Come celebrate the release of Kissing Max Holden
with me and a whole bunch of cookies!

Hope to see you there! ūüėė


(I plan to do a ‚ÄúCurrently‚Ķ‚ÄĚ post¬†every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)



The #AuthorLifeMonth¬†photo challenge, hosted by Dahlia Adler. I’m still going strong, and so are tons of other writers. Check out the hashtag on Instagram to see how everyone’s responding to the prompts. A few of my favorites so far…


If you remember back to my last Currently… post, I mentioned I was reading¬†The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. Well, I finished, and¬†I loved it — it’s definitely a new favorite. Please, please, please pick it up!¬†I also recently finished¬†These Vicious Masks by fellow Swoon Reads authors Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas, and it was SO much fun. Protagonist Evelyn is the best sort of snarky, and the “Jane Austen meets X-Men” pitch is spot-on. Recommend! Now, I’m reading The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry and it is aMaZiNg so far. Guys, I’m so lucky — I’m picking up the BEST books this year!


Kendra Akins on YouTube. She¬†posts videos on health and beauty and lifestyle. I love her makeup-focused videos most. I’ve learned tons about the big name brands, as well as lesser-known natural products. Check her out if you’re into beauty¬†and/or healthful eating — she’s super savvy.

Listening To

I recently listened to Colleen Hoover’s November 9, which was everything I was hoping it’d be: romantic, but also angsty and overwrought¬†— a total guilty-pleasure listen. If you can overlook¬†some slight but irritating¬†misogyny, you’ll likely¬†be entertained. And I just finished Keith Donahue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters, a creepy adult horror. Different from my usual fare, but I liked it!

Thinking About

Wrapping up the¬†Kissing Max Holden revision I’ve been¬†working on since Christmastime. I’ve completed all of the big-picture changes, and now I’m in the midst of a read-through, doing all the fun fine-tuning stuff. Yay!


My birthday‚Ķ It‚Äôs¬†Saturday! I’m going to (try to) sleep late, and then my husband and daughter are going to make me crepes for breakfast — yum! Be on the lookout for a Thirty Before 35 update later this week. Spoiler alert: I haven’t finished all of my goals, but I’m not about¬†to let them go. ūüĎć


For sandals and summer and sunshine. Simple as that…

Making Me Happy

These two, as usual. My girlie has had lots of time off school lately (snow days and end-of-quarter days and holidays), and while I do value my quiet work time, I really love having her home. ‚̧

Did you post a ‚ÄúCurrently‚Ķ‚ÄĚ this week?
Let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to visit! 


(I plan to do a ‚ÄúCurrently‚Ķ‚ÄĚ post¬†every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)



My¬†New York & Company 7th Avenue Design Studio Knit Pants, which look like dress slacks and fit like yoga pants, currently buy one, get one free.¬†The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, which I bought because my writing descriptions are starting to feel quite stagnant; I’m loving how this craft book gives me fresh perspective. Shenandoah National Park, which we’ve now hiked twice — so beautiful. The YA Buccaneers, who invited me to guest post about my experience submitting to Swoon Reads. And my new Erin Condren notebook, which I’m using to compile family recipes and my go-to Pinterest favorites; it’s mostly filling up with desserts.


I finally finished¬†Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers. It took me for-freaking-ever to get through, but that is in no way a reflection of my feelings about the book — I loved it! Ismae is a badass, and her story transported me to 15th century Brittany completely; I was totally caught up in the political intrigue and, of course, the most excellent romance. Now, I’m reading Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz, a romance involving a girl and a Fae — not usually my thing. But this recent release is set at a Monterey boarding school, which is so totally my thing. Plus, the writing is gorgeous. I’m really liking it so far!


My new favorite You-Tuber, Ashley at That is All. I discovered her a few months ago while pouring over planner reviews (her review was a big part of the reason I bought an InkWELL Press planner for 2016), though¬†the main focus of her channel is makeup. She’s delightful and she has cute kitties and I’ve¬†picked up a few excellent skin care products on her recommendation.

Listening To

Am I the only gal¬†who ends up with an anthem for each manuscript she drafts? For my current WiP, I’m listening to Matt Nathanson’s Faster on repeat, all the time. It’s inspiring all the romance. ‚̧

Thinking About

The tragic terrorist attacks that occurred in France and Beirut last week. My heart is broken for everyone affected.


The holidays. My husband and daughter love the many foods associated with Turkey Day (I love the pie) and my parents are coming for a¬†visit during Christmastime. Looking forward to getting¬†started on my seasonal decorating and shopping. Our Elf on the Shelf will be here before we know it. ūüôā


That she will always fall asleep with a book in reach.

Making Me Happy

I have a job! Well, sort of. I recently joined the pool of substitutes in Fairfax County, hoping to work two or three days a week at my daughter’s elementary school. But on my first day of eligibility, I was offered a multiple-week position as an instructional assistant in one of the¬†resource rooms. So, I get to visit various classrooms and work with kids on various subjects, including reading and writing, which is awesome.¬†The only downside is that my daily drafting¬†time has all but disappeared. Who wants to do nighttime sprints with me?

What’s currently making YOU happy?


(Thanks to summertime and RSW, it’s been a long time since I’ve done a “Currently”but I plan to¬†get back into posting¬†every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)



My new “Soho” jeans from New York & Company. I have a really hard time finding jeans that fit¬†my long legs, and pants that get saggy throughout the day are a major pet peeve, which is why I’m obsessed with this brand and fit — they’re perfect! In other news, my 2016 InkWELL Press planner arrived! It’s so pretty¬†(I chose the “Modern Mermaid” cover), and it’s full of awesome organizational tools printed on lovely paper. Can’t wait to start using it!


I’ve been horrible about reading lately. I’m drafting one project and editing another, and there doesn’t seem to be room left in my brain¬†for¬†someone else’s words. BUT. I recently started Tarryn Fisher‘s Marrow (because Riley Edgewood said I had to) and it’s keeping me engaged with it’s weirdness and sadness and beautiful, beautiful prose. If you’re curious about what I read last month, check out my¬†September Reading Wrap-Up.


I’m nearly done with the final season of Gilmore Girls and, I’m not gonna lie, I really hate how things appear to be wrapping up. (Spoilers ahead…) I’m so disappointed by how Luke was written during most of season 6. The fact that he morphed into¬†a liar and was totally¬†blas√©¬†about ending his engagement with Lorelai was grossly out of character. It’s so obvious that the two of them belong together! I do enjoy Logan, though, so I’m sticking it out ’til the end to see what happens with him and Rory.

Over the weekend, we saw The Martian, which was quite good. I’m not a big space person (terrifying), but I was definitely not bored. My husband read the book and he said the movie was even better. So, recommend!

Listening To

My usual podcasts. Plus (and I’m not proud of this), I am ~obsessed~ with R5’s All Night. I listen to it on repeat. Often. So fun!

Thinking About

All the fun I had at the Baltimore Book Festival. Living in the DC area is not my preference, but I do love being close to so many fantastic bookish friends and events. I spent a long weekend with a few of my favorites, listening to panels, eating yummy food, drinking lots of coffee, and writing, writing, writing.


Halloween with my girlie. She wants to be a black cat (sort of like our Daphne) and we’re looking forward to going costume shopping. She’s going to be such a cute kitty! We’ve got a Saturday at the pumpkin patch planned, too. I’m not an autumn person, but I do love some of the fall traditions. ūüćĀūüćā

(Oh, and I have some exciting writerly news to share in the next few weeks.
Stay tuned!)


For some good news on the submission front. I’m due for some, right?

Making Me Happy

My new WiP! I’m about 18K in, and I’m feeling inspired, which is excellent. Also, I think I’ve mostly got an ending worked out, so this one just might be finish-able. And, it has a pretty, pretty mood board. ‚̧

PicMonkey Collage

 What’s currently making YOU happy?

Ready. Set. Write! 2015 Wrap-Up


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‚Äôre at with¬†our writing projects‚ÄĒplanning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are¬†Alison Miller,¬†Jaime Morrow,¬†Erin Funk,¬†Elodie Nowodazkij,¬†and myself.

*** Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for RSW this year. It’s been an incredible summer, and I’ve had so much fun following along with your¬†progress and celebrating your successes. Thanks to my fellow hosts, too, who’ve been a constant source of support and encouragement. ‚̧ ***

How I did on this summer’s goals…

1a.  Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end.

Success! My new WiP’s sitting pretty at 30,619. I plan to finish the¬†first draft during the next few months. (Hopefully.)

1b. Revise The Road So Far.

Success! The Road So Far is currently with my agent.

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end.

Success! I actually read 14: Something Real, The Wrath & the Dawn, Devoted, Emmy & Oliver, The Devil You Know, Saint Anything, A Summer Like No Other, More Happy Than Not, All We Have Is Now, Pretty Baby, Play On, Lord of the Flies, Truth & Temptation, and Jesse’s Girl.

3. Get stronger.

Success! I kept up with my exercise goals all summer. Hoping to do the same through autumn.

4. Explore a new place each week.

Success! Guys, we’ve been all over the place, and seen so many cool things! Highlights: swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, a walk through Savannah, a ghost tour in Charleston, putt-putt golfing in Hilton Head, a tour of downtown DC, a journey around Antietam Battlefield, kayaking in the¬†Occoquan River, a trip to Mount Vernon, a visit to the Smithsonian‚Äôs Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian, shopping at¬†the American Girl store, Taylor Swift and Toby Keith concerts, The Beach at the National Building Museum, a visit to the site¬†of the Battle of Bull Run, and most recently, a tour of downtown Philadelphia and a day riding coasters at Hersheypark. So fun!

5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. 

Success! I planted my herb garden and completed my 500 piece puzzle.

And now… Manuscripts and Manicures

I’ve chosen to focus on The Road So Far for Manuscripts and Manicures, first because it’s done, and second because it’s my favorite. It’s about Tucker, an eighteen-year-old who embarks on a west coast road trip with his girlfriend and two best friends in search of his mother, who’s been missing his whole life.

¬†Here’s the story’s¬†Pinterest board, if you’re curious.¬†


And here’s an excerpt…

We fall back onto the highway. Callie pulls the pastries we ordered from their paper bag, tucks a leg under to twist in her seat, then feeds me pieces of croissant and coffee cake.

‚ÄúYou‚Äôre the best travel buddy ever,‚ÄĚ I tell her between bites.

She smiles. ‚ÄúNo, you are.‚ÄĚ

I snag her hand and kiss her palm. ‚ÄúSeriously, Cal. You‚Äôre my compass.‚ÄĚ

We drive on, through flat colorless terrain. The sky’s unobstructed and endless, an electric blue that’s incongruous with the scrubby, monochrome landscape. Puffy clouds drift by. Callie points out shapes: a dragon, an angel, a dolphin, an arrow pointing west, backward.

Not an omen, I tell myself. Not. An. Omen. 

It isn’t long before we’re approaching the Colorado River, marked by a 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 squeezes my hand as we cross the bridge. She looks as anxious as I feel. If ever we’ve had a there’s no going back moment, this is it. We’re driving blind now, into a state none of us has 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.

And… my manicure!¬†

IMG_2351Dashed lines like the middle of a road, bright red like stop signs, silver sparkles like snow, and a heart, because romance (of course).

Did you participate in RSW this summer?
Don’t forget to link to your wrap-up below!

Ready. Set. Write! {2015}

It’s that time again…


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‚Äôre at with¬†our writing projects‚ÄĒplanning, drafting, revising, or polishing. ¬†This year, your RSW hosts are¬†Alison Miller,¬†Jaime Morrow,¬†Erin Funk,¬†Elodie Nowodazkij,¬†and myself.

(Testimonial: Last summer I fully revised a previously finished manuscript, and wrote about 70K words of a new manuscript, completing it just before RSW closed. Accountability works!)

Ready. Set. Write! will kick off with an initial goal-setting post on Monday, June 8th, with the first check-in on Monday, June 15th, and subsequent check-ins each Monday throughout the summer. RSW will conclude on August 31st.

Here are the headings we’ll be using:

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

**As mentioned, Week #1 will only be goal setting.**

Accountability and goal setting are super important, but we don’t want RSW to detract from writing, which is, of course, the whole point of this summer intensive. With respect to our weekly check-in posts, THE BRIEFER THE BETTER. Your hosts will be limiting their answers for each heading to 2-3 lines at most, and we encourage you to do the same. (Save the words for the WiPs!)

Each Monday there will be a linky sign-up on all of the host blogs. Leave the link to your check-in post, hop around to other participants‚Äô blogs, and spread encouragement like sunscreen.¬†(This is a summer writing intensive after all. ‚ėľ)


Click HERE for the RSW 2015 buttons, courtesy of Jaime, who’s crazy-talented.

Stay tuned for info on giveaways and be sure to watch Twitter for spontaneous #RSW writing parties. To review, Ready. Set. WRITE! will kick off on Monday, June 8th with our goals post, followed by updates every Monday thereafter until August 31st. In the meantime, decide what you want to write/revise. Set goals. Write a little. Or a lot. Spread the word! And be prepared to Ready. Set. WRITE!

Leave questions in the comments and tell me…
Are you planning to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE!?

What’s Up Wednesday

‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs Up Wednesday‚ÄĚ is a fun weekly meme started by my friends¬†Jaime Morrow¬†and¬†Erin Funk. From Jaime:¬†It‚Äôs similar in some respects to the¬†Currently‚Ķ¬†post, but it‚Äôs been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You‚Äôre invited to join us if you‚Äôre looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what‚Äôs been going on with you.¬†If¬†you‚Äôre¬†participating, make sure to link your What‚Äôs Up Wednesday posts to the¬†list on Jaime‚Äôs blog¬†each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you‚Äôve been up to. And now, here‚Äôs what‚Äôs up with me this week‚Ķ

What I‚Äôm Reading:¬†I finished¬†This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. It’s incredible. I’m in awe of the brilliant plotting, plus the complex characters the authors created. And, there are some wonderfully¬†steamy moments which, of course, I loved. I also read¬†The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson, which is poignant and evocative and cold and lonely, just as beautiful as her Tiger Lily. She’s quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. Now I’m reading All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and even though I’ve only just started, I’m loving Finch and Violet and their authentic voices.


What I‚Äôm Writing: Continuing to read¬†through my NaNo manuscript, (which still doesn’t have a conclusion). I’ve left myself tons of notes about things I need to research/revise, and I’ve cleaned up a lot of its messiness. I’ve also got a plan for The End, which (GOAL) I’m going to carefully plot in the coming week. I’m going on a most amazing writing retreat in February (yay, yay, yay!), during which I hope to do the actual writing.

What Else I‚Äôve Been Up To:¬†Playing around with Tumblr. I just signed up and though I have no idea what I’m doing, I’ve enjoyed posting (reblogging?) pictures of books and Disney characters and Taylor Kitsch and inspirational images, plus quotes on writing and success. Do you Tumbl? Is that even a word? I’m HERE if you’re interested in linking up!

Spreading the word about Cavalcade of Authors West, a literary conference for Western Washington middle school students. My longtime friend¬†Kari Bradley¬†is one of the organizers and their list of participating authors is aMaZiNg — Kimberly Derting, Peggy Eddleman, Kristin Halbrook, Mindy McGinnis, Richelle Mead, Marissa Meyer, Alyson Noel, Lisa Schroeder, Liesl Shurtliff, and Staia Ward Kehoe, to name a few. You can learn¬†more about COA West on the post I¬†shared¬†last week, or you can visit the official¬†site. If you’re able, I highly encourage you to donate to this fantastic literary event.

And, since one of my 2015 goals was to fix more treats, I present… A plate of super rich, super delicious Rocky Road Fudge. (You’re welcome.)

What Works For Me: Vlogagrams! Author Megan Whitmer had the brilliant idea to initiate a weekly vlogagram challenge¬†on¬†Instagram, and it’s been so much fun! I find vlogging daunting, normally, because I’m shy and I hate the pressure of coming up with a topic and having to speak in an entertaining manner for minutes upon minutes. Vlogagrams are short (fifteen seconds) and Megan is hooking participants up with weekly¬†themes, which makes the process much less intimidating. I’ve loved “meeting” fellow writers and building on the sense of community I’ve already found via IG. If you’re interested, check out the vlogagram hashtag. The videos I’ve done so far are HERE.¬†

Tell me… What’s up with you today?