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: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and and Siobhan Vivian, which I’m loving (no surprise — I’m a huge fan of both authors). I’m also beta reading for Jennifer Pickrell. Her contemporary YA has been delightful so far.

What I’m Writing: Now that my Where Poppies Bloom revision is complete, I’m back to working on my road trip manuscript, The Road So Far. Normally I much prefer revising to drafting, but after the challenges Poppies presented, I am more than happy to be pounding out new words. More about it all HERE.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve skipped the last few What’s Up Wednesdays because things have been crazy with family and revisions and life, but I’m happy to be back. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy…

   
We spent Independence Day at the (insanely crowded) beach with my parents, Nana and Poppy, and then we met up with my brother and his girlfriend for BBQ and chocolate cake.


We had tons of fun hanging with Nana and Poppy in humid Florida for a week. 🙂

   
I spent last week shuttling my girlie to and from Zoo Camp, which she loved. (Win-win for Mama, who had tons of extra revising time!)


And, we’ve been taking advantage of Destin’s shopping, restaurants, and beautiful sunsets.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Author Sara Zarr‘s “This Creative Life” podcast. I’m new to podcasts (if you have any recs, please do leave them in the comments!), but I’ve been catching up with this one obsessively. It’s awesome because it’s about as close as I’ll ever get to having a National Book Award finalist as a personal mentor. Sara is so wise and gracious and real, and I’ve learned so much from her and her guests (Stephanie Perkins, Nina LaCour, Siobhan Vivian, Nova Ren Suma, Sarah Dessen and Bennet Madison, to name a few). The conversations she has about creativity and balance and why/how/when creative people do what they do make me feel so… normal. And inspired. And like part of a community. All of the anxiety and doubt and fear and joy that’ve bounced around in my head as I try (and try and try) to get published are pretty standard, it seems. If you’ve yet to give “This Creative Life” a listen, I highly recommend it.  

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

RSW Update 5

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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… YES! I am d-o-n-e with the overhaul of my beloved Where Poppies Bloom. It’s now in the talented and capable hands of CP Alison, and I’m very much looking forward to her feedback.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. It’s been a few weeks since I worked on this project, so I reread some of my favorite scenes and prepared to dive back in.

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers. It’s a little bit Silence of the Lambs and a little bit Dexter written in a fantastic 3rd person teen perspective, and it is fAnTaStIc.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES! We finished Sara Mylnowski’s Sink or Swim and we started The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. 

5. Maintain my tan… YES! I mowed our enormous lawn. Kind of boring, but at least I got my vitamin D fix.

* My goal(s) for this week.

Write every day. My Where Poppies Bloom revision stressed me to the point of a breakout, and I need to not feel the I-should-be-working! pressure for a week or two in order to replenish my creative well. I’m not taking a break, but I am not going to kill myself in the name of word count, either. Plus, Zoo Camp’s done, so… Write every day — that’s my goal.

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

Sometimes my personal obsessions find their way into my stories…

       Tucker has a thing for Jelly Bellies, if the huge mixed bag he bought from a local sweet shop during our walk through Bell Cove is any indication. Now, we’re sitting on a weathered bench in the town center and he’s schooling me on flavor combinations, like a lemon eaten with a coconut, which taste just like lemon meringue pie, and I’m laughing because he’s weirdly fanatical about his jellies. He’s already picked out all the black licorice beans because they’re “foul” and he “refuses to subject” me to them.

       “Try this one.” He passes me a crimson bean and then a white one with tiny black speckles. “Strawberry jam and French vanilla.”

       I chew discerningly. “Um… strawberry shortcake?”

       He grins like I’ve spouted an ingenious solution to the nation’s debt crisis.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Burn out. In order to finish my Poppies revision, I had to work on it every spare second. I haven’t watched Gossip Girl in weeks! I still love my story, but I’m excited about setting it aside for a while. We need some time apart. 🙂

* Something I love about my WiP. 

Ha! That it’s done! In celebration, a gratuitous mama/daughter pic…

In other news… July is the month of RSW giveaways! 
Congrats to last week’s winner… Stephanie Scott

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!

This week, Jaime’s giving away a fantastic package including a notebook (Joan of Arc quote FTW!), a Things To Do notepad, a pocket/purse notepad, Post-It notes, flags, tea scented erasers (mmm!), bunny-shaped paper clips (cute!), a multi-colored pen, Essie nail polish in “Watermelon” (totally summer appropriate, don’t you think?), pomegranate mint gum, and Swedish berries.

Jaime's Package

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 4

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 YA, Where Poppies Bloom… IN PROGRESS. I’d been hoping to be done by now, but still… nope. I revised ten scenes this week, and I have twelve left to go.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I didn’t work on this project at all last week. Poppies has to be my priority now, but I can’t wait to get back to this one!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Amy Christine Parker’s Gated, a seriously creepy contemporary about life in a cult.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES! We’re working on one of Sara Mylnowski’s Whatever After books, and my girl read a chapter book on her own, one from the Baby-Sitters Little Sisters series.

5. Maintain my tan… YES! My family and I went to the beach on Independence Day and spent all morning in the sun.

* My goal(s) for this week.

Finish my Where Poppies Bloom revision. Send it to Alison. 🙂

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

The first line from Where Poppies Bloom

I never used to be the type of girl who hotboxes her bathroom.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

I had family in town all week which was awesome, and of course I wanted to spend my time doing fun things with them. Revisions took a backseat, but I’m back at them now. My girlie’s going to Zoo Camp this week (!), so I’ll have every day from 9-3 to work, work, work.

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I kind of want to strangle my WiP right now, so… I baked Danish Puff and Texas Chocolate Cake. I love these desserts more than anything I’ve written lately.

In other news… July is the month of RSW giveaways! 

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

This week, Erin’s giving away an adorable package including a journal, to-do notepad, mug, 2 kinds of tea (in the gold bag: wild cherry & chai chilli pepper), tea filters, rainbow pens, sticky tabs, Post-its, paperclips, Tic Tacs, and gum.

Erin's Pic

Enter to win here: A Rafflecopter giveaway!

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 3

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 YA, Where Poppies Bloom… Still IN PROGRESS. I’d been hoping to be done by now, but… nope. This revision is proving to be much trickier than I’d originally assumed. (Surprise, surprise.) I did revise twelve scenes, and I’m really happy with how they turned out. So… Yay?

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. Ugh. I’d hoped to add at least 5K new words, but I didn’t work on this project at all last week. *womp womp*

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I finished Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters, and I read Elizabeth Brigg’s More Than Music, a fantastic just-released NA full of music and steam and swoon.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES. We’re still working on one of Sara Mylnowski’s Whatever After books, but my girl read a couple of books with my mom over the last week, so… Success!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! I read (and slept) at the beach on Saturday.

* My goal(s) for this week.

Keep on keeping on with Where Poppies Bloom. It’s my priority this week. Hopefully I’ll have time to add something new to The Road So Far too.

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

In honor of Independence Day…

The explosions of color are gorgeous, vibrant pinwheels of pink, yellow, and blue. I’m mesmerized. When the air cools, Tucker wraps his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into his warmth. I tear my attention from the sky to look up at him; his eyes are starbursts reflected in pale, pale green. They disappear as his lids fall closed, as he leans down and presses his mouth to mine. 

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Laziness. I worked hard and often, but there were a few instances when naps proved more appealing than revising. Like at the beach on Saturday, for instance. Luckily I had Daphne to cheer me on.

* Something I love about my WiP. 

The romance. Still. I’m at this particular place in Where Poppies Bloom where things are really good for the MC and her love interest, so that’s fun.

How did RSW go for you this week? 

RSW Update 2

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 YA, Where Poppies Bloom… IN PROGRESS. I revised seven scenes.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I wrote about 4K new words.

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… IN PROGRESS. I’m reading Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters. It is epic and looooong. What I’ve read so far is probably equivalent to one average-lengthed YA. 🙂

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS. We’re working on one of Sara Mylnowski’s Whatever After books.

5. Maintain my tan… YES! I’ve spent most of the last week poolside at my parents house in Phoenix. #HappyPlace

* My goal(s) for this week.

I have BIG goals because I’ll have A LOT of Katy Time over the next week. Specifically, I hope to finish my revision and begin a read-through of Where Poppies Bloom, as well as add at least 5K to The Road So Far.

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

From Where Poppies Bloom

I’m not sure what to do with this information, but my heart’s skipping around in my chest, joyfully, and Tucker’s passing me the kitten and I’m accepting it like I’m prepared, like people gift me living, breathing creatures all the time. The kitten’s little body is warm and delicate, and I snuggle him against my chest, a mixture of gratitude and confusion and elation making soup of my thoughts. 

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

I’ve been hanging out with my daughter and parents all week and we’ve been doing lots of fun things that don’t involve reading or writing. I think that’s okay though, because I rarely see my parents and family is so important. My reading and writing goals will be waiting for me after this trip, which ends tomorrow. 😦

* Something I love about my WiP. 

Both of my WiPs are set in the same world and follow the same two main characters, Callie and Tucker. My very favorite thing about their stories is their romance. They have all sorts of issues, but they’re still incredibly respectful and supportive of each other, and they have great chemistry (I think!). I love to see relationships like that in YA.

How did RSW go for you this week? 

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?