2012 in Review…

Last year I posted a 2011 Year in Review. Not only was it fun to share the highs and lows of my year with you all, it was also fun to look back on all that had happened over the previous twelve months.

So, of course I had to take some time to reflect on 2012. While I wasn’t successful in ALL of my goals, I did meet many. I had tons of fun with my family, I grew as a writer and reader, and I made some fantastic new friends along the way.  It’s been a busy year, full of changes, hard work, and lots of fun…


I blogged about goals, and decided on RESOLVE as my all-encompassing word for 2012. I also mused about the struggles of rewriting.

 I survived a winter storm that threatened my sanity.

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) The Fault in Our Stars
I started the year off reading and reviewing a couple of awesome books: A Million Suns by Beth Revis and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

At the end of the month, my girlie and I welcomed my husband home from  Afghanistan (yay!).

The DisenchantmentsI raved about another favorite of 2012, The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour.


I blogged about my preference for character-driven YA, and shared my Two-Minute Tension Test.

I celebrated Valentine’s Day with BOTH of my loves!

I turned thirty-one. No comment.

021I attended my husband’s Welcome Home Ball and had a *little* too much fun. 🙂


Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)I read and reviewed another 2012 favorite: Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium.

I worked on a substantial revision of Where Poppies Bloom and resubmitted it to the agent I was working with at the time. (In case you’re wondering, I eventually came to the very difficult realization that Poppies isn’t going to sell the way it’s currently written. As of now, the story is “retired” and waiting for a rewrite that will hopefully come in 2013… Tough stuff.)

I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in Vancouver BC with my husband. Such a fun, beautiful city!

Saw The Hunger Games. Awesome!

I blogged about my on-again-off-again struggles with procrastination (and why it’s not always a bad thing).


successfully completed the A-Z  Blogging Challenge, which was so fun! Thank you again to all of the hosts and organizers!

I Rocked the Drop!

I met a few of my favorite authors (Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, and Stephanie Perkins) during the Seattle stop of the YA or Bust Tour.

I was invited to become an Operative over at YA Confidential. Love my fantastic new blogging buddies!


I participated in Blog Me MAYbe, brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person Sara McClung.

blogged about The Page Sixty-Nine Test, a writer’s trick I learned from clever author Gayle Forman.

We moved from Washington to central California, and made a big ol’ road trip out of the ordeal.

After we settled in to our new house, I shared a little bit about how I plot stories and write first drafts.

My husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary!

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)I read and recommended Veronica Rossi’s stunning debut, Under the Never Sky.

shared my miracle cures for writer’s block, and started tackling a major rewrite of my YA contemporary manuscript, Cross My Heart.


Amelia Anne is Dead and GoneOh, look! Another outstanding 2012 book: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfeld.

Around this time, I scored a few amazing new critique partners. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for Temre, Taryn, and Alison!

My cutie pie got her very first library card, and had quite the Marilyn moment.


I posted about “gap books” and committed to reading a few of mine (including The Book Thief), and brought the “One Space or Two” debate to my blog.

I read and gushed about Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, my VERY FAVORITE book of 2012!

I completed my Cross My Heart rewrite! 

My girlie and I made the loooong trip to Phoenix to visit my parents, my brother, and my cutie pie nephew.

My husband and I saw Brad Paisley and The Band Perry… Incredible!


I helped my sweet girl celebrate her fifth birthday

and watched as she headed off to kindergarten. Very bittersweet!


I tackled a frustrating revision of Cross My Heart, one that came with some bad-but-unrelated writing news. I threw myself a pity party, but that pain in the ass revision eventually made Cross My Heart what it is today.

This Is Not a TestI posted about yet another phenomenal 2012 release: This is Not a Test by the infinitely brilliant Courtney Summers.

Took a trip to Washington to visit family and see Tim McGraw(!).

I posted about taking a break and why it’s important, jumped on the “Currently…” bandwagon, blogged about how running parallels revising, and shared my take on Banned Books Week.


I visited an apple orchard with my girlie, and blogged about method writing (which, for me, involves A LOT of baking and running).

I talked about Cross My Heart, my “Next Big Thing,” and scored some awesomely encouraging comments in the process!

I wrote six words of advice for Teen Katy, which Erin L. Schneider combined with the advice of many other YA bloggers/writers into this amazing video.

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Perfectly creepy-weird. I couldn’t help but sing its praises!

I indulged my girlie and “dressed up” for Halloween. Little Miss Merida just LOVES this holiday!


I took a risk and signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time. The WiP I worked on is an upper YA contemporary romance. What else? 😉

I ran (and finished!) the Big Sur Half Marathon, meeting a goal I’d set for myself ages ago. I was exhausted at the end, yet so proud!

I blogged about all the things I’m thankful for

Saving June…and raved about another amazing book, Hannah Harrington’s Saving June (not released in 2012, but one of the best books I read this year).

In slightly less positive news, I parted ways with my former agent and began querying new agents. I didn’t blog about the ordeal until later, but this experience put a bit of a damper on an otherwise extraordinary month.

I WON National Novel Writing Month! (No matter that I haven’t touched the manuscript since November — I still love it! And, I plan on finishing the first draft and making in CP-worthy during the month of January.)


I accepted super-agent Victoria Marini’s offer of representation. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Victoria, and I look forward to seeing what the New Year brings in the way of manuscript submissions!

I got to go to Disneyland! Seriously. The happiest place on Earth.

I read and recommended yet another amazing 2012 book: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNarama. Love, love, love!

I celebrated my husband’s birthday WITH him for once. It was a fantastic day full of The Hobbit, Buffalo Wild Wings, and homemade birthday cake.

I co-hosted the Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest with  Jessica LoveTracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller. Such a great turn-out this year. My To-Read list grew about a mile!

And last but not least, I celebrated the holidays with my husband and this sweet girl, and took some time to reflect on the passing year.


Tell Me: How was your 2012? What are your hopes for 2013?


MAY I tell you something about The A-Z Challenge?

Some how, some way, I survived 2012’s April A-Z Challenge. Even in the middle of a rewrite of my contemporary YA manuscript and a family upheaval (also known as an out-of-state move) and all kinds of other craziness, I blogged every day last month. Honestly, typing that now kind of boggles my mind.

So, today I’d love to share a bit about my A-Z Challenge experience using the reflection question so thoughtfully supplied by the A-Z C-hosts and organizers (who rock, by the way… I cannot even fathom the time and energy and effort they dedicated to putting together the blogfest!):

How did your journey through the alphabet go? Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests? I did meet some awesome new bloggers, and I learned tons about bloggers (who participated in A-Z) that I’ve been following for months. I loved getting comments from new readers, and I loved discovering blogs that I probably wouldn’t have happened across without the challenge.

What were the highlights for you? I had a lot of fun planning and writing my posts, then seeing how readers reacted to them. I also enjoyed meeting new bloggers. There are so many smart and creative people out there!

Did you enjoy posting daily? What was your biggest hurdle? What was your easiest task? I did enjoy posting daily, but I’m not gonna lie: It was time-consuming and, at times, a little stressful. I did NOT want to fail the challenge, and getting my posts written (well) and up on on-time made me anxious some days.

Was time management an issue? Surprisingly, the commenting is what gave me the most time-management issues. When I signed up, commenting on five new blogs daily didn’t seem all that daunting. But I didn’t really consider the regular blogs I comment on daily, as well as the new bloggers who visited my blog. I wanted to return the commenting love to everyone, and sometimes that took far longer than I’d anticipated.

And what about your content – did you have a theme or did you wing it? Was it easy to come up with ideas for each letter, or were some harder? No theme. I tried to mix my posts up and give them lots of variety. Sometimes they related to writing craft or reading YA, sometimes to my family, sometimes to current events within the YA community. Sometimes they were completely random, which is always fun. 🙂

How about commenting – did you stumble upon lots of sites still using word verification? Did this prevent you from leaving a comment? Yes, I did stumble on a lot of blogs with word verification, and I found it quite annoying, honestly. I still commented, but I rarely revisited those blogs. I just didn’t have enough time to devote to Captcha.

What will you do different next year? Hmm… Not 100% sure I’ll participate again next year. While I loved the challenge and had a blast creating my posts and meeting new bloggers, the time commitment was a bit much. Depending on what’s going on in my life next April, the A-Z Challenge might be one of those “Bucket List” things that I’ll check off now and reminisce about later.

What pearls of wisdom do you want to share with the Co-Hosts of this event? From my perspective, A-Z ran smoothly. I thought the Co-Hosts did fabulously, and again, I’m so grateful to them for all their hard work!

Tell me: Did you participate in the A-Z Challenge? Will you next year? 

Z is for ZOMG!

Today is the final day of the A-Z Challenge!

I honestly can’t believe it’s over and that I completed it successfully. And guys, I have such fun news to wrap the challenge up with…

I’ve been invited to become an Operative over at YA Confidential!

If you’re unfamiliar with YA Confidential, the short story is this: It’s a fantastic teen-centered blog featuring everything from YA book recommendations, roundtables, teen interviews, critiques, advice, shared wisdom, giveaways… Really, there’s something for everyone! And the Operatives — they’re all kinds of awesome: Cristin TerrillCopil YanezAlexandra ShostakCambria DillonSara McClungKaren Amanda HooperAlison Miller, as well as my fellow new Operatives: Jessica Love and Matthew MacNish.

So… Are you curious about my Operative Profile?

Operative: Katy Upperman

Codename: K-Sizzle

Legend: Once danced onstage at a Korn concert… in a lavender GAP button-down. Now a soldier’s wife, a princess’s mama, and a writer of young adult fiction chock full of cute boys, intense romance, and steamy kisses.

Known Whereabouts: katyupperman.com and @katyupperman, as well as bookstores, country-western bars, and shopping malls spanning the globe.

Known Accomplices: Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management


You should most definitely check YA Confidential out if you haven’t already. I’m honored and thrilled to be a part of it!

Y is for YA or Bust

Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend YA or Bust, featuring Gayle Forman (IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT), Nina LaCour (HOLD STILL and THE DISENCHANTMENTS), and Stephanie Perkins (ANNA & THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA & THE BOY NEXT DOOR) at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then I don’t have to tell you how much I absolutely adore these authors. If you are new to my blog: I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THESE AUTHORS. Gayle Forman’s If I Stay was the first YA novel that made me think: I want to write a book like THAT. Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and Lola are two of the most perfectly executed YA romances I’ve encountered. And Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments… Hands down the best book I’ve read this year.

On Thursday night I learned that not only are the three authors of the YA or Bust tour brilliant and talented, but they’re also funny and gracious and delightful, all of which probably goes without saying.

Nina LaCour talking about the research she did while writing THE DISENCHANTMENTS... literal road trips and lots of eighties girl band footage -- Awesome!

Gayle Forman sharing an excerpt from WHERE SHE WENT... I'm about as unemotional a person as they come, but damn it if I didn't have a near-moment while she read aloud from her novel.

A few pieces of takeaway advice shared by the ladies during the panel portion of the evening: Read like a writer; pay attention to your strong reactions (both good and bad), then break down what it was the author did to make you feel the way you felt. Take your time learning craft; knowing how to ice skate isn’t the same as knowing how to throw a Triple Axel — writing a novel is no different. Bird by Bird is the way to go. Understand your characters; get to know them by describing their living space, the things they carry, the way they look, the way they interact. And finally, pay attention to detail, especially during the researching/revising/editing/querying processes.

My good friends (and enthusiastic YA readers!) Kari, Theresa, and me, with Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, and Stephanie Perkins.

I was thrilled to meet Gayle, Stephanie, and Nina, and I’m grateful to them for sharing their wisdom and experience with readers and writers and fans (and for signing my big ol’ stack of books!). If you’ve slacked on reading any of their novels, please RUN to your nearest bookstore or library and hunt them down. They will change the way you read, and they will change the way you write.

Tell me: What YA novel has changed the way YOU write?

X is for an X-tra Special Moving Post

Ha! Who am I kidding?

Sadly, this post isn’t as x-tra special as I’d hoped. I’ve had movers packing my house into cardboard boxes for the last two days.

We have a lot of books...

Today, they’ll load all of our crap onto a moving van and drive it away. My husband, daughter, dogs, and I will be staying with my hubby’s parents for the next two weeks (that might sound crappy, but my in-laws are pretty awesome), and then we’ll be jumping into our trucks and driving to California.

You’d think I’d be well versed in the fine art of moving by now. This is certainly not my first rodeo, after all. Let me tell you: It does NOT get easier.

When the moving van is gone, when our house is exceptionally clean, when our new tenants have signed for their keys, and when we figure out our living situation in California, the cloud of stress that’s been hovering over my head for the last few months will finally dissipate.

Until then…

Thoughts on moving? Advice to offer? Anecdotes? Stiff drinks?



Today’s Bookanista recommendation: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard


From GoodreadsIt all begins with a stupid question: Are you a Global Vagabond? No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. 

I’m a sucker for beautifully written contemporary YA, especially when the story is set somewhere warm and beachy, and ESPECIALLY when there’s a slow-burn (read: realistic) romance involved. In these ways, Wanderlove is a triple threat. Kirsten Hubbard’s sophomore novel is simply lovely. Fully realized, perfectly imperfect characters. A setting that will give you a severe case of wanderlust. A hot, angsty, incredibly literate boy with a dragon tattoo(!). Wanderlove immersed me in its story, in its world. It made me feel like I was on vacation, and because of that, it was utterly unputdownable.

Bria is an every-girl protagonist in the very best way. She reminds me of ME when I graduated from high school, and that put me immediately on her side. Bria spends much of Wanderlove second-guessing decisions, suffering from crippling self-awareness, and yearning to be something more, something different. With help from Rowan, Bria gradually becomes more comfortable in her skin (and in her past mistakes), and she grows into a remarkable person, one I want to know. Kirsten Hubbard illustrates (literally) Bria’s transformation by sprinkling gorgeous drawings throughout the text. They’re an added bonus to an already beautiful book that I highly anticipated as I read.

In case you missed it, I discussed Wanderlove‘s glorious setting for March’s YA Book Club post… You should totally check it out! And, when you’re done with that, please please PLEASE pick up a copy of Wanderlove. I suspect you’ll adore it as much as I do!

Check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:

Elana Johnson more than “likes” BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS

Nikki Katz is crazy about CREWEL

Stasia Ward Kehoe  adores BREAKING BEAUTIFUL

Tracy Banghart  takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS

Jessica Love is wowed by WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE

Debra Driza marvels at MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH – with giveaway

Tell me: What’s your favorite travel-inspired novel?

U is for Upperman

Of course U is for Upperman!

Is there a better opportunity to share a little about myself? And why not use the cool Alphabet Survey I happened across on Just Everyday Me while searching for healthy banana bread recipes? Without further ado…

A is for age: *sigh* Thirty-one… I honestly never thought I’d be THIS OLD.

B is for breakfast today: Cinnamon toast and an apple.

C is for currently craving: Well, there’s banana bread in the oven and it smells amazing, so a slice of that would be pretty perfect.

D is for dinner tonight: Date night with my hubby! Dinner at a cute little bistro called The Windmill Cafe. I’m looking forward to it!

E is for favorite type of exercise: Running because it burns tons of calories, but I most enjoy doing yoga.

F is for an irrational fear: Being pinned down or enclosed in a small space. Claustrophobia… yikes.

G is for gross food: I hate celery. Also mushrooms.

H is for hometown: Western Washington is where I’ll always call home, but I’m just about ready to head to California for a military move… not too shabby.

I is for something important: My family, for sure. I love my husband and daughter more than anything.

J is for current favorite jam: Sugar-free strawberry. Wait…what? Jam, like jelly, or jam like music? In the musical sense, I’ll jam to anything twangy.

K is for kids: I have one. She’ll be five in August. She’s adorable.

L is for current location: My kitchen (waiting for the banana bread).

M is for the most recent way you spent money: Um, we ate dinner at Wendy’s last night, so that? I had a Grilled Chicken Cobb. It was delish.

N is for something you need: Internet access. A massage. Hummus. A daily shower. A daily workout. A daily dose of dark chocolate.

O is for occupation: Wife, mama, aspiring author.

P is for pet peeve: Generally, lack of manners. Specifically, cheeky misspellings of words for business names, like: Kidz Kutz.

Q is for a quote: When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew. ~ William Shakespeare

R is for random fact about you: I’m obsessive about dental hygiene. I’m an enthusiastic brusher, and I floss at least once a day.

S is for favorite healthy snack: I made mention of hummus above… Love it with carrots and cucumbers.

T is for favorite treat: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, in all its forms (bars, cake, pie, ice cream, cookies), but the darker the better.

U is for something that makes you unique: Thanks to my husband’s job, I move a lot. We’ve been married nine year and during that time we’ve lived in seven homes. Next month, it’ll be eight.

V is for favorite vegetable: Carrots.

W is for today’s workout: Half hour circuit training, half hour yoga. Possibly a walk with the dogs later.

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Lots on my teeth, one on my arm when I fractured it as a child. A few ultrasounds when I was pregnant. Do those count?

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Progress on my rewrite, dinner and laughter with my family.

Z is for your time zone: Pacific.

There you have it: All about Katy!

I totally think you should copy the Alphabet Survey, fill in your own answers, and add it to your blog. When you’re done, comment here or tweet me so I can drop by and get to know you better.


T is for Third Place (Books)

There’s a very cool bookstore in Seattle called Third Place Books. They’re a general interest bookstore with over 200,000 new, used, and bargain books. Third Place Books has a commons area with several restaurants and live music Friday & Saturday nights. Plus, they hold tons of awesome author events (last summer I attended a signing with, among others, Lisa Schroeder, Mandy Hubbard, and Kimberly Derting, and this January I saw John and Hank Green’s Nerdfighters show there!). All in all, Third Place Books is fantastic, but that’s precisely why the store’s name used to perplex me. Why would any bookstore — any company — want to be third place?

I did a little research…

From Third Place Books’ website:

Sociologist Ray Oldenberg suggests that each of us needs three places: first is the home; second is the workplace or school; and beyond lies the place where people from all walks of life interact, experiencing and celebrating their commonality as well as their diversity. It is a third place. In his celebrated book, The Great Good Place, Oldenberg discusses how the cafes, pubs, town squares and other gathering places make a community stronger and bring people together. Third Place Books has something for everyone.  Whether you need to study, host a community meeting, or get out of the house for the evening, we hope you will make this your third place.

Awesome, right?

So, tell me: What’s your THIRD PLACE?

S is for Sparkling Almond, Solitude, and Super-Sized

Remember how my family and I are moving out of state in a few weeks? Well, tonight my husband and I are having one last hurrah with our fantastic neighbors. It’s a bittersweet event, for sure. Dinner and dancing and drinks will be a blast (thank you so, SO much, Theresa, for organizing! ♥), but I’m so sad to be moving away from these awesome people who’ve been all kinds of supportive and kind and fun. They’ll be sorely missed.

Fortunately, we’ve got lots of Sparkling Almond to ease the pain.

Switching gears completely: I’m an introvert at heart. I value quiet time, and in most cases, I’d rather be at home watching movies with my husband and daughter than out on the town. That’s not to say I don’t go out. I do, occasionally (see above!). And once I’m out, I throw down with the best of them, but still… I like my yoga pants. A lot. I like my books. I like my laptop and my DVR and my comfy couch. I like to make my own rules and spend time in own head, where it’s peaceful and quiet and serene.

And I think that’s just fine.


In other news, last weekend my husband, daughter, and I tried out a new restaurant, The Buttered Biscuit, which prides itself on “authentic gramma food.” (Hungry yet?) We didn’t think twice about our girlie ordering a cinnamon roll with a side of bacon because we were halfway through a twenty-five mile bike ride and were ready to treat ourselves. Imagine our shock when the waitress presented our four-year-old with a cinnamon roll the size of (quite literally) a dinner plate:

She did a number on it, I have to say. But in the end (after inhaling my veggie omelette with ravenous enthusiasm), I was forced to help my girlie put a dent in her breakfast confection. Let me tell you: It was AMAZING.

Two questions: Are you an introvert or an extrovert? And, what’s your favorite breakfast food?

R is for Rock the Drop

Last week I Rocked the Drop!

I’ve wanted to participate in Rock the Drop since I read a few of my blogging friends’ wrap-ups last year. Here’s the low down, in case you haven’t heard: Readergirlz and Figment united to ROCK THE DROP in honor of Support Teen Lit Day, which was Thursday, April 12th. All participants had to do was print a copy of the bookplate (seen in my sidebar) and insert it into a book (or 10!), then drop said book(s) in public places (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter, etc…) in communities everywhere. Lucky teens who happened upon the dropped books saw that their finds were part of ROCK THE DROP and scored new reading material. Such a cool idea, right?!

Here are the books I dropped, labeled and ready to go:

Of course I had to tag them:

I left one book at our local bakery:

Two at our local coffee shop:

And finally, I dropped one at the McDonald’s across the street from our town’s high school:

Though my husband said I looked guilty, like I’d just dropped off explosives as I left each location, Rock the Drop was a success on my end, and lots of fun! I sincerely hope that the books I dropped found happy homes with teens who enjoy reading them as I did.

Did you Rock the Drop?