Currently…

(I plan to do a “Currently…” post every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)

Currently

Loving

My most recent craft book purchase: The Emotion Thesaurus. ABC Family’s holiday movie marathon — here’s full the schedule! This recipe for Beer Mac-N-Cheese — the best homemade mac I’ve ever made. My new favorite pens: Pilot’s FriXion Point Erasable Gel Pens. And the beautiful #SipSwap mug (and super thoughtful extras!) sent to me by Laura Marcella.

Reading

Over the long weekend I read Sloth, an adult novel by Ella James. It was intense, and very good (I reviewed it HERE). Now, I’m reading Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road. It’s as excellent as its cover implies. (Don’t forget to peruse my November Reading Wrap-Up HERE.)

Watching

Mockingjay – Part 2, finally. Overall, I think The Hunger Games movies are an excellent adaptation of the book series. Jennifer Lawrence is a goddess, and the films are visually stunning. Also, Effie and Haymitch? I buy it…

Listening To

I’ve been listening to my Kissing Max Holden playlist in the car a lot lately (driving my daughter nuts in the process). It’s full of awesome country music, plus a few fun poppy numbers, and includes songs by Taylor Swift, Johnny Cash, Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, The Band Perry, Echo Smith, Dolly Parton, and Zac Brown Band, among others.

Thinking About

Some of my most anticipated 2016 YA releases…

Anticipating

The holidays! We’ve decorated our house; it looks lovely and festive. Now I need to get my shop on. My dad and my father-in-law are always the most difficult to buy for… Any gift recommendations for men in their early sixties?

Wishing

You’ll check out my post about how you can help support a fantastic literary event aimed at middle schoolers: Cavalcade of Authors West. It promotes Pacific Northwest YA and MG authors while introducing kids to a variety of genres and subject matter and promoting reading and writing within the community. And in case you didn’t know, today’s Giving Tuesday — the perfect day to donate to worthy causes. Click to support to Cavalcade of Authors West

Making Me Happy

The long holiday weekend, which is exactly what I needed to recharge for another week of substitute teaching.

What’s currently making YOU happy?

Currently…

(I plan to do a “Currently…” post every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)

Currently

Loving

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.

Reading

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!

Watching

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.

Anticipating

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. 🙂

Wishing

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?

Currently…

(I plan to do a “Currently…” post every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)

Currently

Loving

My new Nikes, which I’ve been eyeing for months. Chestnut Praline Lattes with coconut milk, ’cause everything’s better with coconut milk. Erin Condren notebooks — since I’m going with an InkWell Press Planner in 2016 (!!!), I used my stockpile of EC credits to score a notebook and several dividers, and I’m going to use it to record family recipes. Finally, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting — so yummy!

Reading

I recently finished Violent Ends, an anthology about a school shooting which totally blew me away. Find my review and an opportunity to win a copy of your own HERE. Last night I finished The Game Plan by Kristin Callihan, the recently released third book in her Game On series, which I’m kind of obsessed with. A smutty good time. 😉 Now I’m reading Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers, which is excellent so far.

 

Watching

Parks and Recreation. Sitcoms aren’t usually my thing, but this one… I’ve been watching compulsively, and ~literally~ every episode makes me laugh. Plus, they’re short, easy to fit in while I’m folding laundry or cleaning a bathroom. (My life is so glam.)

Listening To

I 💜 Echosmith!

Thinking About

My WiP, a contemporary YA set in Northern Virginia/DC. It’s been extra fun to draft because I’ve taken myself on a few field trips to visit some of the locations where scenes are set. For example, the Washington National Cathedral, which is gorgeous. My WiP’s hovering right around 30K, and I’m currently brainstorming fun and unexpected ways to move it forward. 
Anticipating

November 15th, the last day readers can leave ratings and comments on their favorite Swoon Reads stories to help give them a shot at publication. After the 15th, Swoon Reads editors will start reading and considering… All the nerves! (Find my story, Kissing Max Holden, HERE.)

Related… A reader at Swoon Reads recently left the loveliest comment on Kissing Max Holden — totally made my day. An excerpt from her review: This seems like it wasn’t written to impress anyone. No ego in it – just humanity in all its joyous and shattering pieces.

Wishing

That I could relive this night! I met Judy Blume, guys, and she was wonderful. So sweet and enthusiastic and encouraging and inspirational. She was exactly the woman I’ve imagined over the nearly thirty years that I’ve been a fan. ❤

 

Making Me Happy

Sip Swap is approaching! I’ve signed up for this super fun writers’ mug exchange hosted by Kelsey Macke and Jessica Love — have you?!

What’s currently making YOU happy?

Currently…

(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.)

Currently

Loving

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!

Reading

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.

Watching

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 blasé 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.

Anticipating

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. 🍁🍂

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

Wishing

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?

RSW – Update 10

RSW9

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 with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and myself.

SUPER IMPORTANT REMINDER –> The last week of Ready. Set. Write! (8-24 – 8-31) we’ll be holding a fun virtual event called Manuscripts and Manicures. We’ll each be painting our nails in a way that reflects our current WiP, then posting a photo of our manicure creations. So, get inspired, and maybe treat yourself to a new bottle of nail polish! 🙂

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

1.1a.  Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end. –> Success!
1b. Revise The Road So Far. –> Success! 

No progress on my new WiP, but I did incorporate lots of beta notes into The Road So Far. Hoping to finish up with that in the coming week.

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end. –> In progress. This week I read books ten and eleven: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica, and Play On my Michelle Smith.

3. Get stronger. –> In progress. I elliptical-ed two times and practiced yoga three times.

4. Explore a new place each week. –> Success! My girlie and I met up with some old friends (a couple of families from the kindergarten class she was in three years ago when we lived in Monterey) at the National Building Museum. They construct a new, limited-time exhibit each summer, and this year’s attraction is The Beach, which is basically a gigantic, white ball pit. It’s really cool!

5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. –> In progress. I’m working on #17 as I draft my WiP, and thinking about picking up a 500 piece puzzle to work on with my daughter in these final weeks of summer.

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

Finish applying beta notes to The Road So Far, and send the manuscript off to my agent. Read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Keep up my exercise routine. Buy a puzzle. Shop for school clothes with my girlie.

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

My arms go around her and her head finds its place, the spot where my shoulder and neck fuse, and even though we’ve fixed nothing, we fit together like two pieces of wood in a dovetail joint. We’re better like this. Stronger.

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

Gilmore Girls. I’m watching the series for the first time, and I’ve got very little self-control when it comes to binging episodes. So good!

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

I feel like I’ve used this answer before, but the romance. It’s what keeps me motivated and inspired. ❤

Are you participating in RSW? 
Don’t forget to link to your update below.

In other news… Big congrats to Crystal Schubert, lucky winner of last week’s Ready. Set. Write! prize package!

This week we’re offering our final giveaway — a writer’s care package assembled by… me!

Giveaway

My package includes: “If You Obey All the Rules You Miss All the Fun” journal, floral mini sticky note pad, lined floral note pad, Jelly Bellies, starry pencil pouch, Honey Pear hand cream, Lavender Lemonade candle, peppermint mints, various washi tapes, Eos Strawberry Sorbet lip balm, writerly quote pencils, Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea, and Twizzlers.

Giveaway open internationally, to RSW participants only.
To enter, click the link below!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

RSW – Update 6

RSW2

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 with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and myself.

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

1.  Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end. –> Success! I’ve reached 30K in my messy, confusing, crazy-making story. And now I’m going to put it aside for further reflection. I need to work some stuff out, and I’m thinking I need distance to do so. But summer’s only half over, you’re probably thinking, and that’s true. Which means it’s time for a new goal…

Revise The Road So Far, the story I drafted during last summer’s RSW. It’s been hanging out in MS purgatory ever since, and it’s in desperate need of attention. Also, it’s my favorite of all the things I’ve ever written, so I’m excited!

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end. –> In progress. I’m working my way through my fifth book of the summer, Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything, which is wonderful so far. (I need to pick up my pace to reach this goal!)

3. Get stronger. –> In progress. I ran twice and practiced yoga three times.

4. Explore a new place each week. –> Success! We visited Mount Vernon, George Washington’s beautiful historical estate. The house’s exterior was a mess of scaffolding thanks to a roof replacement project so no pictures, but here’s my girl at one of the farmsteads on the property.

5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. –> In progress. My weird0 WiP will fulfill #17 (if I ever finish it!). And I’m planting an herb garden this week — for realz!

* Stretch Goals: Success! I wanted to journal every day last week, and I did. I also wanted to see Taylor Swift, which I did. My girl and I road the train into D.C. to watch her perform. She was predictably amazing, and we had the BEST time!

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

Make The Road So Far work. Finish Saint Anything and start A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij. Cardio twice, yoga three times. Continue journaling. Plant an herb garden.

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

“She’s after Colby,” Antonia says, tugging on her swimsuit’s straps. “She had breakfast duty with us this morning and you should’ve seen the way she was flirting with him. It was wildly inappropriate, and I was right there. So were two hundred guests, all trying to digest their omelets while watching Gretchen hump my boyfriend’s leg.”

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

Figuring out how to turn The Road So Far, which was written as a sequel, into a novel that stands all on its own. Way harder than I anticipated.

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

Tricky as it is, it’s been really fun to think about The Road So Far again. I adore its characters, and I think road trips are pretty much the greatest.

In other news…

Big congrats to Liz Parker, lucky winner of last week’s Ready. Set. Write! prize package. More giveaways coming in August… Keep working hard and linking to your RSW posts so you’ll be eligible to win!

Are you participating in RSW?
Don’t forget to link to your update below.

RSW – Update 5

RSW9

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 with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and myself.

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

1.  Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end. –> In progress. This week I wrote 5,490 words, putting my WiP at a grand total of 28,962 words.

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end. –> In progress. I read Robin Benway’s Emmy & Oliver, and Trish Doller’s The Devil You Know. Highly recommend them both!

 

3. Get stronger. –> In progress. I ran twice and practiced yoga three times.

4. Explore a new place each week. –> Success! We kayaked in the Occoquan River, which was lovely. My husband and daughter also went on a West Virginia camping trip, but I stayed home because camping… ick.

5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. –> In progress. I’m working on #17 as I draft my WiP. Also, I think I’m going to plant an herb garden in the next week or two.

* Stretch Goals: Organize our basement and get a library card. –> Success!

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

Write at least 2,500 new words. Read Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything. Run twice, and practice yoga three times. Journal every day. GO TOMORROW NIGHT’S TAYLOR SWIFT CONCERT!

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

I’m not tired; I’m buzzing. I remember last night, how safe I felt in his arms, how my skin tingled beneath his fingertips, how my heart sought the rhythm of his pulse and matched it beat for beat.

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

Writing-wise, the last week has been productive. I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but I haven’t hit any real snags. Weird.

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

I’ve decided to incorporate these little backstory vignettes into my manuscript. They come every few chapters, they’re each only about 300 words, and they’re written in 3rd person, while the rest of the story is written in 1st person. Too soon to say if they’re working, but for now I’m kind of loving them.

Are you participating in RSW? 
Don’t forget to link to your update below.

In other news… Big congrats to Susan Crispell, lucky winner of last week’s Ready. Set. Write! prize package!

This week we’re offering our second giveaway — a fantastic writer’s care package assembled by Elodie

giveaway 2

Elodie’s package includes: a mini “Believe in Yourself” gallery, a to-do note pad, Twizzlers Bites, Ritter Sport Chocolate, a “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost” notebook, stars stickers, and nail files.

Giveaway open internationally, to RSW participants only.
To enter, click the link below!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway