N is for Noteworthy

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the TWO winners from my Lucky Me, Lucky You book giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations…

Jaime Morrow and Sophia Richardson

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of either a signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars or a free book of choice from The Book Depository, up to $20. The second winner to email will receive the remaining prize. (Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book to you!)

Congrats again, Jaime and Sophia, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about Lucky Me, Lucky You!

🙂

And… Here’s a super fun idea you might be interested in participating in, especially if you’re looking to rejuvenate your blog, or get into (or back into) the habit of blogging regularly:

Gorgeous banner created by crazy-talented Tracey Neithercott! 

The brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person Sara McClung, Blog Me MAYbe is a weekly blog format for the month of May, an easy schedule to follow with topics built right in. Of course, if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, no biggie. Blog Me MAYbe is all about ease and fun! You don’t have to worry about following every blogger who participates or commenting on everyone’s daily posts (though if you want to do that, feel free!). The intent of Blog Me MAYbe isn’t to gain followers — although that could very well happen — but to branch out, make a few new friends, share information, and get into the head space where ideas for blog posts flow freely.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
    • This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all!
  • Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
    • Pretty self-explanatory… Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or, maybe they do. It doesn’t matter–this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better. 
  • Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
    • Ask your followers something about themselves.
  • Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
    • Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who’s fascinating. A character from a book. Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative, but let the spotlight shine on someone else!
  • Fridays: May I share something funny?
    • Fridays = The start of the weekend… BOOYA! A reason to celebrate and laugh on its own — plus, who doesn’t want to see something amusing after a long week?

Fun, right?! I’m already committed to participating, as are Sara, Cambria, Tracey, Jessica, Lola, Alexandra, and AlisonBlog Me MAYbe begins on the first of May, so head over to Sara’s blog if you’re interested in signing up, and feel free to grab our banner or the button in my sidebar to use on your own blog.

Tell me: Will you participate in Blog Me MAYbe? 

L is for Lucky Seven

Have you entered my Lucky Me, Lucky You Giveaway? A  signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars and a free book of choice from The Book Depository are up for grabs for TWO winners. The giveaway ends tomorrow night… Click HERE to enter!

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!
Fittingly, I’ve got a LUCKY Seven post to share with you…

The Rules:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
  4. Tag 7 other victims …er, authors.

Fun, right?!

So, I’ve been tagged three times now… Thanks to fabulous Kate Avelynn for tag #1. If you haven’t visited her blog, I recommend it. Her upcoming debut Flawed is one of my most favorite contemporary YA stories EVER. And thanks to adorable Sara McClung for tag #2. The seven lines she posted for Lucky Seven are absolutely fantastic, and you should definitely check them out! And thanks to Kris Asselin, one of my agent sisters and a lovely contemporary YA writer. Please do check out her sweet Lucky Seven post as well.

It just so happens that for my Lucky Seven post, you’re getting seven steamy lines from my WiP, Cross My Heart. I hope you enjoy!

When he pulls away, for one horrible second I think it’s over. But then the softest groan escapes him and he walks me backward, presses me against the wall, and opens his mouth over mine. I taste candy cane peppermint on his tongue, mingling with beer.

Will I ever know what he tastes like sober, under normal circumstances?

I immediately shove that particular musing out of my head, content to focus on the here and now: Max Holden is kissing me like it means something. Like he wants to keep kissing me, forever.

And now I get to tag seven friends… You’re up, Tracey Neithercott, Alicia Gregoire, Yahong Chi, Kat Owens, Rebecca Behrens, Kris Asselin (who’s getting tagged back because she promised a snippet from her MG!), and Taryn Albright!

In celebration of Friday the Thirteenth, tell me: Are you the superstitious sort?

I is for Ice Cream

Have you entered my Lucky Me, Lucky You Giveaway? A  signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars and a free book of choice from The Book Depository are up for grabs for TWO winners. Click HERE to enter!

Ahh, ice cream… One of my favorite foodie indulgences. I could eat it daily (some weeks I do!), but I try to stick to the healthy-ish Dreyer’s Slow Churned, No Sugar Added variety. The Butter Pecan tastes pretty darn amazing, especially with a few crumbled pretzels and some Smucker’s Sugar-Free Hot Fudge drizzled on top. What can I say? I like the extra add-ins almost as much as the ice cream itself. 🙂

Lately, I’ve had the urge to experiment with making my own ice cream, and I’ve hunted down a few recipes that look promising:

chocolate cookie dough ice cream, cookie dough ice cream, gluten free cookie recipe, homemade chocolate ice cream, chocolate ice creamHomemade Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream (vegan & gluten-free)
from My Man’s Belly, a newly discovered and awesome food/relationship blog.

Easy Homemade Ice Cream without a MachineEasy (Creamy!) Homemade Ice Cream (not exactly healthful, but without a machine AND without rock salt!) from Kevin and Amanda, another cool and creative food blog.

low calorie peanut butter ice creamLow-Cal Peanut Butter Ice Cream (gluten-free and sugar-free, also without an ice cream machine!) from Chocolate-Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog featuring tons of vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free treats.

Traditional Ice Cream in a Bag (great to do with kiddos!) from 2 Little HOOligans, a fun craft/cooking/mommy blog.

Tell me: What’s your favorite dessert?

And, have you ever made your own ice cream? Do you have a fantastic recipe to share? 

Oh, and a quick FYI: This Thursday I’m going to Rock the Drop. Please do click the image below for more information on this awesome literacy initiative!

What’s new?

Oh, life. How did you get so busy?

I’ve finished another round of revisions on Poppies. It’s amazing what a few months away will do for your perspective on a story. This particular revision proved to be one of the most challenging and most satisfying I’ve worked on. In case you’re wondering, I focused on amping up the tension to make the story feel more thriller-esque, and I also took a main character from creepy to super-extra-über creepy, which is always fun.

My life has been consumed by this revision over the last several weeks. My DVR is chock-full of ANTM and Project Runway All Stars, and I’m pretty sure my husband is sick to death of hearing me talk about any and everything related to Poppies. Now that I’m done with this round, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I also feel like I have all kinds of time on my hands, which is why I’m (finally) blogging.

In other news, my hubby and I visited Vancouver, BC over the weekend. I had my doubts about the idea of a getaway (see above paragraphs), but we ended up having an incredible time. Also, thanks to some ridiculous wait times at the border, I was able to get quite a bit of revising done in the car. If you haven’t visited Vancouver, I recommend it. It’s a much bigger, more diverse city than I’d realized. It’s also very clean and the food is amazing. Plus, there’s tons to do:

We went to a kickass country bar where my husband rode a bull, and subsequently banned me from posting the pictures online. Boo! (Oh, and there’s nothing like a nineteen-year-old drinking age to make you feel ancient!).

We visited–and walked across!–the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Awesome.

Okay, I admit it: I was a little scared. The bridge spanned an insane ravine and was, quite literally, suspended. It swayed a lot and by the time we made it across, I was experiencing a bit of motion sickness. Still, totally worth it!

There was a cliff walk, too, which was equally thrilling.

We got to watch the Canucks play, and win! I’ve never been to an NHL game, and I have to admit, it was surprisingly entertaining. My husband was all about teaching me the rules of the game, and we ended up sitting in a section full of very enthusiastic (read: drunk) Canadians, which made the sporting event all the more authentic.

Now that we’re home from Canada, we’re getting focused on our pending move. We’ll be leaving our beloved Pacific Northwest for the beautiful Monterey Bay sometime in May, and I’m pretty excited. The actual act of moving sucks, though, and I’m not so pumped about its finer points (packing, cleaning, driving, unpacking, settling, blah, blah, blah…). But, the Army wife in me knows it’ll be an adventure, and moving means my husband won’t be deploying for a good 18 months. I’d do pretty much anything to make that happen!

Changing gears a bit… I’ve decided to participate in April’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge (because I obviously don’t have enough going on). I feel like I’ve neglected my blog lately, and this seems like a fun way to reinvigorate it. If you’re interested in playing along (you totally should!), you can sign up HERE.

And a few more links worth checking out: This article about The Hunger Games movie. According to Hollywood vet Nina Jacobson (who acquired the rights to the trilogy), “Young people are actually really savvy about what they consume, and the success of this book is a reflection of their sophistication…” Thanks, Nina. We totally already knew that. 🙂 And this post by the brilliant Kate Hart, detailing 2011-2012 YA book deals, with infographics!

So, what’s new in your world? Will you blog A-Z in April? Are you counting down the hours till The Hunger Games?!

Let’s Connect!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that I’ve never used Google Friend Connect. Why? Mostly because it’s a huge pain in the neck to install on a WordPress blog. (Or, maybe it’s not; maybe I’m just too big of a technological Neanderthal to figure it out. But, I digress…)

Now, though, I’ve decided the time has come to give readers an easy way to subscribe to my WordPress blog via Blogger. Thankfully,  Emy Shin came up with a fairly simple solution and was gracious enough to share it with those of us who are blog-smart-stunted. Now you can easily follow this blog via Blogger just by clicking on that nifty little button on the sidebar. See? Right over there —>

Other places you can find me? How about Twitter, GoodreadsPinterest, and Instagram? I don’t auto-follow, but I do love to link up with fellow writers, readers, runners, moms, yogis, (very) amateur photographers, and anyone else who’s thoughtful, funny, insightful, or otherwise awesome. So… let’s connect!

(And a big thanks to Sarah Enni for sharing information on Blogger/GFC/RSS and for inspiring this post. :))

Happy Valentine’s Day!

valentines

In honor of the Day of Love, I’m jumping in on YA Highway‘s Valentine’s Day Blog Lovefest. The parameters are as follows: The Valentine blog posts can be a love note to anything–another blogger, a book, an author, a character, a bookstore, your beta readers…anything and anyone!  Since I’m sort of terrible at following directions and at narrowing things down, and since it’s February 14th, I’m going to list…

FOURTEEN (TOTALLY RANDOM) THINGS I LOVE…

1. My husband. Because he’s selfless and patient and funny and kind and the very best kind of daddy to our little girl. Plus, he’s super cute.

2. My daughter. Because she’s sweet and precocious and thoughtful and adorable and she makes me smile every day.

3. My blog, and my blog readers, and YOUR blogs. Because your visits and your comments and your posts give me the greatest sense of community.

4. Inspiration. Because it’s everywhere. On TV. In nature. In art. In the kitchen. In window shopping and people watching and daydreaming. In the support of those who love me, and in the success of those before me.

5. Yoga. Because not only is it fantastic exercise, but it makes me feel more centered and grounded and peaceful.

6. Agent Vickie. Because she’s encouraging and savvy and writes some of the most hilarious emails and editorial notes ever. And because she loves my “people” like I do.

7. The lovelies who’ve read and commented so helpfully on my writing. Heather, Jus, Ann, Christa, Amie, Alison, and Kari — What would I do without you girls?!

8. Twitter. Because every day I learn something new, and every day I interact with brilliant people, and every day I feel less alone in my writing crazies.

9. Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate. Because it’s my writing fuel.

10. Books. Because they teach and entertain and transport and delight. A few of my favorites from this year so far? A Million Suns. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. The Disenchantments.

...

11. My writing/blogging friends and regular commenters. Especially Tracey, Jessica, Erin, Katharine, Alicia, Kris, Carol, Sophia, KirstenCaroline, Jaime, ElodieErin, and Rebecca (who I met through YA Highway’s Valentine’s Day blogfest last year!).

12. My family and (real-life) friends. Because they’re wildly supportive even though they don’t entirely understand this nutso writing dream of mine.

13. The Bookanista. Because they’re new friends with a mutual love for promoting amazing kidlit.

14. Pinterest. Because… I just can’t help myself. It’s simply awesome.

Who are you showing Valentine Love for today?

Goals, 2012

Now that 2012 is upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in the new year. I toyed with the idea of writing down some resolutions, but somehow that felt flat, like making  a bunch of empty promises. I just haven’t found the motivation to do it.

Still, I’ve been setting some mental goals (most significantly: write at least a thousand new words, Monday-Friday, and keep up with my current exercise routine). Then I read a post by my brilliant friend Erin Bowman referencing writer  Jessica Corra, who blogged about how she picks a Word of the Year instead of making traditional resolutions. She strives to keep that one word in mind throughout the year.  Jessica said: Resolutions are too compartmental, too specific and practical. I prefer a word, an attitude, a way of being.

I love this idea. In fact, I love it so much I want to do it too!

I’d planned to mull over my word for a few days, until I’d settled on the perfect one, one that would express the attitude and mental posture I want to adopt for the entirety of the upcoming year. But, there was one word that popped into my head almost immediately, one I kept coming back to over and over again. What is that word?

RESOLVE

Resolve kind of encompasses all the goals I’ve set for the year, big and small, and it will hopefully help me to accomplish them. For me, resolve means, simply, setting my mind to something and making it happen. Choosing to make responsible decisions even when they’re not easy or fun or popular…

Ordering a salad over a cheeseburger at Red Robin. Walking my dogs even if it’s windy and cold. Writing to my daily word goal, regardless of whether I’m tired or grumpy or uninspired. Starting my day early, with yoga, even when my bed feels warm and cozy. Reading my prerequisite one craft book per month even when there’s a hot new release I’d rather pick up. Walking past my daughter’s M&M treat even though they look incredibly tasty. Staying strong, mentally and physically.

So, that’s it.

RESOLVE.

Hold me to it, would ya? 🙂

And on that note, I’ll be taking a bit of a blog-cation over the next several weeks. I’ve come to the realization that my writing vs. blogging time has become a bit unbalanced, and that’s something I need to remedy. I mean, what’s the point of keeping an “Aspiring Author” blog if I’m not really, um, authoring anything?

I’ve got some lofty aspirations for this New Year, specifically: Finish the rewrite of tentatively entitled Cross My Heart, and complete a first draft of something shiny and pretty and exciting and new. Plus, my husband’s deployment will come to an end in approximately six (SIX!) weeks, and I’ve got lots to do to prepare for his homecoming.

That’s not to say that this blog will be entirely wordless. I still plan on participating in some of YA Highway‘s Road Trip Wednesdays, and I’ll definitely  share some Bookanista recommendations, but things around here will be quieter. Sort of like her…

Pinned Image

What are YOUR goals (writing or otherwise) for 2012? And what will your one word be?