maybe this year will be better than the last

And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean
I guess I should

I've been humming this song on and off for over a month, especially that lyric up there in the header. Yeah, here we are in 2017, and maybe, just maybe, this year will be better than the last. I certainly hope so. But so far, it's been pretty bleak. Is it really February 1st? That song needs a follow-up called, A Super-Quick January. Maybe not as catchy. Or as sorrowful. But hey, you never know what's going to be popular these days.

This is really just an update post because I've been negligent in my blogging. Okay, not exactly negligent, more like way too busy with writing and editing and all things work-while-you-can-if-you-want-to-finish-this-book. It's coming along though. Really well, actually. And I'm excited to maybe share some of that with you soon--an excerpt from my first adult romance, and whoa, it's really adult! Okay, that makes is sound fifty shades of naughty, and it's not, though it's pretty sexy, and real, and raw, and fun, and full of all the things I personally love in a good romance. Sizzling attraction, long-burning friends to lovers, tough external conflict, and just enough darkness to make it feel not-too-sweet. I'm so happy with the characters, both main and secondary and I've already got ideas for three more books set in this town. This has definitely spun into the kind of thing where I'm noticing further stories that need to be told. Are practically screaming to be told. And I love it when that happens. 

I'm also psyched about some ideas I have for my next book, after this one is finished (and hopefully on submission somewhere it will be loved). I'm excited to keep chugging along, making 2017 count for something strong. For the first time ever, I've booked myself a little writing retreat, happening soon, a weekend away from interruptions, a chance to make some serious progress on this first draft as I push it toward the conclusion. I have a very good feeling about this, though I will be a little sad to be away from the kids. Of course, I'll also relish in the peace and quiet, the chance to fully lose myself in what I'm writing. I can't remember the last time I was able to do that. And I have a feeling that though this is the first time I'm doing a writing weekend like this, it almost definitely won't be the last. Sometimes we need that time, to breathe life into our creations in ways that require our full concentration. Also, a hotel bed all to myself and no alarm to wake me. Sounds pretty damn sweet. 

But until then, I have delightful freelance editing to attend to. And more plans with regards to that in 2017 as well. But that's for another post, another day. Happy February! As you clear snow of your car/face/whatever, just remember, we're slowly inching toward Spring! 


publishing journey reflections & goodbye 2016

I feel the need to preface this post with a cheerful holiday greeting. Because this is going to be reflective, and at times negative, but overall, it's the holiday season, and while things don't feel quite as merry and bright this year as they have in the past, my heart is easily infected by holiday cheer. And an affection for dancing snowmen. Those two things are in there along with everything else. But I'm also kinda ready for this year to be over.

I realize we still have a few weeks to go, and 2016 might still do something awful to further bring us down. But I'm ready to say goodbye to it anyway. It's interesting year. I won't get into all the reasons 2016 has been challenging for the world--all somebody has to do is browse around online to see the news coverage, memes, and general complaints about what a hard year it's been. But I will say, it's been something of a rollercoaster for me. World issues aside, I'm ending this year feeling...tired. At least, that's one word for it. I've rolled a few options around in my brain and "discouraged" doesn't quite feel right, though I've had days when I definitely was. Still, it doesn't capture the feeling quite the way "tired" does. Or the way "worn down" does. It's been another year of balancing hope vs. disappointment until disappointment ultimately won out. And eventually, inevitably, that starts to grow roots.

It's been about seven years since I set out with the goal of being published. It's been four since I signed on with my agent, who continues to be amazing, and has patiently stood by me as I wrote book after book, to mostly positive reception, but not a single offer. The first year was hard--it saw what was arguably the biggest heartbreak as we got as close as you can get to receiving an offer only for it to not pan out. But I soldiered on because I was only a few months in at the time. I had a lot of hope. I still do, but year after year, it gets harder. I think that's only natural. Time wears things down. It wears people down. It makes old heartbreaks hurt less, but it also causes hope to fade year after year. I don't hope the same way I used to. I don't expect anything to happen. My best defense has always been to keep writing. As long as I'm looking ahead, I can't afford to spend much time looking back. But when you're on a journey, even if you keep your eyes forward, eventually your legs start to feel tired. That's where I am now. Still looking ahead, my eyes still on a goal I want as much as I ever did, but my muscles feel weary. I know stopping isn't an option if I want to reach my destination, but there's also a tiny voice in my head that's whispering, "You'll fail if you stop, but you might also be walking forever."

That's less likely if I keep trying. I know that. I know if I keep writing books, and keep working hard, and keep reaching, odds are, something will work out. But knowing the odds are probably in my favour--and knowing if all else fails, hell, I can just self-publish my books and at least people will be able to read them--doesn't stop me from feeling run down. It doesn't stop me from ending this year feeling like I failed on some level.

In reality, I've accomplished a lot this year. Freelancing and parenting aside, I finished a contemporary YA in the summer which I really enjoyed writing, and I think it's a compelling and quite lovely story. The adult romance I started for NaNoWriMo has been a refreshing experience--one I probably needed after writing several YAs that haven't gained traction. I'm excited to continue working on it into 2017. I'm excited to see if I have more luck with it than I've had with my YAs. In a way, I hope so, but YA is where my heart lies, so I still strive for success there too, even if it's a tough genre to break into. I'm enjoying writing the adult romance, but YA is what I want to write. It's where my voice feels strongest. And I have enough ideas to last me a long time yet. Which is another reason I know I'll keep going for a long time to come. I'll keep trying. I love writing. I love the time I spend doing it, and I love reading over what I've written, feeling like I've created something magical. I just hope that other aspect of it--the part where I get to share it with the world--comes along sooner than later. Because I do feel worn down. And I could really use a boost. 

It's arbitrary, the start of a new year. But I face it armed with the clean slate we all try to carry into January. The rejection of 2016 can't directly touch me there, even if it's left me battered. Whenever something doesn't happen one year, it might happen the next. It might. It also might not. But I can't know that. I can only try. So that's what I'll do.

I don't like being negative. I'm not a negative person by nature. But there's a line I wrote in my contemporary YA, IT FALLS APART, that says, "You can’t be optimistic until you’re finished being sad." Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system. And then you begin again.

If you've made it to the end of this post, thank you for reading--and thank you for visiting me here on the blog throughout the year. The site itself has gone through some changes as I've had to make adjustments since relaunching it almost a year ago. I'll be continuing to make more changes in 2017, and hope you'll keep me company as my writing and publishing journey continues. I hope your heart is full of joy and peace and kindness this holiday season. I hope you carry that with you into the new year--I think we're going to need it. And if you have a little optimism to spare, I'll gladly take it off your hands :)

rescue the cliffhanger: the small, dark room

Well, I've been promising new features here on the blog, and here we go with a little game I'm calling Rescue the Cliffhanger! This is going to be something of an experiment at first. I don't know if it's been done before; it almost definitely has, but maybe not in this format? I also don't know if any of you writers or writing hobbyists out there will take me up on this challenge, but I sincerely hope you do, because I think it could be a lot of fun, and if nothing else, a little brain exercise to break up the day.

Here's the gist: Rescue the Cliffhanger is like a writing prompt, and then some. Below, you'll find a piece of text which ends--surprise, surprise--in a cliffhanger. My challenge to you, dear reader, is to pick things up where the cliffhanger leaves off, then continue the story on your own blog, tumblr, facebook, whatever. It doesn't have to be long (continue it on twitter if you'd like!) It definitely doesn't have to be perfect. It just had to come from your brain. Think of it as a quick writing exercise to stretch those creative muscles. Scary, funny, insightful, poetic--there are no restrictions as to where you take the story next, but if you decide to take me up on this challenge, I only ask that you do the following:

  1. Before you dive into your continuation, please leave a quick note explaining that it's part of a writing game called Rescue the Cliffhanger, with a link back to this post so people will know where the story started, and can read the beginning if they'd like.
  2. Please come back here yourself and leave a link to your continuation in the comments so that I, and any other readers, can read what you've written. If you post it on Facebook, please make sure the privacy settings for that specific post are set to 'public' so anyone can read it. 
  3. Finally, not mandatory, but if you'd like to, please go ahead and end your piece of writing with another cliffhanger, inviting others to continue the story, with the goal of this growing into something of a choose-your-adventure-style story.  

Again, this is an experiment. I have no idea if anybody will respond, or if it'll be a big flop, but I'm putting it out there, and hope we can have some fun with it. If anyone is on board, we'll do it again sometime for sure--I'd love to make it a regular feature here on the blog.

So for now, I present to you, the first--and hopefully not last--edition of Rescue the Cliffhanger:

I don't know how long I've been here. Surely hours, not days. At least, I think so. How many? I'm not sure. When I came to, I was lying on the hard, planked floor I sit on now, my head pounding.
I've been listening, waiting. I thought I heard murmuring outside the door at one point, but I couldn't make out any words. The only other sound has been my own ragged breath, punctuated by whimpers and gasps of stale air. At one point, I thought I felt the room sway, like a boat meandering feebly over clement waves. But my head is spinning, and the darkness makes me imagine things that aren't really there. 
I managed to find my way to a wall, to rest against, to hold me up, to keep me from feeling tetherless in this inky, black void. I don't know who brought me here, or why, but I'm too scared to crawl around. I don't know how big this room is; I'm afraid of what I'll find. There's a pinhole in the wall above that permits a minute ray of what might be daylight, but it's not enough to illuminate a thing. 
What was that?
Another murmur. I could swear it this time. A shuffle. Maybe even a hand on the door. Somebody's out there.


welcome to the new

Welcome and hello! I'm so happy to have you here at the new! As promised earlier this month, the fresh, new look of this site is only the beginning; I have lots of fun stuff in store for the coming weeks and months. But today, I wanted to use this post as an introduction to the new site, where you can find info on my books, and a few other goodies, including the archive of all my old blog posts (which, disclaimer, successfully migrated over, BUT the formatting is super wonky in some, so if you do happen to go back and read anything prior to 2016, please forgive the formatting oddities).

The blog is also where I'll be continuing to keep you guys updated on any news, and of course, in addition to some tba new features, it'll also be home to some returning favourites...

Coming soon:

New editions of The Writer's Arsenal!

New editions of The Friday5!

And of course, new reviews of Pretty Little Liars, in the form of the revamped Pretty Little Reaction (formerly the Pretty Little Recap).

The new season just kicked off with a major 5 year time jump, and it definitely feels like the perfect time to dive back in with an all new recap format. Watch for the first PLR post soon, as I catch up on the season 6B premiere in anticipation of this week's all new episode!

Photo credit: Freeform

Photo credit: Freeform

I hope you guys love the look and feel of the new site as much as I do. I'm excited to use this space to share pieces of myself and my writing with you, as I forge ahead with my ambition to become a published author. I'd love to hear what you think of the new site–please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

ready to rise from the ashes

Another crazy, busy year is hours away from ending (or has already ended, depending on where you are on the globe). In some ways, it feels like the past year has flown by, but in others, when I think back to some of the big decisions I made this year (like not returning to my full time position at Harlequin, or moving our family not only to a new house, but a new community), it feels as though they happened in another lifetime.

But the point of this post is not to reminisce, it's to look ahead--and there's so much great stuff to look forward to in 2016! I'm excited to announce this blog/website is on the move! In the coming weeks, I'll be migrating everything over to a brand new, sleeker, redesigned site, which will mark the beginning of a new era in what I want this space to be. As Baby H gets older, and I find myself in a position to give my writing career more of myself than ever before, I'm ready to jump back into this blog with some new features and some old favourites (admit it--you know you've missed my Friday5 posts). I have an idea for an interactive writing feature that I'm really hoping some of you will help me out with, whether you consider yourself a writer or not. We're all storytellers by nature and I'd love to see that side of anyone who's willing to go on a little adventure with me. I want this site to take on more of a community vibe if possible, but I need your help to do that. Yes, you in the back wearing the gorgeous ugly Christmas sweater! More details to come on that--and a few other features I have in mind. I can't wait to launch the new site and dive in!

As for my current WIP, which I kickstarted in November during NaNoWriMo, I'm also really looking forward to diving back into it after an extended break for the holidays. Hopefully I'll be in a position to share some bits and pieces of that with you as well. It's straight-up YA contemporary romance, and it's pretty swoon-worthy if I do say so myself ;)

I don't want this post to ramble on, so I'll keep it at that for now, but I wanted to write and say hi!, happy near year!, and let you know about the exciting things I have brewing for 2016. More details to come very soon!

Wishing each and every one of you all a peaceful, healthy, and truly joyful new year!

i'm not dead

I'm not. I swear. If I were dead, would I be able to type this? Probably not, but then again, do we even have a definitive answer on zombies retaining the typing skills they had in life? Maybe tackle that one next, Robert Kirkman.

Anyway, yeah, not dead, just busy.

With this:

Baby H is keeping me plenty busy as he develops fun, new skills!

And this:

It's hard to get things done when a doll has been put to bed and is snoring on the ottoman. And no, I can't move her. The daughter will know/throw a fit if I move her. 

And this:

New WIP: This Hideous Heart, a YA re-telling of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

So yeah, that's what I've been up to. And as a result of being busy with all that, I haven't had free time to blog, not even to do a Pretty Little Recap, though yes, I have been keeping up with the show and will probably make time to recap the finale. (Mini recap time! Hot Caleb was missing for too many episodes, but was awesome when he returned; wow, Spencer was really spicing things up in the UK; the scene with the guy suddenly rising up in the burn ward was freaky as hell and I'll have nightmares for weeks; Ali with no makeup in prison is refreshing and awesome; and holy crap, Hanna is in jail, and Hot Caleb is basically the fourth liar now. Whew!)

All of this is to say that I'm on a mini blog-hiatus while I get a few things sorted out. Primarily the first draft of my WIP, because the two kids? Not much to be sorted there. That's just life. But I'm very excited about the new book, THIS HIDEOUS HEART. It's coming along really well, and so far I'm mostly on track to meet my self-imposed first draft deadline of the end of March. But I need to neglect other things to stay the course, and yeah, blogs and recaps are part of that neglect because again, the kids can't be ;)

I will definitely share more about the new book once I have a synopsis to post, and in the meantime, I'll leave you with a bit of good news about another book of mine, Skin Deep, has been shortlisted for the the 2014 Dante Rossetti Awards! In an industry as challenging to break into as publishing is, it really is very exciting and such an honour to be recognized this way :)

S'all for now! xo

the horizon

The back half of 2014 has been, well, a bit of a blur. The idea that 2015 is only a few short weeks away seems impossible, but yeah, there it is. The bad news is, I've been lost in a haze of sleepless nights (thanks to Baby H falling into a textbook four month sleep regression) and busy days (rocking baby, entertaining toddler, trying to keep the house from crumbling around us). The good news is, things are finally looking up a bit.

I feel like I spend a lot of time waiting. No, I know I spend a lot of time waiting. That's the nature of publishing. Being on submission means waiting. Being on submission with a new book means more waiting. Having a newborn means waiting. At least with that last one, I know all my waiting will pay off.

Over the past few months, I've often found myself wondering how I not only finished a novel during my first maternity leave, but also found enough time to research and query a slew of agents (a process that ultimately matched me with my stellar agent, Marlene). Where on earth did I find the time to manage that? But now I'm remembering. Because I've finally reached the point (I hope) when things start to shift from feeling like I never have enough time to do anything, to the baby being able to entertain himself for 20-30 minutes at a time, and take longer naps, and suddenly things seem possible again. I've even managed to get in a bit of work on my WIP--enough that I'm now rather anxious to spend even more time with it. I have my fingers crossed that early 2015 will allow me the time to really dive in.

So what does all this mean? Hopefully, it means this blog will be back in business soon. Hopefully, it means I'll have a fifth novel under my belt before long. Hopefully, it means I can hit the ground running when the new year begins. It's an excellent time for it, don't you think?

And now I hear the telltale wail of a baby waking... he slept for a full hour this time. Not fantastic, but not bad. Not bad at all.

one day at a time, with an eye on tomorrow

It's been hard to find time to blog lately. It's been hard to find time to do much of anything lately. My infant son turns one month old today. Need I say more?

I've been blessed with a baby who sleeps surprisingly well at night (so far--knock on wood) which means he occasionally doesn't sleep well during the day. I'm not complaining. But I am ambitious and I often end up feeling like I've accomplished nothing in a day. That's okay. I know the early weeks after giving birth should primarily be spent making sure both the baby and I eat and sleep and keep breathing. If that's all a new mother accomplishes in a day, she's doing her job. 

But I'm also close to finishing work on my fourth novel. Painfully close. So close I just want to finish revisions so that it isn't sitting nearly ready on my desk anymore. So I'm working on it when I can. I've learned it's possible to revise a book in small chunks. I've also learned it's possible to revise a book while nursing and with a baby sleeping on your chest. It's not ideal. But that's okay. Sometimes you have to step back and remind yourself to take things one day at a time. And if things don't go as planned, you can hope tomorrow will be better. The ability to do that is something worth valuing. Robin Williams' recent suicide was a painful reminder of the fact that not everyone is able to always see things that way. But, though cliche, it's true. Tomorrow is full of possibility. No bad day can't be conquered by that hope. But you have to remind yourself to hold onto it. It's what moves us forward. 

Another thing I've learned is that I can blog from my phone with one hand. This entire post was written that way. Again, it's not ideal, but it's okay. I know it won't be like this forever :)

the end of the tunnel (<-- not meant to be a pregnancy pun)

Well, it's been a while, but I'm happy to say the below is a thing:

That's right. The first draft of You'll Never Know Me is finally complete. It's been a long haul--and an adventure taking on a new sub-genre of YA--but I'm happy to say that I hit the ground running when I stopped work two weeks ago and managed to get it finished before baby arrives.

Speaking of which, let's talk about the radio silence on this blog. Because it's been a while. I spent the bulk of May and the first half of June exhausted from pregnancy while I worked to wrap up my day job before officially going on mat leave. Since then I've been spending every day either preparing for baby or working intensely on YNKM. So now that all of that is out of the way, what's next?

Well for starters, I'm hoping to pop out this baby sometime in the next couple of days, and hoping I don't go overdue like I did with my daughter. Being this pregnant is the opposite of comfortable. And yes, I know I have sleep deprivation in my future. I know it better than I did the first time around. But still, I can't sit for more than 20 minutes without my spinal cord feeling numb, and above all, I can't wait to meet my son.

But baby stuff aside, I'm excited to dive in on revisions and hopefully, once the newborn insanity wears off, get this blog back in shape a bit too. In some ways, I feel like I've come full circle. Though it wasn't my first trip around the query track, it was back in 2012, during my first mat leave that I finished Unnatural and landed my amazing agent. Now here I am almost two years later, enduring a very tough market and still determined as ever to achieve my dream of being published. I've written two more books since finishing Unnatural. I've seen ups and downs and I feel like in some ways I can measure my agented publishing journey right alongside my journey as a parent, from mat leave to mat leave. It feels fitting to have finished the first draft of YNKM just as I'm about to give birth again. I feel full of hope and possibility (and baby. I feel full of baby too). Though, you might want to check in with me in a few weeks when I'm getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night and see how full of hope I feel then :)

So there's my update for now. I know the coming weeks are going to be hectic so I won't make any promises just yet about returning to a regular blog schedule, but my last mat leave was definitely more conducive to that than working full time was so I'm hopeful I can get back to something of a routine.

Until then, if you need me, I'll be in my newborn/revision cave. It involves a lot of coffee.

breaking july

This is another "where have I been?" post. The good news is, I've been in my revision cave and almost have a fully revised manuscript ready to send out into the world! And that's always a good thing, right? Oh, and I've also been busy with lots of work-related reading. They don't call it conference season for nothing. Pitches are fun and exciting and they result in piles of submissions to keep you cozy on an already hot summer night.

The bad news is, there's been no Pretty Little Recap because I've been unable to access new episodes! I knew cancelling our cable service would remove our ability to watch our favourite shows "on demand" as opposed to "with a little effort", but it turns out that sometimes (like when you're really busy with other things), that little bit of effort makes all the difference. That and I've been marathoning Breaking Bad to catch up before its final season premieres in less than two weeks. You know you can't blame me for that :) Anyway, all of that is to say that I plan to catch up on PLL imminently and when I do, there will be a catch-up PLR and I will make every effort (since I'm a few episodes away from being caught up on BB) to actually be on a normal PLR schedule again. Plus, yes, the neglected Friday5 will make its glorious return sometime soon. I have to confess, for a while there, the news was pretty heavy, with the passing of fellow Canadian Cory Monteith, plus Comicon, plus lots of Catching Fire and Divergent news, and I actually felt too intimated by it all to try and capture it in such a limited format. But there are book recs to catch up on and fun stuff to discuss so it shall return!

That's the latest with me. How've you been?

over the hills and far away

Hello blog friends! How I've missed you! Just a quick update this evening, lest you think I dropped off the face of the earth again (note to self: stop doing that!).

There's a skunk living under our shed this summer. It's an adult, but as a general rule. aren't baby skunks cute??
Things have been busy--last week was the annual husband's birthday/father's day convergence, which meant planning, parties and presents. And cake, but that gets its own sentence cause it doesn't start with a p. And then, as if that wasn't enough busy days in a row, husband is out of town on business, leaving me to solo-parent all while taking on the homestretch of my WIP! In short, yeah, time's been tight.

The good news is, my WIP isn't really a WIP anymore--it's officially a first draft! It's amazing how productive I am when husband isn't here to cause diversions. I'm just going through and checking the formatting on file, and then it's time for the rest period, wherein I take a few days off to let my brain recharge. It allows me to approach phase 2 (revision!) with a semi-fresh pair of eyes. I highly recommend a rest period between drafts. It's like that bit of time you let your steak rest after it comes off the BBQ and I have no idea what it does, but doesn't steak taste good? :)

The second bit of good news is that PLL is back!!!! The bad news is I haven't seen EITHER of the new episodes yet. I know right? What is wrong with me?? How am I supposed to do the Pretty Little Recap if I haven't seen the episodes? Well, the answer is that I'll catch up soon and then all will be well.  You see, we recently made the decision to cancel our cable. We weren't using it very much since we watch so much Netflix and stream so many shows online, but it's made it a little less convenient for me to watch shows like PLL so I need a little time to get myself organized on that front. As soon as I do, the PLR will be back and better than ever! I have big plans for a new format that I think will make it easier for me and hopefully more entertaining for you, my dear bloggie friends.

So that's what's been going on with me. How are you?

friday5 for May 31, 2013

1. Let's catch up--how have you been? Sorry for the lack of a Friday5 last week. Things have been busy. The early part of summer is a crazy busy time when you work in publishing with conference prep (BEA, a conference I'd love to attend one day, is happening right now!) and lots of exciting stuff happening in-house. We're on summer hours now, which means I get Friday afternoons off (so yay to that!), BUT I plan to use that time to work on my current WIP (which is me finally finishing the back-half of my NaNo project) and do summery things like taking my daughter to the park and gardening and beating the crowd en route to the cottage and you know, summery stuff like that. While the blog isn't going to be on hiatus for the summer, posts will possibly be even more inconsistent than usual. I am hoping to start throwing in more non-Friday5 posts soon as well. I have a few topics for The Writer's Arsenal that I'd love to discuss (cause, whoops, neglect and all that) so those will hopefully happen it the coming weeks too!

2. Before we get to pop culture news, and since I mentioned that my Friday afternoons have kickstarted me lavishing more attention on my WIP, I wanted to share a snippet because--full disclosure--there is some stuff in this book that I find myself giggling at when I'm skimming through it, which yeah, whatever, you're probably not supposed to find your own writing funny, but some of the characters in this one are just so much fun to write. For your reading pleasure, here's a sample:
First I hit up the hardware store. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but when people go about nefarious deeds in movies, they tend to always hit up the hardware store. I’d already thrown some rope, duct tape, a hatchet and a butane lighter into my basket when I dropped the damn thing at the sight of Monica folded over the paint service counter, clutching a coffee, her blonde hair braided down her back as she rested her head in her arms.
She startled at the sound, whirling around to face me as I scrambled to gather everything I’d dropped and duck behind a rack of carpet samples.
“Luce?” She tilted her head forward, her sunglasses falling down the bridge of her nose. “Lucy!”
“Oh hey!” I said, as though I’d only just noticed her. “What, uh, what are you doing here?”
“Dad’s making Stephen and I help him paint the back fence. He got us up at the crack of dawn.” She took a long swig of her coffee. “Stephen’s just arguing with this Cook’s Hardware lifer about whether or not Dad pre-paid for the paint.” She nodded toward the end of the service counter where sure enough, Stephen was looking through an order binder with a thirty-something-year-old guy wearing a yellow Cook’s Hardware apron.
“What about you?” Monica asked. She glanced into my basket, her expression nonplused as she returned her gaze to me. “What’s with the serial killer supplies?”
“Uh…” I stalled, absolutely nothing coming to mind. “Umm…” A total complete blank. “They’re for a friend?”
Monica gasped. “You liar! Lucy Girard, why are you lying to me?”
“Because it’s a surprise? For…you?”

3. This kinda blew my mind. So brilliant. The marketing team behind The Hunger Games franchise continues to impress. If I'm ever lucky enough for there to be a film based on one of my books, it's entirely possible I'll be all "HUNGER GAMES MARKETING TEAM ASSEMBLE!" How cool would that be?!

4. Arrested Development is officially back, y'all! (I think that was the first time I've ever said y'all. It felt wrong. I apologize.) Because of life obligations, I did not marathon the whole thing in one sitting and I think that's kind of good because I've enjoyed digesting it in smaller marathonettes (when you only watch 3-4 episodes in a sitting instead of an entire season like a crazy person). I get the impression from the interwebs that people who tackled the thing as a whole were left unable to appreciate it as much as they might have if they'd spread it out a bit more. There is a lot going on in these episodes and I've personally been very pleased with the quality. I'm ready for more! Is it too early to say bring on season five?

5. Day job represent! Today I'm featuring a new release by one of Harlequin Teen's own--Katie McGarry. Dare You To is the highly anticipated follow up to 2012's Pushing the Limits.
Rainy kisses, amiright?

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
(Summary from
If you're looking for a swoon-worthy (and I mean swoooooon-worthy) summer beach read, look no further. Katie's books are some of the very best contemporary YA romances I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The plot is tight, the characters are fantastic and if you're into YA romance at all, you will not be able to put this one down.

Happy weekend!

quick update

Quick update to keep you all looped in:

Yes, I realize I didn't do a Friday5 last week.

And yes, I realize I didn't do a Monday post either.

I don't want this blog to turn into constant apology posts. I'm still trying to find a routine that works. There was a wee spot o' life stuff that got in the way last week. But I've decided I'm going to try to draft the Friday5 as the week progresses instead of all in one go like I have been. I'm hoping that will help. It's all about trial and error. I'm also re-thinking the content of the Friday5 a bit. There will probably be some changes down the line. If there's anything you'd like to see included, please hit up the comments! 

In the meantime, there will be a Friday5 this week and of course, the Pretty Little Recap!

Now, let's all enjoy this picture of a dog who just got his Ph.D in being adorable:

Photo by Matt Barber, CC License

no post today (err, other than this one...)

Just a quick post to say there won't be a regular Monday post today. NaNo is forcing me into an out of the ordinary routine, so I'm posting when I can (like yesterday's NaNo focused post with links to some of the best writing advice on the web) and writing when I can. Since yesterday was better for blogging, I did, and since today is better for writing, I'm going to. I hope to be back with a regular post next Monday in which I'll address query letters and the query process as part of the writer's arsenal. After four years of reading query letters, not to mention my own experiences writing them, I have a few tips I want to share :)

In the meantime, my word count is calling...

verbose seductress...

staying in touch

To start things off today, a little blog news: I can now be found at That's right! I'm officially a website! Now I just need to remember all the places around the net that need to be updated with the new domain...

Today I want to talk about staying in touch--not the kind of staying in touch that requires you to keep your contact info/blog listing up to date (see what I did there?), but the kind where you are in the loop on what's current.

One of the things I've learned as a new mother is that you're constantly encountering lists of milestones that your baby should be hitting at certain points in their development. I receive these lists through e-newsletters and baby apps on my iphone among other places. Recently, one such milestone that I read about was that the baby should begin to understand that people speak into the mouthpiece of a telephone. This struck me as very odd. Certainly, I've seen babies with toy phones before, adorably mimicking adults and babbling into the phone as they make their imaginary (though often brief) phone calls.

"I think you have the wrong number..." Image by Linh Ngan
But it still struck me as odd. I can't think of a single time my baby has seen me on the phone. I rarely call anyone anymore. I text. I email. But I rarely call. In fact, I make so few phone calls, I usually save them for times when the baby is sleeping (so that I don't have to explain the loud baby screams that often sound like somebody is being murdered in our living room). My baby is more likely to mimic texting on a toy phone than she is to make a call. And as far as milestones go, I suppose I'd consider that equivalent. Should she know to speak into a phone if she's never seen anyone do that? I wouldn't think so, but I would expect her to play with a phone the way I play with mine. And she does. I'm sure future baby milestone lists will have to be modified to reflect this change in the way we communicate.

The reason I bring this up is because things change over time. That's no secret. I can still remember what it was like to be a teenager and that definitely plays a part in my writing, but I also know that the teens of today are experiencing a very different world than the one I lived in over a decade ago, and I need to keep that in mind too. I read and write (and watch) YA not only because I feel a strong connection to that voice (I sometimes need to remind myself that I'm not a sixteen-year-old girl anymore, even though I often feel like one inside), but also because I want to maintain that connection. There's something wonderful and thrilling about the experiences you have at that age and I never want to lose touch with that, even as it changes over time. All writers need to live part of their life in the world they write, both on and off the page. YA is where I feel most at home and I'm lucky that there's such an awesome community of YA authors and readers online to help me stay connected :)

What genres do you feel most at home reading/writing and how do you stay connected?