RSW Update 10

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I’m super close, y’all! I wrote 6,783 this week for a total of 70,383 words. (Special thanks, Sara, for cracking the whip and cheering me on during my final push! <3) Five scenes left to write!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I finished Mary Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl, and loved it. Definitely one to check out if you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn or Heather Gudenkauf. I also read Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, which was well worth the wait — I think it’s my favorite of her three now… So cute!

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS! I’m actually kind of failing on this one. We’re STILL working on Rump by Leisl Shurtliff. It’s fantastic and totally unique, but read-aloud time with my girl’s been limited lately.

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We went kayaking twice. Florida is just lovely.

* My goal(s) for this week.

So. We’re going out of town on Wednesday for a family wedding that’s all the way across the country and a pretty big deal (YAY Sammy and Kacie!). But… writing time is going to be scarce. I’m not setting a numeric word count goal, but in a perfect world, I’ll finish my first draft of The Road So Far this week. (Oh my gosh… How terrifying! And amazing! And terrifying!)

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

I swear to God, my heart grinds to a halt.

I’m faint… Seeing spots… Barely breathing.

Holy. Shit.

There she is, hurrying out the door with this smile that’s all hers, and hauntingly mine.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

First: Isla and the Happily Ever After. I spent most of my free time on Thursday and Friday binge reading. So worth it, though! Second: Fear of finishing. I’m not sure why I get like this, but when I’m nearing The End of a draft, I get sort of petrified and hesitant to write those last few scenes. It’s not that I’m reluctant to finish because I SO want to finish, and it’s not that I’m dreading revisions because I LOVE revisions. It’s just… the end of my own little era, I guess. Is that weird?

* Something I love about my WiP. 

Everything. We’ve had a good week together. ❤

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

In other news, next Monday (August 25th) marks the end of Ready. Set. Write! (Crazy how fast the summer flew by, isn’t it?!) Let’s use that day to give a general report on our overall progress and how we felt about RSW. Sound good?Here’s hoping everyone has high word counts and tons of success to report. 🙂

Also, be on the lookout for more information regarding a beta/CP match-up facilitated by your Ready. Set. Write hosts, Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself!

RSW Update 9

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I wrote 5,447 words this week for a total of 63,607 words in the manuscript.

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Lisa Schroeder’s The Bridge from Me to You, which was absolutely delightful. Now, I’m reading Mary Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl, and I’m super impressed.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS! Still working on Rump by Leisl Shurtliff — so cute!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We went to the beach on Thursday and we were in Orlando all weekend, soaking up the sun at the Magic Kingdom. *happy sigh*

* My goal(s) for this week.

Add at least 6K new words to The Road So Far. Mentally ponder plot hole fixes for Where Poppies Bloom (tricky!).

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

(FYI: This scene takes place at a wedding…)

The song fades into Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On, which strikes me as both borderline inappropriate and hysterically funny, considering the number of old people milling around. From across the room, Bennett gives me a smarmy smile and a thumbs up. His bride’s swaying to the music, wasted, practically riding his leg. Jesus. What are we doing here?

I’m about to comment on the insanity when Callie makes a move for our table.

I grab her hand. “You’re not gonna dance with me?”

“I thought you hated me,” she says, scrunching her face into a scowl. 

“And I thought you knew better.” I lace my fingers through hers and pull her against me. She winds an arm around my neck, pressing her cheek to mine. I hold her so close we pretty much are getting it on.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

I hadn’t anticipated doing much of anything, writing-wise, over the last week because we had tons of family stuff going on. So, I’m patting myself on the back for adding to my WiP at all. 🙂

  
Our little family is complete again! Plus, my girlie started cheerleading!

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I’ve got THE END in my sights! I suck at conclusions, but I’m getting there, and I’m SO excited to wrap this draft up so I can start fixing it. 🙂 Also, did you see the mood board I made for The Road So Far? I posted about it HERE.

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

RSW Update 8

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

~ I will do my best to respond to comments on today’s post, as well as blog hop to comment on all of your wonderful posts, BUT… My husband’s coming home from a 6 month deployment this morning! We’re obviously very excited and we’ll definitely be busy. I’ll be back to blogging 100% next week. 🙂 ~

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. Moving right along! I wrote 6,680 words this week (6K was my goal) for a total of 58,160 words for the manuscript. Thirteen (planned) scenes and five (planned) chapters left to write!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Not the sort of book I’m used to reading, but I LOVED it. Thanks to my mom and my sister-in-law for the recommendation!

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS! We’re working on Rump by Leisl Shurtliff. It’s awesome!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We spent Friday swimming at the nearby AFB pool, and on Saturday I mowed the grass. Again. I like neat, trim lawns. 🙂

* My goal(s) for this week.

This week is going to be very busy. My husband’s coming home, my daughter starts cheerleading, and we’re spending the weekend in Orlando. So, I’m going to give myself a break and not set a concrete goal because, honestly, I don’t feel like stressing about it. This week, forward motion’s where it’s at

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

From The Road So Far

It’s not long before we’re approaching the Colorado River. It’s preceded by a big sign with Arizona’s state flag, a golden star surrounded by rays of red and yellow. The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You, it declares. Callie takes my hand as we cross the border. She’s smiling, but she looks anxious too. I get it. If ever we’ve had a there’s no going back moment, this is it. We’re driving blind now, into a state that none of us has even visited, searching for a person who might’ve left years ago. We’re setting ourselves up for disappointment, for failure, and I’m leading the charge with my dumbass flag flapping proudly in the breeze.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Busyness! My daughter’s seventh birthday was yesterday (*sniffle*) and we spent the whole day doing fun, girlie things. Also, we’ve been going-going-going with homecoming preparations. Writing time was hard to come by.

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I love that I can feel my story challenging me, and making me a better writer. (Is that weird? Whatever… It’s totally true!)

And, finally, a big congrats to our last Writer’s Care Package giveaway winner… Leandra Wallace! 

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

July Reading Wrap-Up

Here’s what I read in July…
As always, covers link to Goodreads pages. 🙂

Gated by Amy Christine Parker – When I first saw this novel’s hardcover image, I thought it was a story about zombies. Then I mentioned on Twitter that I’m fascinated by cults, and my friend Kristen recommended Gated. It’s a compelling look into zealotism and dynamic leaders and group-think, and it’s terrifying because it’s fiction based on troubling cases that’ve taken place in the real world. I found MC Lyla’s  journey engrossing, and I thought Gated‘s pacing was fantastic. The ending, especially, was a trip. Check it out if you like books with unusual contemporary settings or if, like me, you find cults captivating.


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga – This book was SO COOL. I put off buying it for a long time because, while I’d heard it was Dexter for the YA set, I didn’t believe Barry Lyga would take Killers to the levels of gruesome and gritty and disturbing Dexter attained. But, he did and his story’s incredible as a result. MC Jazz is complex and tragic (worst childhood ever — seriously), but he’s also super smart and darkly funny, and he wants so badly to be normal — nothing like his father, the most notorious serial killer America’s ever seen. Jazz’s friends are awesome too. Howie is hilarious and Connie is badass and, along with Jazz, they make a fantastic mystery-solving, crime-fighting trio. One of the most interesting aspects of this novel was Jazz’s bond with small-town sheriff, G. William Tanner. He’s the man who put Jazz’s Dear Old Dad behind bars, but he becomes something of a father figure to Jazz. Watching their relationship unfold and deepen was riveting and incredibly satisfying. Big recommend!


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – A reread for me, because I wanted to share this gorgeous middle grade novel with my daughter. Once again, the final pages gave me chills. Edward Tulane‘s themes of giving and accepting love are relayed with such nuance, and main character Edward, a ceramic rabbit who likes fine clothing (yes), is so compelling. This book’s chapters are short and its language is accessible, but the story is so profound. If you’ve got kiddos, I recommend reading Edward Tulane with them.


Creed by Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver (November, 2014) – One of the most unique YAs I’ve read in a long time — this is true horror, friends. Creed is atmospheric, quietly (and then not so quietly) creepy, and shocking in too many ways to list. Every time I thought, no, the authors won’t go THERE, they totally did, and then I’d send Lindsay Currie frantic DMs that read, What?! No! Not THAT person! I imagine she read my messages while laughing maniacally. 😉 Here’s your pre-Creed warning: This book boasts a cast of well-drawn and (mostly!) likable characters, but don’t get too attached to anyone. *shudder*

  
Burn For Burn and Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – Okay. How are these books not getting all the hype? I mean, some people are talking about them and they have awesome Goodreads ratings, but they’re not getting nearly the exposure they deserve. These books are aMaZiNg. I’m an unapologetic Jenny Han fangirl and I think Siobhan Vivian’s The List is fantastic, but I was in no way prepared for the awesomeness that is the Burn For Burn series. The plotting is tight, the writing is seamless, the voices are genuine, and the characters… I feel like Kat, Lillia, and Mary are are my friends — that’s how well I’ve gotten to know them. These books are full of bitterness and revenge and unrequited love and lasting friendship; they have a large, dynamic cast (Lillia and Reeve are my favorites!) and a twisty, jaw-dropping storyline. I HIGHLY recommend them. Read Burn For Burn and Fire With Fire back-to-back before Ashes to Ashes comes out September 16th. I can’t wait!

What’s the best book you read in July?

RSW Update 7

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Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I passed 50K, and wrote just over 10K words total for the week. Feeling really good about my momentum!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I finished Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver’s upcoming debut, Creed. I also read Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Guys, this series is totally incredible! If you haven’t read it, get on that. The final installment comes out in September!

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES! We read The Space Between, a Never Girls (Tinker Bell) book. We also stared Rump by Leisl Shurtliff — so clever and fun!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We spent last Thursday swimming at the pool, and on Friday I mowed our enormous lawn.

* My goal(s) for this week.

Add at least 6K words to The Road So Far.

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

The four of us make our way to the room, labeled Jungle Rocks. I crack up laughing as soon as I swing the door open. The carpet’s bright blue and so is the ceiling, the comforters look like zebra pelts, the walls are made of rock, and there’s a shiny leather sofa which, I suspect, has a sullied past.

Drew nudges me. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“That we’ve inadvertently stepped onto the set of a ’70s porn shoot?”

He chuckles. “It’s like we’re riding the same wave length. And to think… I forgot to pack my 8 millimeter.”

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Two things… The first: Research. I’m writing a road trip book, so every single chapter is set in a different place. I’ve been combing Wiki and YouTube like crazy, which is slowing me down. And the second: Mom Guilt. I want to write, write, write, but my kiddo can’t sit in front of the TV all day. I’m trying find balance.

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I complained about all of that road trip research above, but it’s part of what makes this WiP so fun. Every scene is different and new and exciting!

In other news… July is the month of RSW giveaways! 
Congrats to last week’s winner… Jessica Leake!
(Jessica, shoot me an email with your mailing address and I’ll get your package sent out right away! katy.upperman@live.com)

During the four weeks of July, ErinJaimeAlison, and I will be giving away some spectacular Writer’s Care Packages. All you have to do to be eligible to win is participate in Ready. Set. Write! and enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

***NOTICE: We’ve changed the entry process in order to make it easier and quicker… You no longer need to provide a link for each of your entries, though we will be verifying the winner’s participation upon selection.

This week, Alison’s giving away… A journal, sage and citrus reed diffuser, Post-Its, highlighters, gummi bears, Werther’s candies, index cards, Myndology cards, a note pad that reads I am so proud and jealous of you, DFTBA plaque, and, because she hope everyone’s having one, one of her favorite boy books, Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz.

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I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

RSW Update 6

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I did a complete read-through of the 39K I already had, cleaned it up, and added another 2K words.

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian and thought it was excellent. I’m now reading the creepfest that is Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver’s upcoming debut, Creed.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES! We finished The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. This was a reread for me, but the first time my daughter has heard the story. She loved it like I do.

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We spent last Thursday at the pool on the AFB near our home. I love swimming with my girl!

* My goal(s) for this week.

Write every day. Add at least 6K new words to my WiP. Brainstorm conflict issues with Alison (and hope she has a solution for my problems!).

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

(I had an f-bomb riddled excerpt here initially, but at the last minute I swapped it out for a sweet one. Why am I totally comfortable cussing like a sailor in stories [and in real life], but not on my blog?)

I edge across the expanse of mattress between us and brush her long hair off her face. She shifts. Her eyes don’t open, but her hand relaxes, releasing its bundle of sheet, and she reaches with purple-tipped fingers to brush my arm. She does it in sleep, on an instinct ingrained in her unconscious mind, and I feel minutely better because even when she’s dead to the world, she’s still confident that I’m an arm’s length away. 

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

This was a FUN challenge, though still a challenge… I beta read Jennifer Pickrell’s fantastic contemporary YA romance, and I kind of wanted to work on her story more than I wanted to work on my own writing. Oops. 🙂

* Something I love about my WiP. 

My MC, Tucker. I think he’s my favorite of all the book boys I’ve written. He’s just so inherently good, and he adores his girlfriend so completely. He’s High School Katy’s dream boy (and not so dissimilar from my husband, come to think of it).

In other news… July is the month of RSW giveaways! 
Congrats to last week’s winner… Stephanie Allen!
Two Stephanies in a row! If that’s your name too, the odds of winning this week are forever in your favor. 😉

During the four weeks of July, ErinJaimeAlison, and I will be giving away some spectacular Writer’s Care Packages. All you have to do to be eligible to win is participate in Ready. Set. Write! and enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway!

***NOTICE: We’re changing the entry process in order to make it easier and quicker… You no longer need to provide a link for each of your entries, though we will be verifying the winner’s participation upon selection.

This week, I’m giving away a fantastic package including an owl mug, chai tea, dark chocolate, Smarties, a “Think. Write. Create.” journal, a candle, owl notecards, pens, lip balm, and the latest Writer’s Digest.

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I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

June Reading Wrap-Up

Lots of books this month! June’s been my most diverse reading month of the year by far, and I definitely found some gems…


Of Poseidon by Anna Banks – A fantastic book to kick of my summer reading. Of Poseidon has a lot going for it: I’ve been on a major mermaid kick lately, it’s set partially Destin, which is close to where I live, it’s written by a local author, and it’s surprisingly funny. MC Emma is full of snark, and her love interest, Galen, is still learning his way on land. Hilarity ensues. This is one twisty book, friends, and it ended with a big ol’ cliffhanger. Luckily I have the second and third installments, Of Triton and Of Neptune, waiting for me.


Just One Night by Gayle Forman – {This is spoiler-ish, so turn away if you haven’t read Just One Day and Just One Year!} Just One Night is an eNovella, yes, but it was also one of my most anticipated 2014 reads. I loved Just One Day and Just One Year, and I was all kinds of anxious to find out what happened to Allyson and Willem after that door opened. Luckily, Just One Night was the perfect finale to their globe-spanning story. It was sweet and joyful and laced with fantastic sexual tension. Basically, Gayle Forman is brilliant.


An Untamed State by Roxane Gay – I feel sort of terrible recommending this adult novel because it is absolutely brutal. But, it is also superbly written and utterly haunting (I had nightmares) and, I think, a must-read. It’s the story of a woman who is kidnapped for ransom in Haiti, and it chronicles her ordeal with the gang of kidnappers (whatever terrible things you’re imagining, multiply them by ten) and her (equally harrowing) journey to recovery. I recently read an analysis of this novel in which the reviewer said she “loved the book, but hated the story” and that’s exactly how I feel. So terrible. So incredible.


One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij – An incredibly entertaining fusion of the book Perfect Chemistry and the movie Save the Last Dance. In other words, One, Two, Three is angsty and sexy and fast-paced, full of diverse, layered characters who effortlessly won me over. I’m still thinking about them, and I’m still swooning. Fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry will be all over this one! Read more about Elodie’s fantastic debut HERE.


I‘ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (September, 2014) – Oh, this book. I can’t even… It’s just so beautiful and magical and wonderful, and I love it more than I can adequately describe. It’ll be among my top 2014 reads, if not my very favorite of the year. (Mark it To-Read now if you haven’t already.) I’ll Give You the Sun is the story of twins, Noah and Jude, organized into chapters that tell of the past (his narration) and the present (her narration), with some of the loveliest, most whimsical and evocative prose I’ve read. I don’t want to give too much away, but this novel is equal parts sad and exuberant, and it is spectacular.


The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate – If I have a literary weakness, it’s animals in peril. Charlotte’s Web, Stone Fox, Shiloh, Because of Winn-Dixie all tugged at my heartstrings, and Ivan was no different. It’s a book with some truly sorrowful moments, but it’s a hopeful, heartening story as well, about love and loyalty and the true meaning of freedom. And the writing… It’s as if Katherine Applegate was transcribing for an actual gorilla — and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I laughed and I very nearly cried. My six-year-old daughter loved The One and Only Ivan just as much as I did.


Breakable
by Tammara Webber – I’ve made no secret of my love for Tammara Webber’s Easy. It’s, uh, easily one of my favorite NAs. When I heard about Breakable, I wondered if it might just be a gratuitous retelling of the original book from Lucas’s POV, and bits of it are. But, there’s also a lot of new material, as well as some fascinating insight into why Lucas/Landon is the way he is. Plus, there are some fun new characters — including Boyce, who literally made me laugh out loud. If you liked Easy, I bet you’ll like Breakable too. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of sensational and steamy NA.


Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Epic for sure. I am such a fan of Laini Taylor’s prose, and Daughter of Smoke & Bone remains one of my very favorite fantasies. There’s something so intense about Karou and Akiva’s connection, and I’ve been rooting for them ever since I read that beautiful an angel and a devil fell in love opening. That said, I found Dreams of Gods & Monsters a bit dense. It wasn’t until page 200 that I felt drawn in, and even then, there were some chapters that seemed to drag (Zuzana spends five pages checking into a hotel, for instance). Still, the chemistry between Karou and Akiva is electric, and hello… Ziri and Liraz are pretty much the best. They made the last quarter of this novel unputdownable. Overall, I found Gods & Monsters a satisfying conclusion to a series I’ve loved since it debuted.


More Than Music  by Elizabeth Briggs – This was such a fun beach read. It’s NA without damaged characters, which was refreshing. That’s not to say MCs Maddie and Jared don’t have backstories and drama, but theirs felt less manufactured than most of the books I’ve read in this genre. Maddie is cool, not the typical NA virginal angel, and the supporting characters are equally engaging. Also, More Than Music is tightly plotted. The pacing was spot-on and the way everything came together at the conclusion felt like kismet. There was just enough surprise, just enough sentimentality, and just enough sexiness. I can’t wait to see what Elizabeth Briggs comes up with next!

So… What was the best book you read in June?

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 Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun (September, 2014) and it’s now on my short list of YA favorites. It is gorgeous, guys, and I can’t wait for you to read it! My daughter and I also finished Katherine Applegate’s The One & Only Ivan. We both loved it dearly. Over the weekend, I read Tammara Webber’s Breakable (a companion to Easy, of which I am a fan). I was a little worried that it would be gratuitous retelling from Lucas’s point of view, but the story was deeper than that. It gave a lot of insight into Lucas’s past and his character. It was also, like, seriously steamy. Now, I’m reading Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the conclusion to a series I’ve loved from day one. The writing is predictably beautiful and brilliant!

  

What I’m Writing: Still working on my Where Poppies Bloom revision and my The Road So Far first draft. For all the details of my last week of writing, you’re welcome to check out my RSW update HERE.


Knocking out words at the local music store, where my girl takes guitar lessons.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: My girl and I are off to Phoenix to visit my parents, so pardon my slow blog responses. We’re excited to see Nana and Poppy, and to leave the muggy heat for dry heat — yay!

  
Last week we visited the Gulfarium and met lots of water-dwelling creatures. It was tons of fun, and if you’re ever in the Destin area, you should check it out!


We also enjoyed a beach day with our neighbors/friends — I’m sure you’re shocked. 😉 My daughter and I are going to be in for a rude awakening if we’re ever stationed in a land-locked state. Yikes.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: This video, which I’ve watched about a dozen times. I adore a good deployment homecoming clip (trust me: there are few things better than seeing your significant other after a long stretch of time apart) and this one is up there with the best I’ve seen. The couple is adorable, they’re at a kick-ass fraternity party, the soundtrack rocks, and the girl is so obviously shocked… I bet you’ll cry happy tears for these two!


I also read two super inspiring blog posts this week. The first was from Jessica Love, who spoke about the death of her friend Laura (who was clearly an amazing person), as well as kindness and thoughtfulness and trying to be better. I love this beautiful post, and now I’m inspired to be kinder and more thoughtful. And the second, from Leila Austin at YA Highway, about writing and anxiousness and letting go of the things we can’t control. Very timely for this writer.

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wedesday

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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 my friend Elodie Nowodazkij’s up-and-coming YA debut, One, Two, Three, and adored it. It’s the perfect read for fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry — angsty and sexy, with layered characters, a quick pace, and ballet(!). Now, I’m reading Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun (September, 2014). Guys, it is gorgeous beyond description. I’m savoring every sentence — every word. I’m mesmerized by the way Jandy Nelson plays with language and spins a fairly basic plot into this lovely and arresting web of a novel. I’m so looking forward to purchasing a finished copy. And finally, my daughter and I are reading The One & Only Ivan together and oh my goodness, it is making my heart hurt. What a profound and beautiful story. (Fact: The Ivan in Katherine Applegate’s novel was based on a real silverback gorilla — also named Ivan — who lived in a tiny glass “domain” in a sketchy Washington mall for 27 years. That sketchy mall was close to where I grew up, and I have very vivid memories of visiting Ivan with my family and musing, even way back then, about what a sad life he must’ve lived.)

What I’m Writing: The same two projects I’ve been working on for months. I revised a couple chapters from Where Poppies Bloom, and added a few thousand new words to the WiP I’m drafting, The Road So Far. Slowly but surely, friends. Slowly but surely. (You can read more about my Ready. Set. Write! summer writing and reading [and tanning] goals HERE.)

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Well, I’m the proud mama of a SECOND GRADER. Not sure how that happened already, but I’m very excited for my girl.


I feel like she went from six to sixteen overnight! *sob*


She was awarded a Super Reader certificate, which obviously makes me all kinds of proud. She was also voted “Class Encourager” by her classmates, and my heart bursts with pride knowing that she’s sweet and kind to her peers. Also, her teacher named her Most Inquisitive, which she totally gets from her daddy!


First day of summer break. We love the beach!


I made Spritz Cookies, because when I’m stuck on a writing project, I bake. I normally make Spritz around Christmas time. I use tree, wreath, star, and heart shapes, and color them green, white, and red. My daughter suggested doing summery flowers this time, and I think they turned out so cute! The yellow flowers are lemon, the red are almond, and the blue are coconut. Yum!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Oh, just THIS from YA author Trisha Leaver… 

“With the release date of CREED rapidly approaching, Lindsay Currie and I have been fielding questions about what our co-authored voice sounds like, how psychologically twisted our collective mind is, and do I need to read all of your co-authored pieces with the lights on?

Rather than simply answer those questions, we thought we’d take it one step further and actually show you! We toyed with writing a prequel-type novella to set the stage for CREED, but you know us…why write a novella to CREED when you can give them entirely different book to enjoy!

After much discussion with our agents and an enthusiastic ‘go for it’ from our publisher, we have decided to utilize Wattpad to give the world a sneak peek at what they can expect from our co-authored voice. So here it is, a new, psychologically twisted, co-authored YA Thriller.

SILO

“The darkness would’ve scared me years ago, but not anymore—if you couldn’t see it, then you didn’t know it was there to be afraid of.”

~Jake Holloway, SILO

Starting today, we will be sharing a chapter a week of our co-authored book, SILO, on Wattpad for the world to enjoy, hate, question our sanity, run screaming from… The last chapter of the book will drop the week of November 8th, 2014, the same week CREED releases!

So, go forth and be appropriately frightened as you realize just what our twisted minds of capable of. Spread the word, leave a comment on Wattpad or simply enjoy the book in the dark confines of your own home.”

SILO on Wattpad

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent dog. Her co-authored, YA Psychological Horror drops November 8, 2014 from FLUX. Her solo YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, releases April 28th, 2015 from FSG/ Macmillan.
www.trishaleaver.comGoodreadsTwitter, & Facebook

Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago, Illinois with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and one adorable, but irreverent Bullmastiff named Sam. She graduated from Knox College in the heart of the Midwest and has been writing for as long as she can remember. Today, Lindsay is an author, as well as a freelance editor for young adult, new adult and middle grade fiction.  She is a proud member of SCBWI, The YA Scream Queens and OneFourKidLit.
www.lindsaycurrie.comGoodreads, & Twitter

           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 flew through Gayle Forman’s Just One Night, the eNovella follow-up to Just One Day and Just One Year, and it was a complete joy. I am so, so happy she decided to put a cap on Allyson’s and Willem’s story. I also read Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State, which was the exact opposite of joyful. To be honest, I feel sort of terrible recommending it because it is absolutely brutal. But, it is also brilliantly written and completely haunting (I had nightmares) and, I think, a must-read. Now, I’m reading my friend Elodie Nowodazkij’s up-and-coming YA debut, One, Two, Three, and I am loving it.

    

What I’m Writing: I’m still puttering away at my two related projects. I was going strong on my revision for several days, but then a plot element tripped me up and I realized I need to spend some time thinking on it. So, I’ve switched over to the WiP I’m drafting. I’m hovering at about 27K words and I’m still loving the story. It’s a road trip, so every scene is set in a fresh location and has new minor characters to be introduced. There’s also a mystery to unfold, and helping my main characters along as they discover clues is making it feel as though I’m flying through the drafting process. Also, the romance… This couple is my favorite of all the couples I’ve written. ❤

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Tomorrow is my girl’s last day of 1st grade. *sob* I’m struggling with how quickly she’s growing up, so I’ve been spending more time than usual helping at at her school. So fun to see her in her element!

  
Hula hooping at recess, and an end-of-the-year Water Day celebration.


Last week the Scholastic Book Fair was held at my daughter’s school, and then we took a trip to Books-A-Million over the weekend. We’ve amassed a nice little summer reading pile. (Thanks for the excellent recommendations, Temre!) Looking forward to diving into these with my girl! Where should we start?

What’s Inspiring Me Now: My friend Jessica Love, whose debut novel Push Girl (co-authored with Chelsie Hill) released yesterday. I adore this book, and I enthusiastically encourage you to read it. My Bookanista review is HERE. Also, Ready. Set. Write! Have you heard about the summer writing intensive I’m hosting with Alison MillerJaime Morrow, and Erin Funk? We’re setting goals and cheering each other on through a summer of fun and productivity… Join us!

What’s up with you today?