Monday, December 01, 2014

ANYONE? by Angela Scott is Here!

I have followed Angela Scott's blog for years. She's sweet, witty, and, above all, hilarious. She's also a brilliant writer, and today I'm proud to help her share the news about her newest release, ANYONE?.

The end of the world?

That’s the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters and deep philosophical exercises in school. No need to sweat it. So when sixteen-year-old Tess’s doomsday-dad builds a bomb shelter in their suburban backyard, everyone thinks he’s gone crazy….

Until fire rains down from the sky, sinking whole cities into colossal craters and setting much of the world ablaze.

Tess’s dad gives her a few short minutes to gather her emergency bag and her freaked-out kitten, then leads her outside and into the underground shelter. Terrified, the last thing she expects is for him to leave her there all alone, but he has no choice—he must find her missing brother.

Before leaving, he makes Tess promise to keep the hatch door shut, not to open it for anyone but him, and to stay put until he returns.

But he forgot to tell her one thing: What is she supposed to do if he never comes back?

This book is definitely at the top of my Christmas list. However, if you're not quite as patient as me, here's where you can buy it right now:

And if that's not enough amazing news, Angela is hosting a giveaway with four great, ANYONE?-themed prizes! Check out the Rafflecopter widget below to find out how to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

I hear voices. Tiny fictional people sit on my shoulders and whisper their stories in my ear. Instead of medicating myself, I decided to pick up a pen, write down everything those voices tell me, and turn it into a book. I’m not crazy. I’m an author. For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. My zombies don’t sparkle, and they definitely don’t cuddle. At least, I wouldn’t suggest it.

I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs.

As a child, I never sucked on a pacifier; I chewed on a pencil. I’ve been writing that long. It has only been the past few years that I’ve pursued it professionally, forged relationships with other like-minded individuals, and determined to make a career out of it.

Learn more about Angela: Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Friday, October 10, 2014

October, the Month of Outlining

Last week was crazy. Our homecoming was Saturday night and the buildup kept me insanely busy. On Wednesday, my choir performed and Lizzie and I led the singing of our school's Alma Mater at our homecoming assembly. Then, there was the Friday football game where my choir sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before kickoff. Both performances required rehearsals. Along with that, I helped make locker decorations for those choir members who made All-Region, attended Quizbowl practices, and prepared for the dance itself.

And I don't even know where this week went. It can't possibly be Friday already.

Unfortunately, all of this means I'm starting my NaNoWriMo planning a little late this year. For those who don't know, October is my month for NaNoWriMo planning. I almost always have a concept picked out months in advance, but October is when I take the time to flesh it out. To craft plot and add characters along with figuring out my world. But today is the tenth, and I haven't started.

Not on paper anyway. I don't have the right supplies yet. But my brain has been throwing around some ideas. I haven't experienced any major epiphanies, but it's something. And the "on paper" planning will be happening soon. I'll be running by Office Depot tomorrow after my SAT to purchase the perfect orange notebook.

On top of that, the first chapter of THINK OF ME will be premiering on Wattpad on Oct. 31st and there is still much to be done. Before I continue on with the second draft, I want to revise my plot in order to fix the problems I mentioned last month. This means I'm going to have to move forward with the third draft before the second is even close to complete. So, along with my outline revision, I'll be revising chapter one, sending it to critique partners, then revising it again.

Besides working on the actual story, I need to decide what I'm going to do about the cover. I'm considering paying to have one professionally made as, later this month, I'll be receiving money for passing my AP tests. I also need to figure out TOM's posting schedule for next month since NaNo will be going on. I don't particularly want to be trying to edit and revise in the middle of such extreme rough draft writing.

In conclusion, October's going to be a month of outlining with a dash of revision. Life has been off-the-wall busy lately and probably will continue to be for an indefinite amount of time, but I'll find a way to make it work.

What are your plans for NaNoWriMo? What else are you working on? How do you like my new blog layout?

Friday, September 19, 2014

KNIGHT OF LIGHT by Deirdra Eden (Blog Tour Post + Giveaway)

Last month, I was contacted by Eden Literary, the team assigned to organize Deirdra Eden's blog tour for her new book. They asked me if I would like to participate. Of course, I said yes! Scroll down to see the cover, read the summary, watch the book trailer, learn more about Deirdra, and enter the awesome giveaway.

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, KNIGHT OF LIGHT is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as BRAVEHEART meets SUPERNATURAL. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, THE TRADITIONAL APOCRYPHA, THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE, and THE KABBALAH. “The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the BOOK OF ENOCH mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

About the Author:

My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures.

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online: Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Wattpad | Pinterest.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

It's Release Day for THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING by Rachel Morgan!

by Rachel Morgan

Labelled a nerd for most of high school, Livi sees her first year of university as a chance to redefine herself. She can finally enter the popular crowd and maybe even land herself a super hot boyfriend. But Livi’s about to discover that the price of popularity may be more than she's willing to pay, and that what—and who—she wants most has always been right in front of her.


FORGIVEN (A Trouble Novella) *FREE*


Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn’t for her—after all, they didn’t approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those young at heart.

She is the author of the Amazon bestselling YA fantasy series, Creepy Hollow, and the lighthearted contemporary romance Trouble series.

Learn more about Rachel: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest

Sunday, September 07, 2014

It's a Balancing Act

Scenes Rewritten: 1/20
Scenes Written: 2/8

So far September hasn't been a complete success, but it hasn't been a complete failure either. I've written 1,710 words in the last six days. Obviously, that means I didn't write five hundred words every day. However, some days I did and some days I wrote about half of that.

As I was writing this last scene, I realized that my plot has quite a few problems. My biggest issue seems to be balancing action with character development and more emotional scenes. When I planned out the second draft, I added more of the latter because I thought certain characters needed more time together and that those types of scenes would boost the impact of my climax. Those things remain true, but now I feel like my action has been diluted too much.

This last scene dragged for me. Nothing was really happening. I know that if I think that as the author, readers are definitely going to think that. And I'm afraid the next couple of scenes will be the same way. So, something needs to be added. It doesn't necessarily have to be huge, but it needs to keep the reader's attention, needs to make them want to keep reading.

At the moment, I don't have a lot of ideas. My brain is still on "figuring out the problem" and hasn't yet made the transition to "fixing the problem." I may just go ahead with the second draft as planned and work on the action vs. emotion balance as I'm working through the third draft. This would give me more time to think and hopefully get it right the third go 'round.

That's how my current project is going. What about yours?

Monday, September 01, 2014

Things Have Been Busy

Scenes Rewritten: 1/20
Scenes Written: 1/8

One of my three months is already gone and I've barely made any progress. I've rewritten and written one scene and started writing a third.

However, August was a whirlwind of oral surgery, school, choir, seniordom, socializing, and catching up on sleep. Now, while September is still guaranteed to be busy, I've gotten in the groove.

This month, I'm kicking revising into high gear. I have to if I want to post my first chapter on Oct. 31st. No more "just write something." I need a more concrete, more motivating plan. So I'm aiming for five hundred words a day every day in September.

For estimation purposes, I'm saying each scene will be completed at one thousand words. Some of my scenes are longer, some are shorter, but one thousand words is a fairly accurate average. If I write at least five hundred words every day, I will have finished fifteen additional scenes by the end of September.

This leaves eleven scenes for October. While this will still require plenty of work, it's doable. And if I have to start third revisions on my first chapter before I'm entirely finished with the second draft, it won't kill me.

Also, the wonderful Madeline has finished the new blog banner! This means the blog will be getting a new look very soon. So, if you stop by and everything's funky, don't judge too harshly. I might not be able to finish the layout in one sitting. But I promise it'll look beautiful in the end (along with my new profile picture -ahem-).

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Taking It a Little at a Time

Scenes Rewritten: 1/20
Scenes Written: 0/8

I completed the first scene! I completed it a couple of days ago, in fact. I feel excited and proud and all kinds of happy. This is the first big step in a hopefully rewarding journey and, while I have a long way to go, the first step is one of the most important.

Of course, technically, I should have finished a second scene by now. In order to meet my deadline, I need to complete a scene every three days. However, I'm not currently too worried about following that timeline.

School is about to start for me. This means back-to-school choir workshops and school clothes shopping. This is also my senior year so I'm beginning to look at colleges. On top of that, I'm getting my wisdom teeth surgically removed next Tuesday. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, at the moment, I'm just making sure I write something every day. I'm a few paragraphs into that second scene and I'm okay with that. As long as I add a few more of those paragraphs tonight.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Querying is Going to Change for Me Very Soon

I've never actually queried anyone before, but I've read and thought about it.

I know how long a query should be, what content it should contain, and how to personalize it. I've analyzed critiques and advice from many sources, including agents. I'm prepared for rejection (I think). However, there has always been one part of the querying process I couldn't figure how.

How do I tell an agent I'm a minor?

Some people say that this shouldn't be an issue. I shouldn't have to tell the agent my age because it shouldn't matter. If my book is good, it's good. Yet, I've always felt the agent should be informed. There are different legalities with minors and they should be prepared. It's a courtesy, I believe.

Very soon, though, I won't have to worry about this anymore. Because I turn eighteen in six months.

Really, I won't have to think about it ever again. I'm not going to have a novel ready to query inside the next six months, especially since most of my writing energy will be focused on THINK OF ME. And I'm overjoyed.

I got ninety-nine problems, but querying as a minor isn't one.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Something BIG - The Most Newsie THINKING OF YOU Post Ever

I have made some big decisions. And today I'm going to finally share them with you.

First, I've made a title change. THINKING OF YOU has become THINK OF ME.

I decided to make this change after a burst of inspiration. I've always planned for THINK OF ME to be the first in a series. Originally, that series had a total of seven books. However, I never really wanted to write any of the other six. Then one night a couple of months ago I was lying in bed and everything clicked.

The Controller Chronicles is now a four book series consisting of the tentatively titled THINK OF ME, RAIN ON ME, SPARK WITHIN ME, and DIE FOR ME. Each book still has a different narrator and the series still tells the story of the Controllers coming out to the rest of humanity. Now, though, instead of detailing a drawn out battle, each book focuses on a phase of that coming out. There's the initial rebellion against government oppression, the winning of that fight, the actual coming out, and the aftermath.

The best part is that THINK OF ME's original plot already fits in this plan. This means I don't have to start over and can build on what I already have.

I cannot express to you how excited I am. Thinking about this series makes me want to dance because it fills me with so much happy energy.

Second, it's time for that big announcement I've been hinting at for weeks.

I'm going to be serializing THINK OF ME on Wattpad.

While this isn't like super, super major news, it is a big step for me. I want people to read my writing. I want people to enjoy my writing. I want to hear what people have to say about my writing. And, let's face it, I'm a long way from traditional publishing. Plus, self publishing kind of intimidates me. This is my third option.

I'm also hoping that doing this will finally motivate me to really get on THINK OF ME revisions. I've been hemhawing around for over three years. Serializing my book will keep me accountable and eager.

Of course, my novel isn't quite ready for the public eye. The first thing I have to do is complete a structure or "fill-in-the-blanks" revision. As I've said in a previous post, I have twenty scenes I need to rewrite and eight I need to write. After that, I'm going to be revising chapter-by-chapter as I post them on Wattpad.

My goal is to have my first chapter up on October 31st. This gives me around three months to complete my structure revision and prevents that stress from leaking into NaNoWriMo time. After my initial posting, I aim to post a chapter every two weeks. I feel like this is totally doable and often enough to keep people interested.

THINK OF ME is not the only work I plan to publish on Wattpad either. I want to post my City in the Sky stories there as well. Again, it's a motivation thing. I need to start writing this series already! I don't have an exact date set for the first short story yet, but I'm thinking sometime in January. Hopefully by then I'll have a few readers.

So, that's my big news. I'll probably be posting a revising schedule soon because I feel like I need one to reach my deadline. You can check out my Wattpad profile here if you want, though it's not much to look at at the moment. I can't wait to see what the coming months bring!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guess What?

I finished OBJECTION! I won Camp NaNoWriMo! And it feels amazing.

My final Camp NaNoWriMo word count is officially 11,864 (even though Word told me 11,867). I went a bit beyond my goal, but my guesstimate was pretty accurate. Page wise, I added 46.

So, my total stats for OBJECTION, according to Word, are 63,867 words and 230 pages. I'm really happy that my novels are starting to consistently reach over 50k. 50k, while a novel, is a small novel and I'm a big cutter during revisions/edits.

Now that I'm done with this draft, I don't know what the next step is for OBJECTION. I know it needs some major work, but I'm not sure what. I don't exactly have the time at the moment to figure it out either. This project is being put on the waiting list for a later time.

To find out what I'm working on next, come back by on Thursday. I'll finally be sharing my big news (and no, it's nothing quite so exciting as an agent). See you then!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Two Things: Vanity Scams & Being Almost Done


I have some bad news. I'm not going to have a poem published in ACCOLADES.

In my last blog post, I told you that I had just put my author release/order form in the mailbox. After the post was up, I, still buzzing with excitement, decided to search for posts about the book/contest on Tumblr to see if anyone else was talking about it. The posts that popped up screamed scam!

Alarmed, I decided to do more research. An Internet search told me all I needed to know. The America Library of Poetry is what's known as a vanity scam.

Once you've entered their contest, they send you a letter saying you've been "selected" to be published in their annual anthology. Everyone gets this letter. Everyone gets put in the anthology. They try to make you feel special so that you and your family members/friends will dish out money for an over-priced book.

They do still send you a book, which is what makes this type of scam so controversial, but they don't promote their book/your work and they don't sell it anywhere. They use your hopes and dreams to make money off you. They use the hopes and dreams of elementary students to make money off them.

Luckily, I found this out in time to retrieve my form/check from the mail. Besides simply not wanting to be ripped off, I don't wish to be associated with this organization in any way. My integrity and reputation are more important than "being in a book." My work is something to be proud of and I won't degrade it because "published is published."

I'll admit that I'm a little disappointed. However, mostly I'm glad that I unearthed the truth before the mailman came to our house.


Now, because I want to end on a positive note, I'm going to leave you with a little update on Camp NaNoWriMo.

Currently, I'm at 9,859 words. The Day Twenty-Eight goal is 10,109, but I'm past Day Twenty-Seven's goal so I'm right on track. I have a total of 1,334 words left to write.

Alsoooo, I finished writing OBJECTION'S climax last night/early this morning! I'm really excited about this because it means I'm so close, so close, to the end. Writing this first draft has been an almost two year journey and I can't wait to finally have a complete story in my hands.

I have a feeling that I'm just going to wiz through my falling action/resolution stuff so I'll probably (hopefully!) have a finished draft before I go to sleep tonight tomorrow morning. I'll have my first Camp NaNoWriMo win under my belt as well.

So, yeah, I'm pumped.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo Update + What Else I've Been Up To

My current word count for Camp NaNoWriMo is 7,748 so I'm about three days behind. I'm not worried, however, because, since my goal is so low, that means I only need to write about 900 words to catch up. It should take less than an hour. I plan to be at or over the Day Twenty-Four goal of 8,665 words by the end of today.

I've fallen into a pattern this month. Several days will go by where I don't write and then I'll catch up in one big spurt. It's been working pretty well so far, but I only need 3,445 more words so I might decide to power through to the end in the next couple of days.

There's exactly one week left until Camp is over and I can't wait. Not only because I'll finally have a finished draft of OBJECTION (which is awesome), but I'll also be announcing the big news I've been hinting at for some time. I'm anxious to see what y'all think.

I slipped my author release form for ACCOLADES into the mail box today. I had to wait because the release doubled as an order form and it took some time for my family to decide how many books we wanted. Now, we wait. I'll be sharing any news as soon as I have it.

Besides OBJECTION and my author release form, my past week has been focused on books. I completely reorganized my bookshelves. I still have knick knacks to place, but the majority of the work is done. With the clean out I did during the process, I now own 584 books with an unread percentage of 27.6%. I have yet to decide whether I will post pictures here or on my Tumblr.

On top of that, I've been watching lots of booktube vlogs. Last week was an event called BookTubeAThon. Participants in the Thon aimed to read as many books as they could in a week while trying to fulfill certain reading and vlogging challenges. I'm finding the resulting videos quite enjoyable and kind of wish I had had time to take part myself. Perhaps next year.

So, that's what I've been up to since my last post. I will be back with news of my Camp NaNoWriMo victory soon!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Editorial Staff at The America Library of Poetry Would Like to Publish MY Poem

While I was away visiting my family, I received a letter from The America Library of Poetry. I entered their annual poetry contest in April so, as you can imagine, I was very excited to hear from them. However, the winners of the contest will not be selected until the end of September. So why did they send me a letter?
In the meantime Brooke, I have even more exciting news for you. The editorial staff at The America Library of Poetry would like to publish your poem "Fishing For A Living" in a special book of student poetry entitled Accolades. Scheduled for release in the fall, this particular compilation is generating a lot of interest as it will feature only a very select cross-section of this year's submissions. Again, I congratulate you on an outstanding accomplishment. You should be very proud, especially when you consider the many talented authors who may never be discovered or have the opportunity to see their work in print.
They want to publish my submission. Isn't that awesome?! Even if I don't win, I feel as if this contest has been a great success for me. This will be my first publication where they picked me. Two of my prior publications were blogosphere volunteer projects and the third was a collection put together by my OSAI class. ACCOLADES feels different. It feels like validation.

I'll keep you all updated, both on the contest and ACCOLADES. Until then, I've got an author release form (squee!) to fill out and Camp NaNoWriMo to win.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

An Update on Camp NaNoWriMo Before I Go

In a little under three hours, I'll be in a car headed for the airport. Our flight is scheduled to leave at 7:05 AM, but we live about an hour and a half away so we're leaving the house at 4 AM. At the moment, I'm supposed to be putting the last things in my suitcase. However, I decided to take a minute to fill you in on where I'm at with Camp NaNoWriMo.

Currently, my word count is 3,716 words. The goal for Day Ten is 3,610. I get back from New York on Day Twelve. Not only did I get caught up, but I pushed enough ahead that I'll only be behind a few hundred words when I get back. This was what I was aiming for and it feels awesome to have achieved it.

The end of OBJECTION is close enough I can taste it. When I return, I vow to be a writing machine. I will finally finish this draft. Huzzah!

I'm excited. What are you excited about?

Friday, July 04, 2014

I'm Back! Well, Until Tuesday

Originally, I said I would be home the second week of July. That was when I thought my visit to my family would run straight into my trip to New York City. However, due to various factors, I'm home a few days before we go to New York.

I have yet to write anything for Camp NaNoWriMo, but I plan on adding that "big chunk of words" to OBJECTION during these few days while I'm home. I want to I will get caught up, but I'd really like to push further than that. Writing in NYC is not ideal, both because of time and a desire to fully enjoy my vacation. Having that extra padding would ease my mind while I'm gone and help alleviate stress levels when I return.

As for my other goals, I did start on the THINKING OF YOU revisions, though I'm far from significant progress. I began the rewrite for one scene. In total, I need to rewrite twenty scenes and write eight more. I've still got quite a way to go, but at least I'm on my way. Finally.

To top it all off, I finished my poem edits! There is one poem that I deemed unfinished because I want to add on to it. Excluding that poem, I now have another two hundred lines of poetry to my name. (And when I say two hundred, I mean exactly two hundred. Without trying. Because I have magical powers.)

There's a quick update for you and, also, Happy Fourth of July! Talk to y'all soon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Does Writing Make You a Better Person?

As writers and as people, we constantly work to better ourselves. We develop our craft. We try to be nicer. Usually, these are two different goals that must be achieved separately. However, sometimes we can improve both areas of our lives at once.

Learning patience is essential to staying a "sane" writer. Everything about the book business is slow. You have to wait to hear back from beta readers, critique partners, agents, editors, publishers, reviewers. It takes months for a book to be published even after it's been sold.

But patience is a good thing to have for non-writing related interactions as well. It makes you a better business negotiator and customer service representative. Your own personal relationships will benefit from better communication and less frustration.

The ability to listen also helps in the examples above. Writers learn to listen in an attempt to garner experiences for their writing. Many writers have mastered the art of eavesdropping. In this way, they study realistic dialogue and displays of emotion.

Beyond outward people skills, writers foster a better general understanding of people. It's easy for us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. If it wasn't, it'd be impossible for us to write our stories. Writers know that everyone thinks and reacts differently. That everyone has a reason for doing what they do. It's a small switch from utilizing this way of thinking in their work to exercising it in their day-to-day confrontations.

Writers also know that no one is perfect. Everyone has flaws. And writers have learned to see the beauty in those flaws. A perfect character is boring. It's one of the first things a writer learns. It's a rule that applies to real people just as well. Our blemishes shape us into who we are. A writer recognizes that.

I'm in no way saying that writers are superior human beings who trail rainbows in their wake. I myself can be rather moody and I'm not always the most fun to be around. But I'm still growing, still "trying to be nicer," as we all are, and I think writing urges that along.

What about you? Does writing make you a better person?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Taking a Trip!

I'm going to be on vacation, visiting my family, until the second week of July. I'm not telling you this because I'm going to be gone. Quite the opposite, I hope to have a lot to report to you in the coming weeks.

This trip means lots of free time. My parents work during the day and sleep at night, meaning I only get to spend time with them from five to ten. I figured that I should probably use the rest of my day (errr, night) to get some much needed writing done.

So I've set myself three tasks:
  1. Make significant progress on THINKING OF YOU revisions.
  2. Add a big chunk of words to OBJECTION during the first week of July/Camp NaNoWriMo.
  3. Read through and edit the NaPoWriMo 2014 poems.
As you can see, I've decided to use Camp NaNoWriMo's July session to finish OBJECTION. I want to fulfill my original April 18k goal, meaning I'm aiming for 11,193 words for July. If I pass that, and I'm not finished with the draft, I plan to continue with OBJECTION. If I finish the draft, I plan to move on to the untitled lucky genes story draft.

I'll have more up about my plans for THINKING OF YOU soon. Keep your eyes open for something big. ;)

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Time to Read < Books to Read

I own too many books that I haven't read. 183. 30.6% of my book collection. Right now, I'm working toward 30% or 179 unread books. I'm not allowing myself to buy any new books until I achieve that goal. Based on my recent reading pace, this will be in about a month. And I can't wait.

As I've been working toward 30%, I've also been compiling a list of books I want. This list hasn't been a major focus, but I've definitely thought about it when reading book blogs and the like. One day, however, instead of happy future-book-buying thoughts, browsing a book blog sent me into a panic. Looking at tons of books that sounded great, I realized I was never going to have time to read them all.

If it takes me about a month to read four books, it'll take me forty-six months just to read the books I already own. That's almost four years! O.O Then there are all the books I want, but don't own yet. An immeasurable amount. After that, there's all the books that will be written and published in my lifetime that I'll want to read. I can't even fathom how many that will be.

I am literally going to die before I can read them all. And that is one depressing fact I will never be able to change. So I guess I'll just read as often as I can and enjoy the stories I do have time for.

Unless you have a better idea? I'd love to hear it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

NaPoWriMo Went Great, Camp NaNo & OSAI So-So

The grand adventure of April is over. And we have some things to catch up on.

Let's be rebels and start with the good news. :P I won NaPoWriMo! Choir trips and the like kept me from posting some of my poems on time, but I did manage to write one every, single day. With as often as I've fallen short on my writing goals lately, this makes me really happy.

This NaPoWriMo differed from previous years'. Ideas were hard to come by and, for about the first week, so were the words. The latter became less of a problem when I abandoned the bitty notebook I employed last year in favor of the computer. I'm a mood writer when it comes to the utensils I use and I was not feeling pencil and paper.

On top of that, most of my poems were written at night when I just wanted to crawl into bed. Therefore, some of my ideas weren't as expanded or explored as they should have been. However, I like what I did write. Plus, I can always rewrite those poems later.

Camp NaNoWriMo wasn't quite as much of a success. I wrote 6,807 words toward my goal of 18,000, meaning I didn't finish the draft like I wanted. :/ However, I did pass 50k on OBJECTION! I feel like that's an achievement all in itself. I've finally reached OBJECTION's first Camp NaNoWriMo goal. It took me almost two years, but I did it. And that's something.

Of course, this sort of puts a kink in my plans and I'm going to have to rethink some things. The next Camp NaNoWriMo session is in July and I originally intended to finish last November's NaNoWriMo project during that time. Now, I might aim to finish OBJECTION instead and work something else out for my untitled lucky genes story. I'll let you know as soon as I've decided.

I also heard back from the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute last month. It wasn't entirely bad news. I'm an alternate. This means I only get to go if someone else can't or doesn't want to. They can contact me up to June 13th. My hopes aren't high, but at least I didn't completely fail. My writing was good. There were just a few too many people whose was better.

Aaaand, to end on a positive note, I am caught up on reading blog posts! I've been behind for so long, it feels incredible to have that weight lifted off my shoulders. This means I can follow new blogs again and start looking for other writer bloggers close to my age.

Overall, April turned out good. I hope you enjoyed my poems along with my general-writing-related posts. (I'll be posting more of the latter soon. See sidebar for details.)

How was your April?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Cover Reveal! Rachel Morgan's The Trouble Series

One of my favorite indie authors is Miss Rachel Morgan. Recently, she announced the upcoming publication of her new series and I'm super excited. While the books are not yet available, today I have the privilege of showing off their covers. (I'm sorry for posting late, Rachel!)

Are you ready? Here they are!

Four new heroines are about to enter the book world in this romance series full of swoon-worthy guys, comical moments, witty dialogue, and hot kisses…

#1: The Introvert

Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers, but the cute guy sitting next to her on the plane might have to be the exception. Hours of random conversation later, Sarah thinks Aiden could be her happily ever after. The trouble is, he’s gone now—and she has no idea how to find him. ~ THE TROUBLE WITH FLYING

#2: The Nerd

Livi sees her first year of university as a chance to redefine herself and finally fit into the popular crowd. But how far will she go before realizing that what she really wants has always been right in front of her? ~ THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING

#3: The Fraud

After a stupid miscommunication, everyone in Andi’s new res thinks she’s secretly dating Damien, boyfriend of resident queen bee Charlotte. Since the rumor’s already out there and refuses to be squashed, Andi and Damian decide to keep up the facade in the hopes of snagging the attention of the people they really want to be with. ~ THE TROUBLE WITH FAKING

#4: The Artist

With exam stress, family wedding craziness, and a spiraling relationship with her boyfriend, Sophie finds herself sucked further and further into the darkness of depression. The only thing making her remotely happy these days is her art—and the guy on the other side of the internet who seems to really get her. But is that enough to keep her from falling off the edge entirely? ~ THE TROUBLE WITH FALLING

I always love Rachel's covers. She does such a great job designing them. And her writing's phenomenal, too! Want a preview? Check out The Trouble Series novella, FORGIVEN, for free.

About Rachel Morgan:
Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn't for her—after all, they didn't approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults and those still young at heart.

Learn more about Rachel: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

unexpected turbulence

I’m not sure
whether you’re
the heavy winds
or the eye
of my hurricane

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

swallowed up

doubts run through me
like little cracks

any minute
they could split wide

Monday, April 28, 2014


               You have your
own atmosphere. Dark
clouds swirl within it.
Lightning crackles too
close to your skin.

               Sometimes the
sparks burn me.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

after dark

my body morphs with my bed
it is all I have left to hold on to
my mind falls

Saturday, April 26, 2014


within the medal
they gave him
were the ghosts
of a hundred men
who deserved it more

Friday, April 25, 2014


she looked out the car window
and watched the world pass by
beyond her reflection

Thursday, April 24, 2014

and... him vii.

on the mornings
when we met
at the coffee shop
I didn’t come
for the caffeine
only the company

What I Want After Publication

Everyone knows that a writer's main goal is publication. To reach author status. Some reach this dream through self-publishing. Others go more traditional routes. But what about after that? What does a writer, an author, want after publication?

They want people to read their work. Beyond that, they want people to like their work. Whether this enjoyment is expressed through five star reviews, fan mail, awards, or titles such as "New York Times' Bestseller," authors literally live off of it.

However, while I would absolutely love those things, I want something more. I want to inspire. I want to spark other people's creativity. I want fan art and fan fiction. I want people to write songs about my stories. I want people to cosplay as my characters. I want my art to be the stem from which other art will sprout.

And I don't want people to stop at creative expression. I want them to think. I want them to discuss the ins-and-outs of my books, to argue over them. I want Tumblr posts written about my themes and my character relationships. I want other authors to collaborate on books where they express their opinions about my writing.

In other words, I guess I want people to interact with my books, not just read them. Because, as my critique partner, Steph, put it, "Stories are organic. They grow, and age, and change. And it's cool to be cool with that."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


do you ever think
that maybe the roses
are taking time
out of their day
to let you smell them?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


a shiver crawls up my back,
whispering your coming
to each of my vertebrae.

they brace themselves
to keep me from melting.

Monday, April 21, 2014

and... her vi.

during that week
when you were sick
I told you that
I’d already had
the chicken pox
but afterward
I went straight
to the doctor

Sunday, April 20, 2014

striking back

the waves crashed against the rocks
the waves crashed against the rocks
the waves crashed against the rocks

          the rocks crashed against the waves
          and the waves flew to p i e c e s

Saturday, April 19, 2014

and... him vi.

on our first Easter
when I hid
and you found
the eggs that
spelled out
those eggs had been
ready in my fridge
for two weeks

Friday, April 18, 2014


he spent all his time wondering
if every breath he took
once carried the vibration of her voice
which molecules of oxygen
once graced her lungs, brushed across her lips
if the sweet taste in his mouth
contained particles of her last exhalation of hope

Thursday, April 17, 2014

fresh start

she hired a divorce lawyer
and kicked out that person
she didn’t want to be

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

From the time I began reading, I was a fiction girl. Period. End of the line. That was it. Learning was for school and, on top of that, non-fiction wasn't fun to read. You couldn't talk me out of it. I was set in my ways, firm in my views.

Then, in sixth grade, we were required to write a book report over a biography. When I heard, my heart sank, but I knew I had to do it. So I sucked it up and and checked out a biography of Anastasia from the school library. I don't remember the title or the author, yet I know that I enjoyed it. It made me think, made me view people a little bit differently. I also garnered a lifelong fascination with Anastasia, with her possible survival and continued lineage.

However, despite my momentary weakness, Anastasia, or perhaps her portrayal, was not enough to convert me to the dark side. It was the last non-fiction book I read for years.

Now, while I disliked reading non-fiction, writing it was almost torture. I seemed to forget how to write a fluid sentence. The prose came out awkward and fake-feeling, as if I was writing more gibberish than when I made things up for fiction. All attempts left me frustrated at my inadequacy. I could not write non-fiction.

Then two things happened simultaneously that have made me reconsider my overall stance on non-fiction.

First, my paternal grandmother asked me to write her mother's, my great-grandmother's, biography. I was horrified at the mere idea and my grandmother could not understand why. She thought that since I wrote fiction, writing a biography would be no big deal. Even after I've turned her down many times, she still continues trying to convince me. She doesn't see the distinct difference between the two genres and the styles in which they are written.

Second, over the summer, I was assigned a non-fiction book report for AP English Language and Composition. Again, I didn't like the project, but I knew it would have to be done. My non-fiction book had to be over 200 pages, school appropriate, AP worthy, and have been published in the last ten years. I browsed the NYT Bestseller's List and chose a book that I hoped would at least be interesting.

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS changed my viewpoint, both on life and non-fiction, forever.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

You can find my full assessment of this book here. In short, though, this one line wraps up how this book changed my perspective on non-fiction: "I found pleasure both in the story aspect of it and in learning the vast amount of information about HeLa cells provided." Through story, what I love in fiction, I learned and enjoyed learning.

Skloot's writing showed me that non-fiction can be just as full of life, just as intricate, just as fun to read as fiction. That real life, that the wonders of our world and its people, that what really happened is just as good as what we can imagine. It taught me that there are different ways to approach non-fiction writing just as there are different ways to approach fiction writing. Maybe, just maybe, I might attempt writing that biography.

Now when I think about non-fiction, I get excited. Not in the way that I become excited for fiction, but something new. With fiction, I long for the impossible. With non-fiction, I seek only the things of this physical world, this universe. I seek events I did not witness, but that someone else did. I seek a deeper connection between myself and my surroundings through knowledge and facts, things that no one made up, that no one had to. That initial spark I felt from reading about Anastasia has bloomed into a fire.

Non-fiction finally struck me. I am awed.

How do you feel about reading and writing non-fiction? How do you think it differs from fiction? Which is your preference? Would you write someone's biography? Do you have any other good non-fiction books to recommend?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


her blood burned through her veins
hidden beneath her skin and her smile
pressure building as her heart screamed
her bones bowing under the weight...


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

almost I love you

          Those words I keep meaning to say
          are tattooed on the inside of my lip.
          Every time I talk, they almost tip over
          the edge into the open air, just hanging on
          by the skin of my teeth. I tuck them back
          with the tip of my tongue and a swallow.
          Their heavy ridges scrape against my gums.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sympathies of a Dandelion

She sits on the front steps,
staring at the dandelion
in the yard, wondering
what it’s seen,
how much it knows.

The         wind      blows
     away             its           p e t a l s.

Are these tears for her?

"I" Doesn't Have to Mean "Me"

Dear Non-Writers,

I know you try hard to understand, to be supportive. And I appreciate it beyond belief. A writer can't survive without someone cheering her on from the sidelines. But we need to talk about a little matter that needs clearing up.

You see, there's this thing called first person. It's when a writer uses words like "I," "mine," and "me." "I hate cats" is a first person sentence. Yet, while I wrote that sentence using the word "I," I didn't mean me. I actually love cats.

Fiction writers do this all the time. They use "I," but they're not talking about themselves. The "I" refers to their point-of-view character and what that character thinks and says and does.

I used to think everyone knew this, writers and non-writers alike. And some of you probably do. Experience has taught me, however, that some people take "I" literally.

For instance, when I went to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute in 2012, my class performed a poetry reading. Afterward, my mom brought up one of my classmate's poems. The narrator in the girl's first person poem spoke rather harshly about her mother. My mom said she was glad my classmate wasn't her daughter. That the poem would have made her cry. When I tried to tell her my classmate wasn't talking about her own mother, my mom said it didn't matter. It sounded like she was.

This particular misconception is one of my biggest pet peeves. It's ignorant and stems from degrading views of fiction writers. We aren't just writing "better-sounding" versions of our lives. We're writing about the human experience in all its forms.

So, in conclusion, my lovely, wonderful non-writers, remember when you're reading your friend or your family member's work that "I" doesn't mean "them." It'll help you avoid hurt feelings and arguments.

With warm regard,
A First Person Fiction Writer

Sunday, April 13, 2014

fall by grace

she lay down in the sky,
spread her limbs to
make star angels

they flew away,
leaving her
to fall

Saturday, April 12, 2014

teenage now

sitting around a table
with five spoons
and two tubs of gelato,
laughing at fellatio puns                       [that’s what she said]
and other jokes
we won’t remember tomorrow,          [or even an hour from now]
          solids in an already-liquid

Friday, April 11, 2014

and... her v.

at junior homecoming
when we danced
for the first time
I wouldn’t
meet your eyes
because I knew if I did
I wouldn’t be able
to resist
pressing my lips
to yours

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

the limit

count every oxygen molecule
that’s ever been formed
              count all the nitrogen too
keep counting as stars explode
and implode and eat each other
              as the universe grows and
              everything decomposes
count every breath a plant’s ever taken
and subtract every fire ever set
              count every diatomic particle

                            i love you this much

Writing Is Loving

John Green once said, "Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. Nerds are allowed to love stuff-like, jump-up-and-down-in-your-chair-can't-control-yourself love it." It's a great quote. And it's not just true for nerds. The same can be said of writers.

Writers have to love stuff. You wouldn't spend hours, days, weeks on something you didn't love. You wouldn't give up precious family time or turn down social invitations to sit alone at a desk if your heart wasn't in the work. You couldn't. You couldn't deal with the frustration, the setbacks, the rejections if you didn't absolutely love your story, your concept, your characters.

Personally, the act of writing makes me happy. It's like someone takes a pitcher full of joy and pours the whole thing into my chest. I feel light with excitement. While everyone is different, I'm sure other writers experience similar emotions.

However, while I love what I do, what I create, sometimes I forget all of that. I go long periods without writing. I drift. And I know I'm not the only one. I know someone else is probably drifting right now.

So, here's a reminder, fellow writer. You love writing. I know you do. It's in your title. Writing is loving. And love affairs require two participants. There's a story out there, waiting for you. Go to it. Get reacquainted.

Have fun.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Monday, April 07, 2014

mile marker fifty

he couldn’t stand
losing a game
no one else played
and he told her
sliding on slick roads
was an adventure

but   someone
    has to lose    and
             every adventure
comes to an                 end

Sunday, April 06, 2014

delicious shivers

trail your fingers
along my body

               like it’s an
               uncut wedding cake

                              with your favorite
                              kind of icing

Saturday, April 05, 2014

and... him v.

some nights
I stay up
to watch you
wanting to know
who you are
when you sleep

Friday, April 04, 2014

note to self

i tie endless strings
around my ribs
  reminders to my heart
  of separation’s mortality

Thursday, April 03, 2014

guide to smashing cages

ration out your bones
to flapping lips with no stomachs

fashion a key that doesn’t fit
out of “morals” you’ll never have

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

heart beat

one:     Numbers pound
two:     against the in-seams
three:   of my skin,
four:    rushing through my veins
five:     like miniscule boats
six:       on one-way trips,
seven:  etching their histories
eight:   into my anatomy.
nine:    Every second-by-second
ten:      timeline stops
eleven:when I see

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

slow burn

barest brush of warmth
against the backside of your ribs

warning: extremely flammable
expose heart with caution

leave fingerprints on the lighter
whose smiles you swallowed

candles glow behind your pupils
leading someone home

you name your greatest fear
calling it “freezing to death”

the television advertises wildfires
(side effects include eventual burn out)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Birthday Giveaway Winners + It's Almost April

My birthday giveaway ended a few weeks ago and I've already contacted the winners. However, I like official announcements. So, without further ado, here are the Rafflecopter results!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Donna and Ashley! I still haven't managed to make it to the post office yet, but I will let you know as soon as I've shipped your prizes. I'm sure you're anxious to receive your winnings and I'm very sorry for the delay.

On a side note, Tuesday marks the beginnings of NaPoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. I think I'm excited. lol I'm hoping to make a lot of progress during the first week because my boyfriend will be in Virginia for a hockey tournament, meaning distractions will be limited.

Expect to see way more of me throughout April. I'll be posting poems daily as well as occasional Camp NaNoWriMo updates. We'll also learn if I made it into the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. On top of all that, I may be sharing a big decision along with putting up some general writing-related posts (see Planned Expeditions in sidebar). You're going to be absolutely sick of me by the end of the month. :P

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cracking Down

Every year for the past three years, I've posted my New Year's Resolutions on this blog. This January, I didn't. And not because I'm too lazy. I simply didn't make any. I saw no reason to.

I know what my goals are. The arrival of 2014 didn't change them. New Year's Resolutions also suggest a December 31st deadline. My aspirations reach beyond what I can accomplish in a year and, for me, strict time frames often lead to stress.

Despite the lack of resolutions, I'm thinking 2014's going to be a productive year. Since NaNoWriMo, I've only worked on my portfolio for my Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute audition. However, I've been making plans. It's time to crack down and start getting things done.

At the moment, I have three main priorities:
  1. THINKING OF YOU revisions
  2. OBJECTION/untitled lucky gene story rough drafts
  3. short works

I want to finish something. I want something to query. I want something to show people, to let people read. I want something to prove to myself that I CAN DO THIS. And, out of all of my projects, THINKING OF YOU is nearest to completion. So it's what I'm going to focus on. Writing time now means THINKING OF YOU time.

Yet, incomplete rough drafts bother me. I can't not work on them. And I have two. This creates a problem. I'll never finish anything if my attention is divided three ways. My solution? Camp NaNoWriMo.

Camp NaNoWriMo hosts two sessions every year, one in April and one in July. They also allow you to choose your word count goal. Since OBJECTION's closer to its end, it will be my April novel. I'm aiming for 18,000 words. That's only 600 a day. I'll finish my untitled lucky gene story in July, when I'll have more time for writing.

While I'm giving up April and July, they're a small sacrifice. My brain can now zero in on THINKING OF YOU without the other two stories clamoring for their turn. But I have another issue.

I realized when I was putting together my OSAI portfolio that I did not write many short works in 2013. I love my short works. They're fun to write and I'm fairly decent at them. They're also something I can share with others quickly. Their shortage shows how I've let my writing slip, take a backseat.

That's not what I want. I want to get back to enjoying writing. To surprising and thrilling myself. Revising is hard and, while it does bring a feeling of success, it's not always pleasant. So I'm going to sprinkle in some short works to remind myself why I write in the first place.

For instance, NaPoWriMo starts on April 1st. I will be participating by writing at least one poem every day in April This will be my fourth year taking part and I always love the outcome.

Yes, 2014 is going to be AWESOME.

Topics For Next Post: 1) how querying will change in a year and 2) something big.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Brooke's Turning 17 = Birthday Giveaway!

Today's the day! I'm seventeen and, as promised, I'm hosting a giveaway. There are two prizes up for grabs, both of which I acquired at YAK Fest 2014.

#1: A Signed Book

THE PIRATE'S WISH by Cassandra Rose Clarke

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

Christina from Christina Reads YA was kind enough to write a short review of the book for me. If the summary hasn't quite sold you, perhaps her opinion will.

"Cassandra Rose Clarke does a fantastic job at incorporating various fantasy and fairy tale elements while keeping her novel action-packed and full of humor and heart in this sequel to THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE.

"A new character, in the form of a talking manticore, is a lot of fun and propels the plot into unexpected territory. Not only do we get to see Ananna grow a lot because of the leadership position she's forced to assume, but we also get to see a lot more of the world as she and her crew journey to break the curse and more of her soft side as she and Naji learn to open up to one another. Getting slight hints about other places that Clarke has created also makes me eager to read and explore more about the world--and makes me sad to learn that there are no more novels in this series. However, I also thought that Clarke had done a great job keeping this plot confined to a duology, and thus not trying to stretch things too thin. Basically she's done the best of both things: managing her plot well while adding in enough about the world to make me curious for more.

"In the end, I'm disappointed that there are not more light, swashbuckling fantasy adventure series like this. If I had one complaint about THE PIRATE'S WISH, it'd be that I wanted more: more characters, more adventure, more of everything--and certainly that's not a bad complaint at all, huh?"

#2: A Swag Package

See for yourself:

Now, that you've seen the goodies, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. This is a U.S. only giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 03, 2014

YAK Fest 2014

The weekend before last I traveled to Ft. Worth, TX to attend the Young Adult Keller Book Festival. Last time I attended, I posted a blow-by-blow account of the experience that spanned four posts. I am not going to be that detailed this go 'round, but I would still like to give you a run-down of the day.

This post will be organized by time frames. Below is the schedule for the event.

10:00 - 10:45

I actually made it to the keynote this year! We (my grandparents, Lizzie, and I) stayed the night in Ft. Worth on Friday to be sure of it. All of the authors were introduced and asked their greatest fear. Afterward, Neal Shusterman gave a speech about the events in his life that led him to tell stories. My grandparents then left.

10:55 - 11:45

For the first session, I chose Reality Bites. This panel featured contemporary writers. They discussed their books and talked about what inspired them. Then they answered some "lightning round" questions such as "What is your biggest pet peeve?".

11:45 - 12:45

Lizzie and I met back up with my grandparents for lunch. We drove to a nearby Sonic to eat.

Upon getting dropped back at the festival, I decided to visit the table where The Book Carriage was selling books by the attending authors. To my dismay, I found many of the books I had hoped to purchase were sold out. I ended up purchasing only two items: FAULT LINE by C. Desir and EVERFOUND by Neal Shusterman.

12:45 - 1:35

During this time slot, I decided to visit the Escape Hatch, a place the authors on break came to intermingle with guests. They handed out (signed!) swag, answered questions, and took silly pictures. I really enjoyed participating and came away with lots of cool (signed!) stuff. Megan Shepherd also signed my copy of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER.

After I left the Escape Hatch, I stopped at the The Book Carriage table again and bought a copy of DREADLOCKS by Neal Shusterman.

1:45 - 2:35

Our next stop was Colin Gilbert's workshop Escape With a Poem, which we also attended during YAK Fest 2012. I was a little disappointed this year. The session was not nearly as interactive or fun as the previous one. We were supposed to draw inspiration from art then free write. I feel like I sat doing nothing for an hour. On the plus side, Colin remembered me!

2:45 - 3:35

We walked down the hallway to the Council for Post-Apocalyptic Survival panel. Again, the authors talked about their books. They also supplied interesting survival tips and explained how they worldbuild. These panelists also answered a set of "lighting round" questions.

3:35 - 5:00

At last, it was time for the book signing.

My grandparents had returned while Lizzie and I were in the last session. Upon reuniting, I found that my grandmother had purchased A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHTMARE by Kody Keplinger and TESLA'S ATTIC by Neal Shusterman for me. She had also managed to find a copy of THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM by Mary Gray, a book I had wanted earlier. My grandfather also bought WINGER by Andrew Smith for Lizzie.

We put my grandfather in charge of keeping our place in Neal Shusterman's (looong) line, then raced to get all of our other books signed. The lines moved quickly and we were soon able to relieve my grandfather. When we reached the author's table, my grandmother slid in and took a picture of Lizzie and me with Neal.

I left the festival happy and satisfied. Below are pictures of the other eight signatures I acquired.

One last thing before you go. While I was at YAK Fest, I picked up a few extra things. That, plus the fact that tomorrow is my birthday, means I'm hosting a giveaway! Stop back by tomorrow to enter.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 - An Update

As Michael put it to me, "Hey, it's 2014. Stop being lazy and post something."

So here I am!

I guess I should start with NaNoWriMo: I didn't win. My final word count was 30,155. However, as I state on my newly updated NaNoWriMo profile, there are no regrets involved. Of course, I would have loved to have reached 50k and completed a first draft, but my reason for falling short of my goal was, I believe, a good one. Either way, I now have a pretty substantial beginning to a new story.

Nothing major has happened since then, but I have a lot of big events coming up.

This Saturday, I will be attending the third annual YAK Fest. For those who don't know, YAK Fest is short for Young Adult Keller Book Festival. I attended the festival the year before last and had a great time (read about it here, here, here, and here). I'm hoping to obtain a couple extra signed books to giveaway for my birthday on February 4th.

On February 15th, I'm going to Tulsa to audition for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute (read about my prior experiences with the Institute here). Between now and then, I have to work on the needed portfolio. I don't have many written-in-the-past-year short works to draw from besides my NaPoWriMo poems. Hence, the next few weeks will be dedicated to writing short stories. As I choose to add and write new pieces, I may post them on Figment as I did last year (here and here).

In between those two things, there's my Solo and Ensemble competition for choir. Since I decided to enter a solo, I have to practice that as well as my ensemble. I'm also a part of ANNIE, the musical we're doing at school. I have rehearsal almost every day until the end of February.

On top of all that, the AP life is about to hit me hard. Between Chemistry and English Language and Composition (side note: in this class, we are going to write haikus about whales for a contest soon), the Saturday sessions, mock tests, and homework might kill me. I'm also taking AP U.S. History, but, said nicely, my teacher isn't really up to par.

Soooo, in conclusion, I'm going to be busy.

Topics For Next Post: 1) my lack of New Year's Resolutions and 2) projects I'll be working on