Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I'm hopping on Katy Upperman's Currently post this week. Find out more about it here and join in! Thanks for the blogspiration, Katy :)


The sun! We've had a super rainy summer (after a super rainy winter - man do I miss Boulder sometimes...) but the sun has been out for the past few days. It makes such a difference! Everybody in town is smiling.


November 9 by Colleen Hoover. I tried the Crave app, which is a really cool idea. You get sent a couple of chapters a day, and the book is "enhanced" with videos, audio snippets, texts from the characters, images, etc. The first book up is November 9 and it's a perfect fit for this format! The problem is that the app only lets you read a couple of chapters a day, so I just bought the book because I was really enjoying it and I have no patience. At all.


The return of Fox Mulder. Why would anyone be watching anything else?


Season Two of Serial. This season is intense. I went in not knowing much about Bowe Bergdahl and I cannot believe his story. I listen when I walk the dogs and sometimes I scare them with my outbursts. Also, I am such a Sarah Koenig fangirl. If she put out an app where we could just listen to her shoot the shit about anything for ten minutes a day I would totally subscribe.


What's next. I was made redundant from my job at the end of 2015 due to massive restructuring (they moved jobs to bigger cities) so I'm not sure what my next step is going to be. For now I'm really enjoying time with my kids and the ability to focus more on writing


Good weather! February is usually our best month for sunshine and warmth, so I'm ready to get outside and take full advantage.


That my dog would get over his irrational hatred of my neighbour's car. It's been six years, Boomer. Stop the barking and deal with it.

(Alternatively...wishing that my neighbour would get a new frickin' car! It's been six years, surely it's nearly time?!)


Sunshine, more writing time, good books, and my new milk frother. Lattes at home whenever I want! Not much better than that :)

What's currently up with you?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

3 Things I Loved about The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

The Distance from A to Z has so much of my particular brand of contemporary YA romantic catnip that reading it made me feel like this:

Image found here
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better (strong and driven girl, kick ass friendships, sweet boy, FRENCH…) Natalie Blitt would hit me with something new (Best. Book. Restaraunts. Ever.) and I would swoon all over again.


Seventeen-year-old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.
That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to wear baseball caps and jerseys every day.
But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between who she is and who he is is worth the risk.
Three Things I Loved:

  1. The friendship between Abby and her roommate, Alice. They support each other and make sacrifices to be there for each other. And they do it quietly, without making a big deal, because that’s what friends do.
  2. Pretty much everything about Zeke. Because he was a good friend who gave really big hugs when required. Because he went out of his way for people. Because he had chapped boy lips and because the things he said in French AND English were perfect. Parfait.
  3. The restaurants and THE FOOD. I haven’t been so desperate to visit a fictional town since Star’s Hollow. Cool cafes, quirky diners, and the most delicious French toast you will ever read about. Seriously, if this place is based on a real town then I am making it my next trip. Plus, the time spent in each different place perfectly evoked the period of life when you have time to sit around drinking coffee (or eating hangover food) and talk about life, art, and boys with your friends for hours.

Get it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Panster to Plotter: Week One

Thought I had while writing my first book: I understand story rhythms so well that I don't even need to plot!

I was young.

Thought I had while writing my second book: This one page outline kicks ass! Revisions will be soooo easy this time.

Thought I had during my zillionth (approx) round of revisions: SGD$@*$%$BSSNFJ**** (Imagine Tony Soprano swearing, then multiply it to the power of ten.)

I'm currently between revisions on an MG book that's been a challenge for me to get right. I need a break, so I'm going to try to fast draft a project I've been thinking about for awhile. It's in a totally different genre and I'm not sure it will ultimately go anywhere, but it involves a Pinterest board full of the cowboy from The Longest Ride, so I figure it's worth my time.

At the beginning of this month I read 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron. It was awesome and just what I needed. I'm going to try and adapt some of the techniques she discussed to draft this project fast and smart. 

I'm writing this post because one of my favourite procrastination techniques is to read about how other people write, and I'm trying to give back to the procrastination community. You're welcome :)

Here's what I've done so far:

1. I wrote out all the major plot points I knew I wanted to happen, then turned them into a two page synopsis. It's rough and I'm sure it will change, but it highlighted gaps and showed me what I still needed to work through. 

2. I wrote a chapter by chapter outline, with a paragraph (or three) for each chapter. This was really helpful because I could plot out entire arcs and then jump around and add sneaky clues into previous chapters, which will save SO MUCH REVISION TIME. My paragraphs ended up a mixture of plot points, snippets of dialogue, and facts about characters' motivations and personalities.

3. I put the same table at the end of each chapter and went through checking and filling out the following:
  • Am I moving the story forward?
  • Is there new information?
  • Am I pulling the reader forward?
  • How does this fit with the two MC's character arcs?
  • How does it fit with their relationship arc?
  • Mystery clues and reveals?
  • What do I need to figure out/research before I can write?
  • Timeline?
4. I wrote down how long I worked each day, where, and the time of day. (Rachel recommended this to look for patterns in times of day/workplaces that are most productive.)

I ended up with 29 pages (10,500 words). It took me about fifteen hours (this *may* have included a few Pinterest breaks.)

Next step: Importing each chapter into its own Scrivener folder with files for my notes and my checklists.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

3 Things I Loved about Tied To Trouble by Megan Erickson

I know every review and comment about this book is going to mention bow ties, and I would dearly love to be an original, but that just isn’t happening. Because HOLY BOW TIES, BATMAN.

Sidebar: Watching Matt Smith’s Dr. Who will be a totally different experience after reading this book.

Blurb: Chad Lake only showed up at his sister's party for the free food, but when he spots an uptight nerd at the edge of the crowd, he can't resist trying to ruffle the guy's perfect bow tie and impeccable hair. The hottie's ready for him, though, and in the end, it's Chad who's left wide-eyed, his ears still ringing with the filthy things Bow Tie whispered in his ear. No one gets the upper hand on Chad. Ever.

Owen Hawkins has heard all about the cocky Adonis from Chad's sister--the same sister who holds Owen's career advancement in her hands. He has every intention of steering clear of the other man...until Chad's sexy taunts push him too far. There's something intriguing about Chad, and even though Owen knows that getting tangled up with the infuriating man is trouble, he can't seem to stay away...

Three things I loved:

  1. The humour. It is dry and smart and also completely goofy, especially when we’re hearing from Chad. Ah, Chad. He is currently at the top of my “Characters Who’d be the Most Fun to Drink Margaritas With” list. He is hilarious.
  2. The way Owen worried about Chad, even when Chad drove him absolutely crazy. I loved Owen’s caring nature, and we really got a chance to see it when he got concerned about Chad’s safety. He did his best to keep Chad physically in one piece (HELMETS, Chad!) but he also knew exactly what Chad needed to hear to heal his heart and his mind. Love Owen.
  3. Watching Chad figure out the next step in his journey. Chad was in a place that so many of us reach: sick of going nowhere but not sure where to go and a little bit scared to chase after and share his dreams. I loved watching him get brave enough to try to change his life.

Overall: two amazing characters who have super hot sexy times in and out of beds and BOW TIES. Highly recommended :)

Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

3 Tips I Loved from 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron

One of my writing goals for 2016 is to read one book a month about craft. I started with 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron.

In 2011 Rachel wrote a blog post about how she went from writing two thousand words a day to regularly knocking out ten thousand. The post was extremely popular with us writer types because WE ARE ALL DESPERATELY SEARCHING FOR MIRACLES.* 

This book builds on her post and several others from her blog, as well as including new material. It is well worth the 99 pennies she is charging.

*My assumption. No writers were interviewed.

3 Tips I Loved:

1. Know what you're writing before you write it. She advises dedicating at least five minutes at the beginning of every writing session to jotting down a quick description of what you're going to write that day and suggests including things like "back and forth exchanges of an argument...blocking out fights...fast descriptions."

I found this REALLY helpful. I always have a rough plan of what I want to happen in a scene, but a bit more detail definitely makes the words flow faster!

2. When you get stuck it's because you don't know something. This is in reference to plotting, and she talks about how your entire plot isn't "borked" (bonus for using the word borked) when you get really stuck. No need to panic and let your dog eat your laptop so you never have to see your novel again! Instead, take a step back and discover more about your characters, their world, and why the event in question is actually happening. If the usual fixes aren't working she advises writing down in "ludicrous detail what's going on in the world at the moment the plot is stuck...especially map out exactly what the villains are doing."

Ha! Gotta love it when the villains save the day.

3. What every scene needs to do. Her criteria for a scene is that it advances the story, reveals new information, and pulls the reader forward. This is a good reminder no matter where you are in the process. I have used similar criteria for my scenes in revision, but her advice to plan out scenes in more detail before writing means that I will save a lot of time by knowing exactly what each scene is supposed to do before getting it down on paper. Probably a lot of people already do this of course, but I've always been more of a "Ooooo, a scene in a library would be cool!" kind of writer.

Verdict: Highly recommended! There are no miracles (sorry) and you may have seen some of these tips before, but the way she brings everything together and describes her own process is really helpful and it made me feel excited about sitting down to write.

Get it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Three Things I Loved about No Interest in Love

This was my first Cassie Mae book and it was so much fun that I will definitely be reading her others. Friends (um...sort of...) to lovers, a road trip, people falling down...So. Much. Catnip.


When Jace Carver snags a minor part in his buddy’s zombie flick, he suddenly starts getting noticed all over the place. Even Hollywood megastar Carletta Ocean—known for her extensive “research” with her male co-stars—wants Jace for her new rom-com. The role could be a game-changer . . . if Jace nails the audition.

As Jace’s agent, Shaylene Kwak is all business, and isn’t about to let her favorite client blow this opportunity. Since their college years, Shay has been immune to Jace’s charm and rock-hard body. But long hours in close company have a way of wearing down even the best defenses, and when their platonic teasing turns into serious flirting, Jace and Shay are no longer able to resist what’s been right in front of them the entire time.

Things I loved:

1. The screwball comedy. This book had some moments that reminded me of classic screwball films like Bringing up Baby (I laugh hysterically just looking at leopards. Totes awkward at the zoo.) The situations Jace and Shay find themselves in are just ridiculous in the best way and I laughed a lot while reading.

2. The way it played in my head. Jace is an actor who sees his life as a film and assigns himself and everyone else roles (Miss Leading Lady, Mr. Kickass Lead...) and Cassie Mae's writing style really lends itself to that. The descriptions were fabulous, especially of the physical comedy, and I could see Jace: The Real Life Movie in my head the whole time I was reading.

3. The media references. I LOVED the use of a certain Internet meme that Jace and Shay were involved in and felt like that shared history really added to the story. I also loved all the film and TV references. I am probably the only person alive who has never seen How I Met Your Mother,* which features heavily, but Cassie did such a great job explaining the characters that it didn't even matter.

*I know. I'm lame. I've accepted it.

Recommended for anyone who loves movies, road trips, and laughing. (So pretty much everyone, right?)

Find it on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble

I was given a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Three Things I Loved About the Eversea Books

There are two books in this series, plus a holiday novella. I bought the first one when it was on sale for 99 cents and then immediately inhaled all of them. 

There was no sleep, there was only Jack Eversea.

Blurb from Eversea:

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him by the tabloids, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler. 

(I read somewhere that this was inspired by the Robert Pattinson/Kristen Stewart break up. Not sure if it's true but it caught my attention.)

Three things I loved:

1. The way that Keri Ann views Jack's fame. I've read a lot of books about civilians who date film/rock stars and dealing with the paparazzi and hordes of other women is always mentioned, but Keri Ann was also worried that being with him would impede her own growth as a person and her career. I liked that she was thinking about he would fit into her world, not just the other way around.

2. The sneaky peek into the world of Hollywood dating. My love of trashy magazines is pretty much the only thing that gets my ass to the gym, so I have a weakness for Hollywood gossip even though I know it's all probably as real as the Feejee Mermaid (and none of my business anyway). 

3. The longing. I'm all about the longing when reading romance and Natasha Boyd did a fabulous job of bringing Jack and Keri Ann so-very-nearly-almost together but not letting them quite get there (poor things - but all those cold showers probably cut their power bills in half).

Check them out!

Book One: Eversea
Book Two: Forever, Jack
Holday Novella: My Star, My Love