Monday, June 29, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! (week 4) and Monday Reads

Finish short story: CHECK!
Continue JAR OF HEARTS revisions: CHECK!

-Revise and submit short story.
-Finish JAR OF HEARTS revisions. I'm just a few chapters away from being done. I'm feeling torn about the WIP though- part of me thinks I've done all I can, while the other part is worried that I haven't done enough.

The Phantom of the Opera

The warm weather. It doesn't last long here in Alberta and I just wanted to be outside all the time enjoying it.

I love my MC. She's confident and a bit cocky, enthusiastic and dramatic, and like no one I've ever written before. I worry a little that she won't be likable, but it was fun to write someone who knows who she is (or at least thinks she does).

Still reading ROYAL WEDDING by Meg Cabot. It's a fun read, I just haven't had a lot of time.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Loves: Call the Midwife and Royal Wedding

Can I first say what I do not love? That would be getting a golf-ball sized zit on my cheek just days before taking author photos. OF COURSE that happens. However, this is a Friday loves post, not a complainy post. And besides, my photographer wants to reschedule anyway so hopefully this growth will be gone by then.

So what do I love this week? CALL THE MIDWIFE.

I've said it before, but I'm in the middle of season 4 right now and it's soooooo good. I wasn't sure about the show without Nurse Lee, but it's still just as incredible. I still manage to shed at least one tear (if not a whole boatload) every episode. LOVE.

I also love reading another Princess Diaries book. I'm currently reading the new book, ROYAL WEDDING, and it's just as funny as I remember the old ones being.

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Short Story

I mentioned on Monday that over the weekend I got this crazy urge to enter a short story contest. I've barely written any short stories, and I have less than a month to get one ready, but hey- why not, right? Honestly, I don't know why I want to give it a try, I just do. And I did.

Yep, I finished the short story! I wrote just under 4k on Friday, which was stellar. Then I hit a stand still and didn't know where to go from there. On Monday I stared at a blank screen and wrote about 100 words until finally I gave it up to work on JAR OF HEARTS revisions. Tuesday started the same, but I persisted, and ended up finishing the whole thing! WHOOP! It's only a first draft right now but I'm going to leave it for the rest of the week, work on more JAR OF HEARTS revisions, and then go back and revise it next week. Even if it comes to nothing, I'm glad I did it. It tested me in a completely different way.

What are you working on this week?

And hey, I'm being interviewed over at JR Yates blog today!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! (Week 3) and Monday Reads

Finish critiquing a CPs MS- check!
Work on JAR OF HEARTS revisions- ten chapters done, check!

Continue revising JAR OF HEARTS
Finish short story

I heard about this short story contest due next month and for some reason I decided I wanted to enter. I rarely ever write short stories- they're not really my cup of tea- so I have no clue why I felt the urge, but I did and I ended up writing almost 4k of it in one day. So a word that sums that up is SURPRISED.

Busyness, as usual. I wanted to work on revisions every day but I found the days where I was doing other stuff (CP-ing, short story writing, and cover revealing), I didn't get any revisions done.

For this short story I'm writing, I kinda love the MCs voice. She's really been speaking to me and I love that, especially since the entire last WIP I wrote that didn't happen at all. :(

I finished BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott and thought it was great. I also finished THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan and then the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series: THE SON OF NEPTUNE. I loved that one too, maybe even more because it's about Percy again and I love Percy. I'm taking a mid-series break though to read Meg Cabot's new Princess Diaries book: ROYAL WEDDING.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Loves: Writers

I've read a lot of acknowledgement pages. Like most writers, before I even start the book I flip to the back to see who the author's agent is, and if I recognize any of the names. In all the acknowledgement pages I've read, I don't remember anyone ever saying thank you to people who participate in cover reveals. Maybe they do, and I just don't remember, or I wasn't paying close enough attention. Or maybe they don't because acknowledgement pages shouldn't turn into novels themselves. Who knows.

So anyway, whether I'm allowed to or not later, or if I forget, for my Friday Loves today I want to thank everyone who so readily agreed to take part in my cover reveal yesterday. I'm constantly amazed by the writing community and how writers help each other out. Sometimes we put ourselves in competition with other authors because they got an agent first, or a three-book deal, or whatever. But we don't need to do that! We build each other up, we work together. I've seen it. Each person who volunteered to be part of my cover reveal is proof of that, and I'm so thankful.

So here's my Academy Award Speech, except with links. You could never get links at the Oscars.

I'd like to thank Michelle Merrill, RuthAnne Frost, Prerna Pickett, Jaime Morrow, Tyler-Rose Counts, S. L. Hennessy, Vanessa Eccles and the YA-NA Sisterhood, Laura Brown Teckman, Cathrina Constantine, Kristin Van Risseghem, Kathleen Allen, Maggie Findlay, Vanessa Reeves Rodriguez, Emma Wicker, Jennifer Rose Egan, Karen Mahara, and Anne Marie Hilse.

You girls are the best!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015



I'm so excited for this cover and this book and for EVERYTHING right now!!! You could cut me off in traffic or spill beer on me today and I'd probably just smile and say, IT'S MY COVER REVEAL DAY! That's the kind of mood I'm in.

I wrote SWAY way back in 2011 (!) and I can't believe it's only months away from seeing the real light of day. If you haven't heard me babble about it before, it's a modern-day PERSUASION (by Jane Austen) retelling that takes place in LA (and a bit in Vegas too, cuz yanno Vegas is a prime drama-filled setting). Here's the blurb:

Ava Elliot never thought she’d become a couch surfer. But with a freshly minted—and worthless—degree from Julliard, and her dad squandering the family fortune, what choice does she have?
Living with her old high school friends, though, has its own drawbacks. Especially when her ex-fiancĂ© Eric Wentworth drops back into her life. Eight years ago, she was too young, too scared of being poor, and too scared of her dad’s disapproval. Dumping him was a big mistake.
In the most ironic of role reversals, Eric is rolling in musical success, and Ava’s starting at the bottom to build her career. Worse, every song Eric sings is an arrow aimed straight for her regrets.
One encounter, one song too many, and Ava can’t go on like this. It’s time to tell Eric the truth, and make a choice. Finally let go of the past, or risk her heart for a second chance with her first love. If he can forgive her…and she can forgive herself.
Aaaaand, without further ado and messing around and all that jazz... here's the cover!
I was super nervous to see my cover because I'm picky-picky sometimes, but I love this cover! I love the font on the title, I love the colors, and I love the couple. I love that they incorporated a piano for my MC Ava and the background lights for Eric. I love it so much I just want to smoosh it.
SWAY is coming this winter from Samhain Publishing. You can add it on Goodreads here. Eeeek!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Check-In

Since I'll be keeping track of my writing goals with Ready. Set. WRITE! my Wednesday Writes posts will be just a short check-in. I thought of quitting them altogether until RSW is over, but this will give me that one bit of extra accountability to make sure I'm staying on track.

As of Monday, I set a goal to finish critiquing a CPs manuscript and work on revisions of JAR OF HEARTS. I finished critiquing on Monday, and on Tuesday I revised three chapters of JofH. So I'm well on my way and feeling good. I also wrote up a 1st draft query for JofH and sent it to a CP to see what she thinks. I'm hoping to have this MS ready for PitchWars starting in August and I think I'll make it since this is third of fourth (or fifth) revision now... clearly I've lost track. But I think/hope/pray that this MS is getting to where it needs to be.

If you want to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE! check out the link above. And stop back tomorrow for my cover reveal for SWAY!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ready. Set. Write! (Week 2) and Monday Reads

How I did on last week's goals
I came across Ready. Set. Write! in the middle of last week and immediately signed up, all ready and raring to go. I did it last summer and I remember it keeping me on track of my summer goals. Unfortunately, the few days after that, I barely got a thing done writing-wise. But I'm giving myself a pass since I didn't actually set any goals last week.

My goals for this week
Finish critiquing a CPs MS. Continue revisions on my YA mystery JAR OF HEARTS. Also, my cover reveal is this Thursday so THAT!

A favorite line from my story
Here's my tagline for SWAY, my adult romance/Persuasion retelling coming from Samhain Publishing this winter:

She'd be happy to forget... if the past would just stop hitting replay.

The biggest challenge I faced this week
My mom was here visiting, my three girls had their dance rehearsals and recitals (3 different ones), and my son had a baseball tournament. Plus it was my hubs birthday. So ALL THE THINGS.

Something I love about my WIP
Since my focus is on a couple different manuscripts right now, I'm going to say (yet again) how much I love my cover for SWAY. I'm so excited to reveal it this Thursday!

Monday Reads:

I'm still reading Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD. She hasn't revealed any new and exciting writing advice, but the way she writes is amazing. It's the kind of book where I feel like we're best friends now. ;)

I'm also reading THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan- the first book in THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS series. As always, love his books.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Loves: Querying Authors and SYTYCD

My first love of the week is a Facebook author group I'm part of. They're supportive and all-around awesome. Some of them volunteered like that to be part of my cover reveal coming next week, and I'm so grateful. Hugs and a huge shout-out to everyone involved in Querying Authors.

My second love this week is So You Think You Can Dance. Yep, it's BACK! I practically cried with excitement during the first episode, and I'm not even joking. I love this show like crazy and I'm sure this won't be the only time I name it as a Friday Love.

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Revisions Round Bazillion

I'm plugging away at revisions on JAR OF HEARTS and I think it's going good. I think. Revisions are hard. I get back CP or beta notes and I totally understand what they're saying but then when I try to implement it, I second guess myself. Like, am I really making a difference? Or am I just making it worse? Or am I fixing one problem only to create another? Argh, revisions. Not my fave.

I also have a set date for my cover reveal for SWAY. It's coming next Thursday and I'm super excited to have my cover out in the world!!! EEEK! I'm also planning to take author headshots soon and I can't make up my mind whether I want to do a country/park setting or more urban. Not that it really matters because you probably won't see it in the background, but yet, it MATTERS. So indecisive.

What are you working on this week?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Reads: Behind the Scenes

A few years ago I was in The Writer's Voice competition and met some great people. One of them had written a book about a girl who's best friend is an actress, and who falls for her BFF's costar. I wanted to read it ASAP and I told her so. I was lucky enough to beta read BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler. Back then, there was barely anything that needed to be critiqued- the book was perfection. It was just as awesome this second time around. If you haven't read it yet, definitely check it out.
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

I'm also still reading BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. She's an excellent writer- good enough to keep me entertained through a non-fiction book. Definitely one to check out if you're a writer.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Loves: Mark Ruffalo, Feminism, and My Mom

Aside from Mark Ruffalo being the best Hulk, his passion for the environment, and the fact that I like that movie he made with Reese Witherspoon where she was in a coma and the one with Jennifer Garner, there was this thing I saw online this week that made me heart him even more.

I didn't realize there was an I Am Not A Feminist thing going on, but Mark Ruffalo's response is the best ever. Check it out on his Tumblr here. I've actually been thinking about feminism a lot lately, and how I used to consider myself NOT a feminist because it held a certain stereotype, for me and maybe for all the world. But I'm learning more and more every day just the types of inequality we women face on a daily basis, and not just the in-your-face kind of issues but littler things. Those things that both men AND women do that brings an imbalance between genders. I'm not very eloquent about my feelings on it, obviously, which is why you should check out Mark Ruffalo's post because he says it just right.

So yep, my feminism is showing, and I don't mind one bit.

Another thing I love is my Mom. I love her more than just this week, of course, but she's come to stay with us for a week and a half and it's great to have her here. I've pretty much always had a great relationship with my mom, and I'm super grateful for that. And of course she's amazing with my kids and they love spending time with Grandma. My mom is an excellent example of a strong woman without being loud, a compassionate woman without demanding thanks, a smart woman without being condescending. She's the best mother a girl could ask for and I'm so grateful to have her in my life.

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Writes: Revisions Again!

I waffled back and forth between tackling my latest WIP (currently untitled) and revising JAR OF HEARTS. I finally decided on the latter. I finished my last revision a little less than a month ago, and I like to have some time off from my work before I get back to it. But I want JAR OF HEARTS to be ready by the start of PitchWars in August so I figured I'd better get to it. Especially since my productivity in the summer can be touch-and-go because the kids are home from school and I like to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

So I started another round of revisions on JofH on Monday. I have comments from a CP to go through, plus some bigger issues I need to fix. This book has been tough, and a learning experience for me, but then again aren't they all??? Mine sure are.

What are you working on this week?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Reads: Bleed Like Me

It's still been slow-going for me on the reading front. I read just one book this past week and that was BLEED LIKE ME by Christa Desir.
Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just "Gannon" to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she's standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She's given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

This book is so messed up. Or rather, the characters are so messed up. It was the kind of book I'm glad I read, and it was good, but I will never read it again. It was disturbing like that. I dunno, I really don't have much else to say about it. It kinda left me feeling HUH.

Right now I'm reading BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. It's a book on writing and it's fantastic. I'm loving it so far, although I do miss reading a novel, so I think I'll start one sometime today and try to juggle two books at once. People do this all the time but it's not the best thing for me. Who cares, I'm going to do it anyway.

What are you reading this week?