that time I did the liebster award blog tag

I got tagged by my fellow friend and co-hobo, Jamie, to participate in this super fun award blog tag. So I have to answer ten questions and then I get to pick ten different questions for some other unsuspecting victims. Er, I mean friends.

So here are the questions Jamie picked for me:

1) What is the weirdest thing you’ve researched for a book?

Various ways to break a jawbone. Not weird so much as the pictures will never stop haunting me for the rest of my life. There are some things you can't unsee.

2) What book character would you be for Halloween?

I'd be able to pull off Luna Lovegood without too much effort. Blonde hair, check. Hipster clothes, check. Weird personality, CHECK.

3) What is the best writing snack? Defend.

Inarguably, GUMMY BEARS. They're delicious, have a little spring to them, and if you eat of them, you feel full like you just ate a meal. Pair with cherry coke zero and you will have regrets. (Well, you might, but that's a personal problem).

4) What is your life quote?

"Not all who wander are lost." - J.R.R. Tolkien

5) Kissing or killing scenes?

Kissing. Though the killing scenes ARE fun, the kissing scenes are much more fun! And come on, you know you flip through the book looking for them.

6) Most recent book you bought?

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch and I'm SO excited to read it.

7) Best book you wrote in 2014?

I set a goal to write 3 books this year, and I'm utterly failing on that front, but I got an agent this year, so I'll give myself a nice pat on the back for that one. Having only finished one, but eerily close to finishing another, I'm gonna have to go with my newest one, PROMISE NOT TO TELL, because it's crazy and I love it.

8) The seed that sparked your current WIP is…?

A conversation I was having with Brianna Shrum. I was running a bunch of twitter pitches by her, and I read one, and she said, "Nope. That gives a different idea of your book. But hey, would you write that book?" And then PROMISE NOT TO TELL was born in all its craziness.

9) Pantser, plotter, or somewhere in between?

For the longest time, I was a punster. The thought of plotting was enough to keep me in a tequila-induced coma for the rest of my life, but then I started writing this dang book and I've spent more time plotting than actually writing. And while I used to say that I would NEVER plot, some books, even when you're a total pantser, just can't be done without a healthy dose of plotting. Or else your brain explodes. I've come dangerously close to this.

10) The shippiest couple ever to ship in the history of ever is…

Literary - Finnikin and Isaboe from the Lumatere Chronicles. Just, yes.
TV - Oliver and Felicity, or Olicity, as they are better known. They make me actually squee out loud.

Okay, so now's the fun part. I get to tag a few friends and give them their own set of questions. So I tag Jessica, Mandie, Jaime, and Rachel! Here are your questions:

1. Best writing space?
2. If you could have dinner with any author, alive or deceased, who and why?
3. Favorite way to procrastinate when you should be writing?
4. In less than 20 words, describe your current wip.
5. If your favorite writing genre didn't exist (GASP), what would you write instead?
6. Favorite band to listen to while writing?
7. Morning writing or night owl scribbler?
8. Favorite friendship in a published book?
9. If you could write a book to capture the heart of a song you love, the song is?
10. When the movie of your book gets made, who's the dream cast?

that time I did the 777 challenge

The 777 challenge is when a writer is challenged by another writer to post the seven lines of text, seven lines down on the seventh page of their work-in-progress. I was tagged by my friend Mandie Baxter (check out her seven lines here).

I'm using seven lines from my WIP, We Used to Be.

I pound my fist harder. "COME BACK!" I'm crying so hard my words are loud but slurred, and my sobs choke every syllable. "WAKE UP HAYES! COME BACK TO ME."

And then I'm screaming your name. Over and over, like I'm a broken record on repeat. Crying so hard I can barely breathe. Pounding your coffin with so much force I'm sure my hand will break.

Can't you hear me? I'm screaming at you. You have to come back. You have to.

I can't be without you.

Strong arms wrap around me. "Gracen." It's my dad's voice, a whisper in my ear. He lifts me off the ground and carries me away. I fight at first, but soon fall limp in his arms, leaving the only strength I have left to crying. I can't stop crying.

I'm tagging BriannaJamieCorrieMichelleRenaBlair, and Emma.

that time I got the call

Every time I've ever gotten a full request, I'd keep myself up with thoughts on how that agent might contact me in a month's time with an offer to represent my book. The fantasies were wildly outrageous, but they still kept me from a good night's sleep.

But then you're sitting in your living room, watching the latest episode of America's Next Top Model, procrastinating on getting ready for work, and your phone rings. But it's a number you don't recognize, so you obviously let it go to voicemail, because you're sometimes a diva about these things, thinking it's probably a telemarketer.

But then they leave a message. And well, telemarketers don't leave messages (usually). So you listen to it, but the person is talking kind of fast and you're not sure what you're hearing. But then the word AGENT kind of pops out at you. And then the title of your book. and then your heart starts racing like it's traveling at light speed to another galaxy. BECAUSE AN AGENT JUST CALLED YOU. ON A RANDOM THURSDAY. AND OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING?

So you call the number back, your heart still racing. And it's an agent. And that agent is all I WANT TO REPRESENT YOUR MANUSCRIPT. My assistant loved it. The voice is amazing. WE WANT YOU.

And you try really hard not to faint or anything. So you just sit on the phone not saying much because you're at a literal loss for words. Because for months your CPs have told you how great the book is, BUT THERE'S AN ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL AGENT ON THE PHONE TELLING YOU HOW MUCH THEY LOVE YOUR BOOK. And maybe you cry a little bit because you've put like ALL your blood, sweat, and tears into that book, praying like your life depended on it that it would be the one.

And then somebody loves it, the way you love it. And they point out specific things that you tried really hard to convey and how much they love them. And how much they love the characters that manifested in your brain. AND THEY LOVE IT.

So, yeah, I got that call last week. And I'm so thrilled to announce that I have signed with Uwe Stender and Laura Crockett of Triada US Literary Agency.

This post wouldn't be complete with a huge thanks to some people who have been cheering me on the whole way! So thanks to my CPs and friends, Brianna Shrum, Nikki Diehm, Megan Orsini, Corrie Shatto, and KK Hendin!

that time I shared my writing process

hey! first and foremost, let's pretend that eight months hasn't passed since my last post on here. I'm going to better. probably.

so one of my twitter faves, jamie adams, asked me to participate in this writing process blog. I was equally surprised and flattered when jamie asked, and then on her blog she called me artistic AND charming, so she basically just moved up to the top of my favorite people list. also, follow her on twitter, because she's cool.

this is a "tagging" hop, and this is the quote that started it all: "We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one's playlist grows as the draft grows, why one's poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook..."

so here is the part where I answer four questions.

what am I working on?

this question really should be, what am I NOT working on, because it's always everything all the time. well I'm currently querying my newest completed ya contemporary. it's a little dark, and I don't want to give away too many details because I'm weirdly superstitious when it comes to my writing. other than querying, I am writing a new ya contemporary that has all the sads with a tiny bit of quirky mixed in. again, not gonna get into those details, because the silly superstition thing blah blah blah. but I both laugh and cry while I work on this ms.

how does my work differ from others of its genre?

oy vay. I guess I don't know that it really does. I write mostly ya contemporary. I fought against that for a really long time because I was determined to write fantasy, but then all these contemporary ideas kept flooding my head and wouldn't go away and now I have more than I can ever hope to write. I try to stand out among my genre with voice and I try to spend a great deal of books dealing on families, which seems to be lacking in a great deal of ya books. bust mostly I just write what I love and hope that others love it too.

why do I write what I do?

oops. I sort of already answered this in the above. I write ya contemporary because it won't leave me alone, try as I may to write a million other things. contemporary just calls to me like a lighthouse, beckoning me home. and also, I love writing about normal kids going through normal stuff. and also, I like making people cry.

how does my writing process work?

it generally starts with me having a dream about some ridiculously crazy idea that I jot first thing in the morning. then by the end of the day I realize that only about 10% of it will work in a story, so I start plotting.

NO, WAIT, I don't plot. All my cps just laughed so hard at this. I pants through everything, all the books I've written. I mean, what even is plotting?

so my writing process works like this: I write. then I call my cps and bore them to death with all my ideas and make them validate me and tell me I'm doing a good job. and then I write more. I try to write 1k a day, but that's basically a joke because I either write one sentence or 5k words. there is no method to the madness. only madness that I try to reign in on a daily basis. I make notes on post-its and stick them all over my room. I eat lots of gummy worms and drink too much wine. and then I write some more.

for this thing, I get to choose two more peeps to participate. I'm happy to announce I'm tagging one of  my #nerdherd loves, mandie, and my lovely CP (and very old friend) brianna. make sure to check out their posts next monday!

that time I made resolutions (and hopefully stuck to them)

I know what you're thinking. This blog is just wasting space on the internet, because I NEVER blog. Unless I'm super ranty or entering a contest or participating in something on twitter that requires a blog. I'd like to say that in 2014 I'll blog more, but that would be a big ole fat lie, so I'm not even go down that road.

But I do have a few writerly and readerly resolutions for this year. And some of them actually do require a bit o' blogging, so it's possible I MAY actually blog a little more this year than the last.

Writerly Resolutions:
* Last year I set a goal to write 1k a day. I did really good until about May, and then I fell off that ship so hard and drowned in an ocean of my own making. So, this year my goal is to just write every day. Even if it's just one word. That's better than none.

* I want to write three novels this year, from start to finish. Last year I wrote two and revised one, so I feel like this is totally attainable.

* Query my newest contemporary by February. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, I TELL YOU.

Readerly Resolutions:
* My friend Nikki and I are doing a book-a-month book club this year, so I vow to read at least 12 books this year. I mean, I'll definitely read more, but at least twelve.

* As part of that book club, I vow to blog a review & excerpt of each book.

* In 2014 I won't be starting any new series, unless every book in the series has already been published. I hate having to wait years for an entire series to be released, and honestly with all the books I read, I can't remember half of the plot lines, so when I pick up the second book in a series and it's been a year since I read the first one, I spend a good few hours online trying to find recaps of the first book. So this will be the year of finishing series that are published and reading stand-alones (which I've become a very big fan of).

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