On book propping…

Recently Corrine Jackson, awesome author and fellow Bookanista, shared this video by YA author/vlogger Daniel Marks. In it, he speaks about “book propping,” which, simply put, is giving tons of support to a particular book or books. Often the books that are “propped” are ones that were bought with large advances and have considerable budgets for promotion. These are books that don’t necessarily need a lot of word-of-mouth hype, but seem to get it anyway.

I’ll give you a few minutes to head over to You Tube to check out the video because Daniel explains it all far better (and more entertainingly) than I do…

Basically, Daniel is saying: Let’s prop up the fantastic books, the ones we truly love, but may not have tons of money or marketing behind them. Let’s prop up the quiet books, the hidden gems, the beautifully written stories that are full of wonderful characters, but, for whatever reason, lack big buzz.

While I read and review plenty of well-hyped books, I do my best to spread the love for my favorite not-so-buzzed about novels as well. In fact, some of my very favorite young adult books are ones that don’t get talked about nearly enough (in my opinion): Saving June, Lovely, Dark and Deep, Chime, MoonglassImpossible, Stolen, Something Like Normal, WanderloveHow to Save a Life, and The Summer I Turned Pretty, to name just a few.

So… check them out!

And won’t you join me in propping up books that are excellent, but are missing out on big-budget promotion? Let’s show publishers that we like literary diversity, and that we like to have lots of choices when we enter a bookstore. Let’s help the authors who write the stories we adore. Let’s recommend their books. Let’s talk about why we love them, and help them find their way into the hands of new readers. Let’s create that whirlwind of excitement Daniel spoke about!

What book will you “prop up” today?

On Insanity…

(This is one of those posts in which I attempt to make myself feel more normal by commiserating with all of you. Thanks in advance for humoring me. ♥♥♥)

By “the same thing over and over again,” I’m referring to revising and/or rewriting repeatedly with the goal of one day launching a publishing career.

So. I understand that with each completed draft I become a stronger writer. And that makes me SO happy. And I understand that publishing can be slow and frustrating and that there are no guarantees. I understand that not every writer becomes a published author, and I get that all writers experience moments of doubt and defeat. I have a well-researched, realistic view on the industry, and I realize that no matter how glamorous an author’s life may seem, no one has had an easy go of it. Writing is hard. Rejection is hard. Publishing is hard.

That being said, I  have a determined (stubborn?) streak that will not let me give up. I will continue to march toward my goal for as long as I am mentally capable of imagining and physically capable of typing. But…

Lately, when  family and friends (who are very sweet and well-meaning) ask me the dreaded, “Hey, when’s your book going to be published?” question, I have to suppress cringe. Because… I don’t know. I don’t know when my book’s going to be published. I don’t even know if this particular book will  see the light of day, ever. It’s kind of out of my hands at this point.

So, when asked that dreaded question, I end up answering with mumbles about an umpteenth revision, and then the family member or friend ends up giving me The Look. You probably know the one: It’s kind of confused and kind of piteous. Like, Oh, you cute girl (or bored housewife or crazy person). You must have such fun with your imaginary friends. Another revision, huh? How many revisions have you done on that book, anyway? When will the madness end? 

Yes. Yes, I am revising again. Yes, I know that probably sounds insane. Yes, sometimes I feel insane, and that sucks. But my story is better for it. And when my first book sells, trust that I will shout about it from the rooftops. In fact, you’ll probably be sick to death of hearing about it by the time the book ever sits on a bookstore shelf.

Until then, I’m going to embrace the insanity and continue to plug away, honing my craft, reading everything I can get my hands on, and just… writing.

Want to get in on my brand of crazy?

On tenacity…

My daughter, who inherited her less-than-impressive upper body strength from her mama, has been working for weeks to successfully cross the monkey bars on the playground at her school. You’d think the only thing she does all day at kindergarten is enjoy recess. Every night at dinner my husband and I get a little update on the monkey bar progress, and every night we encourage our girl to keep working at it, to build up her muscles (and callouses!).

Yesterday when I picked her up from school, my girlie was so excited to show me how close she was to making it all the way across: “Just a few bars from the end, Mommy!” I told her we’d film her efforts and send the video off to all her grandparents. Well, it just so happens that THIS was the time she conquered the monkey bars! (Man, am I glad I caught it on film!)


Two things about this video strike a major mommy-emotional chord. First, my daughter’s unrestrained joy and pride at having finally, after weeks and weeks of hard work, met her goal. And second, the way her adorable litte friend cheers her on, and is equally excited about her success. Reminds me of my CPs and betas and writing friends and blog followers, who are always in my corner.

And now I’m inspired to get back to writing so I can finally meet one of my goals.

When was the last time you were unexpectedly inspired?

I’m a (Re)Writer

The other day I read a fantastic piece written by YA author Jessica Spotswood entitled On Being a Slow, Inefficient, Imperfect Writer. Jessica talked a lot about comparing oneself to others and insecurities, specifically those writerly insecurities we all struggle with from time to time:

…I’ve still been sitting over here, judging myself for it. And it’s taken all the fun out of writing for me lately. If it’s not fun anymore, what the hell is the point?

Right?!

In the spirit of Jessica’s wisdom, I’d like to share a recent epiphany I’ve had about my writing:

I am a REwriter.

I have to write something (a sentence, a scene, a story) wrong at least once before I figure out how it should actually be written. Sometimes it takes two tries. Sometimes it takes ten. Let me tell you… Rewriting can be a frustrating experience for this perfectionist. But it’s a process – it’s my process – and even though it can be tedious and wearisome, it’s how I get to know my characters and their voices and their motivations and their goals. It’s how I get to know my story. I don’t think I could do it any other way.

So, instead of worrying that my process is abnormal or stressing about the eons of time I spend getting a manuscript just-so, I’m going to take Jessica’s advice and respect the process. I’m going to learn to be okay with where I am and how I do things. I’m going to have fun!

Tell me… What kind of writer are you?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve Recipes

So. 2012 was pretty fantastic, but I’m hoping 2013 will be bigger and better. What about you?

This time last year, I decided on RESOLVE as my Word of the Year (thanks again for the idea, Jessica Corra!). That little word went a long way in helping me achieve many of the goals I’d set for myself. I thought of resolve often, like early in the morning when I didn’t feel like getting up for a run, and late at night when my eyes were almost too tired to finish revising. Resolve helped get me through a lot, which is why I plan to keep it in mind this year as well.

While I’ll continue to live life with resolve, I’ve decided on a new word for 2013:

ACCEPTANCE

I’m very much a Type-A person. I like to have a plan, I like to be in control, and I like to make sure things get done. Seeing as how I’m an Army wife and I have inserted myself into the oh-so-unpredictable world of publishing, my Type-A-ish-ness often struggles. I wonder and worry and stress A LOT, which is why I’m going to try very hard to go with the flow in 2013. I will work as hard as I can and do everything in my power to find success, but I will also try to remember that sometimes, what will be just… IS. There is so much I cannot control (in publishing and in general), so I vow to do my best to accept life’s events as they come, and appreciate them for what they are.

Internal Acceptance Movement

For me, 2013 is about acceptance.

What will the New Year be about for you?

2012 in Review…

Last year I posted a 2011 Year in Review. Not only was it fun to share the highs and lows of my year with you all, it was also fun to look back on all that had happened over the previous twelve months.

So, of course I had to take some time to reflect on 2012. While I wasn’t successful in ALL of my goals, I did meet many. I had tons of fun with my family, I grew as a writer and reader, and I made some fantastic new friends along the way.  It’s been a busy year, full of changes, hard work, and lots of fun…

January

I blogged about goals, and decided on RESOLVE as my all-encompassing word for 2012. I also mused about the struggles of rewriting.

 I survived a winter storm that threatened my sanity.

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) The Fault in Our Stars
I started the year off reading and reviewing a couple of awesome books: A Million Suns by Beth Revis and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

At the end of the month, my girlie and I welcomed my husband home from  Afghanistan (yay!).

The DisenchantmentsI raved about another favorite of 2012, The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour.

February

I blogged about my preference for character-driven YA, and shared my Two-Minute Tension Test.

            
I celebrated Valentine’s Day with BOTH of my loves!

I turned thirty-one. No comment.

021I attended my husband’s Welcome Home Ball and had a *little* too much fun. 🙂

March

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)I read and reviewed another 2012 favorite: Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium.

I worked on a substantial revision of Where Poppies Bloom and resubmitted it to the agent I was working with at the time. (In case you’re wondering, I eventually came to the very difficult realization that Poppies isn’t going to sell the way it’s currently written. As of now, the story is “retired” and waiting for a rewrite that will hopefully come in 2013… Tough stuff.)

          
I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in Vancouver BC with my husband. Such a fun, beautiful city!

Saw The Hunger Games. Awesome!

I blogged about my on-again-off-again struggles with procrastination (and why it’s not always a bad thing).

April

successfully completed the A-Z  Blogging Challenge, which was so fun! Thank you again to all of the hosts and organizers!

I Rocked the Drop!


I met a few of my favorite authors (Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, and Stephanie Perkins) during the Seattle stop of the YA or Bust Tour.


I was invited to become an Operative over at YA Confidential. Love my fantastic new blogging buddies!

May


I participated in Blog Me MAYbe, brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person Sara McClung.

blogged about The Page Sixty-Nine Test, a writer’s trick I learned from clever author Gayle Forman.

         
We moved from Washington to central California, and made a big ol’ road trip out of the ordeal.

After we settled in to our new house, I shared a little bit about how I plot stories and write first drafts.

My husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary!

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)I read and recommended Veronica Rossi’s stunning debut, Under the Never Sky.


shared my miracle cures for writer’s block, and started tackling a major rewrite of my YA contemporary manuscript, Cross My Heart.

June

Amelia Anne is Dead and GoneOh, look! Another outstanding 2012 book: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfeld.

Around this time, I scored a few amazing new critique partners. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for Temre, Taryn, and Alison!

          
My cutie pie got her very first library card, and had quite the Marilyn moment.

July

I posted about “gap books” and committed to reading a few of mine (including The Book Thief), and brought the “One Space or Two” debate to my blog.

I read and gushed about Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, my VERY FAVORITE book of 2012!

I completed my Cross My Heart rewrite! 

            
My girlie and I made the loooong trip to Phoenix to visit my parents, my brother, and my cutie pie nephew.

My husband and I saw Brad Paisley and The Band Perry… Incredible!

August

        
I helped my sweet girl celebrate her fifth birthday

and watched as she headed off to kindergarten. Very bittersweet!

September

I tackled a frustrating revision of Cross My Heart, one that came with some bad-but-unrelated writing news. I threw myself a pity party, but that pain in the ass revision eventually made Cross My Heart what it is today.

This Is Not a TestI posted about yet another phenomenal 2012 release: This is Not a Test by the infinitely brilliant Courtney Summers.

Took a trip to Washington to visit family and see Tim McGraw(!).

I posted about taking a break and why it’s important, jumped on the “Currently…” bandwagon, blogged about how running parallels revising, and shared my take on Banned Books Week.

October

I visited an apple orchard with my girlie, and blogged about method writing (which, for me, involves A LOT of baking and running).

I talked about Cross My Heart, my “Next Big Thing,” and scored some awesomely encouraging comments in the process!

I wrote six words of advice for Teen Katy, which Erin L. Schneider combined with the advice of many other YA bloggers/writers into this amazing video.

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Perfectly creepy-weird. I couldn’t help but sing its praises!

I indulged my girlie and “dressed up” for Halloween. Little Miss Merida just LOVES this holiday!

November

I took a risk and signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time. The WiP I worked on is an upper YA contemporary romance. What else? 😉

        
I ran (and finished!) the Big Sur Half Marathon, meeting a goal I’d set for myself ages ago. I was exhausted at the end, yet so proud!

I blogged about all the things I’m thankful for

Saving June…and raved about another amazing book, Hannah Harrington’s Saving June (not released in 2012, but one of the best books I read this year).

In slightly less positive news, I parted ways with my former agent and began querying new agents. I didn’t blog about the ordeal until later, but this experience put a bit of a damper on an otherwise extraordinary month.

I WON National Novel Writing Month! (No matter that I haven’t touched the manuscript since November — I still love it! And, I plan on finishing the first draft and making in CP-worthy during the month of January.)

December

I accepted super-agent Victoria Marini’s offer of representation. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Victoria, and I look forward to seeing what the New Year brings in the way of manuscript submissions!

I got to go to Disneyland! Seriously. The happiest place on Earth.

I read and recommended yet another amazing 2012 book: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNarama. Love, love, love!

I celebrated my husband’s birthday WITH him for once. It was a fantastic day full of The Hobbit, Buffalo Wild Wings, and homemade birthday cake.


I co-hosted the Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest with  Jessica LoveTracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller. Such a great turn-out this year. My To-Read list grew about a mile!

And last but not least, I celebrated the holidays with my husband and this sweet girl, and took some time to reflect on the passing year.

Phew!

Tell Me: How was your 2012? What are your hopes for 2013?

Dear Teen Me…

We all have things we’d like to tell our teen selves (my list is miles long… Don’t worry about what other people think, Teen Katy!). Because of this, a group of young adult authors have compiled letters to their teen selves in a book called Dear Teen Me, published by Zest Books.

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves

From Goodreads: DEAR TEEN ME includes advice from over 70 YA authors (Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends—and a lot of familiar faces—in the course of Dear Teen Me.

To celebrate the launch of Dear Teen Me, lots of people have started writing letters to their teen selves. Some have also coming up with Dear Teen Me videos. I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in one that my talented friend Erin L. Schneider put together. It’s full of familiar faces and seriously awesome six-word advice, and it’s so, so well done! Please do take a few minutes to check it out: DEAR TEEN ME

What six words of advice would you give to your teen self?