Monday, June 19, 2017

I've moved!

Hello. I haven't blogged here since the ice ages, but in case anybody happens upon this site, I've moved! I am now blogging/rambling over at my new site. Come find me!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I'm annoyed and not working on my book so I'm blogging 2k16 edition

A few days ago, E.K. Johnston wrote a blog post about sexual assault. You can find it here: She says this:

“What I want, more than I want almost anything else, is for there to be a person there who throws a rope. A person who cheers you on. A person who boosts you up.”

E.K. Johnston’s post resonated with me for many reasons, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since. (Seriously, go read it if you haven’t already.) But this post is not specifically about sexual assault. It’s a clunky stream-of-consciousness about gratitude and writing struggles and throwing ropes to your friends when they are floundering.

Today I woke up feeling strange, as if I’d been tossed out into space, unmoored. I had planned to finish my physics homework; instead, I spent the day overwhelmed by perceived inadequacies and failures. My book still isn’t finished. It’s a hot mess, to be quite frank, and every time I sit down to write it’s like pulling teeth. There are all sorts of emotions wrapped up in this particular novel—sometimes, my main character’s head is a hard place for me to reside long-term, because it requires such a brutally honest and at times painful evaluation of my own experiences.

My book isn’t done. My book is a mess. I am a mess sometimes. I cannot go to the mental place necessary to write this character, this story. These thoughts ran in a vicious cycle through my head. I’ve felt unmoored often these past few years—rewarding, fulfilling years, but difficult years nonetheless. Through a few major setbacks and many smaller ones, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have friends who throw me ropes whenever I drift off course.

Back in May, my friend Chloe threw me a rope. I had just received some of the worst news I could imagine. She took me back to her house, made strawberry Pop-Tarts, and turned on the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I slept in her bed that night, parched from so much crying yet grateful to have someone beside me. 

A close friend and a favorite professor threw me a rope when they both took a full day off work to sit by my side during a difficult time. My critique partners threw me ropes through their steadfast love and support, through the way they’ve so fully shared their lives with me. Even during a long battle with cancer, one of my college friends has always been there to pull me up when needed. After I had surgery over the summer, my roommate spoon-fed me soup, and when I woke up the next morning she had left Post-its scattered across the room. You are loved, they said. You are brave.

It’s been harder, in some ways, since returning to Utah, where many of the people I care about live far away. I’ve felt very lonely at times. But when the sense of being unmoored returns, I remember all the ropes I’ve been thrown these past few months alone: by the friend who makes me laugh, the friend who dances on coffee tables with me, the friend who gives the best hugs. There are things that we rarely speak about because they are hard, and yet these things burn desperately within us, needing to be voiced aloud; I am grateful for the friend who is not afraid to discuss the hard things, even if it’s 2:00 a.m. and we’re exhausted, because these conversations let me breathe again. With every “I love you” and every kind gesture, I am more convinced that even here, far from my California home, I can live fully.

So tonight I’ll drift. I’ll despair over this book, this infernal book that is so weighted and glutted with anxieties. I’ll worry over the future and over the past, over whether I made the right choices, because regret is a cruel beast fed by fatigue and stress.

But I’ll do so knowing that tomorrow, I’ll find my way back. I’ll return to this novel with fresh eyes. And I will be grateful for the many lifelines tethering me, cast out by friends who are kind, generous, and giving.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oh hey I'm in India

Dear Blogosphere,

Oh how I miss you! I am posting this from my bed in Jaipur. I should be preparing for the presentation I have to give in Hindi tomorrow on methods for HIV treatment and prevention, but hey, procrastination is good too.

Some crazy things have happened this past year, things that have taken up my time and made it difficult to blog regularly. Things like moving across the country and living in India and being a sort of grownup and all that. Sometimes you just have to live, and not worry about writing it all down. But as my senior year (!) kicks off, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things. I've been reading so many books and writing so many books lately, and it just feels so great. Yay creativity. Yay books.

I really don't have much more to say right now, besides the fact that I'm in India and there's a monsoon and I will probably make a fool out of myself tomorrow night performing a Bollywood dance for a cultural show. Life is pretty good.

Monday, March 25, 2013

There's tape on my shoe

Is there an award for the worst blogger in the history of the universe? If so, I should win it. I've been neglecting this site big-time, but there are reasons, and life is crazy, and I am crazy, so it's all good :).

Some things have happened in 2013:

-I'm revising a new book! I love it so much. I love the characters, and the storyline, and pretty much everything else (yes, I am in that book-honeymoon phase where it's all shiny and new). My CPs (Liesl, Kristen, Courtney, Chersti, Celesta, and Melanie) gave me lots of notes, and my agent gave me lots of notes, and then I wallowed in misery because I thought the book sucked and I should just eat ice cream for the rest of my life and give up. But then I contemplated, and contemplated some more, and I realized their notes were absolutely spot-on. I know exactly how to fix the story now, and it's so much better! Yay. Revisions are awesome! (Except when they're not. Which is most of the time. But everything is awesome in the book-honeymoon phase.) So I'm going to finish that up, and then it's time for submission to editors.

-I'm going to India for the summer to study Hindi.

-A friend of mine is very sick. It's a hard time for her, and a sad time. Sometimes the moroseness of the situation creeps in and I just can't bring myself to work.

-School. Lots of school.

-Painted some fingernails.

-Watched Land Before Time.

-Built a snowman.

-Did handstands in weird places.

-My friend saved someone's life with mouth-to-mouth. The police officers told her she was a hero. She told them she wanted to go back to bed. Priorities.

-Met my long-lost twin.

-Bought a bikini in January, just to rebel against Utah weather.

-Met people. Liked people. Loved people. Best part, right?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tips from the freelance trenches

So I've been stuck in the freelance trenches these past few months, pouring over my clients' wonderful manuscripts. Some are amazing. Some still have a ways to go before they're ready for publication. At any rate, here are some common problems I see in the manuscripts I read (most of which are YA fantasy):

*Also, congrats to Danielle Jensen and Katie Williams, two clients who signed with agents recently!*

-Uneven distribution of writing. Let me explain: I receive a manuscript that weights in at 130,000 words. However, the most important parts of the manuscript (world, characters, etc) remain underdeveloped. Instead, all those extra thousands of words are allocated to unnecessary description, exposition, and repetition.

-Length. If you're writing YA, you should aim for under 100,000 words. Your chances of selling increase exponentially if you can get the story under 90k, and at any rate, most stories don't actually need all those extra words anyway. You can sell a long book, it's just much harder.

-Basic grammar/punctuation. Doesn't matter how awesome your story is - no agent will take on a writer who can't use proper grammar. Master the basics before you start pursuing publication.

-Contrived love triangles. Guys, love triangles are very, very hard to do well. A lot of the manuscripts I see employ a love triangle not because it benefits the story, but because the author wants to fit the mold of current YA literature.

-Disappointing climaxes/climaxes with no emotion. Basically, even if you have an awesome physical climax, that climax falls short if it doesn't resonate emotionally with the reader or challenge your character mentally.

-Heavy-handed messages. Self-explanatory.

-Flat characters. Also self-explanatory.

-Distancing words (words that distance the reader from the main character). In the sentence "She saw him walking down the sidewalk," the words "she saw" are distancing. "He walked down the sidewalk" eliminates this extra layer.

I'll have more of these later, but for now, I should probably pay attention to my Anthropology teacher :). Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Contest winner, one month late

So to all of you who entered my last ARC contest, I must apologize profusely for being so late in posting results. Some personal issues have come up in my life, and I found myself unable to blog for the past couple months.

At any rate, I am back now, hopefully for good (although that's what I said last time :)). And the winner of the ARC is...






David Powers King!

Yay David! He was my first ever blog follower, you know :). I will send you an email to get your address!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and sorry for being such a bad blogger.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

ARC Giveaway! Venom by Fiona Paul

So I know I've been MIA for a while, but things have just been too crazy! I'm hoping to get back into blogging as the year goes on. For now, I've decided to host an ARC giveaway to help launch the new Facebook page for Teen Eyes.

The prize: An ARC of Venom, by Fiona Paul.

Love, lust, murder, mayhem and high society converge in one thrilling debut
Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiancĂ©—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman—with a bloody X carved across her heart—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin . . . and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ© or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as the city of Venice itself.

The rules: 
You MUST like the Teen Eyes Facebook page. This gives you +1.
You MUST comment on this post with your points added up, for another +1. 

+1 for Tweeting.
+1 for Facebooking.
+1 for blogging.

This contest closes on October 13th, 2012.

Hope some of you decide to enter! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Win a critique by moi

Yes, it's finally here! The moment you've all been waiting for!!!

Haha not really, but I still think it's pretty cool that the wonderful Krista Van Dolzer is hosting me over at her blog, Mother Write Repeat. I am offering a 20,000 word In-Depth Critique from Teen Eyes to my favorite entry. All you have to do is post the first 250 words of your story, along with a one sentence pitch.

Should be fun. If you're interested, pop on over and check out the contest. Authoress and Brenda are hosting the other Teen Eyes editors.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Winners!!! Plus a CP retreat

The winner of THE DIVINERS is:

Kathryn Purdie!

And the winner of THRONE OF GLASS is:

Sophia Chang!

Yaaayyyyy *throws confetti*

Thanks to everyone who entered! I'll be emailing the winners shortly to get their addresses. Imma have another giveaway later this week, so stay tuned!

This past weekend, my critique partners and I rented a room at the Alta Lodge so that we could have some undisturbed writing time. Although I didn't get much done on my own story, we spent a bunch of hours working through Melanie's plot and helping her brainstorm ideas for her characters and world building. By the end of the retreat, Melanie had an entire outline written up for her new story. She came so far this weekend and I'm super excited to see the finished product!

Our room

View from our room

Not only was it nice to get away for a while, especially in mountains where it's mercifully cool, but I feel like our retreat helped me to understand the power of brainstorming. Sometimes, you just need to talk things through with other people who understand your writing. Critique groups are invaluable. They can help you at every stage of the writing process - drafting, revising, or even outlining, in Melanie's case. 

Plus we got to eat Cafe Rio, and who doesn't love Cafe Rio?

Anyways, I'm off to go work my little butt off, because I have a 20-page paper due tomorrow that I haven't started. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Guys! Guys! I am so excited to share this with you! As some of you are probably aware, my friend and critique partner Liesl sold her debut MG novel RUMP to Random House last year. It comes out April 2013, and today is the big cover reveal! I love this cover so much. Liesl is also holding an ARC giveaway, so hop on over to her blog and enter!











Isn't it pretty? I love love love love love it! Congrats, Liesl! I read this book long before it sold, and it's perfect for MG readers, boys and girls alike. So everyone go enter!!!