My Writing Process Blog Hop

Last week, the ever-fabulous Kathryn Holmes (follow her on Twitter!) tagged me in her My Writing Process Blog Hop. I'm very fortunate to have met Kathryn through a mutual writer friend (thank you, Ghenet!) last year, when we decided to expand the YA Buccaneers crew and asked Kathryn to join us - and I'm so glad our paths have crossed!

Kathryn is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group, and I'm so exited to share that her debut Young Adult novel, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, will be published by HarperTeen in early 2015.

Now it's my turn to share. The blog hop is simple, answer four questions on your own writing process, then tag two new writers to carry on the blog hop.

What am I working on?

Right now I'm drafting a YA Contemporary with an adventurous twist currently titled NAME OF THE GAME. I'm still working out all the details, but I will say it's a cross between that old 80's movie CANNONBALL RUN (yes, the one with Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett) and the current reality TV show, THE AMAZING RACE. I'm having so much fun with this story and can't wait to see where it goes! 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are so many things I love about Contemporary YA: how real it can be, how emotional it comes across, and how relatable it is (even though it's been YEARS since I was in high school, it just goes to show how, while things do change with the times, they really are just the same).

And so many great authors that have paved the road before me: Jandy Nelson (THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE), Sarah Ockler (TWENTY BOY SUMMER), Courtney Summers (CRACKED UP TO BE), Gayle Forman (IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT).

All of this has helped to shape the way I believe I write:



Humorous. Always

That last one is key. When I look back at tough situations I've had in my life or shared with others, I've always tried to find that glimmer of humor in it all. Because that's how I keep my sanity. That's how I put it all into perspective. When I can finally laugh, that's when I know I'm going to be okay.

Why do I write what I do?

I love all facets of Young Adult -- Contemporary, Fantasy, Dystopian, and yes, I've read my fair share involving a vampire or two (or three hundred, who's counting?). But I always come back to Contemporary. The here and now.

Like many, I stumbled my way through high school -- oh did I stumble. And while I did love my teenage years, I remember it being some of the hardest years I've ever had to deal with...at least so far.

Trying to fit in, trying to please everyone, trying to find my way, trying, trying, trying. As cliché as it might sound, all of that got me to where I am today. And even through the crappy situations, I wouldn't be remotely the person I am now, if I hadn't experienced any of the bad stuff. That's why I love YA Contemporary. And that's why I write it.

How does my writing process work?

I'm typically what's known as a pantser when I write. At least that's how I start out. I love thinking of a great idea and running with it to see where it goes.

Once I have the spark of the idea down, then I go back and plot out the structure for the story - how many stops along the way I'd like to make and ultimately, where I'd like it to end. 

I'm also a big whiteboarder and I have a giant whiteboard right here next to my computer -- of course with multiple colored pens. I'll map things out, take a picture if I like where I'm headed (or erase it if I don't)...then wipe the board clean and start all over again.

Over the years I've been writing, this process has ebbed and flowed with each project I've worked on -- but with my latest manuscript, WHERE THE WATER FALLS, this style of writing really worked for me. It allowed me to still be 100% creative, but also allowed for my inner structure-centered, list-maker/box checker self to also play.

Working full-time, I write whenever and wherever I can. I've spent many late nights writing up until my alarm has gone off for work the next day.

I write on my laptop, in journals I have stashed in my handbag (or in my car, or on my night stand, or, or, or...), via emails I've sent to myself, and even on my note taking app on my phone. Because whenever the inspiration strikes, I can't ignore it.

The My Writing Process blog hop continues...

I've tagged two of my fellow crew members from the YA Buccaneers to share their writing process. Check out their blog hop posts next Monday and learn more about their writing process, along with who they've selected to carry on the torch for the hop!

Kris F. Oliver (follow her on Twitter!) sums up her writing as curious, beautiful, and strange. Kris lives in sunny Sarasota, Florida where she spends an inordinate amount of time either floating around in a kayak or partially submerged in saltwater. She has a pretty good excuse for both thanks to being a Biologist and running an EcoTourism business on the side. 

Kelly Loy Gilbert describes her writing as introspective, character-driven, and voicey. Kelly lives in the SF Bay area with her husband and A-DORABLE daughter, is a huge fan of San Francisco Giants baseball, and is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. Her first novel, CONVICTION, will debut from Disney-Hyperion in 2015. You can find her on Twitter as well!

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In

Yes, I know it's Tuesday...and I'm a little late checking in.

It's been a crazy few weeks / months, but as of last Friday, things will hopefully begin to settle down a little. Maybe. 

Regardless. I have high hopes for getting some serious writing and reading done. And I've already managed to check off a few things from list of goals!


  1. Work on my new YA Contemporary / Adventure WIP: NAME OF THE GAME (NOTG). 
    UPDATE 4/22: I wrote an entire chapter on Saturday. Not sure where in the story it will go (somewhere up close to the beginning), but I wrote it - and it was so much fun!
  2. Continue to read / finish CP's MS!
    4/22 UPDATE: I'm almost finished with the first pass / read of one of my CP's newest MS's - and I love it - you hear me HS? I LOVE IT! I've got two other CP's that I'm dying to read for (one is a re-read on a story that has been LONG OVERDUE - yes, KFO, I'm talking about YOU! And one CP that I'm finally getting to read an entire story for, for the very first time - yes, BG, that's YOU!).
  3. Host / participate in a Word Sprint or two!
    4/22 UPDATE: Yours truly will be hosting THREE Word Sprints this week: Wednesday - Friday, all of them at 2pm EST. Join me?
  4. Cheer on my fellow Team Rainier writers!
  5. Read 5 books minimum. 
    4/22 UPDATE: So far I've read FEVER and SEVER by Lauren DeStefano, to close out that series - which I thought was okay. I started in on the beast of hardbacks - what is 613 pages of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS by Laini Taylor, and I'm about halfway done. And as mentioned above, I'm almost done with my first pass on a CP's newest MS - so that means I still have ONE more book to finish before this month is done!


  1. NAME OF THE GAME writing goal: minimum of 10,000 words for the month.
  2. Host / participate in a Word Sprint or two! 
  3. Same goal as April, cheer on the awesome that is Team Rainier!


How is everyone else doing? I hope your writing and reading is coming along for the month of April...but not to worry, we still have May ahead of us, too!

Spring Writing Bootcamp!!!

Over at the YA Buccaneers, we're getting our writing in shape this spring!

For the next three months, we're challenging YOU to set writing goals and actually stick to them. And to help you out, we're putting together accountability teams, inspiring and informative blog posts on writing and revising, annnnnd PRIZES to help keep you motivated!

Check out this post for all the details to learn how you too can get motivated to write, set goals, and sign up to be on a bootcamp team! 

And what are my goals for the next three months?


I finished my revisions on WHERE THE WATER FALLS (my YA Contemp you can read more about here), sent it out to my CP's for a final read through, and am now making last minute changes based on their feedback. I will have these revisions done this weekend, so I can finally get it back to Super Agent Lisa no later than next week.


If Lisa has changes she'd like to see, then I'll be working on those this month. Otherwise, I have a SNI I've been itching to write - working title: NAME OF THE GAME


NAME OF THE GAME writing goal: minimum of 10,000 words.

So what are your writing goals this Spring? Need some extra incentive to get it done? All you have to do is join us, we'll make sure you're in tip top shape come June. I dare you.

And I promise, it will be fun - here's what you need to do:

1. Post your Spring Writing Bootcamp Goals on your blog.
2. Add your blog link
3. Join a support team if you want and/or support others on twitter and social media. Check out the YA Buccaneers Post for more details and info on prizes, etc.!!

What's Up Wednesday: 10.30.13

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 FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta and started in on the next book in the series, FROI OF THE EXHILES. 

This series is just okay for me. I think mostly because I'm not in the frame of mind I probably need to be to read a YA Fantasy -- one where you need to pay attention to so many character names, city names, etc. And I find myself constantly having to flip to the map in the front of the book to see where the characters currently are / are going to next. 

The end of FINNIKIN definitely picked up for me, and while I have so many other fantastic books waiting to be read (hello, ALLEGIANT anyone!!!!), I knew it would be better to dive into FROI so I could keep track of everything. 


I recently shared some super exciting news on the writing front last week -- you can read all about it here and here

And what that all means is that I have some revisions ahead of me, which I'm very much looking forward to, since I haven't touched WTWF since the beginning of August!


I've said this one before, but seriously, my CP's are such an inspiration to me.

The last several weeks have been utter chaos for a variety of reasons and each one of my CP's has helped to keep me grounded. It's funny how when things happen in life - be them good or bad - it's like the flood gates open...and October has been one of those months -- but in a good way! 

I'm so greatful for all of my wonderful CP's who have honestly become some of my dearest friends over the years -- even if I haven't met all of them in person. And I'm not sure what I do without them.


I can't wait for Halloween tomorrow! Even though I'm too old to trick-or-treat myself (believe me, I would if I could!) and I don't have children of my own to take out -- I can't wait for all the ghosts and goblins to stop by our house! We have Costco boxes of the big candy bars to hand out and it always makes for tons of kids!

I also celebrated my niece's 5th birthday last weekend -- my sister threw an a-mazing party, themed "Bubbles and Pearls" ala The Little Mermaid.

She hand-made over 500 cookies just for the day and even made the cutest "jelly fish" out of streamers and paper bowls.

She is seriously in the wrong business and I so want her to throw my next b'day party for sure!

In two weeks she's throwing another b'day party for my twin niece and nephew that are turning one -- and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for that!


What's Up Wednesday: 08.14.13

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'm currently reading a great friend and fellow CP's, YA Contemporary manuscript. This is my second read - her revisions being those requested by her agent - and I can honestly say, I'm loving this story even more than the first time I read it!

It's full of great one-liners, heart-ache, and tears -- oh, the tears...there are actually passages that break my heart. And it's truly become one of those stories that has stuck with me, long after I finished reading it the first time.

I'm so thankful to have any part of her revision process and I can't wait to see this one on the shelves at my bookstore...believe me, you're gonna wanna read it when it's ready, I promise!


Most all of my CP's have made their way through WTWF and I'm now just finalizing the last of my revisions. I hope to be done in the next week and have this sucker ready to go out into the land 'o queries.

And I can't wait.

Writing goals for this week:

1. Finish revisions.

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



Yes, it's that time of year again, and I've submitted snippets of WHERE THE WATER FALLS for critique and review!

My first 250 just went up - you can find it here! And my query letter also just went up, which you can read here!


Some of you may have noticed, I've been a little absent as of late. I'm seriously on the job hunt and my focus has been there -- it's a tough process but definitely has been great, and has led to some pretty spectacular job interviews. Hopefully more news to come on that, soon!

But unfortunately, I have also not been feeling well. At all. And I haven't been able to run in almost two weeks.

Early last week, I started feeling super dizzy. By Saturday, that sensation was coupled with one of the worst migraines I've had in years. Sunday, I almost passed out, after getting out of the shower -- the room would not quit spinning, and it would keep starting over, kinda like a broken record. Monday was more of the same and I was concerned about driving myself to the doctor, so I stayed in bed (which didn't help the spinning) or found myself sitting on the floor on more than one occasion. But yesterday, I made it to the doctor...

And found out I have a viral inner-ear infection that causes severe migraines and vertigo. 

Vertigo? Me?

Yep, me. And it's been horrendous. One of the worst sensations I've ever experienced in my life. But...they gave me some great medications and I'm already feeling a bit better. And I can't wait to get back to my running!


What's Up Wednesday: 07.17.13

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'm participating in the YA Buccaneers Reading Mutiny Challenge for July - our version of a themed monthly bookclub - and this month it's around books all about ADVENTURE! So I picked up several from the list and just started reading WANDERLOVE by Kristen Hubbard on Sunday. If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you (just click on the link for YA Buccaneers above!) - and of course, there are prizes involved!!! 

While running, I'm reading Jennifer Echols GOING TOO FAR. I'm really enjoying her books - perfect summer reads!


Writing Goals for this past week:

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

I sent off WTWF to my first round of CP's last week and have already received feedback from a couple of them that finished it SUPER FAST!

It's all exciting stuff and of course, I've received some great comments so far!

I plan on sending it out to my second wave of CP's this week, if not early next week!

So, writing goals for this week remain the same:

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

Oh! And if you're in need of some inspiration to write today - join the YA Buccaneers Word Sprint! Two rounds being hosted on Twitter tonight - the first is at 5pm PST and the second at 6:15pm PST! #YABWordSprint


All the amazing feedback I've been receiving from my CP's on WHERE THE WATER FALLS.

Each one of us has those moments where we wonder why it is we're even doing this silly thing called writing -- and sometimes it takes the encouraging feedback from others, to keep us going. 

That moment was happening for me over this past weekend and it just happened to be around the same time one my CP's left me a voicemail -- she had read my MS in one day and rushed to call me. And I kid you not, her voicemail actually made me well up with tears. Everything she said was so awesome and I loved every second of it...and needless to say, I'll be saving that one for those days when I wonder why it is I'm even attempting to write. <3.


Today is my wonderful CP and fellow YA Buccaneer, Heidi Sinnett's birthday!!! So a BIG shout out to Heidi - I hope you're having a WONDERFUL birthday today!!!

In other news, my husband is headed out of town for a couple of days on a guy's trip - which will leave the house here pretty quiet - but, he'll be back early Sunday morning just in time for us to venture into the city for the Bite of Seattle! A weekend where all the restaurants of Seattle converge and offer up their fares of great food, all in one location! And it's awesome.