MAY I ask something about you?

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the FIVE winners from my Reading is Sexy giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations to…

Charissa, Jaye, Jillian, Yahong, and Doreen!

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of ONE of the following: A signed copy of The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, or a Reading is Sexy bumper sticker. The second winner to email will have second choice of the remaining prizes, the third to email will have third choice, and so on. (Also, please don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book or sticker to you!)

Congrats again, Charissa, Jaye, Jillian, Yahong, and Doreen, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about this giveaway!


Second, my first post over at YA Confidential is up today, a review of the fabulous This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (out next month!). I’d love it if you’d drop by to check out all the reasons I LOVED this book!

This Is Not a Test

Third, I’ll be taking a bit of a blog-cation over the next couple of months. Yep… April and May were chock full of blog posts around here, and I had a blast writing them, reading all of your thoughtful comments, and visiting your blog in return. But, I’ve decided to dedicate my free time this summer to my family and the rewrite I’ve been working on. Blogging is a blast, but it’s also quite time-consuming, and if I don’t take this break, I won’t be able to prioritize my time in a way that will best allow me to complete my rewrite. That said, I’ll still be reading your blog, and I’ll still do an occasional Bookanista review. I’ll also still be posting over at YA Confidential. But all in all, things around here will be pretty quiet. Never fear, though… I’ll be back early August when school starts and my girlie begins spending her days at –*gasp*– Kindergarten!

Relaxing Summer

I leave you with this question: What are YOUR summer plans?


MAY I tell you something about writing?

Because it’s Memorial Day and my parents are visiting and my creative energy is pretty consumed with a rewrite, I’d love to share a previous post (originally HERE), an oldie but a goodie, about how I overcome the dreaded writer’s block.

Writers Block

My Miracle Cures…

1. I eat. Sometimes healthfully. Sometimes not. Often Bottle Caps, my drug candy of choice. 

2. I read. Books on craft. Young adult fiction. Entertainment Weekly. Whatever.

3. I exercise. Run, walk, bike, yoga–anything weather appropriate.

4. I hang with my daughter. We color. We play Princesses. We make beaded necklaces. Anything creative and fun.

5. I brainstorm with my husband. His ideas are sometimes random and unusable, but he thinks outside the box and he’s an amazing sounding board. Also very supportive.

6. I write drivel. I type out sweeping descriptions of the setting. I fill in backstory. I let my characters have meaningless conversations. Sometimes they just make-out. This stuff almost always gets the cut, but it often helps to get good words flowing.

7. And, perhaps most helpfully, I plot. Or replot. Because when I’m blocked, it’s usually because I’ve taken a wrong turn. I’ve written something wrong earlier on, and that something needs to be identified and corrected.

Tell me: What are your cures for writer’s block?

{Oh! Don’t forget to enter my Reading is Sexy Giveaway if you haven’t already! It ends tomorrow at midnight!}

MAY I tell you something about my husband?

♥ He’s amazing. ♥

Smart and supportive and sweet. Endlessly funny. He balances my obsessive anxiety with his carefree, cheerful way. He makes me smile even when there’s not a lot to smile about. He believes in me and my dream of selling a book. He believes in our daughter and encourages her, whatever her aspiration of the day may be. He’s not above playing Barbies on the floor or pretending to be a gorilla just to earn a belly laugh. He’s the world’s most loving daddy.

♥ He’s the world’s best husband. ♥

Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have snagged this guy.

What do you think? Have we aged well?

{Oh! Don’t forget to enter my Reading is Sexy Giveaway if you haven’t already!}

MAY I ask something about you?

During our recent road trip to California, we spent a few nights in Cannon Beach, Oregon, which is pretty much my favorite town ever.

While in Cannon Beach, my husband, daughter, and I experienced what turned out to be an entirely perfect day. It was one full of kite flying, sandcastle building, picnicking, hiking, biking, and shopping. We capped our perfect day with the perfect meal, a four course evening of deliciousness at The Irish Table. Dinner began with cider beer (a Shirley Temple for my girlie) and authentic Irish soda bread, followed by roasted beet salad, then fresh grilled halibut with fingerling potatoes and zucchini. After watching the sunset, we walked to a local grocery store and picked up a ridiculously expensive dark chocolate candy bar that was packed with almonds and cherry bits. All in all, the meal was freaking amazing. Frankly, I wish I could relive every delectable bite right this very second.

National Eat What You Want Day? Don't mind if I do! {Tonight's dinner at The Irish Table in #CannonBeach was aMaZiNg!} #CAHereWeCome #RoadTrip #Yum

So, my question for you: What is your idea of the perfect meal (location, company, food, drink, etc…)?

{Oh! Don’t forget to enter my Reading is Sexy Giveaway if you haven’t already!}

MAY I tell you about… A Giveaway?!

Okay, technically I’m supposed to be telling you something about myself today, so… I’m all moved in to my new house in California, and what a relief it is to have my life back! I’m so over living out of a suitcase and constantly eating at restaurants and sifting through boxes to find random things like coffee mugs. I don’t want to think about moving ever again. Well, at least not until eighteen months from now when the Army ships us somewhere new all over again…


To celebrate my return to normalcy, I think a giveaway is in order.

May I present the… Reading is Sexy Giveaway!

FIVE winners will be chosen randomly to receive ONE of the following:

A SIGNED copy of The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour…

A copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins…

Picked these gems up for a future giveaway. :) #books #yalit #reading #sexy
Or, a totally awesome Reading is Sexy bumper sticker!

Wondering about the rules of  the Reading is Sexy Giveaway? 

1. To enter, simply leave a comment completing this sentence: “Reading is ______.”

2. Want to earn additional entries?*

+1 for subscribing to this blog today (right column, top —->) or click HERE to easily subscribe via Google Friend Connect
+2 if you are already a subscriber
+1 for following me on Twitter (new or current)
+2 for tweeting about this contest (@katyupperman, please!)

3. The giveaway will close one week from today, Tuesday, May 29th, at midnight, PST. (I will post the winners’ names Wednesday, May 30th).

4. Once the five winners’ names have been posted, the first to email me will have first choice of the prize he or she prefers (the signed copy of The Disenchantments, OR the copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door, OR a bumper sticker). The second winner to email will have second choice, and so on.

*Please tally up your entries and include the total in your original comment!

Good luck!

MAY I tell you something about (my) writing (process)?

I’ve read some recent posts by a few Blog Me MAYbe-ers about their processes for plotting and first-drafting. I love learning about how other writers do what they do, and I find the differences in our individual methods so fascinating. I thought I’d share a bit about how I go about getting words on the page.

I’m a plotter, both in writing and in life. I like to have a plan for everything: day-to-day activities, traveling, tackling the grocery store, and, most definitely writing.  That’s not to say I’m completely rigid. I CAN be flexible. Things change – of course they do – but anytime there’s a change, especially where my WiP is concerned, I prefer to make a note of it on my outline. :)

oh hello

Here’s my basic process for plotting and first-drafting:

1) Once I’ve stewed over an idea for a good, long while (like, months) I write a one sentence pitch. This forces me to boil that often vague idea down to its true essence. Later, I use this initial pitch to write a three-line pitch, then a full query-type blurb to eventually pass on to my agent.

2) Next I make a list of any scenes I already have in my head, which is pretty much an enormous brainstorming session. This often takes awhile, and I add to the list as inspiration strikes and new scenes take shape.

3) I tackle a beat sheet, plugging scenes into appropriate places, and coming up with new ones to fill in the gaps. The beat sheet I use is a melding of the one in Blake Snyder’s Save the Catthe phases in The Hero’s Journey, and the layout detailed by Susan Dennard in this fantastic Pub(lishing) Crawl post titled How to Write a 1-Page Synopsis. My personal beat sheet has evolved to look something like this:

Ordinary World 

Inciting Incident – What event/decision/change prompts the main character to take initial action? 

Meeting with Mentor 

Plot Point 1 – What action does the MC take that changes the book’s direction?

Conflicts & Character Encounters – MC meets new people, experiences a new life, meets the antagonist. 

Midpoint – Another no-going-back turning point for the MC.

Rosy Glow – What happens that makes the MC think all’s well?

Plot Point 2 – Winning seems imminent, but the antagonist somehow defeats the MC and ends up more powerful.

Crisis/Black Moment – MC must fight through her emotions to find strength for the final battle. 

Lightbulb Moment

Climax – Final blowout between MC and the antagonist.


4) Once I have a complete beat sheet, I make an outline, scene by scene and color-coded according to plot lines and character interactions, one I follow pretty closely once I begin to write. Detailed as my scene outline is, it isn’t set in stone. I add and delete as I go, because once I start writing, the story comes to life and certain aspects inevitably become more or less important.

5) I begin the first draft. I usually write scenes in order, but if one gets me stuck, I just type in a quick place holder (AWESOME CONVERSATION ABOUT KISSING HERE) and move along. In the past, it’s taken me anywhere from one month to three months to complete a first draft. I like to write at least 2K a day when I’m drafting. I’ve found that if I don’t, I lose my momentum. I think we all know how difficult that is to reclaim!

So, that’s pretty much how I do it… It goes without saying that once that first draft is complete, it undergoes major revisions. Like, years worth, sometimes, for me anyway. Occasionally I wish my process could be less formulaic. It seems much more romantic to sit down with an idea and just start writing, but in the past that’s only earned me 133K words of crap. Plotting works for me, so for now I’m sticking with it!

What are your thoughts on plotting and first drafts?

MAY I share something funny?

It's a coping mechanism!  Yes!

True ;-)

Oh yes, my favorite thing to do.



Realizing that 90% of motherhood is spent locating someone's missing crap.

Raise your hand if you figured out the theme of today’s funnies!


I love my daughter more than life, but some days… If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

Tell me: What’s your favorite part of being a mama (or daddy or auntie or uncle!)? Or, if you’re not there yet, is there anything about parenthood you look forward to?

MAY I ask something about you?

I’m visiting over at Jessi Kirby’s blog today. She’s the author of Moonglass (love!) and just-released In Honor, and she’s posted an interview I did on my past road trips, which is pretty perfect because I’ve been road-tripping my ass off over the last week. I’d love it if you’d read the interview, and please do check out Jessi’s books if you haven’t already. She has a way with heartbreaking-cool-romantic contemporary, and her writing is gorgeous!

Now, for a question…

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

{For me, revisions, definitely. I have no trouble brainstorming ways to improve what’s already written, and I love delving deeper — fleshing out characters and layering plot lines and dropping in setting details. Starting from scratch, the blank pages and the hundreds of loosely connected ideas swirling around in my brain… Those terrify me!}

MAY I share something funny?

As I was browsing my Silliness board over on Pinterest the other day, I came to the realization that there are some incredibly creative, cheeky, and quite often inappropriate people lurking on the Internet (*gasp*). The general (and enviable) wit of some of these folks has made me snort with laughter time and again. Hopefully it’ll give you a Friday Five chuckle as well. 🙂



THREE (Couldn’t resist!)



So… My family and I are on the road, headed to California with all our worldly possessions. First, though, a detour to Cannon Beach, one of my very favorite cities. Can’t wait for some fun on the beach!

What are you up to this weekend?

MAY I ask something about you?

What’s one thing you have not done, but really want to do?  What’s holding you back?

{I really want to run a half marathon. What’s holding me back? Time. Lifestyle. Random inconveniences. I’m certain I can run 13 consecutive miles, but I’ve yet to come across an organized half marathon that’s local and works with my schedule. That’s a pitiful excuse, isn’t it? So… I’m going to sign up for the Big Sur Half Marathon! It’s being held November 18, 2012, and it runs very close to my new hometown in California. Yay!}

Gorgeous, right?