Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why I Love NaNoWriMo

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, which is why I love it when November rolls around. There’s just something magical about thousands of writers coming together in crazy drafting bliss. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, but when I’m on that track next to those who get it, the dips don’t seem so scary.

My main advice is to forget all the advice and do what works for you. If that means writing forward and not looking back, do it. If that means bouncing around from scene to scene or editing what you wrote the day before, do it. Ignore the “experts” and just write—it’s as simple as that.

Each night in November my CPs and I email each other our word count for the day and a short snippet of our writing. With only positive cheerleading allowed, we pull each other through those crappy days and encourage to the finish line. Here’s a sampling of what can be found in those daily emails:

So I started out with a dream that is also a flashback within a prologue. Um…

I’m already veering from the plan. *clings possessively to 30 page outline*

For someone who doesn’t really grasp the rules of using the em dash, I sure use it a lot.

I’m just going to ignore the CP who already hit 50K. She does not exist. Poof. Go away.

Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Other Shiny Things. How do I turn off the internet, again?

I am drowning in dirty dishes. This is why paper plates were invented, people.

My writing SUCKS. Why the crap did I ever get into this business in the first place?

Blinking cursor. Blinking cursor.

Stayed up til the wee hours to write new scene, then woke up three more times during the night because the muse wouldn’t shut up.

I wrote, like, 200 words today. Aack! Muse…where did you go?

My bar graph is still above that diagonal line…that’s all that matters.

The honeymoon is over! I hate Nano. This is stupid. :P

I made a playlist for my book. Then googled actors to play my characters. Then designed a book cover.

Got 5K in today. 5K!!!! I’m amazing. I rock. I can’t believe those around me aren’t constantly blown away by my awesomeness.

Why, hello shower. Nice to meet you.

I wrote THE BEST kissing scene today, then jumped ahead and wrote the next one, just for good measure.

Time to stalk my Nano buddy list and evil laugh at everyone I’m beating. Just kidding. Kind of.

Is there a genre called YA erotica? Because I think I just invented it.

I’m setting fire to my 30 page outline.

Dear Stomach Flu, it’s NOVEMBER. You are not allowed to visit. Be gone with thee!

Wait, MC. Where are you going? Come back. COME BACK.

I’m just going to ignore that other CP who is going out on submission before me. *deep breaths*

I cried four times today—whimpering out loud and everything. I don’t know if I can do this.

We ran out of Diet Coke. And milk. But…DIET COKE!

Nope. I did NOT go back and make all the changes needed to accommodate new idea, erasing several hundred words that no longer work. I would NEVER.

Used the F-bomb in my novel. Twice. Then the word “balls” in reference to male genitalia. I am going to hell.

I’m sure a lot of this sounds familiar. And crazy. But we writers are artists, and the best artists are a little off their rocker, don’t you think? So cheers to all you Nano-ers out there…you are crazy, and you can do it. I believe in you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Excuse me while I take a nap

The launch party crowd, me with
fellow authors Chad Morris, Shannon
Hale, Sara Larson, and J. Scott Savage,
and a wide shot of all the authors
It's been pretty eventful around these parts. First off, the TRUE HEROES launch party was a hit. We had a great crowd come out to support this wonderful cause. I enjoyed getting to speak on a panel with fellow authors and sign books for almost two hours straight, but my favorite part was getting to meet several of the children battling cancer who are featured in the book. What an amazing day.

A picture of my TV while watching
NBC Nightly News :)
On top of a great launch and much local coverage, TRUE HEROES has been getting a lot of national attention too. We were featured on, Publishers Weekly, NBC Nightly News, and even appeared on The View. Crazy! Along with some amazing trade reviews and being an Amazon #1 bestseller, it's been a very exciting ride that I'm thrilled to be a part of.

Me and three of my kids posing with
James Dashner
We got to attend a private viewing of THE SCORCH TRIALS the night before release with James Dashner's family and friends. Not only was it a blast to watch the movie with such a fun crowd and listen to Jamie talk about the ins and out of the movie-making process, but the movie was INCREDIBLE. Seriously, it hit #1 worldwide that first weekend, and if you haven't seen it yet, go!

Comic Con was kind of insane. The crowds were crazy, the cosplayers were amazing, and speaking on three panels and signing books for an hour wore me out. The event broke several records, including attendance (right up there with San Diego and NY), the highest public transportation users ever, and the largest amount of comic book characters in the same place. Kind of cool.

Me and Azog, posing with Groot and Starlord, and my favorite cosplay of the day...
Owen and Blue from Jurassic World. :)

It was a lot of fun, especially since I got to spend the day with my daughter. I spoke on a panel about writing the first five pages, another about writing good characters, and my favorite was a TRUE HEROES panel where many of us teared up talking about the project, and one of the kids from the book was in the audience too. I'm sure I'll be ready to head back to Comic Con in a year, but for now I will crawl into my introvert cave and recover with a nap, because holy crowds!

How has your fall been so far? 

Don't be so scared of the things you love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hello, September

Well, summer is over and I've finally faced the fact that I need to get back to writing obligations. This is the first time all of my kids are in school and while I miss them terribly, I admit I'm getting a lot done. My agent has me putting the final touches on one book, revising another, and studying a massive text on writing craft all while I need to outline and draft a certain book 3. Back to the grind.

You can find me a few places out in the wild this month. First up, I'll be at Midway, Utah's Swiss Days this weekend. My books will be available for sale in "The Book Shoppe," including a few signed copies, and I will be there in person to sign books on Saturday from 2:30-4:30 pm. So please stop by and say hi! (or guten tag?)

I'll be at the launch party for TRUE HEROES on September 12th at the Provo City Library speaking on a panel and signing books. Not only will most of the authors who contributed to the project be there, but many of the children featured in the stories as well. I can't wait! Consider stopping by if you can. Here are details about the event and here is a bit more about the book itself. You can preorder it here.
Also, I'll be at Salt Lake Comic Con at the end of the month. Besides speaking on panels and signing books, I might secretly stalk Samwise and Captain America. Okay, not so secretly. :) Anyone else planning on getting their nerd on and attending?

How was your summer? Tell me what your plans are this fall.

If we're strong enough to let it in, we're strong enough to let it go.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Conference Season

I've taught at a lot of writing conferences this year. I love interacting with other writers and seeing all my writing friends, but as an introvert, those interactions drain my energy. After a brief hiatus the last month or so to recover, I'm ready to tackle some writing projects and focus on my writing again. And maybe take a break from teaching for a bit. Mostly. We'll see.

In the meantime, here are a few pics from this years' conferences that I haven't shared on the blog yet. I'm terrible at taking pics, so these are all stolen from other people. And there are a couple of conferences I have zero pics from. Oh well. :)

Author signing at Writing for Charity

Writing the Unputdownable Story class at Teen Author Boot Camp

Whitney Awards Gala

Teen Author Boot Camp Crew

The back of my head...signing books at TABC

Whitney Awards with my editor and fellow SM authors


Diversity class at Storymakers

My captive audience :)

Author signing at Storymakers

Storymakers Selfie


Have you been to any writer conferences this year?

Fly to me

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

True Heroes

I'm so excited to announce that I am one of the authors contributing to this collection of short stories and gorgeous photographs featuring children with cancer and their dreams. TRUE HEROES releases on September 8th from Shadow Mountain Publishing and you can pre-order it here.

I had so much fun writing about Sarah whose dream is to be a space explorer. Here's a little more about the book:

Twenty-one imaginative authors were paired up with twenty-one extraordinary kids. What makes these kids so special? They all have two things in common: They all have very big hopes and dreams, and they all have battled cancer.

Photographer Jonathan Diaz asked each of these remarkable children, “If you could be anything, what would you be?” Their answers were the inspiration for this one-of-a-kind book.

So turn the page and meet Korbyn the firefighter, Bre the dancer, Braelyn the superhero, William the dragon rider, Tristan the football star, and Rae the princess—and more—who were all photographed in full costume and digitally inserted into a background showing them as the hero of their own story. Then read the original short stories that were based on each child’s specific dream.

True Heroes shares the powerful message that children can do hard things. They are dreamers. They are fighters. They are heroes.

“This beautiful volume provides a hopeful antidote that combines fantastical and inspirational pictures with prose designed to engage children’s imaginations and remind them that they are full of power, strength, and hope.” —Richard Paul Evans, #1 New York Times bestselling author

We are young and unafraid.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where in the world is my book?

I have some fun news! My publisher sold Turkish rights for REMAKE a while back, and the book released a few weeks ago. How neat is that? The title is simply "9" and it has a new cover and everything. So if you're ever in Istanbul...

Also, I recently did an interview for the WIFYR blog in which I divulge a little fact about my first kiss. And a local paper reviewed REMAKE. The reviewer says, "I would highly recommend this book to be read either on your own or in a book club. Remake is a story that both adults and youth can enjoy and learn from and will spark conversation." I agree, haha.

Remake 2 is done and I'm finishing up another book before diving into book 3. Summer is so busy but I love the warm weather and lots of family time. What have you been up to this summer?

Even though it's not always heaven, we still fly together...