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?

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?!

Friday Five…

It’s been so long since I’ve done a Friday Five,
I couldn’t help myself…

1. Writing Update – I’ve been deep in the throes of revising one manuscript and rewriting another. Sheesh… The writing process is HARD! And, it’s mostly the reason for the relative quiet here on my blog–revising and rewriting have sucked up all my creative energy. Plus, my husband’s been home for about a month now (yay!) and we’re still in that happy place of wanting to spend tons of family time together. So, when I’m not squinting at my computer screen and eating my weight in Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, I’m hanging with my two favorite people.

2. #MarchPhotoADay – I’ve recently fallen in love with Instagram, a photography iPhone app that lets you edit your photos with all kinds of cool filters and then share them with your friends on a feed. This month I’m participating in one of Instagram’s many photo challenges: #MarchPhotoADay. I’m thinking of it as another way to stretch my creativity, and it’s super fun to see how other people interpret the prompts. Here they are:

And here’s my submission for Day 2, FRUIT:

You should definitely join in if you’re an Instagram-er! Oh, and if you want to find me there, I’m katyupperman.

3. Flawed – I was lucky enough to read this stunning contemporary YA novel by debut author Kate Avelynn early (it’s being released this July by Entangled Teen) and let me tell you, it is absolutely heart-wrenching. Like, you won’t be able to put it down because you’ll be THAT stressed about the future of the characters. If you’re a fan of books like Elizabeth Scott’s Living Dead Girl and Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden, you should definitely check out Flawed. (Click the cover and you’ll be redirected to Flawed‘s Goodreads page.)

Flawed
Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago—James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely. Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give. Sam Donavon has been James’s best friend—and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on—for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realize James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact…

4. Homeland – I know I’m a little late jumping on this bandwagon, but have you seen Showtime’s Homeland? Holy hell… The first season was AMAZING. My husband and I don’t agree on many TV shows, but we flew through this one and are already itching for more. Homeland is fast-paced, powerful, and densely layered. No character goes without garnering at least a bit of sympathy (seriously–even the terrorists have clear motivations for acting the way they do), and every single episode is a game-changer. Plus, Claire Danes is freaking fantastic. Recommend!

5. Military Ball – Last weekend my husband and I lived it up at his unit’s Military Ball. Have I mentioned how happy I am to have him home? 🙂

So… What’s on your plate for the weekend?

Another OFF THE SHELF Update…


Have you forgotten about the Off the Shelf reading challenge I signed up for ages ago? I haven’t (though you might not know it, since I haven’t mentioned it in MONTHS!). Despite my radio silence on the topic, I’m slowly but surely scratching books from my Off the Shelf To-Read list (plus, my other Compulsive Book Buyer To-Read list). I started back in January, and while I’ve been distracted by read tons of books that aren’t on my Off the Shelf list, I’ve made some pretty decent progress.

Here’s where I am so far:

1. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
2. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
3. Transgression by James W. Nichol
4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
5. The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
6. Teach Me by R.A. Nelson
7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
8. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
9. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
10. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
11. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
12. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
13. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
14. Waiting for You by Susan Colasanti
15. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Only five books left to read, and I still have just over two months to go.

Raise your hand if you think I can do it… 🙂

What’s on your To-Read list these days?

Campaign Challenge #3 – ON THE PIER

The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs. The Campaign runs from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges, the last of which I’m posting TODAY!

Here are the parameters:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:

  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: “synbatec,” “wastopaneer,” and “tacise”   (these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them!).

And here is my entry: 

On the Pier

The steady cry of complaining seagulls conveys her mood perfectly: Ugh.

The sun has yet to clear the horizon, but she’s awake. Wait—not just awake, because that wouldn’t be so bad. Nope. She’s out of bed, dressed, and…  exercising?

She is not a runner. She’s barely a walker, and never before coffee. But here she is, huffing and puffing, trying not to become fed up with the monotony of one foot in front of the other.

Synbatec, wastopaneer, tacise… Mentally, she reviews SAT words in an effort to stay upright.

All because of you.

Because when your smiling voice called a smitten girl to invite her out for an impromptu weekend run, she couldn’t decline. Even if that run was scheduled for an ungodly hour. Even if her athleticism is severely lacking. Even if sweating in the presence of a cute boy is, like, the Eighth Deadly Sin.

The torturous jog continues. Together, you pass a washed-up fish, silvery scales dulled, smothered with flies. She catches a whiff of rot. Even though her stomach turns over, she resolves to keep her mood from plunging completely.

The sleepiness, the exertion, the fish—ick!—they’re worth it, because you’re huffing and puffing right next to her. Somehow, though, you make huffing and puffing look good.

“Ready for a cool down?” you ask, slowing to a walk.

Is she ever! She flashes you a grateful smile and dabs her glistening brow oh-so delicately.

You lead her to the pier and, thoughtfully, pull her hood up to ward off the morning chill. She smiles; now she matches you.

Though she’s all-too aware of why she’s here—exercise? No way!—she keeps wondering why you invited her.

But when you lean in to kiss her, the sun crests the horizon, gloriously bright, and she knows. 

My favorite of all three challenges, I think. Which one did you like best, Campaigners? And don’t forget to visit Rachel’s blog to vote for the entries you love. Mine’s number 105. 🙂

Campaign Challenge #2 – Mama’s Imago

The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs. The Campaign runs from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges, the second of which I’m posting TODAY! Here are the parameters:

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:

-Include the word “imago” in the title.
-Include the following 4 random words: “miasma,” “lacuna,” “oscitate,” “synchronicity.”
-If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
-For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!

So, I’m going the way of flash fiction–I just enjoyed it so much the last time! This piece is exactly 200 words and–gasp!–not YA. I hope it speaks to my fellow mothers, particularly those with curious, whimsical, awe-inspiring daughters, like my girlie. 🙂

Her little girl loved anything with wings, real or mythical. Darting turquoise dragonflies and opalescent hummingbirds were just as fanciful as the spritely fairies living in her fantasies.

But the Monarch butterfly most thoroughly mesmerized her. Its metamorphosis, the perfectly mirrored synchronicity of its orange and black wings, its wanderlust. It intrigued her, and caused her imagination to oscitate, stretching it beyond its reaches.

She was a Monarch for Halloween. Every day after, too, she pulled on the onyx leotard and the shimmering tights. Her mama helped her tie the satin ribbons of the great painted wings, smiling when her girl donned the antennae headband as if it were a Princess’s crown.

They explored the woods almost daily, the girl flying ahead on spirited tulle, her mama meandering behind, enjoying the trees, the breeze, the warmth.

Until one day there was a lacuna in the girl’s cheerful chatter.

Her mama looked frantically about the silent, sunny forest, trying—failing—to ignore the dreadful miasma filling her nose and throat, choking her with terror.

And then her girl was there, crouching behind a stump, examining a tiny, emerald chrysalis.

Her mama gathered her close, careful not to crush her delicate wings.


If you enjoyed my Campaign Challenge #2 effort, please do take a moment to visit Rach Writes where you can LIKE my entry. Again, it’s called Mama’s Imago, and it’s number 130. Thanks for visiting!

Campaign Challenge #1 – Last Kiss

The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs. The Campaign runs from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges, the first of which is TODAY! Here are the parameters for Campaign Challenge #1:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open…” These four words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “…the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

First thought: OH MY GOD I’VE NEVER WRITTEN FLASH FICTION IN MY LIFE! Second thought: TWO-HUNDRED WORDS? CAN’T BE *THAT* HARD.

Two hours later (two!), and I’ve come up with exactly two-hundred words of flash fiction. Holy crap–writing in past-tense is such a challenge! So is characterization within such a tiny word count. I’m, like, really nervous about posting this, but here’s my best effort, entitled Last Kiss

 The door swung open. He was there like I knew he would be, searing eyes and rain-soaked hair. He didn’t speak—he’d always been better at quiet—but he reached for my hands and pulled me forward like he owned me. 

He did—I’d been his since the day we met.

I let my cheek fall against his shoulder and inhaled his soap-and-spice scent, soaking up a million memories with rain that fell relentlessly from the slate sky. His t-shirt was drenched and then so was mine, but I didn’t care. I’d never cared about the consequences of being with him. I craved his strength and weight and intensity.  

His breath was heavy, ragged, when his cobalt eyes locked on mine. The moment unfolded, stretching into eternity. I foraged for words to make him stay, but they were elusive. Always elusive.

His wet hands were slippery on my face. His mouth found mine, raw, insistent, tasting of regret. Breathing was suddenly impossible. I gripped his t-shirt, kissed him back, but the ache of loss was inevitable.

“I’ll miss this,” he said when he’d had enough.

He pushed me back into the house. My heart shattered as the door swung shut. 


Like my flash fiction? Want to read Challenge #1 entries from other Campaigners? Pop on over to Rach Writes to check out the list of participants. 🙂 

June: Contemporary YA Month

The Contemps is one of my favorite YA group blogs. If you’ve never visited, please do. The published authors who post there are all about highlighting contemporary young adult literature, and they feature some fantastic books!

In an effort to give contemporary books the focus they deserve, The Contemps have declared June Contemporary YA Month! I, for one, LOVE this idea. My general To-Read pile is out-of-control, but my nightstand is especially packed with contemporary titles. To celebrate Contemporary YA Month, this June I’ve decided to read only… Contemporary YA!

Here’s what I’ve got:

The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
Fall for Anything and Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Caleb and Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (Finished this one yesterday. It was lovely.)
Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
After by Amy Efaw
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Half-way through this now… not sure what genre it technically is, to be honest, but for lack of a better classification, I’m calling it Contemporary with a Wink.)
Teach Me by RA Nelson
The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal (Technically not young adult, but Jessica, Elizabeth and their and crazy Californian shenanigans? I’m pretty sure it’ll be reminiscent of YA.)


In more awesome book news: One of my other favorite group blogs, YA Highway, is celebrating two years in existence with a Huge ARC Giveaway! The girls are offering some much sought after titles–definitely worth checking out. Contest closes June 10th, midnight EST.

So, what are some of your favorite contemporary titles?And what contemporaries will you read for Contemporary YA Month?

Off the Shelf Update


I’m making progress on my To-Read pile, thanks to this year’s Off the Shelf reading challenge. I started back in January, and while I’ve read several other books that aren’t on my Off the Shelf list, I’ve made some pretty good progress. Here’s where I am so far:

1. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
2. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
3. Transgression by James W. Nichol
4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
5. The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
6. Teach Me by R.A. Nelson
7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
8. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
9. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
10. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
11. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
12. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
13. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
14. Waiting for You by Susan Colasanti
15. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

So, are you surprised  the first to go were mostly YA books? I wonder why that is? 🙂

Off the Shelf

I’ve finally found a reading challenge that seems to be tailored specifically for people like me: Obsessive Book Buyers. Officially, it’s the Off the Shelf Challenge hosted by BA Reading Challenges. The parameters for the challenge are simple. Read books you already own, the ones that have been sitting in your To-Read pile for weeks or months (or, in my case, YEARS!). Reviews are optional.

I’ve got fifteen books total, which puts me in the TRYING category. Here’s my To-Read list:

1. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
2. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
3. Transgression by James W. Nichol
4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
5. The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
6. Teach Me by R.A. Nelson
7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
8. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
9. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
10. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
11. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
12. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
13. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
14. Waiting for You by Susan Colasanti
15. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Stacked all pretty on my nightstand. 🙂

What about you? Participating in any reading challenges this year? What’s on your T0-Read list?