Monday, December 30, 2013


The shopping is done
Presents have been opened and put away.
Family has been hosted.
The broken refrigerator has been replaced.
My time is my own for a week.

Looking forward to getting back to writing
and reading
and decluttering,
sleeping and breathing
and catching up with family, friends, my characters.

I've been allowing 2013 to wind down, putting it behind me, and looking forward to 2014 tentatively. This year has the potential to be really great or devastating with not much room for in between.

I choose hope and faith, shielding my heart from fear.

How was 2013 for you? Are you looking forward to the new year?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Literary Conversations

Another Sunday afternoon and ABC family is playing Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone. I walked into the den where my youngest daughter was watching the Halloween feast in the Great Hall. We both drooled over the table laden with festive treats aplenty. She sighed and asked, "Why didn't you send me to Hogwarts?" To which I replied, "You're only 9. You have to be 11 to attend Hogwarts." Seriously, who doesn't want to go to Hogwarts? I've got two years to figure out how to send her there.

Another daughter was immersed in The Final Descent, Rick Yancey's fourth and final book in his Monstrumology series. She looked up when I entered the room, her eyes rimmed red. "[Name of one of our favorite characters]," she said sadly. "I know," I sympathized. She had just read about his death. Later, she came down still looking a bit sad. "Did you finish?" I asked. "Yes, but I'm sad because it's over." "Me too," I said. "I wish he could have written more." Then, "I'm going to text M [her friend who also loves the series but hasn't started Book 4 yet] to tell her I finished."

Then we watched this together.

We both declared, "It looks good!" and had a discussion about how we hope the book translates well to screen. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sprucing Up the Blog

I decided to spruce up the blog a bit as an early resolution to post more often. It's hard to come back though. I wonder if everyone else has moved on and will even notice if I post. I've noticed a decline in blog participation and posting in general which makes me sad, since it's the social media that I prefer.  I am on Facebook now but rarely post. It's more a means to keep in touch with family and a few friends. As far as Twitter, I most likely will join next year, and again, my participation will be minimal.

I've always been more of an observer, and I'm just fine with that. It's my nature. I'm a self-professed introvert and Hufflepuff (even if the Pottermore sorting placed me in Slytherin). I used to believe that I had to change these parts of my personality. Be more aggressive, assertive, seek out the spotlight, and toot my own horn. But I'm comfortable with who I am now, flaws and all. And even though I still haven't finished a first draft of a novel yet, I will. It might even be by the end of this year.

So why all of this reflection? Maybe because I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. I'm someone who hasn't minded getting older. Each day is a gift that I try not to take for granted. I'm not getting any younger, but I'm grateful for each and every day. My schedule has slowed down a bit after an absolutely crazy fall. Having no free time for two months really starts to wear you down. Throw in a few personal hardships and something has to give. The pattern for me over the past few years has been fall = little to no writing. I've tried to fight against it, but it's time for acceptance not guilt. Now that I do have the time (even though a little voice has been whispering, "You should be Christmas shopping") I'm drawn to work on my WIP. THAT makes me giddy happy. Why? Because that truth speaks to me. It says, "You're a writer and and nobody can take that away." Only I can decide if I'm not. I still love my WIP and fresh ideas keep flowing, even after a long break away. So I'll continue to  move forward writing Jude's story as it unfolds in my brain and hopefully I'll get to share it with the world some day.

In the meantime, my intention is to blog once a week and hopefully keep in touch with some writer friends. I hope some of you will stop by and say "Hi." Writing can be a lonely venture, but it doesn't have to be if we listen and support each other.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Another Post Where I Gush About LHA

How do you begin a blog post when you've been away for oh, say, 6 or 7 weeks?

Maybe a simple, "Hi. It's great to be back."

Truth is I've had a great summer, but now that the kids are getting older, summer isn't quite as laid back and relaxing as it used to be. It's still my favorite season but instead of blogging, I decided to use my time reading, writing, working on my critiquing skills and join the rest of the world by catching up on 3 seasons of Downton Abbey (which is pure LOVE). My WIP is continuing to take shape and I'm excited about the direction it's going in -- a great motivation for the busy autumn months ahead.

Today I'd like to focus on one of my favorite authors -- Laurie Halse Anderson. Those who've read this blog and know me, know how much I respect and admire her. Not only does she absolutely nail the teen voice, heck all her characters voices, she touches many lives, many of them teens, through her novels. I've had the honor of meeting her once and she's the real deal: gracious, humble, generous.

So why am I gushing? Three reasons. I could think of more but I'll stick to three for now. (and now I'm reciting Monty Python in my brain, heehee)

Reason to gush about Laurie #1
I reread Wintergirls a couple of weeks ago. It's one of those books that as I read I found myself thinking, "Every word counts." Perfection.

Reason to gush about Laurie #2
Her long awaited (by me) YA novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory, will be available January 7,  2014 (squee!!). It's going to be tough waiting 4 whole months, however you can read the first 6 chapters here. WARNING: These chapters completely sucked me into the story and left me craving more. Read at your own risk ;)

Reason to gush about Laurie #3
WFMAD is back!
Write Fifteen Minutes A Day is a month long series of prompts, usually in August, for us, for writers. You can read about it here.
If you follow her blog, you might know that she's had a busy year. So when August rolled around and there were no WFMAD posts I figured it was too much for her this year. I was wrong. The posts will be every day in September this year. One of the things I love about Laurie is that even though she's hugely successful, she offers a month of writing prompts, encouraging words, and gentle prodding to those of us who dream of writing a novel and maybe even dream of being published.

Can I say that when I saw her last image on Day 1, a quote by one of my favorite wizards, I wanted to hug her?

How's your summer been? Have you been writing?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What I Learned About Teens at One Direction


 What do these names have in common?

 If you thought of the band, One Direction, you would be right.

I recently attended their concert with one of my daughters. My older daughter was already going that night with friends. On the day of the concert, my 13-year-old and I got the opportunity to go when two family members asked us when their friends had to back out. I'll admit I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but I knew it meant a lot to M (you should see her 1D poster plastered walls!). I anticipated spending two long hours, quite possibly in the rain, with 19,000 screaming teen girls. Hearing loss was a definite possibly as was a wet, sticky car ride home. 

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Though dark storm clouds loomed in the direction of the outdoor stadium, the clouds passed and it never did rain. When the sun went down, twinkling stars appeared in the sky. It was a beautiful night for an outdoor concert. I'd like to share three mini observations/experiences at the concert that occurred that night.

In our aisle, my daughter stood on my right and a girl I didn't know to my left. As you can imagine, there was a lot of screaming when the boys came on the stage, when they began singing a new song, and when they stopped to talk with the audience. But for the most part, the audience quieted down or sang along during the performance. At one point near the beginning of the concert, the girl to my left turned to me and said, "Am I bothering you? I'm so sorry if I'm singing too loud." Is that not the sweetest thing? I responded, "You're not bothering me at all. Don't worry about it, please! Have fun!" I was so impressed with her consideration of me, a tag-a-long mom, a complete stranger. I was also impressed that this adorable girl knew every single word of every song (even the cover of Blondie's, One Way or Another)!

The next happened after the show was over. The crowd was exiting along a walkway, a mass wall of people heading for the parking lot. It wasn't a fast moving crowd, but you did have to stay close your companions or you could easily become separated. A girl in front of us dropped her 1D t-shirt as the crowd kept moving forward. Another girl to our side scooped the t-shirt up and gave to the grateful girl who had dropped it. A simple act of kindness that spoke volumes.

And lastly, I just wanted to comment on the energy of the audience. Yes, they were loud, but not obnoxious or rude. They danced and sang with an exuberant joy for the band they loved, and even though I'm old enough to be Louis's mother, I enjoyed every moment. (What?)

One thing I believe is essential when writing young adult contemporary literature is an authentic voice. Some authors nail this: Laurie Halse Anderson, Sara Zarr, and Gayle Forman. Sometimes, I think adults forget that being a teen does not necessarily equal snarky, self-centeredness, rudeness or moodiness. Or else they forget that adults can be this way, too. Teens are kind, considerate, joyful, witty, and caring. Two books that I read this year were good, but would have been so much better with less snark and sarcasm. Not that those characteristics are necessarily bad, but balance is important. I find that the more I write, the more authentic I want my teens to act and speak. It's not enough to try and remember what it was like to be a teen, or write how we think a teen might act. Spending time with teens and/or observing them is key. Lucky for me, I live with three (and one on her way in a few years).

Who are your favorite young adult contemporay authors? Or, what is your favorite boy band?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Interview with Donna K. Weaver

I'm thrilled to welcome a long time friend and author of A CHANGE OF PLANS to my blog today. Donna and I met in cyberspace long before either of us began our writing journeys. We both share a passion for Harry Potter and were on the staff of The Leaky Cauldron website together, though in different areas of the forum. Donna has worked so hard to achieve her dream of writing and publishing a novel and I'm extremely happy for her.

Before getting to know Donna in a short interview, here's a look at her debut book.

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.

Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

Interview with Donna

1. Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and pinch yourself thinking, "I'm a published author!" I still can't believe it. It's funny because the book went live on Amazon early, and my sister-in-law got and read the book. Yet I hadn't received my own copies of it . How ironic that someone else held my baby before me?

2. What was your inspiration for A Change of Plans?
A dream. It had one with a guy and a girl on an island with the huge tree and a tree house. In the dream, they were strangers, though.

3. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I don't outline in the traditional way. My outline's a 50,000 word first draft. I love sitting down to write and seeing where the story takes me. Even when I've thought I knew where the story was going to go, I'm frequently surprised.

4. What are you currently working on and can you tell us a little about it?
I'm editing a companion novel to A Change of Plans. It stars a secondary character--Jori--and begins about 80 pages into ACoP, where the characters go different paths. It's been an interesting experience, both writing a parallel story that goes beyond where ACoP ends but also writing from a male point of view. I'm also working on a short story about Lyn's best friend, Elle.

5. Other than writing, what's your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
When I'm alone, read. When I'm doing something with my husband, we like to go to movies or play video games.

6. Tell us a little about your writing process. Plotter or Pantser? PoV preference?
Since I talked about my Panstering earlier, I'll address point of view. I was actually 12,000 words into ACoP as third person, but I could tell it wasn't working. I'd never really considered writing in first person because it seemed so ... personal? Even though it's not. But once I started writing in first person, it was the right fit for this story. The other 4 1/2 books I've written are all third person.

7. Are there any "must haves" you need while writing? (favorite snack, music, comfy chair cushion...) Quiet. I don't mean silence. I love having music that fits the characters or scenes. I just can't have people talking to me when I'm writing. I used to share my office with my husband, but he's a regular Chatty Cathy, and I couldn't take it. Now I have my own office. Which comes in handy since I got Dragon software for the last NaNo (that's when I wrote Jori's book). No way could I talk a story if I had an audience.

8. You knew I had to ask this...Who is your favorite character from the Harry Potter series and why? Harry. I love that kid. I loved learning his history as the story unfolded. Jo was so wonderful the way she eased us into Harry's back story and showed us things even he hadn't known about. I remember when I was reading Prisoner of Azkaban, and I realized the screaming he heard around Dementors was his mother's death cries. Or how happy I was that Harry's Patronus took the form of James's Animagus because of the connection it gave Harry to his father. Or the scene in the hospital at the end of Goblet of Fire (that didn't end up in the film) where Mrs. Weasley held Harry as he cried--almost like a mother. *sniff* Dang. Now I'm going to have to go back and listen to the books again--for like the bazillionth time.

Thank you, Donna for stopping by. Congratulations! I can't wait to read your book!

For more info about Donna K.Weaver, you can visit her at her awesome blog, Weaving A Tale or Two.

A CHANGE OF PLANS is now available at:
Barnes & Noble
Rhemalda Publishing
Goodreads page
Facebook page

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Interview With Donna Hosie

I'm delighted to welcome back my friend, author Donna Hosie, who will be releasing her self-published novel, The Spirit of Nimue, the final installment of her Return to Camelot trilogy, on May 31st.

1. What an amazing accomplishment: writing, revising, and self-publishing your young adult urban fantasy. Congratulations! What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
The best part was receiving those first reviews. I knew/hoped this trilogy was good enough, and so to start getting four and five star reviews from people I didn't know was just thrilling.

2. What has been the hardest part of that same journey?
The release of book two. I literally vomited with nerves! Everyone hears about second book syndrome and I was terrified that people wouldn't like THE FIRE OF MERLIN as much as SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR. As it turned out, people loved it even more!

3. Who has been your biggest supporter?
I can't single one person out, but I have an army of friends who get behind me in every way imaginable when it comes to promotion time. The thank you list on THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE is huge! My husband has never once complained about the time I spend in the study, pounding away on the keyboard, and so I should mention him too!

4. You recently finished the A to Z Blogging Challenge with a Harry Potter theme. (Total LOVE, btw. I enjoyed every post!) Rowling was the subject for your letter R post. Besides J.K. Rowling, what other author(s) inspires you?
Difficult question. I would say Philip Pullman for not compromising; Kate Morton for her use of language; and Carlos Ruiz Zafon for simply being awesome.

5. What book are you reading right now and what are you looking forward to reading this year?
I am currently rereading the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I've read a number of very disappointing YA novels recently and I needed to go back to a well-loved classic. I'm really looking forward to the new Dan Brown novel, as well as And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini...and Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Now for the more serious questions. (ahem)

6. What is your favorite word? Least favorite?
Favourite word is "Bob" as spoken by Rowan Atkinson! Least favourite word is "Work" especially when I have to do it!

7. What would be your preferred mode of transportation? Apparition? flying Ford Anglia? riding a horse bareback in skinny jeans? Other?
LMAO at the reference to skinny jeans and bareback riding - possibly everyone's favourite scene in SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR! I would love to be able to apparate at will. That said, I like to listen to music on the commute because I get a lot of inspiration from movie soundtracks.

8. Are any of your characters based on yourself or on real people? Of course, I'm implying that you're real, too, even though we've never actually met in person. Um, you are real, right? (of course that would explain her superhuman ability to juggle self-publishing one series, submitting the first book in her new series with her agent, writing another, working full-time...hmm)
*pinches self* Ouch, yes, I'm real! Not a single character of mine is based on a living person. I have a dark and dangerous imagination and can create voices and faces at will!

9. Describe your favorite pair of shoes.
My favourite pair right now are a pair of two-tone, four inch stilettos. They are white, with a black toe and thick black ankle strap. They are instruments of torture, but I get more compliments when I wear those than I do when I wear my Jimmy Choos. Absolutely worth the pain and blood - and yes, there is blood!

10. Is it harder to...
      a. Write and self-publish a book.
      b. Raise kids.
      c. Raise a puppy.
      d. Sleep for more than 5 hours.

Easey peasey - I can't sleep more than five hours. It probably isn't healthy, but I am up at 4am every day, with the exception of Sunday which is my lie-in day, but even then I have the iPad out and I am on social media or answering emails! I have a restless intellect and can't sit still.

Thanks for stopping by, Donna. I can't wait for Book 3!
The Spirit of Nimue will be available on May 31st is available now at Amazon. For info on Donna and her YA novels, visit her at:
Musings of a Penniless Writer

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Spirit of Nimue

First, there was Searching for Arthur.

Followed by The Fire of Merlin.

May I introduce Book 3 in my dear friend, Donna Hosie's, young adult urban fantasy series, The Spirit of Nimue.

THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy concludes in... 

Natasha Roth and her older brother, Arthur, have removed the magical darkness that had fallen over the land of Logres.

But all actions have consequences.

Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, is now a sworn enemy. Natasha realises that the only way the land of Logres will truly be at peace is if the sorceress is removed forever. So with her beloved Sir Bedivere, the feisty Guinevere, and a trusty brethren of knights, Natasha plots to free Logres from the malevolence of Nimue once and for all.

Yet Arthur also has problems. Now a father to Mila, he starts to witness a terrifying change over his girlfriend, Samantha, as she struggles to contain the awakened powers of Morgana.

With dark magic coming at them from all sides, Natasha and Arthur decide to make use of the Falls of Merlin: a mystical landscape of waterfalls that connects 21st century England with the mystical world they fell into. A place that does not exist in the future.

And by the end, they will know why.

As Natasha finally discovers the truth about her past link to Logres a tragedy will strike at her very heart. Can Arthur get his young family back to the 21st century and still continue to be the king that Logres demands he be? What is the secret that Sir Gareth has been hiding all this time? 

And who is the true owner of Excalibur?

THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE will be released on Amazon on May 31, 2013. It is the final book in THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy. 

*happy dancing*

You can find more info about Donna and her fabulous trilogy at her blog, Musings of A Penniless Writer.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happiness is...

- Reading a book that starts off somewhat slow, drawing me into the lives and friendship of two courageous young women, unexpectably takes my breath away causing me to hide in the bathroom as I gasp and sob, ugly tears, and then delivers a satisying ending and lingers in my brain for days. The book: CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. I highly recommend this one.

- Waking up to learn that BBC America is developing a mini-series of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, one of my favorite books!
BBC America
The New York Times

- Reaching 20,000+ words yesterday on my WiP.

*happy Snoopy dancing*

What makes you happy today?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cover Reveal: A Change of Plans

Today, I have the honor of revealing the book cover of a dear friend's debut novel. Without further ado, may I introduce A Change of Plans, an adventure romance by author, Donna  K. Weaver, published by Rhemalda Publishing.

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancĂ© was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive. 

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.

Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

Author Bio:
Donna K. Weaver is a Navy brat who joined the Army and has lived in Asia and Europe. Because she sailed the Pacific three times as a child, she loves cruising and wishes she could accrue enough vacation time to do more of it with her husband.
At fifty, Donna decided to study karate and earned her black belt in Shorei Kempo.
After recording city council minutes for twenty years, Donna decided to write something a little longer and with a lot more emotion--and kissing.
Donna and her husband reside in Utah, they have six children and eight grandchildren who live all over the world.

Your cover is gorgeous, Donna! I can't wait to read it!

A Change of Plans is due to be released on June 1, 2013.
Facebook page

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Going Camping!

While a lot of my fellow bloggers will be cranking out daily posts during April in the A to Z blogging challenge, I will be at camp.

Ah, camping...A whole month of bunking with other campers, making friendship bracelets and gimp keychains, applying calomine lotion to a multitude of bug bites, and sharing ghost stories around the campfire while downing a few smores.

Truth is, I've never really gone camping. The closest I came was spending the night in my friend's grandparents' trailer on a mattress after having a few beers and laughs. We were warm, dry, and  managed to fend off most of the mosquitoes on the way to the showers.

But I'm not talking about that kind of camping. During April I'll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time. I'll be trading a sleeping bag for my rolly chair, bug juice for coffee, and archery for tapping out words on a keyboard. If you're not familiar with CNNWM, it's similar to November's NaNoWriMo without the crazy pressure to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, which for me is one of the most difficult ones to write in every year. Camp NaNoWriMo occurs twice a year: in April and July - and you can set your own goal.

Want to add 30K to finish a current project? Go to Camp.
Need to revise your novel? Go to Camp.
Want to start a new ms? You guessed it...go to Camp.
Want to go on a scavenger hunt, play Capture the Flag, and short sheet your cabin mate's cot? Well, this camp won't satisfy those needs, I'm afraid.

Me? I've been working on a Young Adult Ghost Story for a while. I'm about 17,000 words in and hope to add between 20-30K to my word count during the month of April. While the blogosphere is busying A to Z-ing, I'll be concentrating on reaching the 3/4 mark of my WiP.

What about you? Will you be "Camping," participating in the A to Z blogfest, or doing your own thing during April? Have you ever participated in Camp NaNoWriMo?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring, Where Art Thou?

You wouldn't know it by the view out my back sliding glass door, but tomorrow is the first day of spring.

Another day of accumulating snow and sleet. (8 inches)

Another day off from school/work (we're up to 6 now).

Another day of cold cheeks and runny noses while shoveling.

Another day of sore muscles from shoveling heavy, wet snow.

Another day of warming up with hot chocolate.

Another day dreaming of cozy sunshine and green grass.

Another day of unplanned writing!

How's the weather in your part of the world?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy 3000 Followers, Literary Rambles!

This was going to start out as a simple blog contest shout out that Casey and Natalie have planned to celebrate 3,000+ followers, but as I began typing I couldn't help but share what their blog, Literary Rambles, means to me.

I don't think there's anyone in the children's writing community who hasn't heard of the awesome blog Literary Rambles. It was one of the first blogs I joined when I began writing and searching for information on literary agents who represented children's literature. At the time, Casey McCormick ran the blog by herself, spotlighting and interviewing literary agents. I was amazed at how generous she was devoting an incredible amount of time gathering information, setting up interviews, and posting everything on her blog for writers like me. What a resource! And it was such a beautiful and professional blog. Remember the dark background with white lettering - so unique!

When I think of all the time that Casey must have devoted to the blog at the time, I'm floored. I remember her sharing about going to school, raising her young family, and pursuing her own writing and thought, "How on earth does she do it all?" Enter Natalie Aguirre :)

In my early blog visiting days, one of the names that I would see in the comments sections on a regular basis (and usually one of the first ten of the day) was Natalie Aguirre. Her smiling image accompanied her encouraging and positive comments. So when Casey announced that Natalie would be joining her as co-host of Literary Rambles, she seemed like the perfect fit. And is she ever. Natalie organizes wonderful author interviews, reviews and contests.

What I love about these two classy ladies is how they really bring the writing community together. And they don't seek praise or recognition for all they do. It's truly one of my favorite blogs. One of my writing goals/dreams is to some day be able to promote my debut novel on their site :)

Onto the giveaway. To celebrate reaching over 3,000 followers (3,200 last time I checked), Casey and Natalie have three fabulous prize giveaways. You may enter the contest between now and midnight of March 9. Winners will be announced on March 11. Stop by Literary Rambles for more details on how to enter and while you're there, why not thank Casey and Natalie for their wonderful, selfless contribution to the writing community.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013 Book Love

Is it me or is this going to be an amazing year in new novels? There are so many books I'm anticipating this year, not to mention those from past years I haven't read yet. My "To Read" List never seems to shrink! And I wouldn't have it any other way. Below are several books I'm looking forward to reading.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
It's been tough waiting for a new Gayle Forman novel, but finally, it's here! If I Stay and it's sequel, Where She Went, are must reads for anyone writing for teens. Just One Day is currently available and I can't wait to read Forman's latest YA contemporary. Release date: January 8, 2013.

Prodigy by Marie Lu
I recently reread Legend to refresh my memory and to prepare for Lu's second book in the trilogy, Prodigy. Legend is a quick-paced novel with two main characters that I really cared about. It was as good as I remembered it to be the first time around. Release date: January 28, 2013.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Just released on February 5, 2013, this is book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles. I thoroughly enjoyed the imaginative Cinder and have been anticipating Scarlet ever since.

Mind Games by Kiersten White.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in White's Paranormalcy series and I'm currently reading the third, Endlessly. Mind Games has been described as very different from that series. Release date: February 19, 2013.

Arclight (May 1, 2013) and Premeditated (October 8, 2013) by Josin L. McQuein
If you follow writing blogs, Josin has been a regular in the comment sections over the past few years. She's smart, knowledgable about the process of writing and publishing, and wow, can she write. The writing community knew it was only a matter of time before she would land an agent and get a book deal. And what a year for her! Her debut, Arclight will be released this spring and in the fall, Premeditated.

The Spirit of Nimue by Donna Hosie
My dear friend, Donna will be releasing the last book in her YA ebook trilogy this May. I'm currently in the middle of reading (and loving!) Book 2, The Fire of Merlin. It's a fun adventure involving time travel, romance, and hot knights. For more information on her series visit Donna at Musings of a Penniless Writer.

Transparent by Natalie Whipple May 21, 2013
I've been a long time follower of Natalie's blog and am thrilled that she will finally realize her dream of seeing her debut novel on bookshelves. Release date of May 21, 2013.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie's novels are like eating chocolate. You want to savor every delicious word. I adored Anna and the French Kiss and thoroughly enjoyed Lola and the Boy Next Door. I can't wait to get my hands eyes on her next novel! Release date: tentatively, summer 2013 (according to her blog)

Written In My Own Heart's Blood
If you're a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, she expects a Fall 2013 release date for her latest installment. To say I loooooove this adult series is an understatement. Jamie and Claire are one of my favorite literary couples of all time and I'm anticipating (with trepidation) book 8. Trepidation because I'm not quite sure how many more years Jamie and Claire have left together. They're not exactly newlyweds at this point, if you know what I mean. I've already started a 10 month reread of the previous books as I prepare for Book 8. And believe me when I tell you I need 10 months, they are door stopper books of between 800 and 1000 pages each.

I've saved the best, imho, for last.

The Final Descent by Rick Yancey *****
THIS is my most highly anticipated read for 2013. The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey was my favorite literary find in 2012. Categorized as YA Horror, it is a blend of literary prose, extraordinary character development, and believe it or not, humor, with a Dickensian feel. I absolutely loved the first three books: The MonstrumologistThe Curse of the Wendigo, and The Isle of Blood, as did my 13-year-old daughter. Yes, they contain descriptive, gruesome scenes - hence the category of horror - but don't let that deter you from reading them. The novels focus on the complicated relationship between the two main characters, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop and his 12/13-yr-old orphan/assistant, Will Henry, and the doctor's unusual line of work - monstrumology. The stories unfold at a slower pace than most YA novels, howeverYancey's rich and thought-provoking prose completely pulled me into this story, and made me gasp, cringe, laugh and cry. Absolutely brilliant! The 4th and sadly, the last book in this series, The Final Descent, will be released in September of 2013.

What are you anticipating in 2013? Have you read any of those already released? Inspired to read any of the previous works by the authors I mentioned above?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Morning Bliss

You know what makes me happier than a puppy in a shoe store?

A Saturday morning with no place to go other than my computer chair, a pot of coffee, and an hour and a half of uninterrupted guilt-free writing.

Oh, bliss!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dusting Off the Blog

It's nice to be back after the holidays. I've been reflecting on the past year and the best word I can use to describe 2012 is that it was emotional. Although I won't get specific, my family experienced some wonderful highs and some difficult lows. But all in all, the year ended on a good note where the highs outweighed the lows.

November's NaNoWriMo proved to be what I needed to kick start my current WiP. For some reason I could not get past the first couple hundred words - they simply weren't working. Even though I didn't reach 50,000 words, I finally pushed past the beginning and ended up with 10,000 more words than I had on October 31st.

We've been having quite a bit of computer issues which involved buying a new hard drive, making sure my writing was saved, which it was thanks to a previous back up, and transferring files to a new hard drive. Don't let the techy talk fool you. What I didn't mention is how long I had my sis-in-law on the phone while I panicked about about clicking anything for fear I'd lose files or transfer a virus to the new computer). I spent a productive night this week editing what I had written so far and I feel like I'm moving in the right the direction. I'm looking forward to finally having a free weekend to work on this. No working title yet which is a bit frustrating but I'm confident it will come in time. Usually, I have a title by this point, but so far...nothing. And so I'll continue calling it YAGS (Young Adult Ghost Story) for now. If that awful name doesn't inspire me to come up with a title, nothing will!

My goal this year is to finish YAGS, type THE END and send it to a few willing beta readers. I'm itching to move toward my pursuit of publication, and this year should be the perfect year to make some big steps in that direction.

Also, I hope to spruce up the blog over the next couple of weeks. I'm ready for a change.

Do you have any goals for 2013, writing or otherwise? Do share. I'd love to read about them.