Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

This week I read One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. It was a good book, I don't think reading it this week was the smartest plan on my part though. It's a middle grade book about a foster kid. There aren't very many books about foster kids, and One for the Murphys is a very good one.

It's basically a love story about a girl and her foster mom. The emotions are all there, the characters are well developed, and the picture of foster care presented is relatively accurate.

The problem is that I'm currently in the process of adopting two foster kids. They are actually scheduled to move into my house next week. So this emotionally charged story hit a little too close to home in some places. Carly may be a tough girl who never cries, but I cried A LOT while reading it.

What I'm Writing

The Evolution of Emily is set to be released on November 18th, so I have three and a half months to get everything ready for publication. I thought I was doing great schedule wise, but this whole new parenting thing is demanding a lot of my mental energy, so this week I really haven't gotten much done at all.

My goal had been to finish picking up all my latest notes from my copy editor, do one more complete read through, and send the "final" version off to my layout guy to make ARCs before the kids moved in. Um, yeah, they're moving in next week. I don't think I'm going to make that deadline.

Hopefully, I'll be able to find some time to work on stuff after they arrive, because November 18th really is right around the corner. My little guy will be in kindergarten, so I'll hopefully be able to get some work done while the kids are at school. But school doesn't start until September, and I have a lot of deadlines to meet between now and Labor Day if I'm going to keep my November release.

I did write a first attempt at the back cover copy this week. What do you think, is this a catchy blurb?

Emily Charles knows how to run away. Away from her agoraphobic mother. Away from her autistic sister. Away from her quiet sheltered homeschool life. When Emily's escape plan involves starting her junior year at Kennedy High School, she realizes she's no longer running away. Now she's running towards. Towards her cross-country teammate August, and her lab partner Miles. Towards friendship, love, independence, and life.

Thanks to her sister's special interest in biology, Emily knows all about the birds and the bees. Boys are a lot more confusing.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Last week, I talked to a group of aspiring young writers at a creative writing themed summer camp. The kids ranged in age from 3rd grade to high school. A few of them shared samples of their writing with me afterwards, and wow they were talented. Seeing these kids get excited about story telling, and connecting with my characters, was definitely inspiring.

I love writing. And I love knowing that there are so many other people who also love writing, both old and young. There are so many stories to tell, I'm glad it's my job to share them with others.

What Else I've Been Up To

As my previous answers alluded, I'm in the process of adopting two absolutely adorable foster kids. We get to take them home next week! Legally, I can't post their names or photos on the internet, because they are still in foster care. But even after the adoption is finalized, I want to respect their privacy.

In preparation for the kids eminent arrival, I bought a minivan on Saturday. And I just finished putting the final touches on their rooms earlier today. Here are pictures of my kiddo's beds. This is probably the cleanest these rooms will ever be, so I might as well post the photos now.


So what's up with you?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

I recently read This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. It's a cute romance that was a fun summer read. A lot of contemporary YA has "issues" in addition to the romance. This book is really only romance and the characters didn't have all that much depth. It was still a very fun read.

What I'm Writing

I can now officially announce that my second novel, The Evolution of Emily, will be released on November 18th! So I've been working on that. I just got my final edits back from my copy editor and am working on getting polished and ready for publication.

I'll be posting the cover, blurb, etc, next month. But for now, I'll give you the tag line.

Emily knows all about the birds and the bees; boys are a lot more confusing.

What Inspires Me Right Now

It's been two months since my last blog post, so I think that means I'm not all that inspired. I've been really busy lately! Life is good. Life is great. But pushing the pause button on life long enough to write has been a challenge lately.

What Else I've Been Up To

A lot! Most notably, I'm becoming a mom. I've been trying to adopt kids out of the foster care system for the past year and a half. The process is long and very time consuming. But my wait is almost over. Chances are high there will be kids in my house by the end of the summer. Possibly even the end of the month. So that's what I've been doing for the last two months while not blogging. I've been getting all ready for my eminent embarkation into parenthood.

I don't want to share any personal info about my future kids online. All children deserve privacy, especially foster kids. I will likely write more about the adoption process in general in the future though. Right now, I mainly just want to get through it all.

It has been a very crazy past couple weeks, and things are only getting crazier.

So what's up with you?

Monday, May 12, 2014

LeeAnn's Story


I love to read, and write, because I love stories. Everyone has a story to tell. That's what makes this crazy world we live in so interesting. Every Monday, I'll interview a different person here and share their stories. At first glance, my guests may appear ordinary, but I promise they're not. They're people. And all people are fascinating. We all have a story to tell. 



This week, I'm reposting my conversation with LeeAnn McLennan (originally posted 9/9/13). LeeAnn is an aspiring scifi/
fantasy writer who I met at a writing retreat last spring. I love both her fiction and her easy going disposition. I'm excited for this opportunity to get to know more about her. 


ME: So let's get started, LeeAnn, describe yourself in 50 words or less.

LM: I am a computer engineer and scifi/fantasy writer. I am both introverted and extroverted – depending on time or day, mood, and how my writing is going. I live with three cats and a darling husband who is my best cheerleader. When I’m not working or writing I’m hiking or cooking or thinking about the fact that I’m not writing. I spend way too much time worrying about what others think. When I get over myself and stop worrying I find that life is pretty nice and fluid.  So I’m trying to step outside my head more often.

ME: Um, LeeAnn, aren't computer engineer's supposed to be good at math? That was 98 words, which last time I checked is more than 50. I'll try to forgive you if you keep your next answer concise. What do you love most in the world?

LM: A good belly laugh.

ME: Four words says it all. Laughter is wonderful. So what do you fear most?

LM: Not connecting with other people.

ME: I think that is a very real fear for a lot of people, especially writers. The few times I've met you, I've found you very easy to connect with, so I don't think you need to spend much time cowering in fear. Now I want to know your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

LM: To be able to live comfortably as a scifi/fantasy writer who sometimes teaches. I’m working to get my first book published right now.

ME: Good luck with that! I've only read the first chapter, but I loved it! I'm sure you will be able to find a place for it. And hopefully it will be a place that enables you to fulfill the rest of your dreams. Getting there won't be easy though. What is the hardest thing you've ever done?

LM: Facing my father after learning of his drug addiction. And ultimately, forgiving him for it. 

ME: That does sound hard. Your ability to forgive him shows what a strong person you are. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

LM: A few weeks ago I had a hiking accident. I slipped down a steep slope, grasping for anything to arrest me but there was nothing to stop my fall. One after another I lost my new trekking poles, my hat, and most horribly my glasses.  After about 30 feet I flew off a ledge into the air for another 30 feet, landed and slid for a final 30 feet. 

I still don’t exactly know what stopped me, my backpack still on my back or the bark and rocks on the hillside, all I know is I did finally stop. As I sat there stunned and beginning to take inventory of my body I heard my husband shout my name in a strong voice. He says he didn’t know if I would answer.  By then I could tell him I’d lost my glasses, was pretty banged up and had a lot of cuts but that in general I was okay. 

The subsequent rescue by EMTs, ambulance ride to the hospital, examination and stitches have the quality of a movie of the week that happened to someone else. However I have two sprained ankles, bruises, and stitches to remind me it happened to me and not someone else. 

One by one, almost like the items I lost while falling, I’ve shed the evidence of the fall; first the stitches came out, next the bruises began to fade (though they were sometimes replaced by new ones), then the swelling in my ankles went down so that I no longer have cankles. Three week later I can walk normally and most of the bruises have disappeared.  

I’m still pondering if there is a lesson to be learned from my fall. Though I’m not sure if there really is one, here are a few observations; my husband is awesome under pressure, I am able to keep my sense of humor even when trapped in a ravine, I prefer to be well rather than laid up, and this won’t stop me from hiking.

ME: Wow! What an ordeal. I'm so glad you're okay. Maybe sometime we can go hiking together, but only if you promise to stay on the trail.

So what's your story? If you're interested in participating in a future installment of What's Your Story, please leave your contact information in the comments of this post or email me directly at katherine.elliott.scott(at)gmail.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

This week, I read Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. I totally loved this book! It is a super cute ya romantic-comedy. Emphasis on the comedy. Better off Friends is billed as a YA version of When Harry Met Sally and just as funny. The witty banter between best friends Macallen and Levi had me laughing out loud several times.

My absolute favorite section of dialogue:

"So does this mean we're officially young adults now?" I asked her.
"I don't know. I've already been reading those kinds of books for a few years."
"Uh-oh, does this mean I'm still a baby? I really love Everyone Poops."

This book is too funny. It really should come with a warning label or something. I definitely recommend it.

What I'm Writing

I've set my third book, that I started in April, aside and gone back to cleaning up THE EVOLUTION OF EMILY. My goal is to release EoE in October, but in order to make that deadline, I have to get it to my copy editor in June. So um, THE EVOLUTION OF EMILY will probably be coming out in November. :)

My beta readers all gave me really great feedback and I've already made a few key changes that improve the story A LOT. There are more changes that I want to make though. They involve things like re-writing entire subplots though and require a lot of work. Hopefully the end result will be worth it though.

I did have one beta reader tell me she liked THE EVOLUTION OF EMILY better than COUNTING TO D already. So if I can actually make all the necessary changes, this could be a really fabulous book.

What Inspires Me Right Now

It's spring. The North West didn't get the same crazy winter as the rest of the country, no polar vortex here, but it's still nice to see the sun again. I've been trying to get out and hike more lately. Yesterday, I went for a mini-hike at a nature park near my house with a couple friends after work. This is a very bad picture I took with my cell phone of a blue heron on said hike.

Having the sun out actually makes it harder, not easier, for me to put my butt in the chair and get done all the revisions I need to make. But I'm going to call spring my inspiration anyway.

What Else I've Been Up To

I'm going to be a parent at some point in the future. I've posted about adoption a few times, but not all that much mainly because this process takes SO LONG there usually isn't anything to say.

I can now report that our home study is almost complete. All we have left to do is review the report the social worker wrote about us and then we'll be ready to start the matching process. This means, we could potentially have children as early as this fall. But considering how long every other step in this crazy process has taken, kids by the fall of 2015 is probably more realistic.

I know every state is different, but I'm going to give a bit of advice to anyone considering adopting out of the foster care system. Use a private agency anyway. Yes, it's free if you use DHS, and they have to get involved eventually, since they run the foster care system. But DHS is also very understaffed and inefficient. So yeah, this process takes for ever. It's even worse than publishing. :)

So what's up with you?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Medeia's Story


I love to read, and write, because I love stories. Everyone has a story to tell. That's what makes this crazy world we live in so interesting. Every Monday, I'll interview a different person here and share their stories. At first glance, my guests may appear ordinary, but I promise they're not. They're people. And all people are fascinating. We all have a story to tell. 


This week, I'm reposting my past discussion with 
Medeia Sharif (originally posted 8/26/13). Medeia writes both young adult and middle grade fiction and her latest young adult novel, Snip Snip Revenge, was just released last week. Enter to win a free copy in a goodreads giveaway




ME: Medeia, describe yourself in 50 words or less.


MS: I believe in brevity, so I’ll use three words: introverted, nerdy, and kind.

ME: Being introverted, nerdy, and kind are all great things. Tell me more. What do you love most in the world?

MS: Literature. I love writing and reading.

ME: Me too, there is nothing better than a great story. So what do you fear most?

MS: I’m afraid of losing control. I become agitated when I can’t control a situation and if someone tries to control me. I get upset, become avoidant since I’m not argumentative, and sometimes I lose my temper. Mild discomfort can lead to full panic mode. I don't want anyone or anything compromising my freedom.

ME: Eek, that's no good. I'll make sure to never try and control you. Thanks for agreeing to answer my somewhat controlling questions. Now I want to know your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

MS: I always wanted to be a multi-published author with my name on several books. Now with one book behind me, I’m still trying hard to fulfill that dream. The industry can be brutal and there’s a lot of subjectivity, but I keep at it. I’m working on various manuscripts and submitting projects.

ME: Having read and enjoyed your one book, I sincerely hope you reach that dream for the purely selfish reason that I want to read your other books. I'm sure you will get there. So, what is the hardest thing you've ever done?

MS: In my twenties, I became independent with my own place and source of income. This was no easy thing since I grew up sheltered. Things were hard at first and there was so much to be afraid of. After numerous adjustments, I eventually became resourceful and self-reliant.

ME: Being a grownup has it's benifits, but there are still times when I wish I could go back to the carefree nature of childhood. I agree gaining independence and self-reliance aren't easy tasks to achieve. If you can do that, there's know way you can't get another book published. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

MS: Last spring break I visited my childhood neighborhood, the one I spent the first ten years of my life in. I hadn’t seen the area in twenty-six years. I remember emerging from the subway early in the afternoon with my heart pounding. Because of the time of day, the parks and residential streets weren't heavily populated. Anytime I was alone, I went ahead and talked to myself. I said things like, “Wow, it’s changed,” or “It’s the same,” or “Oh my God, it’s beautiful.” I went through parks, admired the river view, walked past my old apartment building, and traveled on familiar streets. I didn’t cry or anything, but it was an emotional experience.

ME: I imagine that return to an old familiar place was not only a great experience for you as a person but also for you as a writer. Thank you, for sharing your story. I definitely feel like I now have a better understanding of who you are. And I'll definitely be waiting to read that second book.

ME again, several months later: Now that your new book is out, why don't you tell us a little bit about Snip Snip Revenge.

MS (via goodreads): Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald.

With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.



So what's your story? If you're interested in participating in a future installment of What's Your Story, please leave your contact information in the comments of this post or email me directly at katherine(dot)elliott(dot)scott(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

This week, I beta read my friend Katy Upperman's manuscript. It was just as fabulous as I expected it to be. I love having talented critique partners!

What I'm Writing

I started a new project about two weeks ago. I drafted like crazy for the first week and a half, and was up to 26k words by last Friday (10 days after starting the project). Then I went camping last weekend and was forced to take a break from writing.

I ended up rethinking a lot of things during my forced pause and ended up cutting about 12k words as soon as I got home. I'm now up to 18k words, exactly where I was last week. Although, I'm still not 100% sure I know how I want to tell this story, so that number might drop some more before it starts climbing again.

I did write 26k words in 10 days though, so I feel confident that once I decide exactly how I want to tell this story it will be relatively easy to write.

What Inspires Me Right Now

This book I'm trying to write. It's working title is FRAGMENTS OF LIFE and it's set in a hospital. The main character is hit by a drunk driver in the first chapter and then spends the rest of the book lying in a hospital bed. It's kind of hard telling a complete story from the confines of the ICU, but also powerful.

Back in 2012, I got REALLY SICK and spent a lot of time lying in hospital beds. I understand what if feels like to be "not dead". This book is forcing me to remember, and inadvertently reminding me that I'm still alive. I'm still happy about it too. Being "not dead" can be a very good thing sometimes. It's definitely better than the alternative.

What Else I've Been Up To

As I mentioned before, I went camping last weekend. It rained a lot on Saturday, but Sunday was beautiful. We went to Fort Stevens, at the Oregon coast. My husband loves to fish, so I actually go to Fort Stevens a lot. Thanks to high wind and big swells, we spent Sunday afternoon flying kites instead of catching dinner. It was a very enjoyable getaway.


So what's up with you?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rose's Story


I love to read, and write, because I love stories. Everyone has a story to tell. That's what makes this crazy world we live in so interesting. Every Monday, I'll interview a different person here and share their stories. At first glance, my guests may appear ordinary, but I promise they're not. They're people. And all people are fascinating. We all have a story to tell. 

This week, I'm reposting my conversation with Rose David. Rose's story was originally posted on August 13, 2013. Rose is an awesome cartoonist that was kind enough to serve as one of my beta readers for COUNTING TO D. I'm so glad she's here with us today.

ME: Let's get started. Rose, describe yourself in 50 words or less.

RD: Let's see... I'm a writer, illustrator, wannabe adult, and fried-food lover. And I wish I were more pithy and profound.

ME: Rose, I think you're wonderfully pithy and profound. Plus you make really cool cartoons. I love how instead of giving me a photo to post today, you sent me a self portrait. Tell me more. What do you love most in the world?

RD: I love that timeless feeling I get when I'm working on a piece of art. If all goes well, I'm in my own quiet, tiny world, working on my own quiet, tiny art.

ME: Ooh, I agree. There is nothing better than completely loosing yourself in your work. So what do you fear most?

RD: Yikes. Honestly... I'm not afraid of quitting or falling behind with my art, because I know I wouldn't let that happen. It's far more likely that I'll continue working, but I'll keep doing so in relative isolation. No audience, no recognition. Just some strange girl with a notebook and a tablet PC filled with terrible comics. So I guess I fear isolation more than anything.

ME: I think fear of isolation is a lot more real, and a lot scarier than most classic phobias. Let's hope you always find yourself surrounded by people who want to know and understand you. I want to know and understand you, so why don't you tell me your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?

RD: I want to live a life that's more centered around art and creation. That sounds so high-falootin', doesn't it? Mostly, I'm sitting around drawing weird pictures of weird things. Gah. I just mean that I dream of a life where a majority of my day centers around writing and drawing, with enough disposable income for me to be able to go out and do things... Things that I can later write and draw about, ahem. And what am I doing to make this a reality? Nothing exciting. Just lots and lots of work. Drawing and writing almost every day, no matter what. It's part of my routine now. Work (the non-day-job kind) is kind of the center of my life these days. I may never be able to quit my day job--I'm not sure I want to--but the husband and I are working on getting into a better financial place. That would mean I could scale back a little at the day job. Also, I'm going to start submitting a graphic short-story anthology to indie publishers soon. If nobody wants it, my plan is just to publish it as a zine or something. Then lather, rinse, repeat. I just want to keep working.

ME: That's a great dream, Rose. And I think you are well on your way to getting there. Heck, it sounds like you're already living the dream pretty darn well. So, what is the hardest thing you've ever done?

RD: Letting go of my old expectations and being more open to new possibilities for my life. There's still a part of me that hates myself for not being a popular, well-funded YA writer. You know, the kind with a billion Twitter followers that hang on their every word, and two new releases every year. And who go on exciting vacations, about which they blog in real time. But that part of my psyche is less and less vocal lately, probably because I'm throwing myself into new projects. Also because maybe I've grown up a little. My new focus on comics feels less like failure, and more like artistic growth.

ME: Letting go of old dreams is really hard, but it sounds like you've done a great job of embracing new ones. Thanks so much for answering all my questions. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

RD: I was talking to a friend about my career... Like, my non-art career. I told her I was thinking about going back to school, but I was worried that I wouldn't have enough time for my art. I felt kind of guilty for not going for it and being more career oriented. And she told me that this was bullshit. Art is my career, not my day job. So obviously I should be prioritizing my art over my day-job prospects. It's a less-conventional career path, sure, but still valid. That made me feel a lot better. Things have been rough at my day job lately, but I've felt trapped because the only places that are hiring would be a step down and look really terrible on my resume. But you know what? Screw the resume. It's for a job history that doesn't really matter to me. I'm still at my day job, but that conversation was a good kick in the ass. It reminded me that my career and my job are two different things. 

ME: Thank you, Rose! I definitely feel like I now have a better understanding of who you are. Thank you for sharing your story.

So what's your story? If you're interested in participating in a future installment of What's Your Story, leave your contact information in the comments or contact me directly at katherine(dot)elliott(dot)scott(at)gmail(dot)com.