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…

What I’m 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’m 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’ve 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? 


Ready. Set. WRITE! {2014}

 It’s that time of year again! Time for Ready. Set. WRITE!

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.

Ready. Set. Write! will kick off with an initial goal-setting post on June 9th. This time around, our RSW check-in posts will be on MONDAYS. The start of the week feels sort of appropriate for goal-setting, don’t you think? To change things up a bit, we’ve decided on a format for our weekly check-in posts. Using headings should allow for a quicker and more concise rundown and will give other participants specific ways to offer encouragement.

Here are the headings we’re 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.**

Something we noticed last year during RSW was that we spent a lot of time blogging  about writing, instead of actually writing. 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. All of that to say, 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 participants 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’ blogs, and spread encouragement like sunscreen. (This is a summer writing intensive after all. ☼)

Here are the RSW 2014 buttons, courtesy of Jaime, who’s amazing. Click the link below the collage for your choice of button (Polaroid or non-Polaroid style).

Click HERE for the RSW 2014 buttons!

Stay tuned for info on giveaways and be sure to watch Twitter for spontaneous #RSW writing parties. Ready. Set. WRITE! will kick off on Monday, June 9th with our first goals post followed by updates every Monday thereafter until August 25th. 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!?

Quick: Three words!

I’ve been following mother/Australian/social-media-maven Fat Mum Slim (AKA Chantelle) for awhile now. Her Instagram feed is fantastic (she created #FMSPhotoADay) and her blog is an inspiration — full of tips on photography, entertaining, travel, and building a platform, as well as some very thoughtful reflections on parenting and life. I recommend following if you’re not already.


The other day, Chantelle posted the following question:

How would you describe your blog in just 3 words?

I’ve been blogging for over three years, and I love it. I’ve found my personal blogging style mostly through trial and error. While I’m sure I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, I’m very proud of what my blog has become. Through it, I’ve learned a lot and made some wonderful friends. I look forward to many more years of posting. Here’s how I’d describe my blog in 3 words:

Cheerful, conversational, bookish.

Tell me: What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

MAY I tell you something about The A-Z Challenge?

Some how, some way, I survived 2012’s April A-Z Challenge. Even in the middle of a rewrite of my contemporary YA manuscript and a family upheaval (also known as an out-of-state move) and all kinds of other craziness, I blogged every day last month. Honestly, typing that now kind of boggles my mind.

So, today I’d love to share a bit about my A-Z Challenge experience using the reflection question so thoughtfully supplied by the A-Z C-hosts and organizers (who rock, by the way… I cannot even fathom the time and energy and effort they dedicated to putting together the blogfest!):

How did your journey through the alphabet go? Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests? I did meet some awesome new bloggers, and I learned tons about bloggers (who participated in A-Z) that I’ve been following for months. I loved getting comments from new readers, and I loved discovering blogs that I probably wouldn’t have happened across without the challenge.

What were the highlights for you? I had a lot of fun planning and writing my posts, then seeing how readers reacted to them. I also enjoyed meeting new bloggers. There are so many smart and creative people out there!

Did you enjoy posting daily? What was your biggest hurdle? What was your easiest task? I did enjoy posting daily, but I’m not gonna lie: It was time-consuming and, at times, a little stressful. I did NOT want to fail the challenge, and getting my posts written (well) and up on on-time made me anxious some days.

Was time management an issue? Surprisingly, the commenting is what gave me the most time-management issues. When I signed up, commenting on five new blogs daily didn’t seem all that daunting. But I didn’t really consider the regular blogs I comment on daily, as well as the new bloggers who visited my blog. I wanted to return the commenting love to everyone, and sometimes that took far longer than I’d anticipated.

And what about your content – did you have a theme or did you wing it? Was it easy to come up with ideas for each letter, or were some harder? No theme. I tried to mix my posts up and give them lots of variety. Sometimes they related to writing craft or reading YA, sometimes to my family, sometimes to current events within the YA community. Sometimes they were completely random, which is always fun. 🙂

How about commenting – did you stumble upon lots of sites still using word verification? Did this prevent you from leaving a comment? Yes, I did stumble on a lot of blogs with word verification, and I found it quite annoying, honestly. I still commented, but I rarely revisited those blogs. I just didn’t have enough time to devote to Captcha.

What will you do different next year? Hmm… Not 100% sure I’ll participate again next year. While I loved the challenge and had a blast creating my posts and meeting new bloggers, the time commitment was a bit much. Depending on what’s going on in my life next April, the A-Z Challenge might be one of those “Bucket List” things that I’ll check off now and reminisce about later.

What pearls of wisdom do you want to share with the Co-Hosts of this event? From my perspective, A-Z ran smoothly. I thought the Co-Hosts did fabulously, and again, I’m so grateful to them for all their hard work!

Tell me: Did you participate in the A-Z Challenge? Will you next year? 

A is for Addiction

You might remember when, a few weeks ago, I posted about a trip my husband and I took to Vancouver. In a nutshell, it was glorious… except for one teeny, tiny detail: My cell phone does not function internationally. “Oh, boo hoo,” you’re probably thinking, and you’re right. There are certainly greater tragedies than being unplugged for forty-eight hours. Still…

Admittedly, I’ve become quite attached to my phone. I use it for everything–calls (obviously), email, Twitter, Facebook, blog reading, blog writing, Instagram, weather checks, random Google searches, photography, Pinterest, calculating, directional navigation, Goodreads, blah, blah, blah… Plus, when I’m idle, like riding in the car or waiting in line somewhere, I fiddle around with Solitaire or read an iBook. So, as fun as Vancouver was, needless to say I was a *little* high-strung about not being able to get online. I mean, if something cool happens and you can’t tweet about it, has it really happened at all?

When my hubby and I crossed back into the US of A, we stopped at Bob’s Burgers for lunch (’cause that’s how we roll), and the second we sat down at our table I gleefully logged on. As I sat, zoned out, tweeting my little heart out, my husband created this (super flattering) sketch:

I at once tweeted a photo his artwork (YES), but I did take his message to heart.

I’m Katy, and I am a social media addict. (Hi, Katy!) But here’s the thing: I don’t necessarily think my addiction is a bad thing. It doesn’t (usually) get in the way of my day-to-day activities, and I connect with like-minded people online because 1) They’re almost always awesome, 2) I learn A LOT, 3) Professional contacts are never a bad thing, and 4) It’s fun!

My husband doesn’t get it at all, but to his credit, he doesn’t give me too hard a time about my love of the Internet. Thank goodness!

Tell me: Are you a social media addict? What’s your medium of choice?

Campaign Challenge #3 – ON THE PIER

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

Here are the parameters:

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

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

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

And here is my entry: 

On the Pier

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

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

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

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

All because of you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTW: A Winding Road (And congrats, YA Highway!)

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

Today’s Topic: YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday has reached the 100th mile marker. How has YOUR writing journey gone so far?

One-hundred Road Trip Wednesdays?! Huge congratulations to YA Highway and its contributors on their longevity and all their success. Thank you so much, Highway-ers, for bringing your genius to the YA community, for doling out wisdom and expertise, for sharing insightful, informative, diverse, and entertaining posts, and for inviting aspiring authors like me to participate your fantastic Road Trip Wednesdays. I’ve met tons of incredible people since I first joined in over a year ago, and I’m so thankful for this outlet, and for this chance to belong to such a friendly and supportive community. Here’s to another hundred Road Trips!

Um… my writing journey? It’s going. 🙂 I’ve met some goals, for sure, and I’ve set some new ones. I’ve grown in many areas, and I’ve identified others I’d like to improve upon. I’ve signed with a brilliant agent. I’ve made some amazing friends. I’ve read some inspired books. I’ve written some beautiful words. I hope my writing journey continues in its forward motion (no reverse, please!), and I hope it continues to give me a sense of self and accomplishment no matter where my final destination may be.

How’s YOUR writing journey going?

Campaign Challenge #2 – Mama’s Imago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campaign Challenge #1 – Last Kiss

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Campaign

I recently learned about a very cool blogging opportunity from my friend Alison Miller. It’s the Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes. The Campaign is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs.

The Campaign will run from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges:

  1. First Campaigner Challenge – Monday, September 5
  2. Second Campaigner Challenge – Thursday, September 22
  3. Third Campaigner Challenge – Monday, October 17

If you’re interested in finding out more about this opportunity, visit Platform Building Campaign THIS WEEK for more detailed information.