What’s Up Wednesday

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“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (out in June) and totally dug it, and I read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and fell head-over-heels in love. I talked about both books in more detail in my March Reading Wrap-Up. Over the weekend, I read The Infinite Moment of UsSince reading Shine, I’ve become a fan of Lauren Myracle’s style and prose, and Wren and Charlie’s story really impressed me. This is one steamy book, friends, and I kind of loved it. (Though, the ending — I definitely could’ve used one more scene for the sake of closure!) Now, I’m reading The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf and it is aWeSoMe! Seriously funny, and with a voice that’s just fantastically unique. How is this book not getting more hype?

   

What I’m Writing: Nothing, technically. But I am doing a lot of mental brainstorming for my Shiny New Idea, and I’m pinning all kinds of images and research sites to a (currently) secret Pinterest board. I’ve also been doing lots of beta reading, which has been a pleasure. I learn so much from immersing myself in the fantastic work of my talented friends.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve been weirdly sick over the last week. I’ll spare you the details, but it hasn’t been much fun. My girl and I have been laying low, watching a lot of The Voice and reading a lot of books. We did venture out of the house to see Noah, which sucked, frankly. There are fallen angels made of of stone, a creepy warlord who’s a descendant of Cain, plus a totally bizarre storyline involving Emma Watson (the movie’s only bright spot) and neonaticide. It’s not the kid-friendly Bible story I recall, so… Don’t take your six-year-old.

  
My girlie and I have also been doing a lot of doodling. As I mentioned above, I’m musing my next writing project, and drawing has been a sort of palate cleanser. I’m able to let my mind wander without any real commitment. It’s kind of fun!


And then there are my two furry friends. I’ve been spending a lot of time with them, too. Cuteness overload, right?

What’s Inspiring Me Now: The essay Nuts and Bolts: “Thought” Verbs by Chuck Palahniuk will be a year old in August, but I only just stumbled across it. I’ve gotta say, it’s one of the best “how to write” articles I’ve ever read, and it totally changed the way I think about point-of-view and showing vs. telling and the work required to truly paint a picture for readers. I think it’s a must-read for writers at any stage of the game. (I’ve already reread it!)

 
And… Shiny New Idea inspiration!

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

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“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Lauren Oliver’s Panic. While it’s not my very favorite of her novels, I did find it compelling. I’ll talk about it in more detail in tomorrow’s Bookanista recommendation. Over the weekend, I flew through The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines. Guys, this is by no means award-winning literature, but I kind of loved it. It’s a perfect read-in-the-sun, guilty-pleasure romance. Next time you’re in the mood for a book of that sort, definitely pick this one up. I also read Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, which was packed with awesome reminders and inspiring quotes about creation of all kinds. It’s a great, quick read, perfect for when you’re in need of a creative boost. Now, I’m reading The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, which is intriguing so far. I’m digging its unique storytelling method.

   

What I’m Writing: Blog posts! Catching up now that my agent is reading my WiP, Good Girls (which I talked about in a Next Big Thing post on Monday). Also, I’ve got a whole bunch of mini Shiny New Ideas floating around in my head, and I’ve been pinning up a storm (secret Pinterest boards FTW), looking for further inspiration and trying to make them all fit together. Exciting!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Exercising with more regularity, watching some Gossip Girl, and hanging with my girl. It’s spring break, so we’ve been spending lots of quality time together. Movies, bike rides, frozen yogurt…

  
My productivity level has dropped quite a bit, but we’re having a blast. 🙂


I ordered my very first Stitch Fix box, AND crossed another item off my Thirty Before 35 List! In case you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, it’s an online personal stylist service. Fill out a profile about the types of clothing you like to wear (including favorite colors and your size), schedule a shipment, and get five pieces to try on at home with the clothes you already own. Buy what you love, send back the rest in a pre-paid envelope. It’s easy, and really fun!

  
I really liked all five pieces of clothing I received (four tops and a maxi dress), but I think I’m only going to keep these two because, yanno… BUDGET. Looking forward to scheduling another shipment soon!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: In case you haven’t heard, my friend Jessica Love (co-author of up-and-coming Push Girl) has sold another book! This one’s all her, and it’s aMaZiNg! I read an early version last year, and I can hardly express how much I loved it. You all are going to adore Hannah and Nick and their crazy Vegas weekend! I can’t wait to have my very own copy of In Real Life so I can reread it, and then sit it on my bookshelf, right between my Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler novels. Congratulations, Jess! I’m thrilled for you!

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

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“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: So… I had to put Holly Black’s White Cat aside. I only got about ten pages into the story and while I’m intrigued, I’m just not in the right mood for urban fantasy these days. I’ll definitely go back to it, but for now, I’m going to stick with contemporary YA. What can I say? It’s where my heart is (just look at those covers below!). I finished Jolene Perry’s The Summer I Found You, which I’ll review in detail in tomorrow’s Bookanista post, and now I’m reading Sarah Ockler’s The Book of Broken Hearts. Loving Juju’s voice so far!

  

What I’m Writing: I talked about my revision of Good Girls in Monday’s #WriterRecharge post, but let’s review: I finished my Cut All the Crap round, and now I’m going through my revision to-do list and fixing the issues I know exist — mostly having to do with character development and cohesion. I’m also doing some polishing and shifting and texturing. I think this baby’s going to be ready for readers by the end of the week!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Other than rocking my revision goals, I’m still watching Friday Night Lights like a feign. I’m nearly done with season 3 and holy crap… I love this show so much. I actually met one of its creators, Peter Berg, a few months ago and it’s a good thing I hadn’t started watching FNL yet. I probably would’ve fangirled all over the poor man. (Incidentally, I did tell him about the enormous crush I have on Marky Mark Wahlberg, so there’s that.) 


I made Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread, which turned out wonderfully. My girlie thought I was kidding when I told her I was fixing bread with zucchini *and* chocolate in it, and that would end up tasting like a treat. She loves it. 🙂


It’s been gorgeous in Florida lately, and we’ve been spending lots of time outdoors and at the park. Hearing about the crappy weather the rest of the country’s dealing with makes me thankful for this beautiful location the Army has moved us to. We’ve been so lucky these last few duty stations!


Oh, and I bought a garden gnome. She’s reading, and she reminds me a little of Moaning Myrtle. She makes me smile.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: My WiP is full of characters who make terribly selfish choices. Yet, I want readers to empathize with them and, at the very least, understand their motivations. When Flaws Go Too Far: Avoiding Unlikeable Characters by Angela Ackerman for Writer’s Digest has  fantastic tips for creating characters who are flawed, yet still relatable. I’m also inspired by this piece by Ruth Harris for Anne R. Allen’s Blog called From Pathetic to Professional: 8 Ways to Beat the First Draft Blues, which shares strategies for shaping and refining first drafts. Super helpful. Also, I’m loving Miss Megan Whitmer‘s latest vlog called Censoring Characters: Where Do We Draw the Line?  It’s an awesome conversation starter about writers staying true to their characters vs. remaining socially acceptable. Like Megan, I’ve yet to nail down my stance on this — tough stuff. Lots of great thoughts in the comments section too!

And, on a much more personal note, this week my former neighbor and dear friend Brittany wrote about the birth of her angel baby Bella Joy. It’s a heartbreaking story, but so beautiful and inspirational too. Brittany and her husband are amazing people and incredible parents (their five-year-old is one of my daughter’s favorite friends) and I wish them peace and love and all the best. ♥

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

Thirty Before 35

It’s that time again. My birthday. As of today, I’m thirty-three.

I wish I was one of those people who approaches birthdays with grace and enthusiasm. I’m a whole year wiser — yay! But really, I sort of dread my birthday. I liked being twenty-six. Thirty-three sounds so… old.  But, unfortunately aging is one of those inevitabilities we can’t control, and in the spirit of my 2014 word stoicism, I’m going to accept it and move forward with a positive attitude.

Which brings me to…

Ever since I started following Ghenet Myrthil‘s blog, I’ve been inspired by her Thirty Before 30 project. She’s created a list of things she wants to do before she turns thirty this summer, and it’s been so fun to follow along as she fulfills her goals. What better way to make birthdays brighter than establishing objectives and finding a sense of achievement in accomplishing them?

I love Ghenet’s Thirty Before 30 project so much, I’ve decided to jump on board. Obviously I’m beyond thirty (*sob*), and thirty-five isn’t far off. So, I’m giving myself two full years to check the items off my list. Thirty Before 35, if you will.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to include on my list, and I’ve decided to go big or go home. I realize that some of the items are almost entirely out of my control (#2 and #25 specifically), but they’re things I desperately want to happen. So, I’ll do everything in my power to get there, and if I don’t, well, at least I’ll know I tried. Conversely, some of the items I’ve included may seem silly or trivial, but they’re ambitions I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long while, and several of them are things I want to do with my husband and/or daughter. Therefore, on the list they’ve gone.

What I’ve ended up with is part to-do list, part bucket list. I’m excited about it!

Sun

  1. Bake a Rainbow Cake.
  2. Sell a novel (or two!).
  3. Complete a 500 piece puzzle.
  4. Have a picnic on the beach.
  5. Read and review a Stephen King novel.
  6. Drink a Hurricane in New Orleans.
  7. Have professional family photos taken.
  8. Run Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon.
  9. Attend a writers’ conference or festival.
  10. Order a Stitch Fix box.
  11. See a musical.
  12. Plan and host a tea party with my girl.
  13. Make a quilt.
  14. Take an international vacation.
  15. Watch Friday Night Lights in its entirety.
  16. Complete a three day juice cleanse.
  17. Write a manuscript that’s not contemporary YA.
  18. Pass 2K Twitter followers.
  19. Read Speak (my most shameful YA gap book).
  20. Host a brunch.
  21. Master “Space-A” travel.
  22. Attend a writers’ retreat.
  23. Get a massage.
  24. Make Chocolate Babka.
  25. Add another child to our family.
  26. Visit Mount Rushmore.
  27. Master “Crow” pose in yoga.
  28. Go to a(nother) country music concert.
  29. Plant an herb garden.
  30. Teach my daughter to swim (really well).

There they are. Thirty things I hope to accomplish before my thirty-fifth birthday. This list will be in a tab up there above my header, and (like Ghenet) I’ll cross items off (and most likely blog) as I accomplish them. Sounds fun, right?

Here’s to a happy birthday. I’ll be binge-watching Friday Night Lights and eating cake if you should need me. 🙂

What’s Up Wednesday

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“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Veronica Rossi’s Into the Still Blue, the final book in her Under the Never Sky series and, as expected, I loved it. Such a fantastic conclusion to a trilogy I’ve followed since its debut. I also read Jessi Kirby’s In Honor, which is now my favorite of her three contemporary YA novels. So, so good! The ending, especially… I just adored it. Now I’ve started White Cat by Holly Black. I’m not much of an urban fantasy girl (I guess that’s what this one is?) so I’m way out of my reading comfort zone, but I’ve heard great things about the world-building and such. Who’s read it? Thoughts?

What I’m Writing: I spent a few days poring over a manuscript I’ve ignored for many months. As I opened the document to revisit it, I was sort of terrified that I’d suddenly hate it, but nope! Still love these characters and their story. I’m looking forward to working on it more once I’m done with this revision of my current WiP, which is what I spent the majority of my time focusing on over the last week. Let’s face the facts, shall we? This draft’s ending needs work. Major work. But, I’m still rather smitten, so I’m more than happy to put in the time. Hopefully it’ll all pay off one of these days. 🙂

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Mostly just reading, writing, and hanging with my girlie. We went on a shopping spree in Destin the other day, which turned out to be a really fun Girls’ Day Out. We hit up two malls, Target, Ulta, and Panera, and updated my cutie pie’s summer wardrobe. She insisted on choosing all of her new clothes without my input because she’s “a big girl now.” *sniffle*


Luckily she has a pretty good fashion sense. 🙂


Gulf of Mexico in the morning. I’ve gotta say… As much as I miss living next to the Pacific Ocean, this isn’t half bad.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I know I’ve been raving about Friday Night Lights a lot lately, but other than parenting, writing, and reading, it’s what I do. The writing and characterizations and relationships going on in that show absolutely inspire me. I only hope to create something so riveting! 

  
Also, these two. I’ve been battling some wicked insomnia lately, and I wish I could sleep as restfully (and as often) as they do.

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a 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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Oh, gosh. I wish I’d had more time to read so far this month. December was a great reading month (I recapped HERE), but my book time in January has been pretty sporadic, what with all the unpacking and settling in. I did read Butter, by Erin Jade Lange, a book with a unique and compelling concept, and now I’m reading Rebecca Behren‘s middle grade debut When Audrey Met Alice, which is out next month and absolutely adorable. I’m also beta reading a fabulously unique manuscript by my friend Liz Parker. I see such greatness in this story’s future!

What I’m Writing: *sigh* I’ve had to put my WiP revision on hold over the past few weeks, but now that we’re happy in our new house and my girl’s back in school, I’m looking forward to diving back in and polishing this story until it’s shiny. I’m hoping to finish mid-February so I can send it out for feedback.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Traveling. Settling. Exploring our new town. Want to see pictures from the last few weeks?

   
My husband graduated with a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School mid-December. We left Monterey the same afternoon.


First stop: San Diego’s SeaWorld, where we visited Shamu and Santa.

   
An Arizona sunset and an unbelievably blue New Mexico sky.


New Mexico’s Carlsbad Cavern, which was much cooler than I’d expected.


Christmas Day in San Antonio, a town  we absolutely loved. That said, what we saw of The Alamo was slightly underwhelming.


My favorite activity of all… Trail riding in Austin!

   
Our first visit to New Orleans. Even though it poured rain most of the day, I kind of loved this city. Also, the beignets… Yum!


We got to celebrate New Year’s Eve in our new house, though we were all exhausted after spending the day moving in.

   
Scenes from our new area. The beaches are indescribably gorgeous.


We adopted a new family member… Meet Daphne Upperman!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I’m sort of late to the party on this incredible blog post, but 2013: A Learning Year: Managing Expectations by author Jessica Spotswood is too good not to share. It’s a must-read for published and pre-published writers alike. If you’ve yet to check it out, please do! Also, the Goodreads 2014 Debut Author Challenge (YA/MG/NA) list has me all kinds of inspired. It’s so fun to see the names and books of my writing friends officially on Goodreads. Be sure to peruse this list and add the debuts that interest you to your To-Read list!

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

On Goals (& My 2014 Word)

Happiest of New Years to you, friends! Can I just say how relieved I am to see 2014? I’m incredibly excited about this new year, a clean slate, and a fresh start.

You see, 2013 was not such a great year for me. While I had some wonderful moments with friends and family, when I look back on the last twelve months the overall tone is one of stagnancy. I’m standing in pretty much the same place today as I was this time last year. I’ve not achieved much of anything. I’ve grown very little as a human. It’s depressing, if I think too hard about it.

Lately, I’ve taken a step back and really reflected on the last year, and I’ve come to realize this bleak feeling that I’ve accomplished nothing stems from the “goals” I set at the beginning of 2013.

(Here’s where I get personal and possibly overshare a bit…)

My “goals” for 2013 were to 1) Sell a book, and 2) Get pregnant.

Simple, right? I wrote a fantastic story. I have an awesome agent. I’ve put in YEARS of writing time. And hello… I’ve already had one child. How hard can it possibly be to have another? People get pregnant every day!

*sniffle*

First, let’s address the obvious problem with my 2013 goals…

 THEY’RE “GOALS” THAT ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF MY HANDS.

I can’t control publishing or editors or the literary market. And I can’t control chemistry or fertility. I broke big and obvious goal-setting rules, and I set myself up for failure right out of the gate. Of course I’m disheartened now. Of course. But at least I see the flaws of my ways. At least I can make changes now. At least I can look forward to the brightness of the future, to 2014.

My (attainable) goals for this year…

  1. Revise and polish the manuscript I wrote last year.
  2. Get CP/beta/agent feedback on said manuscript.
  3. Face future submissions with a smile and a shrug and a “work harder” attitude.
  4. Be the best CP/beta I can be, and learn from my friends’ writing.
  5. Approach fitness differently; nourish and strengthen my body instead of beating it up.
  6. Cherish time with my family. Be present in the moment.
  7. Worry less; take deep breaths.

And with those goals in mind, I’ve decided on my focus word for 2014…

STOICISM

It’s an idea my husband and I both want to work toward this year. Living stoically basically means that we’ll try not to stress about things we have no power over. We’ll try not to let our emotions control our actions. We’ll live ethically, and with clear heads. Instead of getting upset, we’ll adjust our expectations and try to make the best of things.

Already, we’ve been reminding each other… “This isn’t very stoic of you,” I told my husband the other day when he was irritated about a move-damaged piece of furniture. “You’ve gotta know adversity,” he noted when I grumbled about how impossible it was to move a crazy-heavy armoire up four brick stairs. Sure, the reminders can be a little annoying, but they also make us laugh, and they help us take a step back from whatever situation is threatening to ruffle us.

Nothing like a cross-country move to put stoicism to the test. 🙂

So, that’s me. 2014 is going to be a good year.

Tell me… What are your goals for 2014. Do you have a focus word? 

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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading:  I’m still working on Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, which is truly beautiful literary fiction. Here’s the summary from Goodreads1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart. At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he might be the one she needs the most.

What I’m Writing: I’m still plugging away at my revision. It’s slow and tedious, and I’m constantly jumping between being desperately in love with this story, and thinking it’s the most ridiculous bit of fiction ever. #WriterAngst During my revision breaks, I’ve been writing blog posts for the Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest. I can’t wait to share my favorite 2013 books with you, and read all about the books you’ve fallen in love with this year!

Superlatives Button

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Packing, packing packing. It’s so dull and physically exhausting. I won’t bore you with the details, but yeah… Stuffing boxes with our worldly possessions is eating up my time and making me a little grouchy.

   
In more cheerful news, last Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with a lovely afternoon filled with friends, laughter, and too much food. My favorite culinary venture was a Slab Apple Pie I made, which looked delightful and was very tasty. I used this recipe for the crust, and this recipe for the filling. Recommend!


Also, we saw Frozen! I’m a die-hard Disney fan, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t super pumped about this movie, initially. The trailer didn’t do much for me and Olaf, the little snowman, seemed cheesy. But after watching, my opinion changed completely… I loved Frozen! It was absolutely adorable. Heartwarming and beautifully animated, and Olaf turned out to be my favorite character of all.


Finally, we went ice skating. Every year a little ice rink goes up right next to the Monterey Bay and on Sunday we decided to take advantage. I’m a horrible skater (balance is not one of my gifts), but my husband is very good and he managed to teach our girl a thing or two. I love California; it’s fun to skate in t-shirts. 🙂

What’s Inspiring Me Now: The quote below, which makes me think of my husband and my daughter and my parents and my friends, not to mention my immensely talented and supportive CPs and beta readers. ♥

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

WUW

“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Sarah Guillory’s Reclaimed. Just when I thought I had it all figured out… Mind = Blown. I had to give up on my Fire audiobook, but only because I’m not in my car enough to get anywhere with the story. Luckily, I own a physical copy of the book, and I finished reading it yesterday. Fantasy is not usually my genre of choice, but I adore Kristin Cashore’s characters and writing and worldbuilding, and Fire is just so unbelievably, indescribably good. If you haven’t read the books of the Graceling Realm, you must. Now, I’ve started Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (an adult/YA crossover). So far, I’m mesmerized by the beautiful writing. I think this one’s going to be lovely.

What I’m Writing: Oh, you know… Still working on my revision. It’s a slow and tedious process, but I *think* it’s coming along. Only time (and feedback) will tell, I suppose. My savvy agent Victoria Marini tweeted this yesterday: Drafts: 1. get all the bulls**t out of your head. 2. figure out what you meant to say. 3. figure out how to say it. 4. properly. A great reminder that early drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect. Reassuring, because mine definitely are not.


Notes I leave myself while revising: I don’t like you, Scene. You are cheesy and you do not feel effortless. I finally had to let this one go and move on. Here’s hoping my CPs can help me fix it eventually.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve packed some things. Not many, but there are a few full boxes in my house. Baby steps. Also, we’re hosting Thanksgiving this year. My husband and I are making the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and some pies (obviously). Some of our favorite neighbors are coming over with plenty of their own culinary contributions (more pie!). We’re not near family this year, so we’re extra appreciative of our awesome friends.


I’ve been on a bit of a baking hiatus, but this weekend my girlie and I were craving a warm and sweet breakfast, so we made Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. While they do include yeast and require some rising, they’re relatively quick and they tasted incredibly yummy. Recommend.


I saw Catching Fire on Friday. Guys, I loved this movie! I thought it was better than The Hunger Games, and very true to the book. J-Law rocked, the pacing was awesome, and I was truly moved by several scenes. I want to see it again!

Superlatives ButtonI’ve also been gearing up for the Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest, which begins December 16th and continues through December 19th. I’m co-hosting with Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller for the 3rd consecutive year, and I can’t wait for the fun to begin. Four days, more than forty categories, and tons of fantastic book recommendations! Click on the button above for all the details. We’re hoping you’ll join us and help spread the word!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: A post by called 4 Writing Tips to Show and Not Tell. It’s packed with timely reminders, particularly for those of us stuck in the throes of revisions. Also, some fabulous thoughts from YA Highway‘s Emilia Plater in a post titled In Defense of Solipsistic Teenage Girl.


I always feel inspired by my girl, but I’m especially thankful for her around the holidays. I found out I was pregnant with her on Thanksgiving seven years ago, so this particular holiday is an extra special time for my husband and me. Sadly, some of our closest friends are in the midst of an incredibly tragic loss, and I am beyond devastated for them. Their experience makes my heart hurt so badly, and it makes me want to scoop my daughter up and hold her close always and forever. Give your loved ones hugs and kisses every chance you get. ♡

Happy Thanksgiving to all who will celebrate tomorrow.
Tell me… What’s up with you today?

What’s Up Wednesday

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“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything and while I really enjoyed it, I wanted a different ending for the characters. Totally a personal preference thing, but yeah… Have you read it? What did you think of the conclusion? I also read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, and I thought it was fantastic. Part of me is surprised because it’s a novel about vampires and that’s not really my thing. But then, I’ve heard awesome things about Holly Black’s writing, and this story totally lives up to the hype. Now I’m reading Leah Raeder’s Unteachable (thanks for the rec, Dahlia!) and I’ve gotta say… I’m loving it. It’s a tough story and it’s making me all kinds of uncomfortable, but the writing is gorgeous and the emotion is raw and so intense. It’s unputdownable, and I cannot wait to see how it wraps up.

What I’m Writing: I’ve started to poke away at my revision. It’s extensive, to be honest, and quite daunting, but I’m finding that my early chapters aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were. There are even bits of unintentional foreshadowing that really work… Win! I want so badly for this story to be the sort of amazing I envision, and that alone is motivating. I love this stage of the process: the sorting out and the tying together and the prettifying.


Quality control.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: House hunting. We’re looking for a place to rent in Awesome Secret City, and it’s really hard! We’re currently very far away, so we have to take what we can get as far as information available on the Internet. I’m not super comfortable signing a lease sight-unseen, but it looks like that might be what we end up doing. And it’s not just the house we have to take into account — we’ve got to consider schools, shopping, commute times, neighborhoods, and a host of other craziness. I forgot what a challenge moving can be.


So… I’ve been baking and drinking! I’ve posted my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe here before, but it’s worth repeating. These are the perfect cookies, guys. Especially when consumed with an icy cold Bud Light (or milk — pick your poison).

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Contemporary YA Week over at Stacked, which started Monday and is still going strong. From librarian/blogger Kelly Jensen: I have a nice array of guest posts from contemporary YA authors. We’re going to travel across the globe to talk about Australian contemporary YA, we’ll talk about mental illness in contemporary YA, humor in contemporary YA, and much, much more. In fact, I have 7 guest posts lined up, along with a host of book lists. I thought that in addition to new posts, I’d rerun some older content, as well, in order to give a huge range of voices and insights into contemporary YA. Fantastic, yes? As a huge fan of contemporary YA, I’m so enjoying this series.

Additionally, I’m finding this post entitled The Four Types of Character Flaws from Writers Helping Writers to be incredibly timely and very helpful. Tons of awesome character-related advice to consider as I tackle my revision. (Also, I love Writers Helping Writers. If you’re not following this blog, you should be!)

And, finally, the mama in me got all teary paging through photographer Jenny Lewis‘s One Day Young series. She captured images of mamas and their babies within 24 hours of birth, her aim being to express the extraordinary bonding, tenderness and strength between mother and infant. The photographs are beautiful and heartwarming, and I hope you’ll check them out.

Tell me… What’s up with you today?