What's Up Wednesday: 10.16.13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by my ever-so-lovely YA writer friends, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. The idea? Well, it's a great opportunity to touch base once a week with all of our blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join, head on over to Jaime's blog and sign up with the link widget at the bottom of her post! 

Wow, it's been for-ever since I've posted a WuW post!!!! But I have good reason for being on hiatus, I promise!


I recently used an Amazon GC to buy several book series I've been waiting to read, until all of the books were released -- and a couple of weeks ago, they all came in the mail:

All three titles in Melina Marchetta's FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK series (reading now)
All three titles in Kerstin Gier's RUBY RED series (CANNOT wait to read this one!)
All three titles in Rae Carson's THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series

Plus ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, and so many others (including ALLEGIANT coming in the mail next week!) can say I have plenty to read for the rest of 2013! 


I finished all of my revisions for WTWF in August and actively started to query in September. And I have to say, I'm thrilled to see the responses I've received! More on that to come soon!

I've also been working on my outline for my new WIP that I'll be writing for NaNo next month -- and I'm super excited about this one!

Oh! If you're in need of some inspiration to write - join the YA Buccaneers Word Sprint! Two rounds, one hosted tonight from 6-7pm PST, and one tomorrow night from 4-5pm PST on Twitter! #YABWordSprint


Our beautiful summer here in Seattle...and the gorgeous fall we've been having.

I so didn't want summer to come to an end. We really lucked out here in Seattle...and had one of the best summers EV-VER (and I had the good fortune of having the time off to enjoy it!) -- I'm already missing the sunny skies and warmer temperatures. And not looking forward to the months ahead of dreary, rainy weather.

At least while it was still nice out, my husband and I did manage to run in two races:

The Zombie 5k - Run For Your Lives

And The Color Run in Portland, OR.


My husband and I went down to Mazatlan, Mexico last week, for 8 full days, to celebrate our 8th Anniversary!

While the weather was gorgeous, I managed to spend an entire 24 hours in my room, sick as a dog...we're still not sure if it was something I ate (or drank) or if it was from the Mexican OTC Aleve I took, thanks to a severely strained calf muscle issue. Either way, it wasn't pleasant...but at least it was in the middle of our vacation, so we still had time to enjoy the pool!

But now we're back and it's cold (although it is sunny, so there's that!)...and I'm already missing the palm trees and pool. Oh well. We'll see the sunny weather again next June!

Other than that, this fall has managed to be a tad crazy with a few other fun things that I'll share at a later date. Let's just say that when it pours. And I'll take it.


What's Up Wednesday: 07.10.13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by my ever-so-lovely YA writer friends, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. The idea? Well, it's a great opportunity to touch base once a week with all of our blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join, head on over to Jaime's blog and sign up with the link widget at the bottom of her post! 


Yep, you guessed it. I'm still reading LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo. I've been so busy with my final read of WHERE THE WATER FALLS, I haven't had a chance to get back to my nightly reading. Soon though. 

And yes, while running, I'm still reading ENDLESS SUMMER by Jennifer Echols.


Writing Goals for this past week:

1. Finish read / revision of chapters 11-21 of WTWF.
2. Add roughly 4,000 more words to round it out. I have two chapters I know need to be "beefed" up, so 2k words will be split between these two chapters. The rest I know will find their way to where they belong.

Well...I finished my read / revision of WHERE THE WATER FALLS. I didn't add as many words as I was hoping for, but I think I'm okay with where it's sitting.

Yes, I should be shouting this from the rooftops that I'm finished! But...I'm going to let it marinate for a day or two as I'm still not sure if I'm loving the end. For now, it's done. I can't believe I actually get to type that...I think I might be in denial. 

So, goals for this week:

1. Relax. 
2. Send WTWF off to my CP's to have at it with their red markers! 


I promised myself I would do something good with this time off I've had, since I was laid off back in early March. Well, as of yesterday, it's been 4 MONTHS of time off - and I've loved every single day of it.

And what have I done with the time? 

  1. Well, there's the tiny fact I now get to say I managed to write an entire novel. WHERE THE WATER FALLS was a project I started back in 2011, but only managed to get 4 chapters written, after getting the call from Mr. Agent Man that he wanted to work with me on THE LUCKY FEW. So to the back burner it went. But now it's finally finished. And I'm so thrilled I brought this one back to life.
  2. As of April 1st, I've managed to clock 415 miles on my running shoes. Me. 415 miles. Not even I would've guessed that. And with all those miles, I also said goodbye to 16 pounds. Adiós, muchachos. Sayonara. And good riddance...may I never see you again! I still have plenty to go, but I haven't felt this good in a very long time!
  3. And...after two long years of wanting to get a group blog up and running, well, it finally happened. YA Buccaneers has been an amazing project from the very start and I'm so thrilled Bridgid rode the crazy train - or crazy pirate ship in this case - with me, and never once looked back. Not to mention the other eight women who decided to climb on board. I love each and every single one of them for everything unique they bring to the table and I'm so looking forward to what's to come. Believe me, we've got some exciting things planned!


The 4th of July was one of the most awesome holidays the hubby and I have celebrated in the fourteen years we've been together. We had so much fun with all of our friends, the food was fantastic, and the fireworks were amazing. We also managed a couple of trips to the driving range and a round of golf over the weekend - yikes, I'm a little rusty after having not played for about three years! 

We had dinner with my family on Sunday and it was so great to see my dad and my two sisters. My brother was "stuck" in Hawaii (my brother is a pilot for Alaska and their flight was bumped), so he wasn't able to make it - but with my sister's three kids (one 4-year-old and 7 month old twins), we had a house-full! We try to meet once a month and it's a tradition I hope we never stray away from.

I'm also really excited because I'm going to the spa this Friday for a half day of pure awesomeness. I'm finally getting my hair colored (oy, it's REALLY BAD!) and cut. I'm getting my hoofs and claws tended to. And a little buffing around the eyebrows.

And I can't wait. 


What's Up Wednesday: 06.19.13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by my ever-so-lovely YA writer friends, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. The idea? Well, it's a great opportunity to touch base once a week with all of our blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join, head on over to Jaime's blog and sign up with the link widget at the bottom of her post! 


Over the weekend, I finished off SEIGE AND STORM (The Grisha, #2) by Leigh Bardugo - and will say this is one of those rare occasions where I actually loved the sequel perhaps even more than the first book...and the first book was a-mazing! I am completely in love with everything about this book - particularly Sturmhond. Love. Him.

From there, I jumped right in and just finished THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith (author of STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT which I adored!) last night and I really enjoyed this great summer read!

Late last night I started in on LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo, which I'm really looking forward to reading from all the great reviews I've seen!

While running, I finished FOREVER TOO FAR by Abbi Glines yesterday - book #3 in the TOO FAR series; it was a great end to a fun series. So I picked right up on DOUBLE CROSSED: A SPIES AND THIEVES STORY by Ally Carter. I'm a huge Ally Carter fan and love all of her books - and I haven't found another author that has had the ability to creatively mold THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR with OCEAN'S ELEVEN - but for teens - quite like Carter can! 


So I'm not fully back in the swing of things, but I finally opened Scrivener Monday evening and started in on some revisions for WHERE THE WATER FALLS. I still have that last chapter to go, but right now, I'm not going to push it - and a few updates to the opening chapter is what I'm working on. So I'll take that.


Reading: My yearly reading challenge goal on Goodreads is 50 books for 2013 - the same goal I've had the past two years and have never beat. Last year was close, but I missed it by just a couple. This year? Well, considering it's only June and I'm on my 40th book, I think it's safe to say I'll finally beat my goal - not to mention, I've read some pretty amazing reads this year! 

Writerly Friends: I know I've said this one before, but it's so true. So many of you have been oh-so encouraging over these past few weeks that I haven't felt inspired to write. It's definitely been a challenging time and I'm grateful for all of my great writerly friends who tell me to step it up and get going. So thank you. 

Also, a BIG hug and congrats to a great writer friend of mine that has some majorly exciting things happening in her life right now. I am so, so, SO happy for her and just want to say what an inspiration she has been. And she deserves all the greatness that's coming her way. All of it. xoxo 

Running: Last Thursday was the first time I ran 6 miles in under 60 minutes. Normally I hit the 6 mile marker around 63 minutes - but this time I finished just around 57 minutes. I know that's not Earth-shattering fast - but considering I started out at a 16 minute fast-walk pace and now I'm averaging a 9:45 minute mile, I'll take it. Back in college I ran a 5:50 mile and while I think that's a very ambitious dream, my goal is to at some point get back around 7:45 minutes. Granted, I may need to be drug behind a car, but I hope to get there one day.


My husband and I went to see MAN OF STEEL last weekend - and you know what? I have to say I thought it was really well done. Yes, it's a story that's been retold several times over, and I'll always love the original, Christopher Reeves - but man, Henry Cavill did an impressive job. Not to mention, he's just impressive to look at (tell me you don't agree?). And he's British to boot. Um, yum and with an accent??? If you haven't seen this one yet, I highly recommend you catch it in the theaters. It's definitely worth it.

Now all they need to do is remake WONDER WOMAN and I'm so there. Because I rocked those red boots, gold headband / wristbands, and lasso like nothing else when I was little - and I'd almost admit, I'd gladly do it again now. 

This coming weekend, we're having dinner with some friends and then we're going to see WORLD WAR Z. After all, I've said it a million times how much a fan of zombies I am - so I'm really looking forward to this one. And well, Brad Pitt, you know...won't be too hard to stare at for a couple of hours. 


What's Up Wednesday: 05.29.13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by my ever-so-lovely YA writer friends, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. The idea? Well, it's a great opportunity to touch base once a week with all of our blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join, head on over to Jaime's blog and sign up with the link widget at the bottom of her post! 


I finished reading Sarah Ockler's THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS the other day and will say, it's definitely right up there with TWENTY BOY SUMMER as my favorite Sarah read. My full review to come shortly, but I really loved it and will leave it at that for now. 

I then jumped right in to ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake - who I didn't realize lives about 30 minutes away from me! And if I could talk to her in person, I'd tell her that I absolutely LOVED ANNA.

Maybe I was just in the mood for a good spook, because I couldn't stop turning the pages of ANNA and enjoyed every ounce of creep so much so, I devoured it in one day. And promptly went out that night and bought the sequel, GIRL OF NIGHTMARES, which I'm reading right now. 

Which makes me believe I must be on some sort of death / voodoo kick, because I'm also reading Abbi Glines PREDESTINED while I run. I loved the first book in the series, EXISTENCE - which I finished last week - and so far, I'm really enjoying book #2. There are two more books in this series and once I'm done with those, I have no idea what I'm going to read on the elliptical, because I'll have successfully read all of Abbi's books. Bum-mer.


I'm almost finished with my first draft of my YA Contemporary WiP, WHERE THE WATER FALLS. I was stuck for a bit there, thought I'd figured it out and wrote, then went back and realized I didn't love what I came up with. 

I decided to take the weekend off and didn't write much, but then I actually managed to polish off a chapter late last night. And now I have one, maybe two more to go and then I'm done!  



I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed having all this time off. And I realized just the other day, that it's been almost twenty-four years since I've taken this much off from working. Seriously, the last time I had a summer off was when I was thirteen years old before I got my first job at Safeway, bagging groceries! Can you believe that? 

And I find myself more busy now than I was two months ago when I held a job that took more than fifty hours away from me each week.

I really hope the Job Gods work in my favor when I decide it's time to go back. I'm not quite sure when that is, because for now, I'm finally getting to do things I've always wanted to do...and I'm loving every moment of it.


I had lunch with two writer friends (who happen to be sisters) that I met at the PNWA Writer's Conference back in 2010. It was so great to see them and catch up and I can't believe it's been almost three years! And Cathy, I promise to get to your chapters this week!

My husband and I also went to this amazing dinner at a restaurant called The Herbfarm in Woodinville (about twenty minutes outside of Seattle) - I posted all about it with pictures, in my blog post below. It was amazing.

Memorial weekend was also super fun - we went out with some of our friends (including a few we haven't seen in forever!), had dinner, and went bowling. Another night we went to see The Hangover Part III - while not nearly as funny as the first or second, hey, it's got Bradley Cooper, so I totally won't complain! We also saw Fast and Furious Part 6 - which I have to admit, was pretty entertaining. 

And after all that, I'm still running! For the month of May I'll have racked up more than 150 miles and I can't believe it. I'm also doing this gruesome 30-Day Squat Challenge (yes, Jaime and Katy, I'm cursing YOU!) that's down right insane. The other day I got a cramp in my ass. Yes, you read that right - how that's even possible, I'm still not even sure.  


What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by my ever-so-lovely YA writer friends, Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. The idea? Well, it's a great opportunity to touch base once a week with all of our blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join, head on over to Jaime's blog and sign up with the link widget at the bottom of her post! 

What I'm Reading:

Well, I just finished reading Erin Bowman's TAKEN early this morning and then started in on Justina Chen's NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL. And while running on the treadmill in the mornings, I read all things Abbi Glines, and right now I've just started in on her FALLEN TOO FAR series. I love reading Abbi while I'm running - I mentioned in my last post, how I almost flew off the treadmill during one particular section - and that's exactly why I like reading her while I run!

What I'm Writing:

I'm still cranking away on my YA Contemporary WiP, WHERE THE WATER FALLS and I just added the little blurb on what it's about, to my PROJECTS tab. This one has been a lot of fun to write and as of yesterday, I'm about 2/3 done with the first draft. 

Of course, I've still got TLF brewing on one of my burners and last month I dug back in on book #2 in that series. Since I switched over to Scrivener, it's been so much easier to outline, which has kept me more than busy.

What Inspires Me Right Now:


I know I've mentioned it before, but seriously, running every day has helped so much to clear my mind and allowed me to focus. I never imagined it could be like this, but now, I'm not sure how I'll ever go without it. 

It took one day to for me to decide to lace up my shoes and go. I never thought I had it in me to get back to a place where I loved running so much. But how wrong I was. And I don't like it when I'm wrong. 

What Else I've Been Up To:

Well, at some point I'll need to realize I need to start looking for another job. Technically, I'm okay until September, thanks to the severance package I received, but still. I figure I'll give myself through May before I really start to dig in and get serious. I'm just not sure what I want do, but I know I have a lot of options.

I could stay in Marketing / Merchandising - there are a number of great companies here in Seattle: Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Expedia. Or I could get back into Apparel Merchandising / Buying: Nordstrom, REI, and Zulily are all right here, too.

Yes, I'm very fortunate to have so many great companies right in my city, and even more so, that I have two separate career paths I can go down. But I'm just not sure what I want to do. Honestly, I wish more than anything I could just write, because this is where my passion is. So...perhaps I might check out what Amazon has open in regards to positions in their publishing side of the business. You never know, right? 

So, what are you up to this Wednesday? I'd love to hear all about it - come on, you know you wanna join us in What's Up Wednesday?

The Craziness of April 2013

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I can't believe today is the last day of April. Where has 2013 gone? And why is it, that as we get older, the years seem to just fly by? 

Make it slow down, I tell you! Because I have waaaaaaaay too much to do!

And because April was a pretty productive month for me, this has turned into a monster of a post, so bare with me!

READING: I managed to read ten books this month - one of which was an absolutely amazing MS for one of my CP's, the ever love-r-ly, Sara Biren. WAITING FOR THE SUN was one of the most beautiful stories I've had the opportunity of reading in a very long time. Honestly. I laughed and I definitely cried - which isn't something easy for me to admit - and the last time I felt this way was when I read some of my all time favorite YA Contemp reads ala Sarah Ockler and Jandy Nelson. Yes, I loved it that much.

And I can't wait to watch all the success that's about to unfold for Sara, because this is the one.

I also managed to read all three of Miranda Kenneally's books: CATCHING JORDAN, STEALING PARKER, and THINGS I CAN'T FORGET. And out of all of them, CATCHING JORDAN was my favorite. I love the sports theme that resonates in all of her books - LOVE - but particularly gravitated towards Jordan's story and her role as the QB for her high school football team. The other two books in the series were just okay for me, but that's only because they were written with a heavy influence of religion - which just isn't my thing. While I still enjoyed them, they didn't compare to CATCHING JORDAN.

I also polished off three of Abbi Glines books while running on the treadmill this month: BREATHE, BECAUSE OF LOW, and WHILE IT LASTS. And I'm currently on the 4th in this series, JUST FOR NOW. Abbi is one of my favorite authors because she writes boy so well. And I have to admit, there have been many a time I have to look around while I'm at the gym, wondering if perhaps anyone has ANY idea the scene I just read! Seriously, they're so steamy, I almost fell off the treadmill the other day. It wasn't pretty. But man was it worth it. I <3 me some Jax Stone and Cage York!

I also read ALTERED by Jennifer Rush - which I really enjoyed. Can you say Jason Bourne for teens? And SHUT OUT by Kody Keplinger - I've had this one since it came out, and had originally put it down after only a few pages. But thanks to my recent Sports Theme kick, I managed to crank this one out. And I thought it was good - maybe not as great as D.U.F.F. but still worth the read. And lastly, I read THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS by J.J. Howard. And this one folks - aside from reading Sara's MS - was my favorite for the month of April! It wasn't at all what I was expecting and I loved every page. I enjoyed her references to music at the beginning of each chapter and I really invested and felt for her MC, Lexi. Plus, it knocks one off my DAC list, too! If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. Great read.

WRITING: During the 30 days of April I also managed to dive back into writing. It's been awhile - really, not since my massive rewrite last June with Mr. Agent Man - since I've wrote like this. I'm talking all day writing fests and staying up sometimes until 4am! But hey, when I unexpectedly got laid off from my job - after 6 years - in March (have I mentioned how tough this year has been?), it seems I've had some time on my hands to finally write. And to write when my muse is actually interested vs. only the spare hour I used to have, after working 12-hour days.

My YA Contemp WiP - WHERE THE WATER FALLS - is one I started back in 2011, and is quite the departure from what I'm so used to writing. However, after only 4 chapters, I had put it aside to focus on THE LUCKY FEW and to work with Mr. Agent Man. But like so many of us, the characters in that story kept jumping up from their seats shouting, "Pick me! Pick me!" and I knew I had to give it another go. And just in the past eight days, I've cranked out over 40k words. 

I think it also has something to do with the fact I FINALLY switched over to Scrivener. I know, I know, late to the party and all - and really, I bought it early last year, but just couldn't adjust. Word has been good to me and she'll always be my first love, but wow, Scrivener. She's a-mazing!!!! Plus, it helps when friends mention other friends, who have done these short - but incredibly helpful - video tutorials. Yes, I'm talking about Katy Upperman recommending everyone to head on over to Erin Bowman's site to watch her Scrivener videos - because they are awesome and oh, so helpful!

So yes, I am writing again. And I'm loving it.

QUERYING: I'm also still querying for TLF. This is my third book / attempt at hitting the slush pile, and it's true when they say that after each try, it keeps getting better. I think my first book - which shall remain nameless - maybe received 2 full requests and perhaps 1 partial. My second attempt was better, bringing in a handful of requests. And TLF? Well, it's been great and I've managed to gain the interest of 15 agents, which has been awesome. Yes, I've received a few declines, but quite a few of them still have it, so I'll take it!

RUNNING: And finally, a recap on my running stats for the month. I mentioned in my last post that I set a personal goal of running the equivalent of one marathon a week. And as of last Friday, I finished my 4th one!

Total mileage for April: 115 miles.

And I can't believe it, but I think I actually ran more than I drove my car! Plus, I've signed up for 3 5k races: The Color Run in Portland on 9/7 (Seattle is already sold out), The Foam Fest on 8/3 (this looks like a blast, I mean slip n' slides? Come. ON.), and Run For Your Lives on 8/24 - a 5k with obstacles, where volunteers dressed up like zombies AKA The Walking Dead (one of my FAVORITE shows!) actually chase you. I think there's a solid chance I may relieve myself of all bodily fluids on that one, seriously. 

MAY: Well, tomorrow starts a new month. It also happens to be my birthday, and I'm looking forward to seeing my progress in all things reading, writing, and querying - not to mention how many more miles I'll clock on my shoes!

So how crazy was April for you? And what are you looking forward to in May?