Monday, April 30, 2012

Blog Me Maybe

I've signed up for Blog Me Maybe, a May-long blogfest hosted by Sara McClung. Here's the schedule (taken directly from her blog):

The schedule:

Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all!

Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
Pretty self-explanatory :) Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or maybe they do. It doesn't matter--this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better.

Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
Ask your followers something about themselves.

Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who's fascinating. A character from a book. Anyone you want. :) Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative! Just let the spotlight shine on someone else.

Fridays: May I share something funny?
Fridays = the starts of weekends! BOOYA. Reason to celebrate and laugh on it's own--plus, who doesn't want to see something amusing after a long week?

I've been in a sort of blogging slump lately and I think this will be the perfect thing to get me focused. HOWEVER, I have to beg off for next week- I'm going to... HAWAII!!! Yep, that's right, Hawaii. My older bro is getting married. I'm super-psyched because I've never been there and it's one of those places I thought I'd never get to. Yee-haw!
Anyway, check out Sara McClung's blog (link on her name above) to sign up if you want to join us! (For the blogfest, not in Hawaii.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jellicoe Road

I didn't include this book on my April reads because I hadn't finished it till this morning. But I have to talk about it. If you've read it, you'll understand.

I picked up this book in the first place because I think at least one person had it on their "best book of 2011" list. So it's gotta pretty good, right? After reading Chapter 1, I thought, huh??? After Chapter 2, I thought, who are these people? After Chapter 3, I thought, I don't think I'm going to finish this book. And this is coming from a girl who's put down maybe three books in her entire life before finishing them. I just don't do that. Once I start I story, I have to see it through, even if it makes me want to tear my hair out (I read a book like that recently, but I won't name any names).

While deciding whether or not to even bother reading past chapter 3, I decided to go on Goodreads. Which actually was kind of a stupid idea since reviews on Goodreads are always a mix of good and bad, so how exactly would that help me?

Wrong. They were all good. (At least the first couple of pages I looked at. Did you honestly expect me to read more than two thousand reviews???) But not only that, a lot of the reviews said the same kind of thing:

I had no clue what was going on at first...
I couldn't keep track of all the characters in the beginning...
Even once I got to 100 pages, I thought I'd quit but I decided to keep going...
Keep reading, it's worth it...
Keep reading, you'll love this book...
Keep reading, it will all become clear in the end...

I took their advice. I kept reading. And it was worth it! Oh my gosh was it worth it! I don't even know what to say about this book except it's so heart-wrenchingly sad. The things these characters go through... oh it's so awful and yet you keep reading because you want them to make it through so badly and somehow they do get through it. At first I couldn't keep track of all the characters and because of that I didn't really care about them. But gradually, things become clear, and you get to know each individual character and you start to guess who these people are in relation to everyone else and you fall in love with them.

This book is a definite must read. But if you pick it up, keep reading. Do it, keep reading. Trust me, you won't be sorry you did.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April Reads

Aha! YA Highway have finally posted their Road Trip Wednesday question and lucky me, I'm all prepared. Here it is:

What was the best book you read in April?

You'd think I had nothing better to do in April than read. Well... maybe I didn't. Here's the books I read this month:

The best one? Can I choose two? Too bad, because I'm gonna. First, Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I love to read something so completely different than what I'm used to. And not only that, but this book didn't go where I thought it would go at all. It really surprised me and books don't often do that for me.

My other best book of the month- Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I read this book in one day because I was so caught up in the story and the characters. It was funny, it was sad, it was romantic, it was sexy-hot, it was sweet. The sequel (Rules of Attraction) was just as good but I'm a lover of firsts- first novels included- so I have to go with this one.

(And you know how much I loved Jenny Han's "summer" books. I've said it before, but I couldn't help saying it again.)

What did you read this month? Anything I can add to my TBR pile?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here's my teaser for this week from Hereafter by Tara Hudson. And by the way, this book has nothing to do with the crappy Matt Damon movie with the same title. Just in case you saw it and were worried (cuz man that movie blew).

I stared at his outstretched arm for a moment, unsure of what to do. What a scary, thrilling idea- holding his hand, touching him for more than a few brief seconds. Shaking a bit, I tentatively stretched out my hand and let it fold into his. (page 147)

I know this might seem like the same old- a girl freaking out about touching a boy, oohaah. But actually, this girl happens to be a ghost. Just sayin'.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I feel like I'm a master at brainstorming. Mostly because it involves the thing I do best: daydreaming. Going to another world in my own head and losing myself in it. I've been a daydreamer my whole life, and since I've starting writing seriously, I use that to brainstorm new ideas or plot twists and turns.

I'm not a plotter. I'm not a note taker. I don't do anything really technical to get my manuscripts going (or continuing). If I'm stuck with a problem, I find a way to do something mindless that leaves my brain able to daydream up what I want to happen next.

Like driving. A lot of us get ideas while we're driving, right? Driving is a mindless task. You know what to do but it's not something you have to consciously think about. It gives your mind a chance to wander to other things. This works best for me when I'm driving a long distance but even short car rides sometimes, with a great song on the radio, can provide me with a whole bucketful of inspiration.

Cleaning also works. I HATE cleaning. The only way I can moderately enjoy sponging down my toilets (shudder) is by letting my mind loose to think about something a lot better. Like my MC's crush.

I also have a brainstorming buddy. If I'm stuck in a spot, I text her and say, this is where I'm at- what happens next? She fires back all these different scenarios that I never would have thought of cuz I'm too involved in the book. Sometimes I end up going with something she said, and sometimes it's enough for my own brain juices to start flowing and I come up with my own idea.

If all the above fails, or if I'm just too tired to clean or exercise just to find ideas, I do something that's moderately embarrassing. I sit on the edge of my bed by the window where the sun shines in, and I pick my hair. (Did you think I was going to say nose? Gross). I have this bad habit of picking the split ends out of my long hair. So I sit in the sun and pick my hair and for some reason I can usually come up with some great ideas. Weird, but very true.

Anyone have any other ideas for brainstorming? What do you do to get those brain juices flowing?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Contests! and Movie Trailers

Contest #1: I'm sure most of you have heard of the Writer's Voice contest. It sounds freakin' awesome so if you haven't, check it out at Mother. Write. (Repeat).

Contest #2: Ryann Kerekes is having a query and first ten pages critique contest. Check it out at Novel Addiction. Maybe this will help get your query polished before you submit to the Writer's Voice!

And Randomly... I've read a lot of posts about books people are looking forward to this year. Honestly, I read so much that I have no clue really what I'm waiting for or when books are coming out (except the newest from Cassandra Clare which comes out May 8th cuz I read it last night on Facebook). What I do know is there are a few movies coming out this year that I CANNOT wait for.

I saw the preview for The Hobbit last weekend before Wrath of the Titans. Even though I'd watched it before on my computer, it was way more AWESOME on the big screen. It's so Peter Jackson (what with the singing and all that), but that just means I know I'm gonna like it! And ever since North and South, I've been a big Richard Armitage fan. Although he's practically unrecognizeable as Thorin Oakenshield, I know he's still gonna be amazing.

I know I've said it already, but I'm DYING for the new Les Miserables movie. Although there's no trailer yet, I've seen a few teasing pics here and there on the web. Ahhh, can't wait.

I'll admit it, I'm looking forward to Breaking Dawn Part 2. I will also admit that I think teaser trailers are kinda stupid. Usually, they just make me laugh, like oooh let's make this one minute as dramatic as possible by showing barely anything (except a deer and Bella's head poking around a tree staring at it). But they never dampen my enthusiasm for the movie itself.

Another Stephenie Meyer movie I'm looking forward to is The Host. Although it's not due till 2013. And this teaser is probably the worst one of all. (Oooh, eerie eyes, oooh. Haha, am I making you want to watch these movies?)

And yet another Stephenie Meyer-related movie- she was the producer- is Austenland, based off Shannon Hale's book. This is due sometime this year although there are no teasers, posters, or anything really to give us any hints. Should be a good one though because the book was so much fun.
I found this pic of some of the cast

What movies are you looking forward to this year? Seen any silly teaser trailers?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Lame Prom Story

Welcome to the 126th Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, since this week's topic is a short one, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:
It's almost prom season, and since we love to read and write about teenagers, we want to hear your prom stories!

Prom? Really? You want me to talk about prom? This might be more fun if I had this super awesome prom story like from a teen movie where I got this fabulous makeover or went with the most popular guy in high school or had any kind of magical evening.

There was no magic.

Okay, yes, I went to Prom. I think the theme was "Take My Breath Away", you know that song from Top Gun? I could be wrong though, sometimes my memories get a little skewed.

Anyway, I went with a friend of mine, Ricky. He had a Ford Mustang which I thought was the coolest car when I was 16. So no limo, which kind of bums me out since I've still never been in one. One day...

Double anyway... after the crappy dinner, I got stomach pains. This happens to me sometimes, more often when I was younger. I used to lay on my bed with a pillow under my stomach until they went away. Since I was in heels and a fancy dress, no such luck. I hid in the bathroom awhile. None of my friends believed that I had stomach pains. They thought it was an excuse because I was having a crappy time or something. Nice, eh?

I remember dancing. I vaguely remember an afterparty with Ricky's friends (who weren't really my friends). And by vaguely- I wasn't drunk, I just have a bad memory. Later, I hung out with my own friends and their dates. After everything, I wished I would have taken Jared, a different guy who wanted to go with me. Mainly because I could've hung out with my own friends and might have had more fun.

So that's the story of my junior prom. Senior prom at my high school was sort of a joke and I didn't go. But our Grad party was a blast. I had way more fun at that than I did at Prom. Looking back, and reading this post back, I can't help but think- LAME. My whole high school experience was pretty uninteresting. Maybe that's why I like writing YA- to liven things up a bit. Haha.

Did you have a magical prom? Does anyone? (Or does that just happen in Teen movies?)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Contemporary YA

I'm falling in love... with contemporary YA. It's something I never thought I'd read. I grew up reading Fantasy and even once I started reading in the YA genre a few years ago, I mostly stuck to paranormal or fantasy or a book with some sort of twist. But let me tell you, there are a lot of amazing contemporary reads out there.

On Saturday I read Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I'd heard about this book, but because it's contemp, I wasn't in a huge rush to read it. Once I started reading it though I could NOT stop. The characters were compelling, the story moving and funny. Ahhhh, it was awesome. 

Yesterday I finished the third book in Jenny Han's "summer" trilogy- We'll Always Have Summer. I loved all of these books. I had butterflies in my stomach and tears in my eyes. Again, these characters were just so memorable but in simplistic ways. These characters didn't stick with me because they're a vampire or they have supernatural powers or their touch means death. These characters stuck with me because they were real people, and so well written that they came alive.

I'm a horrible book reviewer. I've said it before and I'll say it again. But the point I'm trying to make here is give Contemporary a chance. Give it a chance because they are often some of the most touching/'moving/relate-able stories to read.

And because it's Teaser Tuesday, and I haven't started reading a new book yet, here's a teaser from We'll Always Have Summer:

Alone in my car again, I cried loud, ragged sobs. I cried until my throat hurt. I was mad at my mom, but bigger than that was this overwhelming, heavy sadness. I was grown up enough to do things on my own, without her. I could get married, I could quit my job. I was a big girl now. I didn't have to ask for her permission. My mother was no longer all powerful. Part of me wished she still could be. (page 136)

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today is a day of mourning. A day of sadness. A day to lament, to cry, to sob, to throw heads back and wail. Today is day to mourn over what is lost, what is gone, what will never be retrieved.

Today... is my birthday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Revolutionary Pictures

This week's Road Trip Wednesday prompt, hosted by YA Highway, is:
What images inspire/ represent your WIP or favorite book?

Hmm, what to choose?

So right now, I'm working on Jessica Book 2. I did a bare beginning of a new YA Fantasy WIP before putting it aside because I need way more world-building before I start. Instead I've been jotting notes and paragraphs down on a completely different YA contemporary WIP. For starters, here are some pictures that inspire Jessica Book 2- my Daze and Knights sequel.

And instead of a picture, this is a teaser of what's inspiring my new YA contemp WIP:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LDS Writer Blogfest: The Merciful Obtain Mercy

The Easter Break last week has me all askew in more ways than one, including blogging. But I'm back today just in time for the LDS Writer Blogfest hosted by Kayeleen Hamblin at Kayeleen's Creation Corner. I took part in this blogfest last year and really enjoyed it so here I am again!

I think a lot of people might pick this talk, The Merciful Obtain Mercy by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He's just such an awesome speaker- the kind who comes up to the stand and my ears immediately perk up. Already I forgot a lot of what he said, but there are two words he said that I think we will all remember:

Stop it!

He's speaking of the human tendency to judge others, to hold onto grudges or bitterness, to sever relationships because someone has offended or hurt us in some way. This is what he says,

When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple.

I have to admit, I'm pretty good about not judging and not getting offended. I don't hold grudges. When someone bugs or annoys me or does something to hurt me, it lasts for awhile and then I shrug it off. I think, I thought, this was one area that I actually excel in.

So why did I pick this talk? There were a few things that stood out to me, areas in which I do not excel.

President Uchtdorf talks at one point about forgiveness. We have to forgive all men. Looking into my past, I don't think there's one person or one action I haven't forgiven. I know as much as anyone how imperfect people can be, how often we don't mean to do, say, or hurt someone. We all make mistakes. It's actually not hard for me to forgive others. But then he adds something:

May I add a footnote here? When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror.

That is the one person whom I have trouble forgiving: Myself. While I don't fault others for their mistakes, I can't forget mine. I can't stop feeling awful for some of the things, both big and small, that I've done that hurt others, or hurt myself.

I think it's interesting how I couldn't care less now about the boys who dumped me in the past. Even though it hurt at the time (sometimes majorly), now it's like, so what? But those boys I dumped? I still feel awful. Even though I was young/stupid/immature/idiotic/you-name-it, those are the ones I can't get over. This is a prime example that I have trouble forgiving myself. Definitely something I need to work on.

The other thing that stood out to me from this talk was just a sort of an overall thought. As Pres. Uchtdorf was talking about replacing judgemental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and his children, I was thinking, I'm good- I hardly ever have those kinds of thoughts. But then I came to a pretty big BUT: BUT- do I have all that much love?

Pres. Uchtdorf says this, The more we allow the love of God to govern our minds and emotions—the more we allow our love for our Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts—the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ. As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventually fade.

I've been struggling with this ever since. It almost seems easy, like if you don't judge, then you automatically love, right?

I don't know if that is right, at least when it comes to myself. While I don't have animosity or harbor any negative feelings towards others, I don't feel like I've got a swelling in my heart towards other people either. While I've always praised myself for not judging or getting offended or staying angry, on the flip side, I've never been much of a giver. I'm not good at reaching out, I'm not good at service. Heck, I'm not even good at hugs. Do people really feel the love from me? Um, probably not.

This talk really helped me to look past the basic principle he was teaching- forgiveness- to the thing I personally need to work on- love. And the other thing I learned? It's just as important to forgive myself as it is to forgive others.

If you'd like to read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk in full, you can find it here.

Check out the other participants in the blogfest:

***Sorry, I'm experiencing technical difficulties... I had the link list on here and then when I went to update it, it's not working, check out the link above for Kayeleen's Creation Corner, she's got the link list on her post***

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Two New Loves

There are two new things I'm majorly in love with right now. The first:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This book was so different than anything I'd read before. It was one of those books that by about halfway through I couldn't put down. The kind of book I finished and then said, Awwww, dang it! I have to wait a whole year for the sequel! This book was like Cinderella- Star Wars style. Way to go Marissa Meyer, your book rocks.

Another thing I love? Boy bands. It's true, I admit it. I've always been a boy band fan. My love has just changed from an excited-gushing-jumping-JC is so cute! kind of love to a head-bobbin'-dancing-singing-along-in-the-car kind of love. Apparently they're back by the way- I read it in a magazine. Anyway, one of the new boy bands on the scene right now (I can't believe I just said on the scene) is One Direction. Here's one of their awesome songs in case you've never heard of them before.

Oh, and I'm still crushing on Josh Hutcherson (in a totally non-cougar kind of way, right Jaime?). I just can't pick anyone else for a crush of the week. That's what happens when you see Hunger Games again.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Who Do You Love?

It's Road Trip Wednesday time again hosted by YA Highway. This week's question:

Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey?

I've answered this question before, but you can't ever say thank you too many times. So this is me, walking up to the podium, clutching my oscar manuscripts, ready to deliver my speech. Oh and by the way, I'm wearing something about like this:

First and foremost, I'd like to thank my parents, who have always believed in me. They never doubted I could be a writer. I'd like to thank my husband and kids who allow me the time to write without too many complaints. I'd like to thank my #1 critiquer/brainstormer Emily who's always there to talk when I need her and has read almost every scrap I've ever written. I'd like to thank all the other people who've read (or are currently reading) one of my manuscripts: Jeff, Coralie, Natalie, Sheri, Amanda, Michelle, Prerna, and I really hope I haven't forgotten anyone. I'd also like to thank the awesome writer-blogger world and all the help, support, and contests they have without which two agents would not have my full at this very moment. Finally, I would like to thank God for the blessings he has bestowed on me.

Oh, and I'd like to thank the Academy YA Highway for hosting these awards.

So where's my statuette? Wait, what? I haven't won an award? And now the music's playing, kicking me off the stage? Okay, okay, I'm going.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

I just barely started a new book last night, meaning I'm only one chapter in. But there are still lots of teasers to be had for Teaser Tuesday.

Instead of answering, the prince bent down, craning his neck so that she had no choice but to meet his eyes, and dashed a grin at her. Her heart winced. (Cinder, page 8)

Did I mention this book is a twist on the Cinderella fairy-tale. And that Cinder happens to be a cyborg??? Definitely never read anything like this before. I'm intrigued to see where it goes.

What are you reading right now? Any great teasers? And if you want to hear some teens give my first 250 words of Daze some very honest critiques, head on over to YA Confidential. It's an awesome blog for YA writers and they all gave me excellent feedback.