The Evolution of Emily Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to be a part of my friend Kate Scott’s cover reveal for her upcoming book THE EVOLUTION OF EMILY! Are you ready for it? Because it’s an awesome cover:

EoE_CoverI really enjoyed Kate’s debut novel, COUNTING TO D, but I loved THE EVOLUTION OF EMILY. I had the great pleasure of beta reading two drafts, and I’m so excited to read the final version. The characters are wonderful, as always, and Emily’s story is one everyone can relate to. Here’s the blurb:

Emily Charles knows how to run away. Away from her overprotective, agoraphobic mother. Away from her biology-obsessed, autistic sister. Away from her quiet sheltered claustrophobic homeschooled life. When Emily’s escape plan involves starting her junior year at Kennedy High School, she realizes she’s no longer running away. Now she’s running towards. Towards her quiet thoughtful cross-country teammate, August. Towards her zany enthusiastic lab partner, Miles. Towards friendship, love, independence, and life.

Thanks to her sister’s special interest in biology, Emily knows all about the birds and the bees. Boys are a lot more confusing!

Readers who enjoyed Counting to D will enjoy Scott’s second title, also set at Kennedy High School.

The book comes out in November, so get ready! Click here to go to the Goodreads page for the book.

EoE_Social_Media_Promos

WUW: July is hot

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

Actually, nothing. *gasp!* I finished Shadow and Bone on July 4th, and I haven’t started anything since then. And it just now hit me. WEIRD. We’re reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies for book club and this is one I really want to own so I plan on buying it. And, naturally, didn’t find the time to get to the book store last week because my sister came to play! And we were very, very lazy. So lazy, in fact, that I did no writing, but she and I had lots of brainstorming sessions which was very helpful.  We have more house guests coming tomorrow for the night, then more on Friday for a few days. So, I probably won’t get a ton of reading done in that time either. Goodness! But after that, my life will calm down and the reading and writing time will be mine! YESSSS.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m (finally) officially into this round of revisions. With my last draft, I moved my scenes around and then went through chapter-by-chapter, but this time I think it will work better to move them as I go. I edited Chapter Two yesterday (over 1500 new words! woot!) and today will be spent moving scenes around … which I’m not looking forward to because that might be the hardest part of revisions for me. It’s worth it, but sooooo much work. So, wish me luck!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

So, I was feeling really discouraged. Wanting to work on THROUGH CLOUDED EYES (aka the book of my heart) and wondering if all this work will be worth it in the end. And then I had this random idea.

See this image?

firehead

[via]

I shared it once in a blog post, and a friend who is familiar with the story said it would make a great cover for my book.

She’s right, of course. So, in a random moment, I made that image the wallpaper for my phone’s lock screen.

And that was an awesome decision. Because every time I turn on my phone screen (which is dozens of times a day, sadly) I see it and get excited and inspired and very motivated.

I highly recommend it.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Well, we went to Breckenridge, CO, for the 4th and It. Was. Awesome. I didn’t want to come back, but I kinda did because the next day my sister came to visit! She stayed with us for a full week and there was much eating and hanging out and swimming and napping. I also got a cold, which was a bummer. And, as I said above, we have a series of house guests in the next week and I’m tired just thinking about it. But I’m determined to revise five chapters this week (despite spending two days on one chapter). I will prevail!

How about you, dear friends? How is your writing going? Reading anything fabulous? Do tell.

 

WUW: My Character Bloghop!

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

whatsupyoWHAT I’M READING

So, the day after I said I was enjoying The Devil’s Highway I stopped reading it. On page 55. Why? Well, it was technically written very well and the topic was interesting and I know next to nothing about it (illegal immigration through the Sonoran Desert) but it was So. Stinking. Dry. I was reading while making rice pudding and had to put it down to finish the pudding, and when it came time to pick it back up, I just couldn’t. I literally cringed thinking about reading on. And then I had an epiphany about why I love YA so much–it’s all about the feels, and I am allll about the feels, man. So if something has no emotion in it, I’m done.

So now I’m reading Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I’m really excited about this one–it’s been on my TBR since it came out. High fantasy? Yes please. YA high fantasy? Mos def! YA high fantasy that’s not Medieval Western European based? Hells yes! I’m halfway through and loving the Russian-ness.

WHAT I’M WRITING

Jaime did the My Character Bloghop and tagged whoever wants to do it, so I considered myself tagged! Iwill now share 5 things about my main character.

1. She has had three names through the life of this story. Violet/Vi then Melia/Lia and now Elitsa/Elle. I’m so in love with Elitsa. It fits her beautifully. I needed something that sounded ancient but not too exotic. Bonus points for it lending well to a nickname because Elle is a nickname type of girl.

2. Elle has an eye on a career in public service and is active in model United Nations. In fact, during the book she’s in a prestigious model UN workshop at NYU.

3. She thinks she’s losing her mind at the beginning of the book when she starts having memories of the past, but not her past if you know what I mean. Think WWII, the French Revolution, and even ancient Egypt.

4. She’s modeled partly after Leslie Knope–I was very inspired by Leslie’s optimism and steam rolling. ^_^

5. She recently dated her brother’s best friend, unbeknownst to said brother. She also just might date him in the future … tsk tsk!

Here’s Elle (though her eyes are a brighter blue and not quite so big)! I love this girl, and good thing since I’ve been living with her for 5 years now.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Reading YA! It’s become such a fuel to my fire for publication. Especially since I’ve had several moments of Maybe I should give up on this book since this draft will be another big one. But I know it has a good shot and reading other YA novels keeps me hungry.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

On Thursday Turbo tripped at the park and chipped and cracked his tooth. So badly, in fact, they had to pull it. The top front left one, so it’s really noticeable. It was a sad day and his smile won’t be the same for several years, but I think I’m getting used to it. He got over it pretty fast–he’s such a trooper!

We’ve made more progress on the backyard! The Mister put in French doors onto our new patio while I was gone, and he finished up the last of the trim work last night. It looks awesome and I love all the light the doors let in (there was a window there before). I love being married to such a handy man.

Tomorrow we head up to the mountains–Breckenridge, CO–for the Fourth! I’m so excited for this little vacay with my little family and some of our closest friends. We’re going to swim, and hike, and play lots of games, and just enjoy ourselves. The Mister and his friend are doing a mountain bike race on the Fourth so we’ll cheer them on. And it will be much cooler up there–almost 20 degrees cooler. Yessssss.

For the Character Bloghop, I tag Kitty, Bridgid, and Angelica, but anyone feel free to participate.

Have a Happy Independence Day!! And if you’re Canadian or English, have a happy normal fourth of July anyway! :)

WUW: Vacation killed my productivity

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

So I finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters several weeks ago and oh my goodness, so good. I loved it. Yes, there were some pacing issues, and a few other flaws, but I didn’t care. It was so beautifully written and so literary! I cried when I finished it because it was so beautiful and I was sad it was over and there were just so many emotions coursing through me. I want to read the whole series all over again, but that will have to wait. Then I critiqued an awesome book for one of my friends. I’m currently reading The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea for my book club. It’s a non-fiction book about illegal immigration over the Mexican border, so it’s a far cry from my normal reading habits. But the writing is fantastic and I’m enjoying it so far.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m finally getting into revisions again! So, Turbo and I spent 3 weeks in Charleston, SC, visiting my family. The first week, I stayed with my productivity, using nap time for “writing” time (aka brainstorming) since my parents both work. But then my little sister flew in for the last two weeks and that ended all that, although we did have some helpful book chats. Then I flew home and read my friend’s book. Then I decided to take a last minute trip to Utah to see my family out there, and of course, no writing was done. But my sister was out there and we had more helpful chats. I’ve been in a real mental block with rearranging my plot. I returned home on Friday and all weekend have been reading and re-reading my betas’ feedback, as well as studying up on structure over at Helping Writers Become Authors. Yesterday I did some brainstorming via hand written notes, and felt very close to figuring it out. A quick chat with my sister last night, and Eureka! I finally know what needs to be done.

In case you’re wondering, I do not believe in writer’s block. :) You can figure anything out with enough time and efforts, and different methods of “attack.” I’m a big proponent of talking it out and handwritten brainstorming. They always come through for me.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

See above. ^_^

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

So yes, I went to South Carolina for 3 weeks and Utah for 5 days. It was so much fun! I ate out several times, went to the beach twice, rode on bikes downtown and around my old neighborhood, and just enjoyed life. I also went to the Alumni Weekend for my MFA program at Converse College. It was so wonderful to be physically in the writing world, and specifically the literary writing world. I attended multi-genre workshops (loved the feedback from the poets), lectures, and readings, and it all helped me remember how much I love literary writing and reaffirmed my resolve to be a literary YA fantasy writer.

In my last post, I promised I was working on something, but that something will have to wait until I finish this draft. Hopefully I’ll be done by the end of July, or not much after. We have lots of people coming to visit in the next month, but I’m not slipping back to my procrastinator ways again.

How’s your summer going? It’s good to be back!

WUW: Just snow … in May

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

I’m 130ish pages into Dreams of Gods and Monsters and it is divine. I know a lot of people have commented on the slow pace of this book, but so far it doesn’t bother me. That’s actually pretty common–others feel like a book is sluggish, when it doesn’t bother me much. The reason is this: PLOT is the not very high on my list of WHY I READ. CHARACTER, WRITING, and EMOTIONS/INTROSPECTION (which, I know, are totally a part of character) are, though. So when one or both of those are on point, I forgive a lot. And not even consciously, like I’m making excuses for them. I just get so wrapped up in those that I don’t notice pacing issues until I finished the book (and even then I’m like, meh whatever). I think it’s also due to my mom only allowing me to read the classics for much of my childhood, and then my MFA/literary training. So I’m pretty biased. But this is why I enjoyed Mockingjay and Ignite Me much more than others. (Although the Adam thing still irks me to no end.)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I read through the latest draft of FR and yep, my beta readers were right. Definitely pacing issues. So, my next step is to write a one-line summary of each scene onto one notecard each, then start moving things around to see what will work. I have a basic idea of what things should go where, but I need to know where each scene will go. I considered doing this on Scrivener, but I think handling the cards will aid in the process. Plus, it’ll be easier to move them. Sometimes the electronic version doesn’t beat the physical one, you know?

Also, pleasant surprise: I still love this book. I was worried I’d be somewhat resentful towards it, since I’m putting the book of my heart on hold to do this draft, but I quickly fell back in love as I read it. So yay!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Bought some flowers today for my front stoop and they are so beautiful and vibrant I couldn’t help but smile and feel inspired. Also, my book. Reading it made me excited to make it better. Aaaand I’ve been doing research on literary agents, which is exciting and inspiring. One step closer!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

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So, it snowed on Sunday and Monday. SNOWED. IN MAY. And not just a skiff–serious accumulation. Mother’s Day was actually lovely because after church we had absolutely nowhere to be so we donned our jammies, napped, ate on the couch, watched TV, and generally vegged. It was wonderful. And I don’t mind snow in May that much, because it’s better that unseasonably hot weather. (I’d rather have just perfect weather, but given the choice … ) And, as I knew would be the case, it was all gone by yesterday afternoon. That’s Denver for you.

I’ve got something up my sleeve that I hope to show y’all next week. I’m very excited and very nervous about it. Eeeep!

How’s your week, lovelies?

WUW: I’m baaaack!

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

I’m actually writing this on Tuesday afternoon, and as of this moment nothing. But! By Wednesday, I hope to have my copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters back in my grubby little paws. See, when it arrived, I was woefully behind on book club and beta reading, so I lent it out to a friend. And then to another. But now I’m all caught up, and they’ve all read it, and it’s coming back home tonight or tomorrow morning. Yay! I’m sure I won’t get any sleep on Wednesday night. :)

That reminds me, I need to remind the Mister that I’d like a book light for Mother’s Day…

WHAT I’M WRITING

Well, my break from FR (now ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT, but I’ll still refer to it as FR because … I want to) officially ended yesterday. Technically, it was supposed to end on May 1st, but I just wasn’t ready to part with THROUGH CLOUDED EYES yet. I still really wasn’t yesterday (I’m in the middle of a scene!) but I’m staying disciplined and focused. TCE is turning into the book of my heart, y’all. I love that story so much, and I’m bummed I didn’t get as far in it as I’d hoped. (More on that below.) But I want to query by the end of the year, and I have a really good chance of getting FR into query-able shape by then.

So! I have all my feedback in from my readers, and I discovered two important things: 1) I still have structure and pacing issues to work out. (I wish I’d read K. M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel three months sooner!!) 2) While I loved the positive things my readers had to say, the happiness they gave me in no way compares to the sheer euphoria I feel when I finish a book.

And isn’t that wonderful?

I was so so so happy when I realized that. I write not for praise, but for the love of it. I’d wondered whether that was the case, and I’m so happy it is. Because it means I’m doing it for the right reason. So yay!

Monday I used Weiland’s advice to identify the key events and plot points in my novel, which showed me that some of them were happening way too late. Tuesday I wrote my query (that was so hard!!). Wednesday, I’ll start my read-through, and hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be tackling this bad boy. Laying out the structure of my novel makes it seem like it will be easy to fix, but I know it won’t. Time for scene juggling! But it gives me a very clear road map, and that is priceless.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

I officially switched from TCE’s playlist to FR’s on Monday, which was kind of jarring (SO different in tone) but also fun. I forgot what an awesome playlist this is. Also, my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. I’d announced to the Mister a few weeks ago that I was ready to give up caffeine (they make a decaf variety, bless their sweet little hearts), but Turbo is on week two of waking up at 5 am, so I need that caffeine!

WHAT I’M UP TO

Okay, y’all. Babysitting a 16 month old when you have an 18 month old is like having twins. And it very nearly drove me insane. The little girl I watched (she and her family have moved to Texas now) was sweet as can be, and nowhere near as destructive as Turbo. But chasing after two toddlers was … kinda crazy. And very exhausting. Not to mention the fact that the first two weeks they didn’t nap at the same time, which not only nipped nap time writing in the bud, but it also made for one frazzled and exhausted Kris. By the time I got Turbo in bed, I’d have enough energy to clean the kitchen and straighten the toys, and sometimes not even that. There were many early bedtimes for me, and not much writing done. Which also added to my mounting insanity. I need to write. Really and truly need it. (Which is so, so wonderful.)

So mothers of twins, I salute you.

Also, during the last week of watching Little Girl, my MIL flew into town and we sodded our yard. Ourselves. It was a completely nuts weekend. The patio is poured, the dog run is in, the yard is leveled, and the sod is … installed? (Does one install grass?) And the result … is beautiful:

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For reference, here’s what it’s looked like for the past 5 years:

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The two week Stay-Off window ends Saturday and I can’t wait to get my feet on that lush organic carpet. There’s obviously stuff left to do in the backyard (resetting and moving the flagstone patio, landscape rock around the sheds, finishing touches on fence of dog run, install French doors onto concrete patio, and put roof over concrete patio (that one not until the fall), but this is a HUGE step forward.

How’s your week going? Have you read Dreams of Gods and Monsters yet? (Probably. I’m sure I’m the last one.)

WUW: Time for a little break

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw treeWHAT I’M READING

I finished up Throne of Glass last night and I ended up really, really enjoying it. Okay, to be fair, around the halfway mark I said to my husband, “I don’t know if I hate this book or love it.” There were definitely things that drove me kinda crazy, but I couldn’t put it down. And I’m glad I stuck with it. I have to say, this is the first ever love triangle that has me completely torn between the two guys, even though I saw it coming from page 10. Chaol and Dorian are both terrific characters while still distinct individuals. Also, Celaena’s character arc was nicely done. So, yes, I will continue through the series. Not right now though, because I have a manuscript to critique, and another one coming soon, and I have to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for book club (soooo excited for this one) AND I got a shipment notice for my signed copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters yesterday! Ahhh! SOOOOO excited! Laini Taylor is my spirit animal, y’all. Her and The Naked and Famous. :)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I submitted the first 5k of the Book of Eire to my writing group last week. I was quite nervous, since I was going to find out if I’m the only one who loves this story, but they did too! Yay! The muse hasn’t been my friend this week, but I’ve kept up with my 100 words a day challenge and even managed 500 words yesterday. Also, I have a title! Doo doo doo doo! THROUGH CLOUDED EYESI love it and it feels so perfect because this story is all about fate, death, and mental illness. Sounds happy, right? Hah! It’s also about love though, so there you go. :)

Also, I’m set on a new title for FR also: ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT. Feels good to have that settled.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

As I said, the muse has been noticeably absent this week, but I’m finding inspiration in pushing through despite that. I used to balk at the idea of writing every day–it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t the type of person who could keep that up, etc. etc. etc.–but it really makes all the difference. I wasn’t able to write on Sunday and I noticed a difference on Monday. Even taking one day off sets me back a bit! So, even when the writing isn’t glamorous, and each word is another tooth pulled, I continue on. And it’s worth it every. single. time.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

I’ve taken on babysitting for a friend’s daughter for the next 2 weeks. She’s just a few months younger than Lincoln, but she’s not a consistent afternoon napper which means my writing time is taking a huge blow. (Yesterday their naps only overlapped by 10 minutes :/) I’m still dedicated to writing every day, but it means writing at night some days, and it means some other things are going to slide for the next couple of weeks. And one of those things is blogging. So I’m going to peace out for a bit, but I’ll be back!

I hope y’all have a fabulous week, next, and the week after! (But I should be back to blogging then.) How’s this week going so far?