Cain, plus a totally bizarre storyline involving Emma Watson (the movie’s only bright spot) and neonaticide. It’s not the kid-friendly Bible story I recall, so… Don’t take your six-year-old.

  
My girlie and I have also been doing a lot of doodling. As I mentioned above, I’m musing my next writing project, and drawing has been a sort of palate cleanser. I’m able to let my mind wander without any real commitment. It’s kind of fun!


And then there are my two furry friends. I’ve been spending a lot of time with them, too. Cuteness overload, right?

What’s Inspiring Me Now: The essay Nuts and Bolts: “Thought” Verbs by Chuck Palahniuk will be a year old in August, but I only just stumbled across it. I’ve gotta say, it’s one of the best “how to write” articles I’ve ever read, and it totally changed the way I think about point-of-view and showing vs. telling and the work required to truly paint a picture for readers. I think it’s a must-read for writers at any stage of the game. (I’ve already reread it!)

 
And… Shiny New Idea inspiration!

Tell me… 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…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Lauren Oliver’s Panic. While it’s not my very favorite of her novels, I did find it compelling. I’ll talk about it in more detail in tomorrow’s Bookanista recommendation. Over the weekend, I flew through The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines. Guys, this is by no means award-winning literature, but I kind of loved it. It’s a perfect read-in-the-sun, guilty-pleasure romance. Next time you’re in the mood for a book of that sort, definitely pick this one up. I also read Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, which was packed with awesome reminders and inspiring quotes about creation of all kinds. It’s a great, quick read, perfect for when you’re in need of a creative boost. Now, I’m reading The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, which is intriguing so far. I’m digging its unique storytelling method.

   

What I’m Writing: Blog posts! Catching up now that my agent is reading my WiP, Good Girls (which I talked about in a Next Big Thing post on Monday). Also, I’ve got a whole bunch of mini Shiny New Ideas floating around in my head, and I’ve been pinning up a storm (secret Pinterest boards FTW), looking for further inspiration and trying to make them all fit together. Exciting!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Exercising with more regularity, watching some Gossip Girl, and hanging with my girl. It’s spring break, so we’ve been spending lots of quality time together. Movies, bike rides, frozen yogurt…

  
My productivity level has dropped quite a bit, but we’re having a blast. :-)


I ordered my very first Stitch Fix box, AND crossed another item off my Thirty Before 35 List! In case you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, it’s an online personal stylist service. Fill out a profile about the types of clothing you like to wear (including favorite colors and your size), schedule a shipment, and get five pieces to try on at home with the clothes you already own. Buy what you love, send back the rest in a pre-paid envelope. It’s easy, and really fun!

  
I really liked all five pieces of clothing I received (four tops and a maxi dress), but I think I’m only going to keep these two because, yanno… BUDGET. Looking forward to scheduling another shipment soon!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: In case you haven’t heard, my friend Jessica Love (co-author of up-and-coming Push Girl) has sold another book! This one’s all her, and it’s aMaZiNg! I read an early version last year, and I can hardly express how much I loved it. You all are going to adore Hannah and Nick and their crazy Vegas weekend! I can’t wait to have my very own copy of In Real Life so I can reread it, and then sit it on my bookshelf, right between my Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler novels. Congratulations, Jess! I’m thrilled for you!

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

The Next Big Thing (?!)

After a few heavy revision rounds, I’m finally “done” enough with my WiP to talk about it a bit. What better way to do that than to complete a “Next Big Thing” post? (In case you’re wondering, I first saw the “Next Big Thing” HERE, and many, many months ago I did one for my story, All Mixed Up.)

So, here we go…

What is the working title of your book? 

Good Girls. I suck at titles, frankly, and I’m not married to this one. I think it’s a little too similar to Gone Girl and Dangerous Girls. But for now, Good Girls.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary YA. It’s very much a character study, with strong romantic elements. Everything I write has strong romantic elements.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

A country music song. Tim McGraw. Because obviously.

Which actors would you choose to portray your characters in the movie version of your book?

Good Girls has three main characters: Jenna, Tyler, and Dylan. I have no idea who would play them in a movie version of the story, but in my imagination they look like these beautiful people:

  

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Girl meets boy and falls hopelessly in love; boy meets girl’s best friend and falls hopelessly in love; bad choices abound; tragedy ensues. (Vague much?)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Well, my agent only just received my manuscript via email the other day (which is why I have time to write this post), and there’s a chance she could tell me she doesn’t think  Good Girls isn’t right for submission, which would make me sad. But hopefully she’ll dig it and it’ll be a book that’s represented by an agency.

How long did it take you to write the 1st draft of your manuscript?

I started writing Good Girls this week, last year (wow). I finished the first (crappy) draft on Halloween. I’ve spent the last several months revising. I’m slow.

May we see an intro?

Jenna Nalick blows through the doors of The Lumiere like a bat out of hell.

It’s a phrase her daddy has been known to use. Jenna’s never given the expression much thought, but in this moment she understands exactly what it means. She feels bat-like: swift, hyperaware, determined. Her mind is laser focused, aimed singularly on vengeance.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Oh, comps are always so tricky. I suppose Good Girls has a mood similar to Kristin Halbrook’s Nobody But Us, as well as complicated (read: effed up) relationships similar to those in Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A song. A challenging year. Tragic love stories of all sorts. The need to stretch myself creatively. The urge to try something new.

What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

From the Love List I made last summer while I was drafting:

Best friends, Boone’s Farm, betrayal, beach storms, baseball, bubble gum, small towns, red hair/freckles, vintage movie theaters, full moons, first love, desperate love, dead ends, dark alleys, dugouts, dusty libraries, “love is a splendid tragedy…”, kissing, train tracks, Twiggy, unspeakable secrets, melodies, escaping/fleeing/breaking free, and “inside all of us is a wild thing…”

Now that I’ve shared, I hope you’ll tell me about your Next Big Thing. If you do, link your post in the comments so I can check it out! (Oh, and my CP, Alison Miller, is talking about her Next Big Thing today too — an amazing YA manuscript called Those Magic Changes. Do drop by her blog. :-))

What’s Up Wednesday

“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’m halfway through Lauren Oliver’s Panic. I’m moving slowly, but not because I’m not enjoying it — I am! It’s just been a busy (and crazy) week and I haven’t had much time for reading. Boo. Panic‘s a trip, though, and I’m very anxious to see how it all plays out. This one’s quite a departure from Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, but Lauren Oliver’s prose is predictably beautiful. So far, so good.

What I’m Writing: Another revision round’s nearly in the bag. CP and beta notes are helping me so much (it’s amazing what people who aren’t neck-deep in the story pick up on!), and I’m excited about how this draft of Good Girls is turning out. It’s much more layered and cohesive and interesting, and its ending is a thousand times stronger. I’m so happy with my revision progress, in fact, that I decided to go to Disney World.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: No, really — I went to Disney World! My girlie and I took a rather impromptu road trip to Orlando to meet up with some of our favorite friends for a few days and we had an incredible time! I love all things Disney so much. The parks and the magic just never get old…


Obligatory Mickey shot. :-)

   
These girls had so much fun together! It’s been nearly a year since they’ve seen each other, yet they picked up right where they left off.

PhotoPossibly my new favorite photo. ❤

{There are more on Instagram. Check them out if you’re so inclined.}

What’s Inspiring Me Now: First, an awesome post from my agent, Victoria Marini, entitled On Bones and Knowing Your Characters. It’s about digging deeper and making sure your readers know your characters as well as you do. Also, a post by Corey Ann Haydu called How to Relationship (for Stacked), which talks about all of that crazy-awkward stuff that happens in the shadows between kissing and sex in YA, and how it’s pretty awesome when authors get brave and explore those shadows in authentic ways. (Obviously Corey says it way better than I do.) Highly recommend both of these articles!

Tell me… 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…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Stephanie Kuehn’s Complicit (out in June) and holy hell, was it good. If you’re a fan of Stephanie’s debut, Charm & Strange, I think you’ll be all over her sophomore novel. And if you haven’t read Charm & Strange yet, you should remedy that right away. Now, I’m reading Nil by Lynne Matson, who is lovely. The story is set in the most fascinating island world, and it’s edge-of-my-seat exciting so far.

What I’m Writing: I’m revising according to (brilliant) CP notes. You know how when you’re writing, sometimes you know something’s not clicking but you’re not sure how to fix it, so you press on with the hope of making it right later? Well, CP Alison picked up on those areas of my manuscript that weren’t working and gave me some awesome suggestions for fixing them. So, that’s what I’m doing now. Inserting a few new scenes, filling holes, and taking advantage some missed opportunities, all while catching some rays. Love this part!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Getting ready to go to Disney World with my girl! We’re meeting some great friends there for a few days of fun and we cannot wait. I am such a sucker for all things Disney, and it’s been way too long since we last visited a park. Like, more than a year. Way overdue. ;-)


I’ve been pretty good about eating healthfully lately (I haven’t had a beer in a month!), but on Friday I caved and baked cookies. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, to be specific. I followed this recipe, but I didn’t have Reese’s Pieces, so I used Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips instead. They turned out SO WELL. This combination of ingredients creates cookies of the perfect peanut-buttery consistency. Recommend!

  
My girlie celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday at school all last week. I made her green eggs for breakfast one day, and she also participated in a Read-A-Thon, which I totally crashed and photographed because I’m *that* mom.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I officially crossed the first item off my Thirty Before 35 bucket list: I finished watching the Friday Night Lights TV series. In the words of the incomparable Tami Taylor: Good lord, y’all! This show ranks right up there with Breaking Bad and Six Feet Under as an all-time favorite — it is so freaking good! I mean, it’s definitely about football (which is awesome), but there’s so much more to it. For starters, there’s Tim Riggins who’s all broken and brooding and conflicted and, um, hot

And then there are these deep relationships between people who, for the most part, have very little in common aside from football (Vince & Luke, Tyra & Landry, Eric & Buddy, Matt & Smash, Matt & Tim, Matt and his grandma ❤)…

And then there are the romances (Julie and Matt are super sweet, and I love Vince and Jess too, but I will always ship Tim and Lyla)…

And then there’s Tami Taylor, who makes me want to be a better wife, mother, and person, and who’s totally making y’all happen. Plus, she has the most impeccable football-wife style…

Aren’t you sad you won’t get to hear me rave about this show week after week anymore? What should I watch next? I’m thinking maybe Gossip Girl?

Tell me… 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…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Sarah Ockler’s The Book of Broken Hearts and, dare I say, it might be tied with Twenty Boy Summer as my favorite of her novels. I enjoyed JuJu’s voice (so spirited and perfectly teen), I adored Emilio (especially the sweet way he treated JuJu and her father), I loved the family dynamics (Holy Trinity FTW. Also, Pancake!), and there were several Friday Night Lights references. Pretty much an ideal Katy Book. Now, I’m reading Stephanie Kuehn’s Complicit (out in June), which is totally blowing my mind with it’s twisty awesomeness. If you’re a fan of Stephanie’s debut, Charm & Strange, I think you’ll be all over her sophomore novel. So incredible, guys!  

What I’m Writing: Nothing! I finished my revision on Sunday, and now I’m taking a bit of a writing break. It’s kind of nice to wake up in the morning and know that I don’t have a big fat goal hanging over my head. That said, I’m already missing my characters, so I’m sure I’ll end up tinkering soon. Since I’m not writing right now, I’m using my time to read for my CP Alison Miller, who’s written this really amazing story called Those Magic Changes. It’s a clever spin on Freaky Friday that includes musical theater and baseball and Star Wars references, plus Alison’s incredibly funny voice. Let’s just say… I’m a lucky CP. 

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Still watching Friday Night Lights. I’m over halfway through Season 4, and while I had my doubts (lots of changes between Seasons 3 and 4), I’m loving it. Episodes 5 and 6 (The Son and Stay) particularly got me (Tim and Lyla… *sigh*). Also, I’m totally digging farmboy Luke and his dynamic with Becky and inner-city Vince. Such a fantastically complex show.

 
My girlie and I drove to Tallahassee on Saturday, where we met my brother (who lives in Jacksonville). We visited The Museum of Florida State History, had a tasty lunch al fresco, and walked around the city. We accidentally wandered onto FSU’s Greek Row, which my brother very accurately described as smelling of Axe Body Spray and cheap beer. It was nothing like my days on WSU’s Greek Row. ;-)

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Author Claire Legrand‘s article entitled The Importance of the Unlikeable Heroine, which very eloquently states everything I feel about “unlikeable” female characters, inculding why they fascinate me. A must read. Also, my friend Christa Desir‘s post about Consent and Sensitivity: “Good Sex” in YA Literature, which comes with a lot of thoughtful commentary and some really fabulous book recommendations.  

Tell me… 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…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: So… I had to put Holly Black’s White Cat aside. I only got about ten pages into the story and while I’m intrigued, I’m just not in the right mood for urban fantasy these days. I’ll definitely go back to it, but for now, I’m going to stick with contemporary YA. What can I say? It’s where my heart is (just look at those covers below!). I finished Jolene Perry’s The Summer I Found You, which I’ll review in detail in tomorrow’s Bookanista post, and now I’m reading Sarah Ockler’s The Book of Broken Hearts. Loving Juju’s voice so far!

  

What I’m Writing: I talked about my revision of Good Girls in Monday’s #WriterRecharge post, but let’s review: I finished my Cut All the Crap round, and now I’m going through my revision to-do list and fixing the issues I know exist — mostly having to do with character development and cohesion. I’m also doing some polishing and shifting and texturing. I think this baby’s going to be ready for readers by the end of the week!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Other than rocking my revision goals, I’m still watching Friday Night Lights like a feign. I’m nearly done with season 3 and holy crap… I love this show so much. I actually met one of its creators, Peter Berg, a few months ago and it’s a good thing I hadn’t started watching FNL yet. I probably would’ve fangirled all over the poor man. (Incidentally, I did tell him about the enormous crush I have on Marky Mark Wahlberg, so there’s that.) 


I made Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread, which turned out wonderfully. My girlie thought I was kidding when I told her I was fixing bread with zucchini *and* chocolate in it, and that would end up tasting like a treat. She loves it. :-)


It’s been gorgeous in Florida lately, and we’ve been spending lots of time outdoors and at the park. Hearing about the crappy weather the rest of the country’s dealing with makes me thankful for this beautiful location the Army has moved us to. We’ve been so lucky these last few duty stations!


Oh, and I bought a garden gnome. She’s reading, and she reminds me a little of Moaning Myrtle. She makes me smile.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: My WiP is full of characters who make terribly selfish choices. Yet, I want readers to empathize with them and, at the very least, understand their motivations. When Flaws Go Too Far: Avoiding Unlikeable Characters by Angela Ackerman for Writer’s Digest has  fantastic tips for creating characters who are flawed, yet still relatable. I’m also inspired by this piece by Ruth Harris for Anne R. Allen’s Blog called From Pathetic to Professional: 8 Ways to Beat the First Draft Blues, which shares strategies for shaping and refining first drafts. Super helpful. Also, I’m loving Miss Megan Whitmer‘s latest vlog called Censoring Characters: Where Do We Draw the Line?  It’s an awesome conversation starter about writers staying true to their characters vs. remaining socially acceptable. Like Megan, I’ve yet to nail down my stance on this — tough stuff. Lots of great thoughts in the comments section too!

And, on a much more personal note, this week my former neighbor and dear friend Brittany wrote about the birth of her angel baby Bella Joy. It’s a heartbreaking story, but so beautiful and inspirational too. Brittany and her husband are amazing people and incredible parents (their five-year-old is one of my daughter’s favorite friends) and I wish them peace and love and all the best. ♥

Tell me… What’s up with you today?