Tuesday, October 14, 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 can actually answer this one now. I started reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg last week. This is the first adult book I've read since becoming a mother (2 and a half months ago) and exactly what I need to be reading right now. I'm so glad it's the book my book club selected, and that I got my act together and actually started reading it.

Lean In is written by the CEO of Facebook, who also happens to be a woman, and is all about women in the work force. It talks a lot about setting priorities and finding a balance between home and work life that is more compatible to the type of balance dads have been achieving for decades.

It is possible to be a good person and have a job, but a lot of women pull back from their careers to focus on their families before they even have careers to pull back from, or families in need of their time/attention. Most men, on the other hand, make their careers a priority, thinking work is the way they can best provide for their families. It's a very interesting book that I'm looking forward to discussing with my friends at my next book club meeting.

It's also exactly what I need to read right now, because balance is something I haven't quite figured out in my new life yet. As I mentioned before, I've been a mom for 2.5 months now, but my kids are in kindergarten and second grade. I'm adopting.

I love my kids! I love being a mom. And I'm figuring it out. Both kids are doing well in school and adjusting to life with their new family. My husband and I are adjusting to them too. I feel like I've got things pretty well figured out now as far as how to be a mom. I'm far from a pro, but I'm getting things done, on the mom front.

My problem is that I'm not doing anything else. This is the first book I've read to myself in 3 months. And I'm an author. I'm an author who hasn't written anything in two months either. I've barely done any promo stuff for my next book that is coming out in a month. My entire life is in chaos and I have no idea what I'm doing--at all. But my kids are great, relatively speaking. I just need to figure out how to put myself, and my career, back into my life.

I know I'll figure it out. I'm starting by reading. And like I said, Lean In is a very good book for anyone to read and a great book for me to read right now.

What I'm Writing

Nothing yet. I'm starting with reading, I'll get back to writing soon. I wrote about 20k words of a rough draft to what I thought was going to be my third book in the Kennedy High Series last spring, while I was waiting for comments from beta readers on The Evolution of Emily. I expect that I will eventually get back to it and finish that book. I like the idea, and the characters. I also like the Kennedy High world I'm creating and would love to make it into a longer series.

But I have an idea for another totally different project that I want to play with. Once I figure out my schedule enough to find a place for actual writing, I'm going to let myself write this SNI for a while. I don't know if I'll stick with it long enough to turn it into an actual book, but I'm hoping the draw of the SNI will be enough to pull my back into a writing routine. Because if I want to tell my kids there mom is an author, I need to start writing again.

What Works for Me

Clearly, nothing at the moment. I've decided one of my biggest problems is that I don't have a place to write anymore. I used to have a home office. But that room is now my son's bedroom. We moved our desk and desktop computer into the corner of the living room, so we could easily monitor what the kids are doing anytime they get on the computer.

Back when I had an office, I never actually wrote at the desk. I had a large armchair in the corner of the room and always wrote on my laptop sitting in the chair. I find comfy chairs much more conducive to musing. That chair is also now in my living room. I brought my laptop into the living room and sat in my chair to work a few times this summer, but quickly discovered it's impossible to get anything done in front of my kids. So I moved my laptop into my bedroom.

I am currently sitting on my bed writing this blog post. But writing is my job. I can't write an entire novel in bed. Not only is it impractical, it's also not even remotely ergonomic. Today, I talked to my husband about rearranging our bedroom furniture. I think if we move around the location of the dressers we can fit a new desk in here. Or maybe I'll just get a new comfy chair to keep in here and go back to writing that way. I need to figure something out though.

What Else I've Been Up To

Last weekend my sister-in-law got married. The wedding was in Tahoe and totally beautiful. It was also our first official family vacation. The kids did really well, both traveling and during the wedding. Traveling as a parent is a lot more stressful than traveling alone though, so I'm glad to be home.

One bright note about the trip. In addition to bringing a book, and actually reading half of it; while on the trip, I also listened to six audio-books. The drive from Portland to Tahoe takes about 12 hours, which we did in 1.5 days each way. I checked out 6 MG audio-books from the library before we went and my kids LOVED them.

My son got car sick on the way down so we didn't let him play with anything in the car. All he was allowed to do was look out the window and listen to the story. Amazingly, C.S. Lewis was all the little guy needed. Did I mention he's 5. Both kids begged to hear more stories every time got into the car. I may have to check out a few more audio-books from the library and play them when we are driving around town running errands.

I still need to figure out how to fit writing back into my schedule. But from the new mom side of things, my life is pretty darn fabulous right now.



So what's up with you?

Tuesday, September 30, 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

Lots and lots of picture books. I need to get back in the habit of reading adult books. I really really do! This week it's going to happen, I swear.

On the MG side of things, I'm still reading The Diary of the Wimpy Kid with my daughter. Six months ago, I would have loved this series. It's funny, cleaver, and relatible. I completely understand why kids love it. But man, that Greg Heffly is a jerk. The parent in me kind of hates it that my kid loves these books SO MUCH. I'm not going to ban books in my house, especially not totally appropriate MG books. But it would be so much easier if she fell in love with a series about a kid who loved to do his homework and was always kind and curtious to others. Okay, that's crazy, I know. And secretly, I think I might like this series even more than my kiddo. Jeff Kinney is a fabulous writer.

What I'm Writing

My sophomore novel, The Evolution of Emily, comes out in seven weeks. So I should be doing a lot of writing, or more specifically a lot of promoting. Um yeah, I have a bunch of ARC's that I really should send out, soon!

Do you want one? I have e-ARCs too. So seriously, if you want one let me know. Being a parent is so much more time consuming than working a full-time job. So I'm seriously slacking on my writing and authoring duties.

In the name of self promotion, I guess I should remind you that I'm having a giveaway. Although, like I said, I've got plenty of ARC's to give away. If you want to feel like a winner, you can enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Works for Me

I don't know yet, but I need to figure it out. I have 2.5 hours of time to myself every day while my little guy is in kindergarten. That should be enough time to get some writing work done. It really should. But 2.5 hours goes so fast! And I haven't figured out how to do anything but parent when the kids are home. Both kids do well with structure, so I'm really trying to have a more set routine during the 21.5 hours of the day they are home. Now all I need to do is come up with a set structure for the 2.5 hours I have to myself. Then I have to stick to it. Yeah, like I said. I don't know what works for me yet. Hopefully, I'll figure it out soon. 'Cause if you missed it before. My next book is coming out in less than two months.

What Else I've Been Up To

This past weekend I felt like a full fledged soccer-mom, even though neither of my kids are playing soccer (yet).

On Friday afternoon, the kids came home from school and had a quick snack before I had to take my daughter to gymnastics. After gymnastics she quickly changed in the car and both kids headed to a friends birthday party. After the party, we drove down to a living history museum where my husbands volunteers to "camp" for the weekend. We spent all day Saturday playing with antique farm equipment and driving model trains. Then on Sunday morning, we woke up in our RV, got dressed in fancy clothes and drove straight to Sunday School without ever bothering to go home.

The truly amazing part of this super busy weekend is that there were no problems. Well except for the chocolate birthday cake being served at my kids normal bedtime so they were seriously WIRED Friday night. But all things considered, for only two months of parenting experience, I think I'm figuring out how to do this mommy thing.

Now all I need to figure out is how to be an author at the same time.

So what's up with you?

Tuesday, September 23, 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'm still reading nothing but kid books. I've been a mom for almost two months now, so I really do need to figure out how to introduce adult fiction back into my life. Or at least YA fiction. I do love Amelia Bebelia, but as an author, I feel like my library should contain more than just early readers. I've decided I'm going to try to get back into listening to audiobooks and see if that works. When my kiddos are home, they tend to be very demanding of my attention, but I think/hope I'll be able to multi-task, listening in with other activities during the few hours both kids are at school everyday. Hopefully.

What I'm Writing

The Evolution of Emily comes out on November 18th! At this point, getting it ready to enter the world is taking up all my writing time. I do have ARCs now, which is ubber exciting. A few WUW readers have mentioned they want to review it, YAY. If you haven't told me you are interested yet, but are, please let me know.

If you don't want to write a review, you just want to read it early, I'm holding a giveaway in honor of my cover reveal that happened last week. The giveaway is open for another week, so Enter Now.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Works for Me

This new section is still a little hard to answer, because I feel like I haven't done any writing in months. But in a way, that is my answer. Not writing consistently works for me. I know a lot of authors who make an effort to write every day, but I have never been one of those writers. I have always written in short bursts. When an idea hits me, I don't want to do anything but write-write-write. But then I can easily go for months at a time without doing any writing at all. Currently, I'm in one of my no-writing periods.

I'm very busy with real-life stuff at the moment. And I have a new book coming out pretty soon, so I'm still doing author things, even if I'm not actually writing. I know what my third book is going to be about. I even have a decent start at a supper rough draft. I just don't have the time/energy/compulsion to write it right now.

Eventually, I will. And I know the experiences I'm gaining by living my real life without guilt of avoiding my writing life will find their way into my future stories. So this is what works for me. I write is spurts, and at present, I'm busy living and musing but not actually writing.

What Else I've Been Up To

I've been a mom for almost two months now, and I'm starting to get acclimated to it. My kids still have WAY more energy than I do, but I'm not quite as exhausted as I was a month ago. I'm figuring out all the best playgrounds. Although fall seems to have finally hit and it's pouring outside, so I guess now I need to find the best indoor activities for kiddos.

Going straight from zero to soccer-mom is a huge adjustment, but it's also an amazing experience. Adoption is a wonderful thing and I feel blessed every day that these two amazing children found their way into my heart and my life. Even if they are amazingly busy children.

So what's up with you?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Evolution of Emily - Cover Reveal


WOW! Check out that awesome cover. 
And double wow, it has my name on it. 


I am so increadably in love with this cover, and I'm thrilled to finally be able to share it. Even more exciting than this shiny beautiful cover is the words inside the book. And you get to read them in two short months.


That's right folks. The Evolution of Emily by yours truly comes out on November 18th. Mark your calendars now. Add it to your goodreads shelf. And enter to win a free advanced copy.



Emily Charles knows how to run away. Away from her overprotective, agoraphobic mother. Away from her biology-obsessed, autistic sister. Away from her quiet sheltered claustrophobic homeschooled 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 quiet thoughtful cross-country teammate, August. Towards her zany enthusiastic 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!

Readers who enjoyed Counting to D won't want to miss Scott's second novel, also set at Kennedy High School.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 17, 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

My current reading list still consists of nothing but kids books read aloud to my kids. Thankfully, I like kids books. Right now I'm reading the kiddos The Wind in the Willows. I'm not sure if I never read it as a kid, or if it simply didn't make a lasting impression, but the story feels new to me. It's a fun one that I'm enjoying right along with my little people.

What I'm Writing

My writing time is still all focused on getting my second novel out. The Evolution of Emily comes out on November 18th, which is only two short months away. Tomorrow, I'm revealing the cover, so come back then to see how pretty it is!

In the mean time, you can at it to your to-read list on goodreads.

I also have ARCs now. So if you want to review it, let me know.

What Works for Me

I like this new WUW segment, mainly because I need ideas. I knew what worked for me writing wise when I was working full time at another job and writing in the evenings and on the weekends. Now, my day-job is being a mom to two very active little people, and I haven't been all that successful in figuring out how to fit my writing life into this new picture.

Adoption is a truly wonderful thing, which I'll probably write about at some point. But it's thrown everything about my life, including my writing routine into the air and all the pieces haven't settled quite yet.

What Else I've Been Up To

I've been a mom for six and a half weeks now. It's so crazy to think two months ago, I didn't know these kids at all. Now, it's hard for me to remember what my life was like before them. I might not have a firm grasp on my writing schedule quite yet, but I'm still nothing but happy with my current life. I love everything about my little people.

So what's up with you?

Tuesday, September 9, 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 Else I've Been Up To

It's been a while since I've posted anything, so I figured I'd start with the general "what I did last summer" answer first. I became a mom!

I am adopting two wonderful children. They are technically foster kids at this point, but DHS has selected us as their forever family. They came home at the beginning of August. Being a full time mom for a full month of summer was very tiring, but also super fun. Now the kids are in school (kindergarten and 2nd grade), so I have a little bit of free time to think about blogging again.

What I'm Reading

I haven't read a single book alone since meeting my kids, but I've been reading A LOT of stories to the kids. I filled both kids rooms with lots of books, and we've been making regular trips to the library. On her very first night home, my daughter spotted Diary of a Wimpy Kid on her shelf and insisted on making it the first bedtime story in her new house. We're now half-way through book three. It's a very fun series, and I completely understand why so many kids love these books.

What I'm Writing

I haven't even had time to update my blog in over a month, I really haven't been doing any writing. Fortunately, I did a lot of writing last spring. As a result, my second novel, The Evolution of Emily is coming out on November 18th.

Here is the back of the book teaser.

Emily Charles knows how to run away. Away from her overprotective, agoraphobic mother. Away from her biology-obsessed, autistic sister. Away from her quiet sheltered claustrophobic homeschooled 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 quiet thoughtful cross-country teammate, August. Towards her zany enthusiastic 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!

Readers who enjoyed Counting to D won't want to miss Scott's second title, also set at Kennedy High School.


I am expecting a case full of ARCs to arrive at my door sometime next week. So if you want an advanced copy, I'm on the lookout for reviewers.

What Inspires Me Right Now

My kids. I love everything about these two little people, but I especially love reading with them. My little guy has been in kindergarten for less than a week, and he's right on the brink of reading. I love watching him sound out simple words, and I love it when he grabs a giant stack of picture books and begs me to read every single one.

I'm really proud of the fact that I can tell me kids that for my job, I write books. My seven year old daughter is already begging to read Counting to D. It says it's for ages 13 and up on the back of the book, but I told her I'd let her read it early, when she is 11. Maybe I'll have to hop genres and write a MG book sometime.

Now that I'm a mom, I'm starting to hope my cute little kids never grow up and turn into the type of angsty teenagers I write about.


So what's up with you?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Nice Enough for Publishing (and Parenthood)

Last week, I became "mom" to two absolutely adorable children. Technically, my kiddo's are still in foster care, but we've been selected as their forever family. A big part of the adoption process involves the agency (in my case DHS) getting to know the family, so the right kids can be matched with the right family. Early in our home study process, I gave my social worker a copy of Counting to D.

I have a lot in common, personality wise, with Sam and figured reading my fiction would be a better way to get to know me than asking a lot of generic questions. The plan worked, sort of. My social worker loved my book, and me, and helped match us with aforementioned adorable children. But she didn't view my book as an example of what I must have been like as a teen, or proof that I'm a very creative person. She took it as evidence of my remarkable empathy.

I am very empathetic it real life. It's easy for me to relate to other people and see things from their point of view. That is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to adopt foster children. But, it's also one of the reasons why I'm a good writer.

Fiction in general, and YA in particular, is all about the feels. Emotions are huge! Writing emotionally charged scenes that the reader can empathize with, and then weaving them together into something that resembles a plot is basically 90% of my job. Okay, maybe only 70%. But it's big.

I'm not only empathetic, I'm also creative. I enjoy making up stories. That is the personality trait I've always viewed as the driving force behind my desire to become make a career out of writing. But I've realized my social worker was onto something. Empathy is just as important, if not more important, than creativity.

Writers need to be able to understand emotion, even if they haven't felt it personally, and describe it in a believable way. That is what writers do. We're an empathetic group. That's probably why I always have so much fun when I hang out with other authors.

So are you nice enough to be a writer? Or a parent? I'm glad that I'm both, 'cause right now I LOVE both om my jobs. And love is a very strong emotion, that I feel and recognize in others.