Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday--Snow Day!


What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to connect with other writers. You can join by using the link on their website.

What I've Been Reading

I finished The Winner's Curse. I really liked it, and just requested the sequel from my library. I finally started reading The Whispering Skull. I'm only on chapter 3, but it's awesome. The only thing that's off-putting is how long it's been since I read a book with no romance. Maybe I should do that more often.

What I've Been Writing

I wrote a paper about the history of special education...Does that count? Yesterday was supposed to be my big jump back into the world of fiction writing, but then there was this big blizzard, and instead I had four kids at home. Today is a snow day too, but I might take the plunge anyway. My goal was to finish outlining my new book by the end of January. How did February get this close?


What Works For Me

Reading what works for you. I'm hoping for some great outlining inspiration when I visit the WUW blogs today. This section of WUW often flummoxes me, so it's incredible how often I am inspired by what you all have to say. 


What Else Is New

Snow! Lots and lots of snow! Photography is not a talent of mine, but here's a picture of my husband and my neighbor clearing a path between our houses. My amazing neighbor always has a party at her house on the afternoon of snow days. I don't know who likes it more--the kids or the moms. Even the teenagers look forward to it.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's Up Wednesday



What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to connect with other writers. You can join by using the link on their website.

What I'm Reading

I just finished reading This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. I have fallen in love with this author. I love the slow, sweet development of her stories. This one is actually a lot faster paced than her other two books. I loved it.



What I've Been Writing

Nothing. Again. This week though.  For almost sure. (How's that for a goal?)

What Works For Me

I rely on those few minutes between awake and asleep to revel in whatever story I am writing. I never really noticed until these past few weeks when I haven't had any particular story on my brain, and now I spend it thinking "What should I be thinking about? What do normal people think about?" until I finally drift off.

What Else Is New

I started a college class yesterday, and I spent most of the week getting oriented to this crazy new life. It's been 17 years since I last stepped foot in a class. I've also been working full time, and will continue to work full time until Friday. My children are ill-prepared for a mother who is this busy. It's got to be good for them though. If I live through it. Let's just say that most of them were well-intentioned, but less than helpful, and leave it at that. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dreaming of Cash $250 Giveaway!


Cash graphic 250 January

I have joined up with an amazing group of authors and bloggers to bring you 1 fabulous prize!! 
Are you Dreaming of Cash? Here is your chance to win some!
1 lucky winner will receive $250 in Paypal Cash! 

Alchemy is only .99 for the duration of the giveaway.

Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone. 
We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.

Alchemy is Book 1 in the Prophecy Breakers series. 

"All three authors have a fantastic voice. I enjoyed the writing style, which was humorous yet flirted with deeper emotions. Each character was well-developed and likable. While the content was more suited for a young adult, I was highly entertained throughout and it could certainly appeal to more mature readers." --By Lindsey Lanser Winsemius, FranticFroggy Reviews

Sponsor List
Giveaway Details
$250 Paypal Cash
Ends 1/30/15
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's Up Wednesday--In 250 Words or Less



What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to connect with other writers. You can join by using the link on their website.

What I'm Reading

I am rereading Mockingjay. Yesterday I read Catching Fire, and the day before that I read the Hunger Games. Such good stuff.

What I've Been Writing

Nothing. :(

What Works For Me

This isn't super healthy emotionally, but I use it when the things coming out of my brain aren't very pleasant: I fill in all the cracks with reading. After a while, I might start daydreaming and then writing again, but sometimes life is too intrusive for daydreams. It's never, ever too intrusive for a good book.

What Else Is New

People are reading my books! I didn't realize I knew this many people who hadn't already read Alchemy. I have strangers coming up at the grocery store and at work to tell me that we're connected by a friend of a friend, and that they just bought Alchemy and Prophecy of the Six. My almost 12 year old is reading it on her kindle, and she's at 82%!!! This is both freaky and scary. But awesome. I live in an incredibly supportive community. Now if I could convince them all to write reviews...





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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What's Up Wednesday -- Prophecy of the Six is HERE!


What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to connect with other writers. You can join by using the link on their website.

What I'm Reading

If you look up at the top of this blog, you'll see a page called "Books Read In 2015". I have seen this on several blogs from WUW, and I'm hoping I can keep it up to date. It's been a busy reading year for me so far. I've already read To All the Boys I've Loved Before and A Thousand Pieces of You. They were both excellent. Since the last time I posted, I have also read Since You've Been Gone, which was also a great book. I got all three books from the Superlative Books Blog Hop that happened in December. If I can keep my Books Read in 2015 up to date, I plan to participate in that next year. It's good stuff.

What I've Been Writing

Little scraps of Lost Magic. I realized that I need to do some actual research before I can get too far into the opening scenes of the book. I know too little about life for the modern day Roma to write about them, and even though they are just a small part of the overall book, it's still important to get it right. Or I'm stalling. One of the two.

(Please excuse the following screams of joy)
YESTERDAY, PROPHECY OF THE SIX WAS PUBLISHED! Remember how you spent months and months ready "Still editing my wip" every single week???? Well, I'll never say that about PoTS ever, ever again. It's out there. Today and tomorrow, book one in the series is FREE ON AMAZON!  

Here's a link to the newest book, Prophecy of the Six as well. 

   


What Works For Me

Being busy. If, heaven forbid, I should slow all the way to a stop, getting started again is brutal. But as long as I keep writing, even if it is just a little, those big productive days eventually follow.

What Else Is New

Did I mention that I published a book yesterday?? It's my third published book. Unlike the others, it didn't come out with a lot of fanfare. Hopefully there will eventually be some interviews and parties. But this time it was just me, my co-authors and my lovely neighbors who surprised me with cake and sparkling cider. A lot of my WUW friends helped with the cover reveal, and I'm so grateful, because that's all the marketing we've really had time for.

  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Back at 2014, and Forward with Excitement


2014 did not turn out the way I expected.

For example, Pyromancy was supposed to be a thing clear back in June, and obviously, it was not. The Book Formerly Known As Pyromancy is going to be a thing NEXT WEEK, which is awesome. Along the way, it morphed into two books, turning our unassuming little trilogy into a gargantuan sized series. It ate up so much of my head space that I didn’t get any alone writing done. The path of life has an unexpected way of twisting like that.

During the summer, my daughter Jessica’s best friend Hannah went to theater camp. At the end of the week, her mother drove Jessica and I down to watch the camp’s final performance. While we were driving, I happened to mention that I really needed a job, and wished I could get back into teaching, but that I wasn’t quite ready to give up writing while my kids were in school, or with being at home for them. I told her that a half-time teaching position would be perfect for me at this stage in my life, and that it was a shame those things didn’t seem to exist anymore.

It was only a day or two later that I got a phone call from her. A half time third grade teaching position had come open at the elementary school. It terrified me, but I decided to apply. I’ve taken an occasional odd job here and there in the past few years, but nothing like this. This was terribly real, and exciting and scary…but it felt good, and somehow, I knew that this was exactly what I was supposed to do next in my life.

So I got myself put together, figured out what I needed to do to get certified in Maine, and headed to the job interview. It never really occurred to me that the job wasn’t mine for the taking. But it wasn’t, and I didn’t get it. They asked me questions about teaching methods I’d never even heard of. Oh yeah…I got my bachelor’s degree in elementary education a whole millennium ago.

Oddly enough, the feeling that I was on exactly the right path didn’t go away. I needed to take the Praxis to be certified as a regular ed teacher, but I needed 8 more credits and to take a different Praxis test to be certified in special education (kind of odd, since my master’s degree is in Special Education, but it is what it is…) I decided to find a good review class for the Praxis so I could get my regular ed certification. I would still have time to write, but I would be taking steps toward a regular paycheck.

And then I got a phone call from the elementary school principal. Didn’t he remember from our interview that I had special education experience? Was I interested in being the long term sub for the math resource room teacher?

Um…yeah. I was interested. But I wasn’t certain I could do FULL TIME. I had a book to finish, and I’ve been having some health problems, and I wasn’t sure I could handle it physically. And that’s when I got mad at myself. For the past year or two, I’ve caved in to my health problems, and the foggy brain that accompanies them. What I needed was to fight back, and this was a golden opportunity. Plenty of people with health problem manage to work full time. So I took that full time but temporary teaching job, and this is what I discovered:

I am a special education teacher. Down straight to the core of me, it was what I was born to be. I loved nearly every minute of it (though definitely not EVERY minute).  Although it could be exhausting, it was also exhilarating. For all you full time writers out there, in case you were wondering—writing is exactly the same amount of exhausting as being a special education teacher.

So here I am, at the start of 2015. I am still a writer, but I’m a teacher too, and I have at least 6 books left to write, and then…we’ll see.

*      My writing goals for 2015: Write and publish Lost Magic.
*      Co-write and publish Pyromancy.

My teacher goals for 2015:

*      Take the 8 credits I need for my special education certificate.
*      Pass both Praxis tests, and get my special ed certificate.
*      Watch for that perfect next step that might not be taking me where I think I’m going but will take me where I need to be.

My health goals for 2015:

*      Get fit enough for a family backpacking trip and to be a Ma on Trek this summer.

My parenting goals:

*      Holy moly, my oldest daughter is going to college this year.  Let’s make some awesome family memories before she goes. And let’s not mess everything up this late in the parenting game. Hang on, Melanie. Hang on!

I fully expect 2015 to be a year full of twists and turns. When 2014 began I felt beaten down by life, and had very little faith that I would ever feel like a competent human being again.  But here I am. I’m working full time through the end of January, I’m registered for college, I’m planning to go on Trek this summer. Sheena, Sabrina and I have a book coming out NEXT WEEK, and I’m making it through parenting challenges that felt impossible only a few months ago. I CAN DO HARD THINGS, and I’m going to be OK. I’m excited to see what 2015 will throw my way.



Friday, December 19, 2014

My New To Be Read Pile (Thank You 2014 YA Superlatives Blogfest!)

I had plans to join the YA Superlatives Blogfest this year, but I didn't make it. Fingers crossed for next year. That hasn't stopped me from hopping from blog to blog, seeing what books other voracious readers have enjoyed in 2014. These are the books I discovered:


A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray
When eighteen-year-old Marguerite Caine's father is killed, she must leap into different dimensions and versions of herself to catch her father's killer and avenge his murder


A MAD, WICKED FOLLY bySharon Biggs WallerIn 1909 London, as the world of debutante balls and high society obligations closes in around her, seventeen-year-old Victoria must figure out just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

REVOLUTION by Jennifer DonnellyAn angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.

SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson
Quiet Emily's sociable and daring best friend, Sloane, has disappeared leaving nothing but a random list of bizarre tasks for her to complete, but with unexpected help from popular classmate Frank Porter, Emily gives them a try.


THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.



TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han
Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent.


Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
While Imogen is enjoying her moment in the spotlight after the high school musical, the journal pages containing her darkest thoughts get put on display. Now, Imogen must resign herself to be crushed under the ever-increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.


Eighteen-year-old Vivienne, lady-in-waiting to the future queen Guinevere, is secretly apprenticed to Merlin the magician and helps him try to create a steam-powered metal beast to defeat Morgan La Fey, King Arthur's sorceress sister, when she declares war on Camelot.

The Swap by Megan Shull
When seventh-grader Ellie, who is having best-friend problems, and eighth-grader Jack, who is under tremendous pressure from his father, switch bodies and lives, they learn a great deal about themselves and the opposite sex.