Friday, August 12, 2016

That Feeling When (TFW)...

That Feeling When (TWF) is an acronym I just learned about. (This is the problem when you're no longer a teen and interning a library without teens for the summer.) But I just want to use it because...

TFW!!! when you finish an 11-page short piece...the first thing you have finished in 3 years besides revisions.

It feels like:

I'm excited besides finishing in that I want to turn it into a longer piece, even a novel. The idea is good and I've basically outlined using this short piece. But drafting again is hard. I have forgotten, but I'm determined to trudge through it and get a first draft done. If nothing else, to prove to myself I can write a novel. (again)

But whatever guys -- I WROTE AND FINISHED SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3,189 words of something. In 2 days. AHHHH. So excited, so excited! 

To finish, even a rough draft, even a small piece, is one of the greatest feelings I think a writer can have. You feel accomplished and proud and you sit back and you're like holy ^cats^ did I just do that?

yes, yes, you did.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

*dusts off blog*

Hello there, blog readers. If there are any of you left. Boy, this thing is dusty...

I just wanted to say that I have been reading a ton this summer and have some quick recommendations, PLUS some exciting news.

I guess I'll start with the exciting news.


Cue the gif party

I've been working on this novel since 2013/2014, put it away for 6 months in 2015, and have been revising nonstop since January 2016. I finally finished it at the end of June, and sent it back to all the agents in agentland in a week or so ago. Now here's to fingers and toes crossing (and I suppose, eyes if you're into that) that someone out there loves it.

In addition to this exciting news, I've been reading a ton and I FINALLY came up with a new WIP that I am not only super pumped about BUT it includes a main character that's been hanging out in my head since 2014. So, yay, finally! (It is a sci-fi. What? I know...) I'm looking forward to August when my summer classes are over and I'll have time to write it.

I wrote about 1,000 words of it and basically it deals with politics and bisexuality and running and superpowers and fathers/daughters and kissing and senior year of high school and, ugh, I am just so excited. :D Here is a little collage:

As for my reading recs... here you go...quick & fast!

THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood is what would happen if you mixed Doctor Who with Jandy Nelson. There's science and kissing and girls who like STEM and cottages and bookshops that smell delicious. Also, pies. Lots of pies! And baking at midnight. This book is also about grief and I cried a TON reading it, so I do warn.

MY LADY JANE by Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand is a Princess Bride-style historical fantasy YA about Lady Jane, her cousin (king) Edward, and Guifford Dudley. It takes history and twists it with fantasy and it is quite funny. I did have to remind myself that this was so far removed from the real history of Jane Gray, whose story was so very sad. (Sixteen and dead! Queen for 9 days!) But I did have SO MUCH fun reading this book, and I hope you do, too. (There are men that turn into ferrets, girls that turn into foxes, and kings who turn into lions. Just sayin')

SCARLETT EPSTEIN HATES IT HERE by Anna Breslaw is the modern teen's answer to Jessica Darling. Wait, what? Okay, if you're like me and grew up on Megan McCafferty's YA contemp "chick lit" series, and you miss the snarky smart girl and her inner thoughts, this book is absolutely for you. There's fan fiction, and more or less Teen Wolf/Vampire Diaries TV show, and a funny old lady who gives wise advice. 

REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton is a book I didn't expect to love, but I did. It is a wild-West-ish fantasy about a sharp shooting girl who runs away from her small desert town and the magical creatures she encounters (along with, duh, a cute boy). I don't even know how to explain this book except that I LOVED IT, and it reminded me of The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce. Gah. I neeeeeed book 2!

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Or any good/positive writing news?

Friday, June 10, 2016

BFestBuzz - Jay Asher Recap!

I had the pleasure of attending Barnes and Noble's national book festival kick-off night with Melissa Lee at Burlington MA's B&N.

We went there about an hour or so before the event began, which was with Jay Asher, NYT Bestselling author of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. Jay and I had met in Oct. 2015 when he was in town for his 50-states-tour, and I was so excited to see him again.

Me, pretending to be Jay Asher (photo courtesy of Melissa)
Melissa and I wandered the bookstore for a bit, where we talked about books we're interested in reading and actually ran into Jay!

Funny story: I was pointing out how there was yet ANOTHER poster with his face on it when....HE APPEARED. We all cracked up. We chatted for a bit with Jay before he had to do authorly stuff with the B&N staff and then after a while we all sat down for Jay's event. Melissa and I sat in the front row. The event seemed to have about 15-20 people, including a high school friend of Jay's who he had not spoken to in 23 years. What an amazing treat!

Jay was introduced by the B&N staff as "Jay Asher: the writer, the man....the legend." Jay got a kick out of that as he had never been introduced like that before.

Pic courtesy of Melissa
Jay went on to discuss how he got into writing. He was always writing since he was a kid. In fact, he wrote a poem in middle school about how there was a staircase in their house and above it hung photos of his brother and himself getting older, until it stopped and only was him as his brother died. His teacher told him that it must've been very emotional for him to write, but Jay never got the courage to tell was fiction! his brother was alive!

After that, Jay went to college for elementary education but what he really wanted to be was a writer. He set out to write picture books and funny novels for 4th and 5th graders. He sent out his first book, "Stop! The Easter Bunny, You Forgot Something!" but shockingly no one picked it up. He sent out a middle grade novel to publishers called "My Udder Life" about a boy who has a job at the mall dressed as a cow handing out candy for a candy store; it almost got published but no bite...

Years later, Jay was walking around in a museum and using one of those audio tours, and he thought it'd be a neat device in a novel, but had nowhere to put it. Then, a relative of his attempted suicide and luckily she survived. Still, it took him a while to piece together BAKER'S DOZEN: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HANNAH BAKER.......what we all now know as THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. He thought he'd write funny books, not dark books, and not books about teen girls, either.

A funny thing Jay said was: "I realized I was a guy... wait I've always known I was a guy. I mean I realized writing a female character..." (re: about THIRTEEN REASONS WHY)

Jay went on to talk briefly about the publishing process about THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and how he fought his publisher on the name. But eventually he gave in and felt the title as we know it really represented the book.

Jay then admitted that after THIRTEEN REASONS WHY came out, he did not write for 2 years. He felt extreme pressure to live up to the bestselling status, writing "dark"/heavy themed novels, and wondered what he'd write next. I appreciate Jay's honesty with this.

His next book was with Carolyn Mackler called THE FUTURE OF US, where two teens in 1995 end up magically using Facebook in the future. It sounds like a hoot! It was the first time he had ever collaborated with someone and sounds like it went smoothly. I definitely need to read this one!!!

Reviews complained that teens wouldn't get the AOL/dial-up thing because it's beyond their time, but Jay responded, "Well nobody says that about Civil War books!!!" ;-)

His latest book, WHAT LIGHT, came from a newspaper article he read where a family lived 11 years in Oregon and 1 year in California on a Christmas tree farm. The book has a gorgeous cover and comes out in October. I can't wait to read it!

Jay then went onto answer some Q&A and talked about the Netflix tv series of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. The cast was just revealed and Jay was saying how perfect all of them were for their roles. Filming just started, and there was no slated date that we knew of. (Surprisingly no one asked this?!) I can't wait to see what Netflix does with the book - Jay said that everyone involved was passionate, that the cast felt really connected to their characters, and he was able to be a little bit involved. He'd seen a draft of a screenplay for it.

All in all, it was a great event and I'm so glad Melissa and I went. If you ever get the chance to meet Jay "The Legend" Asher...definitely do so!!!!

Me & the legend himself :-)