What's Up Wednesday: 05.15.13

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 am very fortunate to be writer / Twitter buddies with the ever amazing Sarah Ockler of FIXING DELILAH, TWENTY BOY SUMMER (one of my absolute FAVORITE YA contemp reads!) and BITTERSWEET greatness. Sarah graciously had her editor over at Simon & Schuster send me an ARC of her upcoming newest title THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS which is set to release on 5.21.13! And let me tell you, I already know this one is going to tear at my heart after the first 100 pages I've read so far, but I truly am LOVING it!!! Stay tuned...I hope to have an interview with Sarah if timing permits, and of course, my review of THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS.

Oh, of course, I'm still reading Abbi Glines while running and I'm now on to her new series, EXISTENCE. 


I'm still working on my YA Contemporary WiP, WHERE THE WATER FALLS and made quite a bit more progess over the past seven days! I only have a few more chapters to go, before diving into revisions of course, and then it's off to my CP's to rip apart!

THE LUCKY FEW is still out with a handful of agents right now, which is ever so exciting! But...I think I'm going to dig back into this one and relook the entire beginning. I know, I know, crazy pants over here just can't stop revising this one, but it's only because I know this story has so much potential. And the beginning has been something that's bothered me for quite some time, it deserves to be written right! 


Senior Prom with BFF Kristy (May 7, 1994)This is one of my most ABSOLUTE favorite times of the year to write. And why is that? Well because it's prom and graduation time, but of course!!!! I love seeing all the kids dressed up in tuxes and formal dresses out on the town - it brings back so many great memories for me - not to mention all the graduation parties that will no doubt be popping up soon. And all of it definitelyKentridge High School Graduation Class of 1994 (June 9, 1994) makes my creativity soar!!!!

Of course, why wouldn't I share some pics of my own Senior Prom and Graduation??? That's me over there on the left with my BFF Kristy, just before we left for our Senior what a night that was! 

And I'm also over there to the right (first one on the left) just before we were about to walk out for graduation. 


Still running, of course - and loving every minute of it (I'm late to go run as I type this!!). Oh, and something I shared with a few of my wonderful CP's on what happened on Monday:

So I was running on the treadmill. I'm running...and I'm tired - just not really feeling it - and it's pissing rain outside and the wind is howling. Trees are whipping every which way and branches are literally flying around the parking lot. So weird, because it's been sunny and gorgeous here for the past 10 days! And all of the sudden? Yeah, the power goes out and my treadmill just stops. Doesn't gradually slow down, it just plain out STOPS. And I go flying off like nobody's business. And make all kinds of racket in the process, as I swear out loud, loudly

There's a guy - probably around early 20's that comes every day and walks on the treadmill and he's blind. I've seen him the past 7 or so weeks I've been going, but haven't ever said anything to him. Yeah, he's surprised because his treadmill stopped, but turns and says, "Are you okay? Did you just fall off the treadmill?" His face shows he's super concerned, when I know most people would totally laugh (cause I sure as hell would!). I told him the power went out and that's what stopped our treadmills and yes, I'd flown right off.

After reassuring him I was okay and that it was okay if he laughed, he smiled and said, "Man, if I could've seen that, I would have laughed!!! But I'm glad you're okay though!" It was so sweet and literally made my day, regardless of the situation! 

So, what are you up to this fine Wednesday? Would love to hear all about it, so won't you join today's What's Up Wednesday???

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?

Miss Snark's Contest Follow-Up, THE LUCKY FEW, & Other News

Oy, I'm so late in posting this, I know!

So a follow-up to Miss Snark's March secret agent contest. Overall, it was a great contest last month - and I'm happy to say my results were much better than my sad attempt with the pitch fest over at WriteOnCon, prior to that!

I was oh so excited to see I was one of five winners (out of 50 entries) selected by Ms. Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates!

Hannah left a great comment, right off the bat - and it had been just what I needed. And while I'll take all the comments from the other participants / readers with a grain of salt (sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they comment???), I'm just glad to be back out there, at least trying. You can read about all of the winners, here. And of course, if anything comes of my submit to Hannah, you all will be the first to know. 

In other news? Well, I did another pass-through on my manuscript, THE LUCKY FEW. When I left it with Mr. Agent Man, my word count had skyrocketed - something he had reassured me, would not be a problem - because getting the story right was important. But then, well, we parted ways, and here I was with a MS that had bloomed in size. Yikes.

So before I started querying, I dug my heels in and started slowly hacking away. And before I knew it, I had cut several thousand words. 

Which still didn't feel good enough and so I went back at it again last week. And this time, I was able to cut almost 5k more. And I think it's definitely a lot tighter. And I'm happy with where it is. But will I leave it alone? Who knows. There will always be room for improvement.

Aside from all the contests and revisions I've been doing, I also got myself back into running. It's been awhile - for various reasons - but I've missed it so.

Don't let me mislead you - for the most part, I've always said I was allergic to working out...I'm a Taurus for cryin' out loud and definitely not like some of my uber runner friends that chug out more miles than I put on my car each week. But something about running has always made it one of my favorite forms of *cough* exercise. 

So, I set a personal goal that I would start running one "marathon" a week - and to do that, that means 5.5 miles every day, Monday - Friday (yes, that's technically a tad more than 26.2 miles, but it's a nice round number to target). And today wraps up my third week - which makes 3 marathons I've run - and I couldn't be happier!  

And just like with writing and the importance of having fabulous CP's, I have an amazing workout partner that encourages me to show up every day and get at it. And without her motivation, I'm not sure if this would happen. But now I have someone I can't let down, cheering me on - so it does make it that much easier. And I'll take it.

And even though 2013 didn't start off great - believe me, when they say bad things happen in 3's, well, I've had enough in just the last 4 months to cover the next 3 years - it's definitely turning around. My writing is going well, the contests I've entered have been fun, and I'm back out pounding the pavement - both figuratively and literally. And that's all good news, in my book. 

Anyone else have news to share - be it in contests, writing, or personal goals?

RTW: WiP - Oh, How I Love You!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. 

And today's topic: 

Inspired by Stephanie Perkins' post on Natalie Whipple's blog, what is your novel's "Love List"?

Stephanie Perkin's just happens to be one of my favorite YA authors, and for good reason too! After all, she did write the amazing ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. I mean, Etienne St. Clair? Come. On.

And I just loved the post Natalie Whipple had up earlier this year, interviewing Ms. Perkins on how she begins working on a new story idea and what helps her to keep it going. The idea was simple:

"Whenever I begin a new project, I also begin a list called “What I Love About This Story.” I start by writing down those first ideas that sparked the fires of my mind, and then I add more ideas to it as I discover them during my push through early drafts."

What a fantastic idea! Not only does it keep the creativity going, but it also keeps you in love with your writing when you're not so in love with your writing. Which we all know, happens far too often!

So with that, here's my list of love's for my current project, THE LUCKY FEW:

  • Secret invitations
  • Impromptu ball gowns
  • Strong-minded girl
  • Unforgotten Mom
  • Debonair boy
  • Déjà vu
  • Secret Societies
  • New school / Old school
  • Brooding boy
  • Starting over
  • Best friends
  • Practical jokes
  • Quick-witted
  • Journal entries
  • French speaking strangers 
  • Motorcycle chases
  • BRICK HOUSE by the Commodores
  • Halloween masquerade party
  • Secrets from the past
  • Puzzle pieces
  • Seven

A few quick thoughts that keep me going, but the list could go on and on! 

So, what keeps YOU in love with your WiP, when you're not so in love with your WiP? 

Re-Writes, Schme-writes: I'M FINALLY DONE!!!

I am so happy to be able to finally write this post, after all, it's been almost one year in the making! Because late Sunday night / early Monday morning, I finally - and I can't believe I actually get to type this:

I Finished my rewrite on THE LUCKY FEW.

Almost one year ago - July 11th to be exact - I queried Mr. Agent Man...and received a phone call from him the very next day, requesting an exclusive revision. And, well, of course I jumped at the chance!

A few weeks later, he sent me a detailed letter that was single spaced and ten pages long. TEN! 10.

And after reading those pages, I realized exactly the opportunity I was holding in my hands - but what I wasn't prepared for, was the challenge to rethink the entire platform of my book. As in, "what if we looked at it this way?" 

To which I went through the following:

Wait, what? You mean my book isn't amazing as-is? Huh. I thought it was pretty good. Wait, now that you mention it, maybe it's just so-so. Okay, NOW I get it, I see what you're thinking!

And voila! An entirely different focus was born...although that in itself, took several months to get to. Lucky for me, there was plenty of back and forth, which included multiple emails and conference calls with he and his fabulous assistant (did I mention the complete and utter state of shock I was in, that this was even happening?). 

It was all so exciting - first to be working with someone of his stature, second, to be getting top-notch feedback, and third, to be working with an agent at all.

But man, rewrites are tough.

And I constantly struggled with what could stay - always analyzing if the writing in question, moved the story forward - but what was worse than that...was what needed to go. It was like watching the series finale of FRIENDS (one of my all-time favorite shows!), or finishing the last sentence in MOCKINGJAY. And I realized it was as if I wanted to put it off, so I wouldn't have to say goodbye.

But then I heeded the advice of one of my fabulous critique partners - Heidi S.:

Just get in there and do it - and stop over-thinking it all!

Or something like that. I'm sure it was much more eloquently written, but none-the-less, it had the same impact. She tends to keep it real like that. And it's for this that I love her so!

So I took Heidi's advice and I got in there and did it. I axed almost 35,000 words *eek*, then rewrote 40,000 more *yay!* The past two weeks have been serious late nights...and I can't remember the last time I was in bed, before 2:30am. Which makes for a very long day at the office, when my alarm goes off at 5am.

But I so want this. I almost ache for it. And knowing I was so close to being done, I knew it was something that I just had to do. Besides, late night writing is my favorite, when all is quiet in the world. 

And late last night, after re-reading it again, I was finally able to send it off to my CP's. Now it's in their hands to tear apart. And I look forward to reading all their suggestions, feedback, and seeing a smiley face or two, when they read something they like. 

Then once they're done, I'll make my final revisions and off to Mr. Agent Man it goes! And I can't wait.

Until then, I look forward to having Thursday and Friday off this week. And the fact I may be able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight. In fact, I may sleep through all the fireworks, once my head hits that pillow.

And that's okay by me. Because I'M FINALLY DONE.

And my fingers are crossed. 

Rewrites or revisions - what was this process like for you? 

Happy 4th of July (or belated Happy Canada Day, to my friends to the North!) - wishing you all a wonderful week! And I completely forgot - looks like tonight might be a later night than I expected, but for an entirely different reason: my husband and I are going to see Joan Jett! I know, you're jealous. :)