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? 

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. Here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner which, so far, is just as fabulous as their co-written debut, These Broken Stars. I haven’t had tons of time to read lately, but each and every one of my spare moments are being spent with Flynn and Jubilee.

 

What I’m Writing: I’m slowly cleaning up my NaNo project and prepping to write its climax and conclusion, which I *think* I’ve finally figured it out. Additionally, I spent a few days reading and offering feedback on Riley Edgewood‘s super hot, super amazing upcoming contemporary NA. I wish I could give you hints as to all of this story’s awesomeness, but let’s just say, it’s very much a Katy Book, and I loved it.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Trying to get back into a routine now that my husband’s back to work and my daughter’s back to school. Plus…


I participated in the YA Buccaneers‘s #12DaysOfBooks photo challenge and made some new Instagram buddies along the way. Above are two of my favorite photo prompts (with assistance from Daphne): “Bookcase” and “Spine Poetry” (mine reads: if i stay / through the ever night / what’s left of me / cracked up to be / something like normal / forever…). Thanks for hosting, Buccaneers!


My husband, daughter, and I spent a day exploring downtown Pensacola. We walked a ton, hit up a history museum, ate amazing burgers (and drank a spiked Almond Joy milkshake), and watched a professional hockey game.

  
I’ve been playing with minimalism and candy-colored photos on Instagram, which is all sorts of fun. I first learned about the look on the IG feed of blogger extraordinaire Fat Mum Slim (Chantelle), who talks about #CandyMinimal HERE. She was inspired by photographer Matt Crump, whose IG feed is gorgeous. He gives a fantastic candy-colored editing tutorial HERE.

What Works For Me: Writing has been sporadic over the last few weeks, but my girl’s back to school and my husband’s leave is over and I’m trying to buckle down. That means butt in chair and accounta-buddies, plus the knowledge that if my MS-on-sub doesn’t sell, I’ll be far less depressed if I have something shiny and new to present to my agent (don’t ask how I know this). My WiP, which is tragically ending-less, inspires me too. After all the work and heart I’ve put into it, it deserves a conclusion!

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…

What I’m Reading: I finished The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski and loved it SO MUCH. Amazing world-building, and a super-swoonworthy slow-burn forbidden romance. I also read Caroline Tung Richmond’s debut, The Only Thing To Fear, a reimagining of the outcome of WW combined with some genetically modified people with X-Men-esue super powers — it was excellent! Now, I’m reading Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award winning historical verse story. It’s beautiful so far.

  

What I’m Writing: I’ve been revising my road trip book, The Road So Far, according to notes from my amazing CPs. They have helped me SO MUCH and I am endlessly grateful. I sent the manuscript off to my agent yesterday, so we’ll see what she thinks. *crosses fingers* Now, I’m back to drafting the end my NaNo story, Stars Like Dust. Hoping to finish by the end of the month.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: All the holiday prep…

I baked my husband’s favorite Christmas treat, Mexican Wedding Cookies

  

And made a Christmas craft, Cinnamon Star Garland

And addressed Christmas cards with my little elf. ❤

What Works For Me: Amazing published novels as inspiration. Luckily, 2014 has been full of exceptional reads! Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and I are celebrating with our 4th annual YA Superlatives Blogfest, a fun and interactive way to highlight our favorite books published during the last year. The blogfest begins Monday, December 15th and runs through Thursday, December 18th. We hope you’ll join us!

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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…

What I’m Reading: I finished Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, and loved it so, so much! I chatted about it (and all of my November reads) in Monday’s Reading Wrap-Up post. I also read Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, a fabulous contemporary NA. Loved the musical component, and a particular element of diversity (no spoilers!) I haven’t seen represented much in literature. Also, it *almost* made me cry, which is extremely rare. Yesterday, I started The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. While fantasy is not my genre of choice, this one’s been too highly praised to pass up. It’s excellent so far! 

What I’m Writing: I took a writing break after winning National Novel Writing Month (!!!) last week. I didn’t even open my laptop over the long Thanksgiving weekend, which was a very nice recharge. Though I still need to finish the last 10K or so of my NaNo story (I shared its Love List last week), I’m putting it on the back-burner to work on a CP-recommended revision of my WiP The Road So Far. I’m so happy to be back with this story and these characters! 

What Else I’ve Been Up To: All the holiday things! Baking, buying, wrapping, mailing, decorating… It’s been a busy week…

  
I had a lovely Thanksgiving with my little family, and I made a super yummy Chocolate Pecan Pie, among many other goodies. So many leftovers! 


Last year we moved over the holidays so we didn’t get to put up any of our holiday decorations. It’s been wonderful to trim the tree and hang stockings in a house this year. My daughter is beside herself with excitement! 

What Works For Me: Perseverance, which for me, is all about shutting down the voices of uncertainty that are constantly chattering in my head. The only way I know how to do that is to continue to push on, writing-writing-writing, even when it feels like there’s no point. The busier I am, the less time I have for second-guessing. *Curious: How do you quiet the doubt monsters?

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…

What I’m Reading: I finished Losing It by Cora Carmack and thought it was a fun read. Perhaps not my favorite of all the NA I’ve encountered, but some trusted sources tell me her All Lined Up is excellent, so maybe I’ll try that one sometime. Now, I’m reading Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, a series of lovely, interconnected short stories about delightful people (so far). This one’s a contemp written in 3rd person which, when done well, I love. Luckily, this one is done VERY well. Plus it’s about a road trip, and road trip books are my jam.

What I’m Writing: Still NaNo-ing, and I’m getting SO CLOSE! Hoping to finish today (before Thanksgiving) so pardon me if WUW comments go unresponded to for now. I will get to them ASAP. Goal: Win NaNoWriMo!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Other than tons of writing, I’ve been doing Thanksgiving prep. We’re having a quiet meal at home (with Seahawks football!), but the many foods Thanksgiving are my husband’s favorite, so there’s a lot of cooking in my immediate future. He deals with the disgusting turkey carcass, and I do everything else. Fair trade! 🙂

 
This little lovely has had all week off from school, so we’ve been hanging out plenty. Lots of coloring and puzzles and books and shopping.


I received the most EXCELLENT package from my #SipSwap buddy, Sarah Marsh, who is so generous and kind, and obviously has amazing taste in Harry Potter commodities. Plus, Chocolate Strawberry Tea, friends. So yummy!

What Works For Me: I spent all month making my way through Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and I found it incredibly inspiring — especially in the midst of the all the NaNo craziness. He’s so real and frank about his process and the industry and his past, plus he’s drily funny, which I dig. I highly recommend On Writing if you’ve yet to read it. What’s your favorite craft/writing/creativity-focused book?

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…

What I’m Reading: I finished Loop by Karen Akins and enjoyed it so much. I literally laughed out loud several times (a rarity), plus this one had awesome pacing and a super cute boy. Win! Now I’m reading Losing It by Cora Carmack which is funny and sexy and full of sassy voice. I can see why it’s so popular!

What I’m Writing: Oh, hey, remember when I signed up for National Novel Writing Month? No? Well, that’s probably because I joined the fun spur-of-the-moment on November 8th. (That’s right.) I mostly signed up because I was stressed about a lot other stuff, and I figured NaNo would be an awesome way to heap some different stress on my plate, therefore taking my mind off the original stress. See how that works? Anyway. I caught up last week, which was an amazing feeling, and now I’m on track to win and (since I started NaNo-ing with Stars Like Dust, a project I was already about 15K into) finish my first draft around the same time. So, yeah, I’ve been writing A LOT, and it’s so satisfying because even though my story is all kinds of messy at the moment, I love it.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Uh, freezing my butt off, for starters. Have I mentioned how much I hate being cold? I preheat my bed every night with a super-powered electric blanket, for example, and I complain (a lot) when the temperature dips below fifty-five, which it has often lately. Brrr…


My daughter, on the other hand, is loving the cold because she gets to wear her new “puffer” jacket out and about. Silver lining, I guess. And my silver lining? Chestnut Praline Lattes from Starbucks. Yum!

  
And can we talk about how cute Daphne’s been lately?

What Works For Me: I’ve talked about music before, but not this specific aspect of how I apply it to writing: Often, when I’m trying to draft but feel distracted and/or uninspired, I put on headphones and blast my WiP theme song(s) on repeat. The familiar lyrics and melodies help me find my writing flow (it’s pretty much a Pavlovian response now), and turning it up loud almost makes it white noise, which drowns out all of the nonsense swirling in my head (and house). For my NaNo WiP, my go-to songs are Shakira’s “Empire” and Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods.” Do you listen to music when you write? 

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

168cd-wuwautumn

“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 Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, and it was predictably awesome. I have such a book crush on Gansey, and I love that we saw a more vulnerable side of him in this installment. I adore these characters and this world (man… it is so deep), and I cannot wait to read the fourth and final book! Now, I’m reading Loop by Karen Akins, which is a super fun time-travel novel. It’s making my morning elliptical workouts fly by.

What I’m Writing: I’ve cleared 31K on my WiP, which is sort of exciting and sort of scary. I have a basic idea of how the story is going to end, but I still haven’t done much plotting or mapping of how I’m going to get there. Yikes. But… I *think* things are moving along okay. I’ve got a protagonist who I adore. I’ve got a cute, swoony boy. I’ve got a lovely setting. I’ve got tension. And, I’ve got kissing (finally!). What more does a story need? 😉

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Over the weekend we went horseback riding and it was so much fun! I love horses (not horse books, though — go figure) and we got to explore some gorgeous trails. Cannot wait to do it again!

  
My horse’s name was Thriller, my girl rode Dusty, and my husband rode a badass black war horse named HoHo.


Last week I made Stromboli, which was much easier than it looks, and very tasty. We ate the whole thing in one sitting — yum!


I’ve been making all kinds of WiP notes in the gorgeous journal my CP, Alison, sent me. The title of the manuscript I’m working on (Stars Like Dust) is borrowed from a Rumi poem, and he’s significant to the story for lots of other reasons. So, new journal = most thoughtful gift EVER. ❤

What Works For Me: Inspiration in its many forms. The Rumi journal I mentioned above. The lyrics of Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woodswhich play into my WiP pretty damn perfectly (I’ve been listening to it on repeat while I draft), and this excerpt from Stephen King’s On Writing

Who doesn’t want to be emotionally flattened by an amazing book? That’s why I read, and it’s my goal when I write. Curious: What’s the last story to sweep you away? (For me, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and When Joss Met Matt — recommend!)

So… What’s up with you today?