Sunday, November 24, 2013

How NaNoWriMo Lit a Fire Under My Butt

This is my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and let me tell you, it's been an experience so far. I started a little late, on November 3rd, and have missed four or five days of writing due to busyness and/or migraines. I'm not racking up the word count by 3-4k a day like some others, but I'm WRITING AGAIN. And that's the most important thing.

After approximately 17 total writing days, I have written 28,000 words. I have never written so much so fast in my life. NaNo has taught me to get out of my own head and let the characters' voices take over. No editing, no back-tracking, no overthinking. It's been amazing, not to mention a learning experience for me. I know now, more than ever, that writing is what I'm meant to do. I love every minute of my job and I'm so grateful I get to devote my days to something that fulfills me and makes me so happy.

As for the novel itself, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. The more books I write, the easier the words flow. The book is rough right now, and I may not love everything I've written, but the bones are there. This one is different from anything I've ever done and includes a particular element that I've never seen before in contemporary (or any) YA. This is the part I think I'm having the most fun creating. I also love my protagonist, who is outgoing, extroverted, unique, and a little nutty. It's fun writing someone who is SO unlike me (except for the nutty part).

Only a week to go before NaNo ends. I probably won't reach the 50k goal, but that's okay. The way I'm going, it's possible I might finish this before Christmas. For someone who usually takes about 6-10 months to write a first draft, completing one in two months would be quite the accomplishment.

Thanks for the kick-start, NaNo. I think I may see you again next year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Out of Nowhere is now somewhere!

Actually, several somewheres. You can now buy a digital copy of Out of Nowhere at:





I'll let you know when the paperback becomes available.

This book has been so long in the making. I can't believe this day has finally arrived. A huge THANK YOU to everyone for your support!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Release Date and Cover Reveal

Here it is, the cover for OUT OF NOWHERE!

Release date for the ebook version (Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords) is August 13th. Paperback version will (hopefully) be available shortly after.

You can now add Out of Nowhere to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

OUT OF NOWHERE to be released soon!

As some of you may know, my YA contemporary novel, Out of Nowhere, was a top 3 finalist in last year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, YA category. Read the reviews HERE.

Well...I am beyond thrilled to announce that you'll be able to buy and read Out of Nowhere before end of summer! 

Here's the pitch:

At eleven years old, Riley Tate witnessed the sudden death of her father. Now, at sixteen, she still can’t bring herself to step on “the spot”—the section of kitchen floor on which her father landed after collapsing from a brain aneurysm. For someone like Riley, a borderline hypochondriac with anxiety issues, moving on is never easy.

Since losing her dad, Riley has become obsessed with the human body, how it works, and what can go wrong with it. Reading about diseases distracts her from the things she’s not ready to deal with, like the fact that her mother started a whole new family with a man who has more muscles than brains and tries to act like her new dad. And that her doctor thinks she’s a mental case. And that her ex-boyfriend dumped her because she wouldn't have sex with him. But she refuses to let anything—especially not a guy—interfere with her dream of becoming a surgeon.

When she meets Cole Boyer in an ER waiting room, Riley realizes immediately that he’s far from the safe, predictable boy she usually goes for. A fearless daredevil with mysterious scars and a thirst for all things dangerous, Cole is like an accident waiting to happen. Still, despite their differences, they forge an unlikely friendship that eventually blossoms into something more. Dating someone who’s so casual about death has its challenges, but as Riley soon learns, not everyone can be—or needs to be—saved.

LIKE my Facebook Author Page for upcoming news about release date, cover reveal, and teasers!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Indie Gems Part 2

I think it's time for another round of Indie Gems!

See my previous installment.

Again, I dug for--and found--some shiny nuggets of gold in the giant mine that is Amazon:

 Remember When by T. Torrest

Young Adult Contemporary. This one was a rare find. I downloaded this as a freebie a while ago, not expecting much. But what I got was a sweet, sexy, well-written romance that I could not put down. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a pleasure to spend time with these characters. And it's set in the 90s, when I was a teen. The sequel to this is out today and I can't wait to read it.
 Branded by K.L. Hawker

Young Adult Fantasy. This one has romance, adventure, mystery, and a fast-moving, engaging plot. Really fun, well-written read. There are virtually NO typos in this book, which I always appreciate. Branded is the first in a trilogy. Part two, Stranded, is already out. I haven't had a chance to read it yet but I'm looking forward to it.
The Answer to Your Question by Paulette Alden

Adult Thriller. I got this as a freebie as well, again not expecting much. I knew from the first chapter that I'd like it. It has kind of a creepy feel to it, and the story is very compelling. I read it in one sitting. It's set in 1968, and there are a couple of problems with 21st-century-sounding dialogue, but it doesn't take away from the story. Worth the read, for sure.

And that concludes another edition of Indie Gems. Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

ABNA 2013 Winner and My Year Since ABNA 2012

Congratulations to Rysa Walker and her book Timebound, the Grand Prize Winner of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest! YA rules! Best of luck to you, Rysa.

Seeing this announcement this morning made me a little nostalgic for this day last year, June 16, 2012, when I was in Seattle for the 2012 ABNA ceremony. Since then, a lot has happened and changed for me: In July 2012, I published my first two books. In August 2012, I signed with my agent. I also wrote another book.

And something unexpected happened too. I met five people in Seattle, authors like me who I like to refer to as my ABNA peeps. A year later, the six of us still keep in touch and we all support/commiserate/cheer each other on in our writing endeavors. Regina, Alan, Chuck, Brian, Casey...I feel privileged to have met you all. Does anyone want some gravlax? (Yes, we even have inside jokes).

It's been an amazing year since my ABNA, and I can't wait to see what's around the next corner.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Beautiful Land

Happy Book Birthday to Alan Averill, winner of 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (General Fiction). The Beautiful Land is out today! Go buy it!

I've only read the excerpt of this one, but if the entire book is anything like those first couple of chapters, it's amazing. And if this book is anything like its author, it's also hilarious, awesome, and has a cool hairdo.

Congratulations Alan. I wish you much success!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

On Little Wings, ABNA 2013, and an update!

First and foremost, Happy Book Birthday to 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner Regina Sirois! On Little Wings was released today. Go buy it! Go! Regina, I'm so excited for you and I wish you all the success in the world.

In other news, five finalists were chosen for ABNA 2013. It Happened in Wisconsin by Ken Moraff (General Fiction), The Hidden by Jo Chumas (Mystery & Thriller), A Man Above Reproach by Evelyn Pryce (Romance), Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn (Sci fi/Fantasy/Horror), and Timebound by Rysa Walker (Young Adult). Congratulations to all of you!

What going on with me, you ask? Well, last month I finished my fourth book, another YA contemporary. I can't even express how much fun it was to write. It's a little edgier than I'm used to writing, but it's definitely my personal favorite to date. With this book, I was able to get myself on a firm schedule, and writing became a habit. So much so, I feel a little lost now that I'm finished. Time to outline #5!

Monday, March 11, 2013

What do you do?

I'm sitting here wondering if my fellow YA authors have ever endured a conversation like this:

RP = Random Person (who shall remain nameless)
Me = Me

RP: What do you do?
Me: I'm a writer.
RP: Oh? That's cool. What kind of books do you write?
Me: Young Adult
RP: What, like The Hunger Games and Twilight?
Me: No, I write contemporary. Like Sarah Dessen, John Green, that sort of thing.
RP: I've never heard of them. Are they like Sweet Valley High?
Me: (thinking: how old are you?) No, not like Sweet Valley High. YA fiction has changed a lot since the eighties.
RP: What are your books about?
Me: Well, they're all about different things, but they mainly focus on teenage girls overcoming their pasts, trauma, etc.
RP: So they're realistic?
Me: I hope so.
RP: I don't like realistic books. I read to escape.
Me: .......
RP: You should write a vampire book so you can be rich like Stephenie Meyer.
Me: Nice weather we're having today, don't you think?

The next time someone asks me what I do, I'm going to say "I'm writing a non-realistic Sweet Valley High-type book about vampires."

                                             (I did not make this book cover, I found it online)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Invoking My Inner Teenage Girl

Like most young adult writers, I write YA because teenagers fascinate me. One lives in my house (my 15 year old daughter) and I study her and her friends like they're some kind of exotic, unpredictable creatures in the wild. I've been told more than once that I have an "authentic teen voice", and while that pleases me, I also wonder why I can pull it off. Because I never grew up? Because I'm still a teenager inside? Because I remember the conflicting emotions and the feeling of first love and the confusion of trying to find my place in the world?

Still, I do struggle sometimes to identify with the 21st century teenage girl. I was sixteen years old in 1993. A lot has changed in twenty years. In 1993, we didn't go around with cell phones (they were probably the size of a laptop at that point). We called each other on the phone. We didn't text...we wrote notes and passed them under desks while the teacher wasn't looking. We didn't constantly take pictures of ourselves making ridiculous faces. We didn't have Facebook or Twitter. There was no such thing as cyber bullying. There was no Lady Gaga. Music was angsty and grungy and people wore flannel shirts and combat boots and worshiped Kurt Cobain. And it was pretty awesome.

So what else do I do to familiarize myself with the modern teenage girl? I google stuff like cell phone rules in high schools. I eavesdrop on conversations. I watch Degrassi: TNG and enjoy it more than a grown woman should. I devour YA books and take note of how other writers do it. I remember myself, way back in the ancient days of 1993, and include just a tiny piece of that girl in each of my characters. 

Minus this, of course: