WUW: New Year, Not New Me + a Giveaway!

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!


Last year, I finally jumped on the Garth Nix train. I … have absolutely no idea why I didn’t read Sabriel in high school. I remember seeing it on the shelves in the book store where I worked, and I devoured fantasy but … for some reason I never read it. And I’m partly kicking myself, but partly not because I’m so enjoying reading them now! I’m on the tome that is Lirael, and though it is long, it is lovely. I really loved Sabriel as a character, but I love Lirael even more, and can’t wait to see where this book is going. (I’m in the 200s out of 700ish pages.)


In my goals post, I set a goal to finish THROUGH CLOUDED EYES by the end of March. And I’m getting closer every day! In fact, I’ve written at least 100 words every day. Truth be told, it’s never been more than 300+ because I’m slogging through the middle, and also because I’ve been writing at night (for various reasons), but starting today I’m officially taking back nap time as my writing time. So hopefully I’ll pick up pace! My goal for the week is to get back to writing during nap time (on weekdays … I’m more flexible on weekends) and to continue writing at least 100 words every day.


Those 100 words a day man … I love it. Anyone can write 100 words in a day. That’s a paragraph. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And usually, when I look up my word count to see if I’ve hit 100, I’m already past 200.


It’s been snowy, snowy, snowy here, though Monday it warmed up to the 50s and the snow has finally started to melt. Such is life here in Denver. Get real cold + dump a bunch of snow then warm up + melt it all away. Rinse and repeat.  I actually really like it because it cuts down on piles of dirty, yucky snow and it gives some variety and breaks up the monotony of winter. Plus, we continue to get 300+ days of sunshine here in the Mile High City. Have I mentioned before how much I love Denver? No? You’re lying. ;)

And last but not least, I’m hosting a giveaway! Last year I participated in the cover reveal for my CP Kate Scott’s book, THE EVOLUTION OF EMILY. Now, I’m going to give a copy away to one lucky reader! Kate is a fantastic writer who creates characters you will miss long after you finish the book. I’m so excited to spread the word about EoE!


Available now!

To enter, simply comment on this post! Easy! I’ll run the contest for two weeks and close it at 11:59 PM on Tuesday 1/20/14. Good luck!


Guest Post and a Giveaway!


I’ve gabbed quite a bit about Kate Scott and her forthcoming debut novel, Counting to D, and with just cause! It’s a fabulous book and she’s a fabulous person. Today I have two exciting things going on: first, I’m going to give away a copy of her book. To enter, just comment on this post. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Giveaway closes next Tuesday 2/18  at 11:59 pm and I’ll announce the winner on my 2/19 WUW post. Good luck!

The second exciting thing is today’s post, a guest post by Kate herself! I asked her to blog about what it’s like to write about such a personal topic. She nailed it.


Please Write by Kate Scott

There are a lot of reasons why I write—why I wrote Counting to D, and why I’ve kept on writing since I finished it. There are a lot of reasons why every writer writes: the joy of creation, the pull of the muse. Sometimes, writing feels like a game. Other times, it feels like a chore. And sometimes, it’s personal.

Counting to D is a contemporary young adult novel about a dyslexic teenager. For me, that story is personal. Once upon a time, I was a dyslexic teenager. Now I’m a dyslexic adult. There are a lot of reasons why I wrote this book, but the biggest reason is also the simplest: nobody else was writing it.

I remember seeing Rainman as a kid. I didn’t know anything about autism before that movie came out. Then I watched Dustin Hoffman’s performance, and suddenly, I felt like I understood. Not everything, but at least a little bit. When I heard about other people with autism, I could think, “Like the guy in Rainman.”

I was diagnosed with dyslexia a little over a year before Rainman made it to the big screen. At the time, I remember wondering, who’s going to star in the big dyslexia movie? Who was going to give a face to the condition I had to live with every day? But it never happened. Nobody ever made a big block-busting dyslexia movie.

Percy Jackson, the title character of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians, is dyslexic. So I haven’t been completely forgotten by mass media. But I’m not Percy Jackson. Unlike him, I’m not the child of a Greek god; I’m just a regular person. A regular, dyslexic person who sometimes doesn’t feel very regular at all.

Every child, every person, deserves to see themselves in a book. Teachers, librarians, and kid lit advocates all over the world keep saying that. There needs to be more diversity in children’s literature because every child needs to be able to pick up a book and say, “This character is just like me.” But a lot of people’s stories aren’t being told.

I’ve always loved stories. Learning to read was VERY HARD for me, but thankfully, I discovered audiobooks early. My behavior as a young child often resembled that of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby. As an added bonus, I grew up a few miles away from the real Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon. I remember listening to Ramona’s stories as a little kid and thinking she was just like me.

Then I got older, and the similarities between Ramona and me became less apparent. For decades, I waited for somebody to write an honest and accurate dyslexia story. My story. But nobody did. I knew the story. I’d lived it. Eventually, I got tired of waiting, and I realized I had no choice but to write it myself.

The phrase “write what you know” is overused in the writing world. A lot goes into writing, and a four-word catch phrase oversimplifies things. But there is still value in writing what you know because you know your story. If nobody else is telling your story, please write. Write because you aren’t alone, and other people who have similar experiences might be desperately waiting for your words. Write for the people who are different than you, too. If you don’t share your story with the rest of us, how will we ever know? How can we learn?

I write for a lot of reasons. I write fiction, and not everything I say is personal. But a lot of it is. I think that is important. There are things that I know, and if I don’t write them down, who will? You know things, too. So please, write.


I love this post. It applies to all of us, too. Thanks, Kate!

Sono Ritornata

Well, I’m back from St. Louis! It feels so good to be home, though I already miss my brother and his family. I absolutely love my sister-in-law, had fun talking writing and playing Dominion with my brother, the new baby melted my heart (yay, cliche!), and the little boys kept me busy. My nephews are funny kids, particularly M who’s 3. He says the funniest things. I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

While watching Thor, the scene when Thor and Natalie Portman are on the roof of her building:

M: “Heeey Thooor, why are you camping?”


M was really interested in my luggage and the things inside, particularly my make-up. He liked to “help” me with it, by dabbing my lips with my lipstick and dotting my eyelids with my eyeliner. Then, he’d pronounce me, “So so so so so so so beautiful.”

Another time, he was fascinated by my vitamin bottles. After I explained to him what the pills were for, he took the bottles to his older brother C, and said, “Hey C, look at these two interesting things.”


He is very enthusiastic about life. After playing with my (not amazing) phone, he declared, “This is an amazing phone!”


The boys asked me to do an impression of the Mr., including telling them some jokes he likes:

Me: “[Mr. Atkins’] jokes aren’t really appropriate for your ears.”

M: “Or your hands.”


So, I don’t know if those will be as funny to anyone else as they were to me, but oh well!

And my giveaway closed last night! So, without further ado, the results:

Number 6 is Georgia Summers. Congrats! You’ve won a famous and signed copy of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone! I’ll email you shortly so we can set up the shipping deets. Thanks everyone for entering! And welcome to the new commenters!

Regular posting schedule starts back up with Friday Fun tomorrow. I’ll be trying to get caught up on all your blogs this weekend. I hope your NaNo’s are going well.

And did I mention that missed y’all? Like crazy, I tell ya. Y’all rock my writing world. ^_^

Pretty Good Week


Two awesome things happened on Monday:

1) I finished and printed my thesis! Huzzah!! Here is one of the copies, on the nice heavy paper.

The quality of these pictures is not great. That's what I get for taking them at 10 at night, after spending the whole day writing.

After printing them out at Mr. Atkins’ office, we went to dinner to celebrate. Sicilian sushi, thin-crust margherita pizza, and pistachio cannoli. Deeeelish.

2) And right before bed, I reached 1,500 views! Huzzah x2!! And you know what that means, right? It’s giveaway time!

What am I going to give, you ask? Well, remember that post where I talked about loving the writing community, and I mentioned getting two copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone signed by Laini Taylor? Wellll, one of those copies is up for grabs!

And this is a famous copy! There’s a picture of it on her blog:

I was hurriedly buying my books as she walked to the front of the store. I’d informed the Mr. that he might need to detain Laini from leaving, but she paused to snap a picture of the clerk in his Karou wig just as he finished ringing me up. So you get a famous book. What!

It’s legit and everything! So how to enter? Just comment on this post with your name and email. I thought about doing something fun, like a picture caption contest as well, but since it’s NaNo I decided to go easy on y’all. So! In honor of my thesis, what’s your favorite contemporary YA book? I don’t know if I can pick just one, but I lurved Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb. You should seriously check it out (especially if you love smart, funny books).

The giveaway is open till the day I get back from St. Louis on Wednesday 11/16. So we’ll say Wednesday at midnight EST, or 10 pm Denver time. ^_^

(Also, I’m going to be somewhat scarce while here in St. Louis. I’m here to help my brother and sister-in-law. They had a baby girl two weeks ago, so I’m going to do whatever I can to help them get some sleep. They have two rambunctious boys, 3 and 5 years old, who will keep me plenty busy!)

Good luck!

(Oh, and yeah, this contest is totally open to the whole world. Even if you live on the moon, if you win, I’ll figure a way to get the book to you.)