WUW: Yeehaw!

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 fallWHAT I’M READING

I followed up The Graveyard Book with another creepy children’s book–Holly Black’s Doll Bones. I finished that yesterday and it’s very well-written and very creepy. A great October read. Today I’m going to start Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor. I am so excited to read it!

WHAT I’M WRITING

Still working through my revisions on the first act of TCE. I realized I have a lot of scenes of people just standing/sitting around and talking. So I need to remedy that, which is rather hard for a quieter story with no explosions. I’ve got some ideas though. And I’m getting through all of this much slower than I thought (isn’t that always the case?) so it looks like I’m going to be NaNoing it this year, basically. Hopefully all I’ll have left is 50k, if I’m a good girl the rest of the month.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

Having a variety of readers for your work. I have a writing group who gets bits as I write the story, alpha readers who read my crappy first drafts, and beta readers who read the later drafts. All of the feedback I have found to be so crucial to my process and helping me see my mistakes at every stage. So, if you’re lacking one of those types of readers, I highly recommend finding some of your own!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Turbo turned 2 on Sunday. I’m kinda in disbelief it’s been two years–it feels like we just celebrated his first birthday. And on Saturday I did my second cyclocross race. It was really, really hard but I had an absolute blast. I can’t wait for my next race this coming Saturday!

WUW: I’m back … again!

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 fallWHAT I’M READING

I am in the middle of the delightful and delightfully creepy The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I think Neil Gaiman for kids is my favorite Neil Gaiman. This is my book club’s October pick and it’s just perfect for Halloween! It’s also a fast read, and my edition has pictures, so triple fun.

WHAT I’M WRITING

Wow, it’s been almost 3 months since my last WUW post. Things got a little rough starting in July, to the tune of depression. Seemingly endless depression that was getting worse and worse. (If I’m ever quiet for a long time without announcing radio silence beforehand, you can assume depression is the reason.) It’s not that I’m afraid of opening up when I’m depressed, it’s just that everything suddenly seems much bigger than it is, including blogging. I’d log on and stare at my blog and decide it was too much effort. So … yeah. Yay depression!

Anyhow, part of my depression was a dark night of my writerly soul. So, last you heard, I was getting into my revisions on ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT. Then I had the realization that my book was nowhere where I thought it was. I mean, I already knew I wasn’t writing to the level I aspire, but I thought I was closer than I was and the epiphany was a painful one. Very painful. Especially given the fact that I was already depressed. So I had some big chat sessions with two friends and some family members, and decided that it was time to put ItN aside.

Have you ever decided to drawer a manuscript? It’s painful. So very, very painful. And this isn’t even for good. I still whole-heartedly believe in this story and its potential, but I need space. So, I’m putting it aside for several months and have started working on THROUGH CLOUDED EYES again.

And what a fantastic idea that was!! I’ve rediscovered my joy, and avoided the mistakes I was making with ItN, and the difference is noticeable. My writing group has commented multiple times that this first draft of TCE is stronger than any draft of ItN. It seems I’ve learned something after all–which was so good to hear. It’s good to know that I actually was progressing, not backtracking like I originally thought. So, I’m 25% of the way through TCE and I’ve realized some changes that need to be made to the story and one of the relationships (that impact the whole book in a big way). I’m fixing all of that in the First Act, and then I’ll continue onward. I joined the YA Buccaneers Fall Writing Bootcamp with the overall goal of finishing this first draft by the end of November. My goal for October is 30k new words. Yikes! But I also realized, during the dark night of my soul, that writing is the only thing I have control over in my life right now. Well, one of the only things. So I need to act like it.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

In my last post, I shared how I changed my phone’s lock screen to an image I thought could be the cover for ItN. As soon as I set ItN aside and switched to TCE, I changed the image to one for my new WIP. And then I poked around my phone settings, putting in the title of the book so it almost looks like a book cover. Egads, I love it!

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Oh look, I get terrible reception in my bedroom.

It’s so creepy and dark, and y’all, she’s totally looking through clouded eyes. How did this serendipity even happen? I swear the title came before the image. I love seeing it whenever I unlock my phone. It’s motivating and inspiring.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Other than slowly coming out of my depression, just being a mama to a busy nearly two-year-old. I’ve also gotten fairly active on Twitter. Come chat with me! I’m back to writing every day, which is great. I did my first cyclocross race a couple of weeks ago and hope to race again next weekend. Cyclocross is basically a hybrid between road and mountain biking and it’s a freaking blast. I got to ride through mud!

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How about you, lovelies? How’s your life?

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?