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.

{Please make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, other participants can visit your blog and check out what you’ve been up to. In that same spirit, I urge you to visit as many new blogs as you can every Wednesday. The most awesome aspect of What’s Up Wednesday and Ready. Set. Write is that they include a built-in support system. Let’s make sure we’re rooting each other on and offering as much encouragement as we can. Who knows… You might make an awesome new writing buddy, or a find a fantastic beta reader, or hook up with an amazing critique partner!}

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

What I’m Reading: I recently read In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell. It was… weird. Very literary and very dark. If you like adult fiction that steps way outside the box, you might want to check it out. Now I’m reading The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, a futuristic dystopian/thriller. It’s action-packed and pretty fantastic so far.

What I’m Writing: Still plugging away at my WiP. I made a Love List for it and, despite all its 1st draft flaws, I do really and truly love this story. I wrote 5,913 words this week (my goal was 3,000) and I’m up to 32,592 total. Considering that I started Ready. Set. Write! with about 9,000 words, my forward progress makes me really happy. This baby is starting to feel like a story that’s finishable! A favorite bit written last week:

He’d just shredded a hole into his already precarious acquaintanceship with Dylan, a hole that could very well be beyond mending, yet here he was, instantaneously and inappropriately enamored with her sexy black underthings. But really… Who could blame him? It’d been months since he’d seen a bra.

My goal for the coming week is 3,000 words, which should be doable. I’m finding that writing at least 500 words a day is becoming a routine, one I definitely want to keep up as the summer begins to wind down.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’m honored to have been chosen to help judge the August Pitch+250 Contest held by one of my favorite blogs, Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Submissions will be accepted starting Wednesday, July 31st at 6:00pm EST, and will close August 3rd at 11:00pm EST, or when 50 submissions are received, whichever comes first. If you’ve got a complete and polished manuscript, consider submitting a pitch (not a query) and the first 250 words of your story. All the details of the contest are HERE.

 Also, over the weekend, we visited the The Old Mission in San Jaun Bautista. The Catholic church’s construction began in the early 1800s, ending in 18 12. The building and grounds are ornate and beautiful. We also explored San Jaun Bautista, which is a charming little town with some cool antique shops and a fabulous Mexican restaurant, Jardine de San Juan, that we totally pigged out at.

And, finally, I’ve been doing the mom thing, carting my girlie from activity to activity, supervising playdates, giving pedis, and reading countless stories. School starts August 7th in these parts, so I’m already beginning to mourn the end of summer. It’s flown by so quickly!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: My WiP’s new setting, based on a mash-up of a few small agricultural towns near us. I’m calling my tourism “research.”

What’s up with you today? 

(If you’re a Ready. Set. Write! participant, don’t forget to enter our fantastic giveaway. Alison MillerElodie NowodazkijErin FunkJaime Morrow, and I will be sending an awesome Writer’s Care Package to one lucky winner. The giveaway closes in one week. Find the Rafflecoptor and more details HERE.)



Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the Apple Cup Book Giveaway Sarah Enni and I hosted last week! We had so much fun talking college football with all of you!

While I’m disappointed that my beloved WSU Cougars lost to the UW Huskies, I’m thrilled to announce that Kathy Bradey guessed closest (at 60 points) to the actual final combined score of the two teams, which was 59 points (Huskies 38, Cougs 21). Fantastic guess, Kathy, and congratulations! You win copies of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins! Please email me your mailing address (at katy(dot)upperman(at)live(dot)com) and I will get your books in the mail right away.

In case you’re wondering, Joanna Farrow was the grand prize winner, since her guess (at 58 points) was closest AND was made on Sarah’s blog. Joanna wins copies of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me and Laini Taylor’s The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Congratulations to Joanna!

Thanks again to all who participated. This giveaway was so much fun! Hopefully it (like Busch Light) will become an Apple Cup tradition. 🙂


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Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

One year ago I was full of dread concerning 2011. I knew my husband would be spending the year in a war zone halfway around the world, I was frustrated with the seemingly stand-still status of my writing, and overwhelmed by family stuff that seemed too big to ever improve. In my mind, 2011 was nothing to get excited about. And, looking back, 2011 has had some incredibly trying moments. This deployment has, in fact, sucked. My writing still has its challenges. A few members of my family have gone through some very scary health scares. But, 2011 has had some amazing moments as well, and in hindsight, the good far outweighs the bad.

This last year has given my so much to be thankful for:

1) My husband, who’s brave, selfless, loving, and forever supportive of me and my writing. He’s also the world’s best daddy. And my daughter, who makes me smile every day–no matter what!–and is the sweetest, funniest, smartest little girl around.

2) My family, the people who love me no matter what and endlessly remind me that things will be okay–good even! On a daily basis, my family members reassure me that I’m capable of getting through anything, but without them, I’m not sure I would be!

3) My friends, those I’ve known for years and those who’ve come into my life more recently. You (if you’re reading this, you know who you are!) make the days go by quicker and add great heaps of fun to the most mundane activities: Project Runway, dinners at Red Robin and Los Pinos, long bike rides, shopping trips, and so much more! Thanks for being there through thick and thin!

4) My agent, who believes in my work  like I do, envisions it on bookshelves in stores everywhere, and works her tail off to get it there. She also has excellent taste in books and food and accessories. 🙂

5) My generous and gracious CPs and betas, who’ve slaved over my writing with their metaphorical red pens, gracing it with their genius. I’m a better writer (and a better reader!) because of you. Thank you for your time and support and brilliance!

6) Books, because they’re equal parts professional development and escapism, and I can’t go a day without spending at least a few minutes lost in a good one.

7) My writing friends, the lovelies I’ve come to know through blogging and Twitter. I love talking books and social media and writing and healthy food and hot boys with you. You make this wild ride so much more fun, and you make me feel just a *little* less crazy. 🙂

8 ) My wonderful blog readers, who take a moment from their days to drop by, read my ramblings, and leave thoughtful comments. To echo the eloquent words of Alison Miller, I HEART you!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I anticipate a little blogging break over the long weekend, but before I go, here’s a friendly reminder to check out the football-inspired book giveaway Sarah Enni and I are having this week! Sarah’s prize pack includes copies of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shatter Me, and I have copies of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door up for grabs. All you have to do is guess the TOTAL POINTS SCORED for Saturday’s Apple Cup football game (the combined score for both the Washington State University Cougars and the University of Washington Huskies). Sarah and I will pick a winner from our respective comments–whoever came closest to the actual final total score. (This means you don’t have to know anything about these teams or football to have a great chance to win!). Enter to win HERE!

A very COUGAR giveaway!

We’re coming up on rivalry weekend in college football, and this year I’m even more excited to watch my Washington State University Cougars play our across-the-mountain rivals, the University of Washington Huskies, because one of my very lovely and sports-literate writing friends, Sarah Enni, is a Husky herself! So to bring a little college football love to the blogs, we’ve decided to host an Apple Cup Contest!

The contest will be hosted on both our blogs, and we’re both offering prizes! Sarah’s prize pack includes copies of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shatter Me, and I have copies of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door up for grabs.

Here’s how the contest works. On either my blog or Sarah’s blog, leave a comment with what you think the TOTAL POINTS SCORED (the combined score for both teams!) for the Apple Cup will be. Both Sarah and I will pick a winner from our respective comments–whoever came closest to the actual final total score. (This means you don’t have to know anything about these teams or football to have a great chance to win!)

If the Cougs win, my prize pack will go to the first place winner, and Sarah’s prize will go to the runner-up. If the Huskies win, prizes will be awarded vice versa.

This means you can enter the contest twice if you leave a comment with a total score estimate on both our blogs!*

You have until Apple Cup kick-off (Saturday, November 26, 7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. PT) to make your guesses! There are no extra points for Tweeting/blogging about this giveaway (because the rules are a little different and we don’t want to add any confusion) but we’d love it if you spread the word.

*Tie breaker will go to the first person to guess (according to comment time-stamp), so make your guesses early!

Best of luck!

(My hubby and I made the five-hour trek to Pullman, Washington for the game last year. The experience was just about this blurry, and tons of fun too!)


So, yesterday I finished this book…

…and I’m still sort of reeling from, um, everything about it.

In the interest of not giving any details away, I’m going to keep my opinion of MARA DYER to myself (at least for now). There’s just no good way to discuss this book without spoiling major plot points. I will share the GoodReads blurb though:

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

And I will say this: I enjoyed the strange creepiness of this book. I liked that I never really knew what was going on as far as Mara’s brand of crazy was concerned. I loved the sometimes hilarious banter between Mara and hot-boy Noah (I also love the name Noah). I thought Miami was a very cool, very unique setting. And I was blown away by the ending, but I won’t tell you why, because what fun would that be? 🙂

Want to read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer before its September 27th release? You can win an ARC right here!

Here are the details:

1. For one entry, leave a comment telling me about a recent new release you’ve read and loved OR name a book that’s coming out soon that you’re dying to read.

2. This giveaway is open internationally.

3. The giveaway closes one week from today, August 18th, at midnight, PST. (I will post the winner’s name on Friday, August19th!)

4. Want to earn additional entries?
+1 if you subscribe to this blog today (right column, top —->)
+2 if you are already a subscriber
+1 for following me on Twitter (new or current)
+2 for tweeting about this contest (@katyupperman, please!)

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


And the winner is…

As promised, I’ve selected a random winner for my Moonglass giveaway…

Congratulations, Meagan Spooner!

Please email me your address at katy(dot)upperman(@)live(dot)com and I will have your brand new book on the way. I hope you love it as much as I did!

RTW: The Elevator Pitch

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: You’re re-reading one of your favs when someone asks the dreaded question: “What’s that book about?” Give us your best off-the-cuff blurb of any book, any genre, and have your readers try to guess the title in the comments!

Gotta love YA Highway’s example: Well, this high school chick gets her first period in the gym showers and totally freaks. Her classmates pretend to like her, then humiliate her at the prom by dumping pig blood on her head, so she kills them all by using her telekinetic powers and burning down the school… I know, I know! It’s Stephen King’s Carrie, right? 🙂

Unfortunately, pitching in a clear, concise manner isn’t one of my strengths, but this challenge is too much fun to pass up. Here’s my off-the-cuff blurb for a classic favorite:

Four optimistic siblings are forced to survive the streets of an idyllic small town after the death of their parents, while eluding the heartless grandfather they’ve never met. The children take up residence in an abandoned railroad car, and while the eldest brother works odd jobs for a kindly doctor, the others decorate their new home with treasures from the local dump. When one of the children falls ill and her siblings call on the doctor for help, he realizes they’re the grandchildren of his wealthy, benevolent friend and must determine how to best reunite the family.

So… any guesses? And don’t forget to visit YA Highway to check out the rest of the posts.

Also, before I forget… have you entered to win a brand new copy of Jessi Kirby‘s amazing debut Moonglass? I’m giving one away right HERE! The contest is super easy, open internationally, and ends this Friday, June  17th. Trust me: You want to read this book!

Debut Love: MOONGLASS (And a Giveaway!)

Since I aspire to BE a debut author someday in the not-so-distant future, I’ve decide to start a semi-regular feature highlighting current debuts I’ve read and found to be exceptional.

First up: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby… 

From Amazon: When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother’s mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love. Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting a lifeguard named Tyler, she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandoned houses that dot the beach. But when learning more about her mother’s past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire for solitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.

I bought Moonglass having not heard much about it. I was attracted to the gorgeous cover at Borders, then read the fabulous cover blurb by Sarah Dessen (“I couldn’t put this book down. Kirby’s voice is fresh and wise, all at once. An incredible first novel.”) and had to have it.

I devoured Moonglass in a day and completely agree with Sarah’s assessment: It’s an incredible book. The characters are fun, normal teenagers who do things that fun, normal teenagers do. They talk like regular kids, and they make sometimes irresponsible decisions. I love that. There’s no pretention, no pretty-fying, no airs about these characters. They are layered and imperfect, yet I still found myself wanting to hang out with them. And can I just say: I adored Tyler.

Moonglass is one of those rare books that brings everything full circle by the final page. The characters, the setting (a gorgeous beach in Southern California), the plot, the romance, the backstory (some dating back decades)–it’s all vital to Anna’s discovery of herself and her past. I felt complete upon reading the last page, like everything was tied up just the way it was supposed to be.

I recommend Moonglass to anyone who enjoys a top-notch contemporary story about grief and recovery, the crippling power of guilt, and the importance of friendship and family dynamics–with a little bit of sunshine, kissing, scuba diving, beach jogging and sea glass mixed in. 🙂

Do YOU want to read Moonglass? I’m giving away a brand new hardcover (I love the story too much to part with own copy!) right here on my blog.

Here are the rules:

1. Leave a comment telling me about a recent debut you’ve read and loved OR name a debut coming out soon that you’re dying to read.

2. For a second entry, tweet about this contest, including a link to this post. Leave an additional comment letting me know about your tweet.

3. For a third entry, become a friend of this blog by signing up for an email subscription (in the column to the left). Leave an additional comment letting me know. I will verify this through the blog. If you’re already a friend of the blog, tell me (also in an additional comment please!) and you’ll score an additional entry too.

4. This contest is open internationally, now through Friday, June 17 at 12:00pm (noon), PST. I will tally the entries and draw one winner randomly, then post the winner’s name Friday afternoon. 


DIVERGENT ARC Winner! (And a Friday Five)

And the winner of a Divergent ARC is…


Pam, please email me your mailing address at katy(dot)upperman(at)live(dot)com. I will mail your book out as soon as I hear from you. 🙂 

Thanks so much to all who entered, subscribed to the blog, and tweeted about this contest. If you didn’t win, please do stop by Alicia Gregoire’s blog, Slice of the Blog Pie. She’s hosting a Divergent ARC giveaway too! You can also purchase your very own copy of Divergent on May 3, 2011.

For the record, if I was a part of the Divergent world and had to chose a faction, I’d totally pick Amity. I like red and yellow, I have a not so secret wish to live on a farm, I hate conflict, I enjoy being outdoors, and I’m a hippie at heart. 

And, in celebration of Friday’s arrival (finally!), here are five blog posts  I loved this week:

1. Roni Loren’s How to Amp Up Sexual Tension in Your Story

2. Natalie Fischer’s Why I’m Scared (To Self-Publish)

3. Amie Kaufman’s Can Jack Write Jill? Writing Across Gender Lines

4. Anne R. Allen’s What If Someone Steals Your Plot?

5. Kate Hart’s YA Deals by the Numbers: Single vs. Multi Book Deals by Genre

Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂


Sunday night I stayed up until 1am finishing an ARC of Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, out May 3rd.

From Goodreads: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


1. Initially, Divergent‘s cover didn’t do much for me.
2. I’m very close to being over-saturated by all of the dystopian literature coming out these days.
3. I don’t usually seek out novels that are described as “action-packed!” or “edge-of-your-seat thrilling!” I prefer quieter books, ones that are character and emotionally driven.
4. I didn’t know a lot about Divergent going in, other than the fact that it was majorly hyped–not always a testament to a novel’s quality.
5. It took me three days to get through Divergent‘s first two chapters.


Divergent was, simply put, AMAZING. It lived up to and then far surpassed the hype surrounding it. Easily my favorite debut of 2011 so far. After those first two chapters, holy crap, I flew through this book! I hesitate to give anything away so I’ll be very general …

Divergent truly is action-packed, but not at the expense of deep character development, realistic relationships and stellar world building. If you want an example of a strong female protagonist, look no further. If you’re interested in reading about a dystopian future that is extremely well thought out (not to mention, a startlingly real possibility!), dive into this novel. If you like a slow-burn romance with a fantastic payoff, you’ll love Tris and her *ahem* love interest (nope, no spoilers here!). I usually hate comparisons like the following, but if you’re a fan of The Hunger Games Trilogy, I suspect you’ll love Divergent. I’m already itching for the next installment!

AND GOOD NEWS… You can win an ARC of Divergent here!!! (If you don’t win, please go buy your own copy on May 3… I am!)

Contest Rules:

1. Leave a comment telling me which faction you’d choose if you were a part of Beatrice’s futuristic Chicago: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).

2. For a second entry, tweet about this contest, including a link to this post. Leave an additional comment letting me know about your tweet.

3. For a third entry, become a friend of this blog by signing up for an email subscription (in the column to the left). Leave an additional comment letting me know. I will verify this through the blog.

4. This contest is open internationally, now through Friday, April 15 at 12:00pm (noon), PST. I will tally all of the entries and draw one winner randomly, then post the winner’s name Friday afternoon.

You, if you win. Good luck!

*Also, big thanks to Erin Bowman, who held a Divergent ARC giveaway on her blog a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to win, and now I’m passing along this amazing book here. 🙂