children's writer

NaNoWriMo: Homestretch

Nov 29, 2012
The title of this post is sort of misleading because I'm nowhere near finished with this novel. I spent a good chunk of the past few weeks thinking about writing but not actually writing. Only yesterday, or the day before, did I decide that this novel is worth continuing. I did get down a few new words and managed to get the number of times I used the word was from 183 to 77. After doing that, I'm ready to jump back in full steam. There's just too much I love about this novel to give up on it.

I'm still at the 10k mark, but I really want to have this novel finished by the new year. I've edited but haven't written any new novel-length works. Ending the year without at least completing one new novel would be very upsetting. I think I might even do my own December mini challenge.

Over the month of November, one thing I did do was collect a ton of images that reminded me of New York, specifically Brooklyn. I really wish I could share some of those, but I don't want to take any chances posting more images that aren't my own. That said, I'll leave you with an excerpt instead.

Congrats to those of you who finished NaNo. You guys rock my socks off.

From Just Another Moonlit Night: 

Finn had neck length blond hair, which he always wore down. His favorite pair of shoes were these old Birkenstocks his mother had given him several birthdays ago. When he wasn't painting, or spending time with me, he worked from home as a web developer. He was good at anything that required the use of his hands. 
On Saturday mornings we’d listen to Bob Marley’s “We’re Jammin” from a radio we found on sale for only fifteen bucks. I’d put on the tea kettle, fill my cup with two spoonfuls of sugar, and when the tea was all made I’d sit on the couch we’d found on a sidewalk one afternoon and watch Finn through the open door of his studio, slashing away at canvases. I’d gotten prettier at eighteen. My braces had come off. I kept my brunette strands cut short at my ears and now had a taste for hand-me-down dresses. 

Happy writing and reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of 2013

Nov 27, 2012
It's my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is "Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2013."

2013 is going to be such a great year. I can't wait to get my hands on my top ten picks.

1. Just One Day by Gale Forman - I read a sample of this book, and I didn't want it to end.

2. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith - The comp titles makes this book sound like a real treat.

3. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea  by April Genevieve Tucholke  - Just because I love a good devil story.

4. The Lucky Variations by Sara Zarr -  I really love books about talented souls.

5. The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston - This one sounds like a really good mystery.

6. Splintered by A.G. Howard - I love a good Alice in Wonderland retelling.

7. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider - This one sounds like a great contemporary read.

8. Pantomime by Laura Lam - It's takes place in a circus. It doesn't get any better than that.

9. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters - It sounds positively dark and creepy.

10. Out of the Easy by Rusta Sepetys - It takes place in one of my favorite eras, the 50s. 

So, are you pining for any of these books?

A Few Things

Nov 14, 2012
I did two good things yesterday, the most important being that I entered a contest on Figment. I don't enter many contests like these but the prize was just too good to pass up. You can click the gray link to read my entry if you like. And if you know anyone in the 13-21 age range, or if you're in the 13-21 age range, you can find out more about the contest here.

The second thing that I did was create a temporary website on Weebly. It's free, and I thought why not. 

Here it is: My shiny new website

That's all I wanted to share. Have a wonderful Wednesday you guys. 

Pinners You Should Follow

Nov 12, 2012
One of my favorite blogs does a feature called Pinterest Picks. I look forward to that feature every Friday because I, like a lot of you, love being inspired. To tell you guys the truth, I've been feeling very blue lately. I haven't written anything new in three days, and I've spent a lot of time on Pinterest because it just isn't as much work as Twitter or any of the other networking sites. I follow 129 people on there, and although they're all awesome, I chose only five to share with you guys.

They post some of the most stunning photos I've ever seen.

1. Caitlin - Favorite Board: Beautiful

2. Beth - Favorite Board: Lovely

3. Anabela - Favorite Board: Flowers & Florals

4. Naomi - Favorite Board: Photographed

5. Laila - Favorite Board: Everyday Life

That's it for me guys. I hope some of these pinners will help cure those Monday blues.

So, tell me, are you on Pinterest? If so, I'd love to follow you. I also have to ask, how do you use Pinterest? And if you're not on there, how would you use it? Would it be something you would use for fun, or would it be just another way to reach a potential audience?

If you'd like to view my pins or follow me, click here.

Love Lists and Theme Songs

Nov 9, 2012
A few weeks ago I did a Road Trip Wednesday post that was inspired by Stephanie Perkins' idea of love lists. A love list is basically a list of things you love about your WiP. I love the idea so much that I'm going to stick with it.

These are a few things I'm loving about my current WiP, Just Another Moonlit Night. 

1. The Jazz music - Over the months I've acquired a taste for older music. Some of my favorites are Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Lewis Armstrong, and Maxine Sullivan. My main character's mother also has an ear for it and plays it constantly.

           That night, in the darkness of my room, I lay in bed while my mother played jazz music loudly and sipped even more red wine with her invisible friends. I closed my eyes and imagined her swaying around the room, pretending there was a handsome suitor in her company. 

2. The name Coco - I know some people might think Coco Lee is an odd name, but it's probably my favorite character name so far. Coco's mother is obsessed with all things Coco Chanel hence the name.

Coco, a name bestowed upon me by my mother who had an obsession with all things Coco Chanel, was a name I felt I couldn’t live up to. In my mind, Coco was long limbed with waist length blonde hair and an impeccable sense of style. She hung out at caf├ęs, didn’t work at them. She was full of talent, could draw, sing, and dated beautiful boys—beautiful European boys.

Most of all, she loved adventure.

3. Beauty - I've mentioned before that my main character has self-esteem issues. I think it's one aspect of her that makes her more relatable.

            No one ever said that Coco Lee is such a beautiful girl.

4. Love and loss - Coco goes through quite a lot throughout her story and deals with loss in more ways than one.

        He closed the door behind him, and for a second I thought he was going to sweep me up into his arms and lay me on the bed. He didn’t.

I think "Forget Me Not" by The Civil Wars is a perfect theme song.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Nov 7, 2012
Hey guys! I haven't done one of these posts in a while, but because I think they're such a great way to share little things that have caught my eye I'll definitely be posting them more often.

1. The cover of Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block is gorgeous as well as the cover of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke.

2. "Barton Hollow" by The Civil Wars. Two lovely ladies mentioned them on Twitter, and because I love discovering new music I just had to check them out. It's kind of ridiculous how many times I played this song last night. Sometimes I do this thing where I pretend that I'm the one singing the song. Does anybody else do that? Probably not.

I just finished reading The Big Smoke by Cally Jackson. You can read my review here. But lately I've been reading a ton of samples. One I'm enjoying right now is Love Slave by Jennifer Spiegel. 

Yesterday I re-watched my favorite movie An Education for the hundredth time. No matter how many times I see it I still tear up. On TV, I've been watching and loving American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural. I can't get enough of those brothers. 

My NaNo novel. I'm still behind, but I want to have 10,000 words by the end of this week.

The holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, and they're my favorite time of year. For Christmas this year, I'd like a healthy mind, body, and soul. Lots of new books would be nice, too. 

I entered Baker's Dozen yesterday and got in. I'm entry 106. Being one of the lucky few whose entries are chosen would be phenomenal. 

I somehow managed to get two partial requests out of a contest I entered last week. That made me feel really good. 

As always, thanks for reading. 

The Big Smoke by Cally Jackson

Nov 6, 2012
Hello! Today I'm coming to you guys with a book review for Cally Jackson's THE BIG SMOKE.

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn't finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

I'd been following Cally's blog for a while when she announced that she'd be self-publishing THE BIG SMOKE. By then I'd already read the sample chapters she had up and enjoyed them entirely. So when I heard she was giving away ARCs for review, of course I had to jump on board. Now you guys know that I don't normally review books, and if I was going to review a book it would have to be one I was crazy in love with. THE BIG SMOKE definitely didn't disappoint. 

What I loved most about this book was how distinct Seb's and Ceara's voices were. Sometimes with books written from a multiple POV it's very hard to differentiate bewteen the charcaters, but in Cally's novel the voices were not only very different but very authentic. I must admit, it did take me a while to make it through this novel because of its legnth, but when I would sit down to read I would once again become enamored with these characters and their stories. 

It's definitely a coming of age novel. I think a lot of us would be able to relate to two characters who are on their own for the first time, starting college, trying to hold onto old friendships while creating new ones, and wanting to find that special someone. The way Seb and Ceara's lives were interwoven was handled flawlessly. At certain points I kept thinking, they must have noticed each other. When they finally did, it was only a matter of time. One of the things I could really relate to was Seb having to come to terms with the fact that his relationship with his best friend wasn't what it used to be. That definitely made me feel for him even more than I already did. I could also relate to Ceara wanting to feel desired. I think all women can. 

THE BIG SMOKE gets 4.5 stars from me because it was a gripping and honest novel. Did I mention it takes place in Australia? I can't wait to see what Cally has in store for us next.

If you'd like to purchase the book, hop on over to Amazon. If you'd like to learn more about the book and author, hop on over to Goodreads and Cally's blog, Cally Jackson Writes.

Thanks for reading!

NaNo Update NO.1

Nov 5, 2012
One thing I've learned while NaNo-ing: always have a backup novel. On day 1 of NaNo my original idea and I parted ways after only four pages. Lucky for me, I did have another idea that I was equally excited about. This idea was called The Corner Store, and was supposed to be about the trials and tribulations of a young couple living in Brooklyn, NY. The things is, when I sat down to write it totally didn't pan out the way I'd hoped. 

As of day five I'm 5,164 words in and having blast. Yes, I know I'm behind, but being apart of NaNo has been a very good learning experience. I've learned that as well as being a slow typer, I prefer to have relatively clean first drafts. Or at least clean by my standards. 

So this novel that was inspired by my original idea for The Corner Store, is titled JUST ANOTHER MOONLIT NIGHT. I was calling it contemporary YA, but I think it might be more contemporary or literary NA. Maybe even adult fiction.

My main character is an eighteen-year-old girl named Coco Lee who is incredibly insecure, first about her appearance and then about her relationship with her boyfriend. I don't have a synopsis written for this novel yet, but here's a snippet:

Across the room, out of my window, the moon hung fat and round in the sky. It was just another moonlit night in Brooklyn, and I, Coco Lee, was just another fish in a sea of thousands. Maybe if I were lucky someone would fall in love with me like my mother had with my father. And if we were lucky we’d have babies who were prettier than me. Call me shallow, but at seventeen what more was there to want than being loved.

Thanks for reading, and may your day be filled with lots and lots of new words.