Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yeah, I know, I'm one day early. But who cares? Let's make up our own rules today! Let's talk turkey, and pie, and what-we're-thankful-for. Time to count our blessings.:) Because seriously, I feel so blessed that I want to do this:

But yeah, Jimmy does it better. :) (FTR, I LOVE Jimmy Fallon. And am so thankful for his skits with Justin Timberlake I can't even stand it. They are just that awesome.) 

So talking thankfulness here. I've got SO much to be thankful for. Like...

My husband, who is my first reader, my love-at-first-sight, and my wingman for life.

My boys, who make me laugh and cry and make each day more fun than the last.

My friends and family, who fill my world with love and shenanigans.

My fellow writers, critique partners, and sweet YA Valentines, who make my writing journey so much richer and keep me sane.

All the authors who write books that inspire me and give me all the feels.

Bloggers and readers, who love books and make ALL THE WRITERLY THINGS worthwhile.

My amazing editor and agent, who made my debut not only possible, but better.

Good music and great artists (Imagine Dragons, Blondfire, Snow Patrol, John Coltrane, BareNaked Ladies, U2, Muse, Jack Johnson, Jack's Mannequin, Arcade Fire, etc.) who fuel my creative muse.

My health, my home, my country, and my freedom.

Yummy Thanksgiving Day food--like sweet potato casserole and pie. ALL THE PIE.:)

And my dad, who handed me my first Anne McCaffrey novel when I was a teenager and opened my eyes to a whole new world of reading. I miss you Dad, and am so thankful I'm your daughter. I think you'd like NIL if you could read it.

*breathes through my tears*

Okay! *wipes eyes*  I'm also thankful for chocolate, wine, Girl Scout cookies, the beach, the sweet sound of waves breaking onshore, sunny days, rainy afternoons, ALL THE BOOKS, pie, good movies, the smell in the air after a good rain, blank canvases and fresh paint, the rush of starting a new novel, the burn in my legs after a good run, the sloppy kisses my 6yo gives me, phone calls from friends when I need them the most, and the fresh possibilities each new day brings.:)

What are you thankful for?

*shares pie*

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Not Suck at Social Media :)

This summer when we sent our 11 year-old off to summer camp, my husband hugged him, knelt down, and gave him some very simple advice.

"Be kind. Be brave. Be You."

I love that advice. The thing is, our 11 yo IS sweet. He's kind, compassionate, and gentle. It's his nature. He had a great camp experience, probably not because of our advice, but because it's how he lives anyway.

We should all live that way.:)

My blog posts tend to be about books. Books I loved reading, books I'm working on, or NIL, my debut that I'm SO excited for you to read in '14! But I rarely give advice, because I don't feel very qualified to give it. So today is a big ole exception.:) (Not that I feel all that qualified...I just feel compelled to talk. LOL) Lately I've seen harsh comments on Twitter and/or Goodreads that made me cringe...and too much spam. Lots of noise, I guess.:) There is always noise on the internet, but you can choose how much to hear and when to walk away. And when to chime in with something meaningful that is not just--noise. The beautiful thing is, it's all up to YOU.:)

Here's my basic guide to social media.* Because for me, it's not about the number of followers or hits, it's about connections. :) So here goes...

7 Ways to Survive Enjoy Social Media:

Be Kind. To others on Twitter, to the agent who passed on your query or MS. To the writer who put her soul into her MS and asked for your feedback. To the author who's book you read but didn't love. Remember words are powerful, and can sting. Use them wisely.:) And for goodness sake, resist the urge to publicly rant. Never use the internet (Twitter, FB, blog, etc.) to vent.

Be Considerate. To the agent or writer who has your query or MS. To the writer you offered to beta-read for. Remember they are sharing their time or precious work with you. Honor that. Give them the time they need, and use your own time wisely as well. Communication is key. Again, no public rants. EVER.

Be Present. If you join Twitter, reach out and connect. If you read a blog post that hits home, leave a (kind) comment. If you read a book that touches you, share your joy with the author. We all ninja-lurk from time to time, but if you only lurk, no one will know you're there.

Be Consistent. If you blog, try to post on a regular basis. (Guilty.... still working on this one.:D)  If you tweet, or use Tumblr, or Facebook, do it regularly. I'm not talking 24/7. Social media can be a timesuck too, but it's hard to forge connections with people if you're never there, or worse, only occasionally there. Find a balance that works for you and stick with it.

Be Brave. Join. Start. Send that query, join Twitter, jump into Goodreads, create a blog, whatever. It might be scary, or overwhelming, or intimidating, or all of the above, but be brave. If you write a 300 page novel, you can craft a 140 character tweet.:) (And incidentally, Twitter is awesome for encouraging brevity.:D) And it just takes one tweet to start.

Be Real. It's not a popularity contest, it's about connections. How can you really connect with anyone if you're trying to be someone you're not? So what if you're not blessed with Will Ferrell's wit? No worries, there's already one Will Ferrell. He's got that Ferrell mojo covered. :) Just like a writer must find his or her own voice, you've got to figure out what to blog about or tweet about that might interest/engage others. But you've got to be authentic, or what's the point?:)

Be You.  The most important one of all. I'll leave this one to you.:)

That's it.**

Did I miss anything? Oh, and if I had to leave you with a top three?

Be Kind. Be Brave. Be You. :)

*Although this post is geared toward writers--writers starting out, writers in the trenches, writers seeking publication, writers reaching out--I think it can work for anyone. :) 

**Of course, it was a list. You know how I love lists! As always, feel feel to ignore anything that doesn't work for you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shameless Plug for NIL on a call to vote for your faves! :)

Happy November everyone!

November means fall, leaves changing (unless you're in Florida, where everything seems to be evergreen :D), Thanksgiving, and--if you're a writer--the annual NaNoWriMo challenge. It's National Novel Writing Month, where heaps of writers hunker down to write a novel in one month.

Yup, you read that right. ONE MONTH. It's doable, but tough. For deets on NaNoWriMo, go here for the official site.

November also means it's time for the annual Goodreads Choice Awards! It's a Goodreads award picked by YOU, the reader.:) Go to the Goodreads link to vote for your favorite books of 2013! Some of the books I loved this year were nominated: like Kasie West's THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, Gayle Forman's JUST ONE DAY, and Erin Bowman's TAKEN. All were so good! What were your faves?

And as I was surfing through Goodreads, I found NIL on several lists! Like YA Debuts of 2014 and Can't Wait Books of 2014. And if you want to, you can vote for NIL on those lists! (See I told you, shameless plug. :D #guilty). Anyway, no pressure, but here's the link if you want to check out the lists where NIL is hanging out.:)

Ok, I'm off to revise a manuscript I love.:)

But I'll leave you with this: the official video for the Bare Naked Ladies song "Odds Are." Love BNL, love this song. It's my new fave. So glad they stayed together!