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 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen and I adored it. Awesome voice, plus a cleverly nuanced take on high school stereotypes and self-image and wanting more out of life. Recommend! I also read a super sexy NA, The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan, and I’ve gotta say… I loved it. Strong characters, dry humor, and a smokin’ hot college football player — yes please! Now, I’m reading Amy Reed’s Beautiful, which is stark and gritty and disturbing (the MC is 13 — holy hell!) but very well done.


My husband: “Why are you reading Avril Lavigne’s biography?”

What I’m Writing: I’m at a weird place, writing-wise. I’ve finished all of my beta reading commitments, I’m waiting on feedback from my agent on one manuscript, and I’m waiting on feedback from CPs on another. I’m mentally musing what I hope is going to be my next project (and I’m super excited about it!) but I haven’t actually written anything yet. I do have a first line in mind, and I’m paging through a nonfiction book for research, and I’m doing a lot of inspirational online image searches. This is sort of my process, I guess. I’m a slow, sort of muddled starter, but once I get drafting, I can move relatively quickly. Hopefully I’ll be there soon!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Cleaning, exercising, hanging with my family…


Saturday we visited WonderWorks in Panama City Beach. It’s a really cool science museum and we had an awesome time. My daughter loved the Bubble Lab (obviously) and the Ropes Challenge, for which she wore a harness and tight-rope walked three stories in the air. I almost had a mommy-heart-attack!

IMG_6028Because I was super lame and didn’t send out Christmas cards last year (excuse: we were moving across the country), I’ve gotten my act together and ordered a bazillion to put in the mail come December. Above is one of the photos I used (from our little family photo shoot) because I think the sky is gorgeous.

What Works For Me: Writer friends… Mine are the best (no, really!) and they play a huge part in maintaing my sanity and lending me inspiration. Lately, I’ve been emailing/texting/tweeting/meeting for coffee (I still owe you, Amanda!) my writer buddies to chat about WiPs and reading and life and, particularly, the challenges of writing and being a mom and a wife and melding all of that together in a balanced, happiness-evoking way. Even when they don’t have all the answers, knowing that I’m not alone in the Writer Crazies is invaluable. ❤

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

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, or 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: Well… I finished Ashes to Ashesthe final book in the  Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I can’t comment on it yet. Let’s just say… It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had such a visceral reaction to a novel, and I’m still kind of traumatized. I also read Unlit Star by Lindy Zart, which came highly recommended and turned out to be a super emotional romance. Such a pretty cover, right? Now, I’m reading Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays and it is aMaZiNg. Totally twisty and romantic and unputdownable. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up!

  

What I’m Writing: Nothing! Where Poppies Bloom (which I finally wrote a summary for and posted HERE) is all revised and beautiful. It’s in my agent’s hands. I’m hoping she loves it! I’m celebrating by beta reading for some buddies, and musing my next WiP.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Watching movies… My family and I saw Dolphin Tale 2 (cute but cheesy — not as good as the first) and The Maze Runner (exciting and unpredictable — we really liked it!). Plus, my husband and I watched 12 Years a Slave, which was brutal. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll recover. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, but prepare yourself for heartbreak.


I’m keeping up with yoga, and I’m learning how to do inversions! I have never in my life tried to hold myself upside down, but I’m getting it. Don’t judge my form — I’m still practicing. Yay for progress! 🙂


I made my first pumpkin-y recipe of the season, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies. My husband: “These really do melt in your mouth.” 🙂

What Works For Me: This week I’m inspired by all of the excitement regarding intellectual freedom, diverse books, and Banned Books Week. I did a post on the topic HERE. Some of my favorite challenged/banned books? To Kill a Mockingbird, Speak, Looking for Alaska, Twenty Boy SummerThe Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the Harry Potter series. What are some of your favorite challenged/banned books?

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 Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah. It’s one of those books where you’re not entirely sure what’s going on, or whether the narrator is reliable or not. I’m obviously not going to give away the ending, but let’s just say… You should definitely read it when it comes out this fall. Now, I’m halfway through Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. I’ve been wanting to read the Syrena Legacy books for ages, but somehow they’ve continuously slipped through the cracks. This first installment is a lot of fun. Cool mythology and a narrator who’s feisty and funny. Very entertaining so far!  

What I’m Writing: I crossed the 22K mark with my WiP and I still love it — yay! I also got revision notes from my agent on an old story I want to overhaul. She gave me awesome/insightful/brilliant feedback, which I’ve already started to incorporate. The incredible thing is, the new WiP I’m drafting and the old WiP I’m revising have the potential (in a perfect, perfect world) to be a duology. Working on them simultaneously is sort of amazing. The stories are narrated by different characters, so I’m having a lot of fun bouncing between POVs, and I’m finding that both narrators’ characterizations are becoming much stronger than they were before, which is so motivating. I’ve high hopes for these projects, guys.

Speaking of writing… Drop by Monday, June 2nd for the lowdown on this summer’s writing intensive, Ready. Set. Write! 

What Else I’ve Been Up To: So much… It’s been such a busy week!


My girlie and I went to another Blue Wahoos baseball game in Pensacola. This time we went with two friends and had a great time. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, take advantage. It’s gorgeous. At what other minor league ballpark can you watch dolphins swimming as you walk from the parking lot to the stadium? Plus, good food. 🙂

  
The more I write/revise, the more inclined I feel to whip up yummy treats. This week I made Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from a tried-and-true recipe (the chocolate chips are my personal addition), and I also tried a new recipe: Almond Butter Cookies. I’ve recently developed a peanut allergy (tHe WoRsT), so I’m trying to get used to almond butter as a substitute for peanut butter. These cookies turned out so well! I took them to a barbecue and they were gobbled up by kids and adults alike. Yum!

  
I got a new Stitch Fix shipment, and I loved all five pieces. I had so much trouble narrowing them down to fit within my budget, but I eventually decided on a very cool striped date dress, a cute sleeveless printed top, and the adorable patriotic scarf pictured above. The stylist who put together my box visited my Twitter profile and, after seeing that I’m an Army wife, included it. Love! If you’re interested in Stitch Fix, you can learn more HERE.


Yesterday I volunteered at First Grade Field Day. It was hot (just over 90 degrees), but awesome, too. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to join my daughter at her school activities from time to time. So fun to watch her with her friends!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Marriage. Romance. True love.


My husband and I marked our 11th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Here’s to many, many more happy years! 

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 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I thought it was incredible. A must-read if (like me) you’ve been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Incidentally, Speak has been out for fifteen years now. The fact that it’s remained relevant through a decade-and-a-half of changing YA trends says more about its quality than I ever could. I also read Tess Sharpe’s debut Far From You, which is unflinching and heart-shattering and beautifully written. Loved it. Yesterday I started Emery Lord’s debut, Open Road Summer, which several of my book besties have promised I’ll adore. So far, so good! 

What I’m Writing: Nothing. But I did hear back from my agent regarding my most recent manuscript and… She’s on board! She got the characters and the conflict and the conclusion and reading her email was just about the greatest feeling ever. Huge, hUgE, HUGE sigh of relief. Now I can start something new without the weight of anxiety I’ve been shouldering over the last few weeks. In beta reading news (ready to be super envious?) I got to read Meredith McCardle‘s latest manuscript, which is freaking fantastic. I had the privilege of reading her upcoming debut, The Eighth Guardian, last year and it totally blew me away. It comes out in less than a month (yay!) and I can’t wait for you all to read it!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve tried really hard to get into The Secret Life of the American Teenager because I love Shailene Woodley in The Descendants and The Spectacular Now. But Secret Life… NO. Not for me, guys. Not at all. I found the message much too heavy-handed, and the dialogue is absolutely cringeworthy. Looks like I’m going back to Gossip Girl. Darn. 😉

   
I’ve achieved another Thirty Before 35 goal! We took our first trip to the beach on Saturday, and it was beautiful. My daughter played with her buddies and I lounged and chatted with a few girl friends. We had a (sandy) picnic lunch, which is one of those things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Check!


And, much to my daughter’s embarrassment, I pulled the truck over while passing the above field of flowers the other day so I could take her picture. Just couldn’t resist all that pink against her little hippie sundress. 

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Rock the Drop, one of my favorite bookish events of the year, is tomorrow! It’s a celebration of Support Teen Literature Day during which book lovers can drop novels with “Rock the Drop” bookplates in public places for teenagers to find and read and hopefully fall in love with. I’ve rocked the drop for the last two years (2013 and 2012), and I’ll definitely be participating tomorrow. Look for photos on my Instagram feed, and here on my blog coming soon. Visit ReaderGirlz for all the details. 

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

“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 halfway through Lauren Oliver’s Panic. I’m moving slowly, but not because I’m not enjoying it — I am! It’s just been a busy (and crazy) week and I haven’t had much time for reading. Boo. Panic‘s a trip, though, and I’m very anxious to see how it all plays out. This one’s quite a departure from Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, but Lauren Oliver’s prose is predictably beautiful. So far, so good.

What I’m Writing: Another revision round’s nearly in the bag. CP and beta notes are helping me so much (it’s amazing what people who aren’t neck-deep in the story pick up on!), and I’m excited about how this draft of Good Girls is turning out. It’s much more layered and cohesive and interesting, and its ending is a thousand times stronger. I’m so happy with my revision progress, in fact, that I decided to go to Disney World.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: No, really — I went to Disney World! My girlie and I took a rather impromptu road trip to Orlando to meet up with some of our favorite friends for a few days and we had an incredible time! I love all things Disney so much. The parks and the magic just never get old…


Obligatory Mickey shot. 🙂

   
These girls had so much fun together! It’s been nearly a year since they’ve seen each other, yet they picked up right where they left off.

PhotoPossibly my new favorite photo. ❤

{There are more on Instagram. Check them out if you’re so inclined.}

What’s Inspiring Me Now: First, an awesome post from my agent, Victoria Marini, entitled On Bones and Knowing Your Characters. It’s about digging deeper and making sure your readers know your characters as well as you do. Also, a post by Corey Ann Haydu called How to Relationship (for Stacked), which talks about all of that crazy-awkward stuff that happens in the shadows between kissing and sex in YA, and how it’s pretty awesome when authors get brave and explore those shadows in authentic ways. (Obviously Corey says it way better than I do.) Highly recommend both of these articles!

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 Stephanie Kuehn’s Complicit (out in June) and holy hell, was it good. If you’re a fan of Stephanie’s debut, Charm & Strange, I think you’ll be all over her sophomore novel. And if you haven’t read Charm & Strange yet, you should remedy that right away. Now, I’m reading Nil by Lynne Matson, who is lovely. The story is set in the most fascinating island world, and it’s edge-of-my-seat exciting so far.

What I’m Writing: I’m revising according to (brilliant) CP notes. You know how when you’re writing, sometimes you know something’s not clicking but you’re not sure how to fix it, so you press on with the hope of making it right later? Well, CP Alison picked up on those areas of my manuscript that weren’t working and gave me some awesome suggestions for fixing them. So, that’s what I’m doing now. Inserting a few new scenes, filling holes, and taking advantage some missed opportunities, all while catching some rays. Love this part!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Getting ready to go to Disney World with my girl! We’re meeting some great friends there for a few days of fun and we cannot wait. I am such a sucker for all things Disney, and it’s been way too long since we last visited a park. Like, more than a year. Way overdue. 😉


I’ve been pretty good about eating healthfully lately (I haven’t had a beer in a month!), but on Friday I caved and baked cookies. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, to be specific. I followed this recipe, but I didn’t have Reese’s Pieces, so I used Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips instead. They turned out SO WELL. This combination of ingredients creates cookies of the perfect peanut-buttery consistency. Recommend!

  
My girlie celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday at school all last week. I made her green eggs for breakfast one day, and she also participated in a Read-A-Thon, which I totally crashed and photographed because I’m *that* mom.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I officially crossed the first item off my Thirty Before 35 bucket list: I finished watching the Friday Night Lights TV series. In the words of the incomparable Tami Taylor: Good lord, y’all! This show ranks right up there with Breaking Bad and Six Feet Under as an all-time favorite — it is so freaking good! I mean, it’s definitely about football (which is awesome), but there’s so much more to it. For starters, there’s Tim Riggins who’s all broken and brooding and conflicted and, um, hot

And then there are these deep relationships between people who, for the most part, have very little in common aside from football (Vince & Luke, Tyra & Landry, Eric & Buddy, Matt & Smash, Matt & Tim, Matt and his grandma ❤)…

And then there are the romances (Julie and Matt are super sweet, and I love Vince and Jess too, but I will always ship Tim and Lyla)…

And then there’s Tami Taylor, who makes me want to be a better wife, mother, and person, and who’s totally making y’all happen. Plus, she has the most impeccable football-wife style…

Aren’t you sad you won’t get to hear me rave about this show week after week anymore? What should I watch next? I’m thinking maybe Gossip Girl?

Tell me… What’s up with you today?