Monday, July 30, 2012



Okay. So I realize no one had any idea this was going down last weekend. Let me explain: I kept it a secret for several personal reasons, and I realize that's kind of strange, but just go with it. Believe me when I say it was the most difficult secret to keep EVER. Seriously. You know how much I adore you all and I wanted to tell you so bad!! I dropped a few hints here and there, but I really wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

You forgive me, right? Right? I know you do, because you're way too excited for me to be upset. *winky face*

It'll be a while before we get the professional photos, but Facebook is already blowing up with millions of candid shots and cell phone related pictures. So much fun!

Here's a shot of me from our suite as I wait for the big moment.
I'm gonna keep the photos to a minimum, but I have to share a photo of us newlyweds.
I'm so sad the day is over. It was absolutely perfect in every way. Truly a dream. I look forward to reliving it every day through the beautiful pictures and to spending the rest of my life with my wonderful husband.

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I heart you all!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Love Triangles

I've been watching a lot of Korean dramas lately (aka kdramas), and I have to admit that as a YA writer, you can learn a heck of a lot from these shows. Why? Because they know how to tell a well-executed love story with just the right amount of affection. It's not in your face or over the top, which at times can be a little overwhelming. I'm not the only one who thinks so. There are several writers/agents out there who agree that kdramas have the tension and excitement that come with having a new love. Check out Laura's blog post where we talk more about that topic.

The biggest thing I enjoy about the relationships in any story is a good love triangle. Yes, I am one of those. You throw in two smart/gorgeous guys and you've won me over. Of course, there's always the badass, right? Then there's the good guy. Majority of the time, the badass always wins, but every once in a while we see the good guy come through.

Here's what I personally like to see in a love triangle: best friends/brothers going after the same girl. See, when it's two guys who hate each other, it's too easy. I almost always cheer for the good guy, because even though he's perfect for her in every way––you know she won't pick him––but it makes you love him even more. It's like I want to say "But I love you, Good Guy!" And when I talk about bad guy, I don't mean the hot badass with the potty mouth. I mean the guy who completely treats the girl like crappola. Why must the girl always go after the jerk? Let's not get into that. I could go on forever.

The only time I've ever rooted for the bad guy was in Vampire Diaries. Look how sweet Damon turned out to be. He used to make me cringe, but now I'm all for him! This has nothing to do with my massive crush on Ian Somerhalder, I swear. *le sigh* (SPOILER: If Damon and Elena don't end up together next season, so help me.)

Back to what I was saying. When it's two best friends/brothers, I'm completely torn. To me, that's a curveball. Now, I realize that Damon and Stefan are brothers, but I'm talking about brothers who actually like each other. Sure they like each other now, but that wasn't always the case. With that said, I hate to see a girl come between two friends/brothers, but boy do I love all the Oh snap! moments. When best friend/brother #1 gets oh so close to making a move, but then best friend/brother #2 comes to her rescue and swoops her off her feet. Game on, man!

There's always those sweet moments when you think something is finally going to happen, and you're in the background with your pom pom's cheering them on. Out of nowhere, best friend/brother #1 brushes his hand oh so gently across her face, and she swoons. It goes on and on and on. One does something adorable, then the next guy one-ups the other.

I mean, sometimes the girl is a complete moron, and you're like "Really, lady?!" It's like you want her to choose and end all the suffering, but then you don't because you're enjoying the show. That's the kind of love triangle I like to read about or watch. It keeps me sucked in, teetering on the edge of my seat, anxious to see what happens next.

What do you think? What keeps you wanting more in a love triangle?

*p.s. If you haven't yet, make sure you enter my giveaway to win a YA book. Winners choice!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From Me to You

I am so thrilled to have finished my fifth YA manuscript over the weekend! After several nights staying up until three in the morning, I completed the first draft and even finished the first round of revisions. As of this morning, the manuscript has been sent off to my critique partner, and I was so excited that I thought: "IT'S TIME FOR A GIVEAWAY!"

You have all been incredibly supportive, cheering me on through Twitter the entire way. I'd love to share how grateful I am by coming up with the coolest giveaway I could think of it. Are you ready for this? No, really. Are you ready?

Here it is!

One person will win the chance to pick ONE YA book of their choice. That's right, any YA book! It *must* be YA, for obvious reasons. Preferably something that has already been released, because waiting for something to come out would just be no fun.

This giveaway is open in the U.S. ONLY. I'm so sorry international peeps. I promise to do something for everyone next time! The Rafflecopter below will get you started. The contest is open until August 6th. Good luck!! *update* Please leave your email, so I can contact you if you win! UPDATE: THE WINNER IS JESSICA TAYLOR!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Writer Survival Guide 101

I've been involved in the writing world for just over a solid year. There are a lot of things to learn about putting yourself and your work out in the world and some of those things are: patience, handling criticism, proper online etiquette (this is a HUGE one) and supporting others.

Let's start with Patience:
From what I've experienced, and what I'm told by others, you will always be waiting. Whether it's waiting to hear back from a query, a request, or a submission. Waiting is the name of the game, and in order to win, you must learn to be patient. Otherwise, you have a long and suffering road ahead.

Twitter stalking, or whatever else there is, will do you no good. Let's be honest with ourselves and say we've all done this. I learned the hard way when I thought an agent was talking about me, then of course all my friends agreed (because why wouldn't they?), and when I found out it wasn't about me––let's just say it wasn't fun. Tracking what agents do or say gets you absolutely nowhere. I know it's hard, but don't do it to yourself. It's not worth the stress and heartache, because eventually someone will say yes, and it may not be that agent you've been tracking like a hawk since you sent your query.

Be patient. Keep writing. Stay busy. And wait.

Oh, the sweet yet bitter taste of criticism. It's excruciating to have your work in the hands of someone you know and admire. Their feedback means a lot to you, but sometimes feedback isn't always positive. And that's okay. Everyone needs that harsh reality about they're writing, because how else do we learn? If all anyone ever tells you is the good things, how is that going to help? No first draft, not even the second, is going to be perfect. Maybe it's happened before, but it's very rare.

You have to remember that when people give you constructive criticism, they're only doing it to help you better yourself and your writing. This is why it's so important to have betas/critique partners you trust. Yes, it is hard to find a trustworthy partner. Here's why: sometimes you'll find someone who's out only for themselves. It's a harsh truth, but true nonetheless. Choose wisely and get to know them. It's extremely important.

I've received quite a few hardcore feedbacks since I've been writing, and let me tell you, my writing has changed significantly. I'm thankful for those who were honest with me, as opposed to telling me what I wanted to hear.

Overall, take a deep breath and don't assume the worst. You are an amazing writer and just because someone gives you a few not-so-fun critiques, take it and run with it. LEARN from it. That's the best thing to do, and your writing will thank you for it.

Online Etiquette:
Oh, dear. This is something that shouldn't have to be said, but as there's a whole lot of hoopla going on, I guess it does. DO NOT put anyone down or mistreat fellow writers/publishers/editors/agents through social networks, or ever. It's obvious, right? Everyone can see everything said on Twitter. That's the whole point.

Twitter is not your personal punching bag. Going around harassing people and being downright rude isn't going to get you anywhere. As a matter of fact, the publishing/writing world is so small online––since everyone knows everyone––this is the worst move you could make. You're setting yourself up to be the bad guy, and nobody likes a bad guy, unless it's a well-written antagonist. Save your angst for your writing!

Now, no one can tell you what to do or say online. That is your own business. Please, feel free to rant all you want. Who am I to tell you otherwise? But if you plan to have a presence in the writing world, I'd suggest against it. Twitter is for getting to know other people in the industry, not just making contacts, but making friends. I can honestly tell you that every single person I talk to online is considered my friend. If I see them in real life, I am positive we'll talk just like we do online––like old friends. And that's why I love social networks. It makes me feel apart of something amazing.

Don't take all of this for granted. Be kind. Be supportive.

And that leads us to the last topic.

It's not a competition, guys. We are all out there doing the same thing––telling our stories and sharing it with the world. It's not an easy thing to do, but that's why we need to support each other. Getting an agent and getting published involves a lot of time and hard work. We all need each other to get through the hard times, and especially to celebrate the good.

If you're first to get an agent out of your group, don't forget what it was like in the trenches. Remember what your peers did for you as you battled through the long waits and heart wrenching rejections. Just because you've reached the top, doesn't mean you've outgrown them. It means this is your chance to show them how you succeeded and how they can do the same. Be there, not just for your friends, but for everyone. Whether someone sold their book to a Big Six, or has their newly published book hitting the shelves––support them. It doesn't matter if they're ahead of the game. One of these days, you'll be there too, and you'll want all the love and support you can get. It's what keeps us going. It's what keeps us from falling into a hole of anxiety and frustration.

Everyone needs a positive reminder of why they're doing what they're doing; whether you're just starting out or your book is climbing up the NYT Best Seller's list.

Always remember this: We are all in this together.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Never Gets Old

If you follow me on Twitter then you know that on Friday night I completed the first draft to my WIP. If you don't follow me on Twitter, well why not?! Just kidding. (sort of)

My goal was to reach 70K on this draft, but I was just shy of 63K. I'm not terribly disappointed about falling short of my goal, because I now get to start on revisions, in which I'll add a few things and bump  up my word count. But talking about word count isn't why I started writing this post. Can you say snoozefest?

The current WIP is my fifth manuscript. That feeling of accomplishment never gets old. Whether it's your first or twentieth manuscript, the fact that you completed something you set out to write is a huge deal. I couldn't even believe I reached the end. When I wrote the last sentence, I leaned against the couch, staring at the computer screen and was like "Huh. Did it just end?" I guess it's because I got so sucked into the story, I wasn't ready for it to end. It's one of those things where you love the idea and your characters so much, and being that it's a standalone, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye. Of course, after a second to let it sink in, I felt like this:


I want to thank all of my Twitter friends who have been so supportive and for pushing me to write when I lacked motivation. It's a wonderful feeling to know that I can hop on Twitter and receive so much help and love from all of you. You are all amazing and I can't wait to share the title of the WIP with you, but I'll save that for another time.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

11 Random Questions

I got tagged by my good Twitter friend, Suzy G, to answer 11 Random Questions. With that, I also need to tag a few people to join in on the fun. You can answer these questions by vlogging or with a simple blog post. Totally up to you. I did a vlog and you can watch it here:

I'd like to tag:
Stephanie (@stephpellegrin)

Jennifer (@justlyjennifer)

Meredith (@zeitlingeist)

Megan  (@meganwhitmer)

Nicole @nicolewolverton)

Here are the questions:

1) What are your top five favorite movies?

2) Would you rather go a year without make-up or without shaving?

3) What is a recent good book you've read?

4) What is a recent not so good book you've read?

5) Name one food you could eat for one meal every day for a year.

6) What was the best part of your senior year of high school?

7) What is one piece of electronic equipment you could live without?

8) Do you usually drink from a straw, a glass, or another type of container?

9) Would you rather have glow-in-the-dark skin or squishy teeth?

10) Who would win a fight between Gandalf and Dumbledore?

11) Are push-up bras a form of dishonesty?

There you have it. Have fun!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Process In Which I Write

As an independent contractor, there are moments when I have a lot of free time. Usually I'll stay at home and write, and other times I take my computer to work with me. Almost every time I write at work, the minute I bust out the computer, my co-workers (more like family, cause I've been there for so long) ask me about my "writing process." I feel so cheesy calling it that, but that's what it is. They've come to know me as "the writer" at work, which they find fascinating. I kind of love it when they ask me questions, because I know they truly support me and they're interested in what it is I do.

So, when they ask me how the writing thing works, this is what I say:

It starts with an idea. Of course, right? Some people have ideas from years ago that stick with them, maybe even have a few manuscripts they work on all at once. I, on the other hand, can only work with one idea at a time. After I finish something, it takes a while for another idea to come to fruition. It usually begins with a scene in my head. Whether it's a dead girl rotting in a corner (ex: Drowning Bailey), or a girl walking alone in the middle of an alley. You get what I'm saying. I see these characters in my mind and I want to know more about them. Who they are, what's their motive, and why in the world this girl is dumb enough to walk alone in an alley in the dead of night.

With that idea in mind, I start writing. Yep, just like that. That image is always the beginning. It somehow works out that it fits perfectly with telling the story, and introducing this strange new character. I take that scene and describe everything about it. The character, the scenery, what she's thinking or feeling. From there, I have a general idea of where I want the story to go. I mean, out of nowhere, the idea just sort of unfolds in my head.

Most sane people will write out an outline to keep their sanity in check. What do I do? I write chapter by chapter––no outlines. There are times when I reach the end of a manuscript that I will jot down a really short outline for the last few chapters, but nothing too big. I find that writing chapter by chapter puts me in the mind of the reader, as if I'm reading it for the first time along with them. I love being surprised by my characters. They have me feeling scared, sad, angry, shocked; all those things you're supposed to feel as a reader, and seeing it as it's developing really gives me that sense of where the story needs to be.

My newest thing is: not reading the manuscript through until it's completely done. I write until the very end and then go back and revise/edit. It keeps the story fresh, and I don't feel sick of it because I've already read it a million times. That always put a damper on things when it came to editing. By the time the story was complete, I was burnt out and not at all interested in reading it over again for the hundredth time. This way my mind is clear and ready to give the manuscript my full attention.

When I've completed that part of the process, that's when my CPs and Beta readers come in.

So there you have it! This is the process in which I write. What's your writing process?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why I Read/Write YA

I find myself having to defend my love for YA lately. Why is this? When people ask why YA of all things, I say "Why not?"

The thing I enjoy most about YA is that it's fun to read. I mean, I actually have *fun* reading. Most people I know consider reading as too much work. That's when I say "You're not reading the right book."

I like my books fast-paced and easy to read. Does that make me a dumb person? No. I read to disappear into a book for hours and connect with the characters that are relatable. At twenty-seven, I must admit that I am still very young at heart. The characters portrayed in majority of YA novels are characters that I feel are similar to people I actually know or grew up with, or even similar to me in ways. I'm a big kid and I still dream about living in a magical world or having supernatural powers or being a major bad ass with mad skills. I also enjoy the paranormal aspect where ghosts, vampires, and other mythical creatures exist. These are the types of things I love about a good book. They allow me to live these things that are otherwise impossible in the real world. And what's so wrong with that?

The biggest thing I find myself falling for is the love story. Oh yes, the feeling of first love. Who doesn't remember that feeling? That feeling in the pit of your stomach that flutters when the boy of your dreams walks into your life, or even the boy you'd known all your life who suddenly sweeps you off your feet. Sometimes a book can be wonderful without a love interest, but more often than not you'll find it in YA. I'm perfectly okay with this. Sure, not all love interests have to be super hot or perfect, but it doesn't hurt.

Writing YA is something I can connect with. It's something I can put into words that makes sense. To me, it's real in a way. Not to sound like a crazy person, but I can bring those characters to life, make them believable, because that's who I am. I think, and feel, and understand them. My life is so consumed with adult stuff every day, but once I read or write, I feel more myself than I do in my social life. And why is this? Because I'm a dreamer. I love to imagine beautiful things and interesting people that can express parts of me that I can't express out loud. Because writing these stories make people smile, maybe even scare them a little, and most of all, it makes me happy.

Writing YA is so much more than getting published. Though being published would be a dream come true. That's just being honest. But even if that day never comes, I will still write YA. I will always continue to write and write, simply because it brings so much joy to my life. And I hope, that no matter what happens with your writing career, that you will do the same, because that's what it's all about.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Big Thank You

Thank you to everyone who helped me reach 500 followers on Twitter, and for making the #Giveawayat500 a success! The winner was announced yesterday on Twitter. Congratulations again to Eliza for winning the Amazon Gift Card! I had so much fun with this contest and I promise to do another one soon.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe fourth of July! As for me, I think I'll stay home and work on the WIP. Only 20K words to go until it's completed and ready for the revision cave.

What are your plans for the fourth?