#Writemotivation January 27 update, with a twist

1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!- Walked, except on days when I didn’t go to work. Crits: 1 Books: 2 unpublished, 6 published. 1 GLBT one. Didn’t have as much reading time this month, as I got a BUNCH of work to do for my internship. Mostly because I saw a chance to take initiative and took it. Luckily, this agent was happy I did it. Now I have the resulting work from THAT to get through… Not a bad thing at all, but I definitely made myself a stack!

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!: January’s done, Feb is done, March is semi-started. AND all prompts for the next cycle are picked. Win!

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters. One chapter finished up. Not 2, due to lack of time. Still, I’ll take it.

ALA was an absolute blast! Ended up with a small mountain of books, so as my intern reading allows, I’ll be reading through them. I’ve triaged the top Want to Reads, and I already sorted out a stack or three for you guys!

I see that confused look. Ok, so basically, we ended up picking up a few duplicates by mistake, and didn’t realize it until we were home. We didn’t want to haul them back and be like, “here, have your extra book back”. People were literally piling books in our hands at one point, going, “Oh, you have to read this!”, acting like they’re stray kittens they’re desperate to get rid of. It was all kinds of awesome and ridiculous! Like, I turned down almost as many as I brought home (Because I was trying to only take ones that I or someone in my household would likely read, and a few that KT had asked me to keep an eye out for). So instead, I figured we could have fun with it. I thought about doing a rafflecopter or other contest, but that’s boring.

So instead, if you’d like some ARCs, email me your mailing address and what genres you like best. There’s a lot of dystopian/YA, some more light hearted/contemporary (some border on literary), some mystery, some lighthearted middlegrade (I already have plans for the more action oriented middlegrades), and a few other assorted bits. No promises on how many you’ll get or exactly when (I’m hoping to get the first batch out this week though!), and it’s grab bag. But they’re ARCs, so I doubt you’ve read them already. 😉 (KT, Becca, Jai, you don’t need to because I already have things picked for you specifically.) There are a few that are part of a series, if you’re not okay with getting one of those, let me know and I’ll try to avoid it for you.

Oh, one catch: To avoid a ton of random spammers popping in (and because if there’s no rules, mayhem ensues), you must have participated in #Writemotivation at least once before.

Enjoy the treats, lovelies! I’m going back to reading. (February’s goals will come next week. They’re pretty much the same.)


January 20th #Writemotivation update

1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!- Walked. Crits: 1 Books finished this month so far: 1 unpublished (5 partially read for this. I wonder if I should count 4 partials as 1?), 5 published. Didn’t have much to do for my internship this week, so if this continues, I’ll catch up on the reading. I’m almost done with a GLBT one, Affinity. It’s a little slow, but at least there’s some plot beyond the romance. It’s supposed to be gothic, but I’m not feeling it so much. With any luck, it’ll improve near the end.

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!: January’s done, Feb is started, all prompts for the next cycle are picked.

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters.
Working on that today.

I’m off today, thank you MLK. (I’ll freely admit, I don’t have any authentic “right” to this holiday, but I’ll enjoy it anyway.) This coming weekend, I’m going to ALA under my IRL identity. It should be a blast, I’m hoping to meet a few editors and just politely introduce myself as an agenting intern. I’m going to stop by on Friday after my dayjob to pick up our badges and get a general lay of the land. They’re having a meet/greet kind of setup, so I’ll poke around that and then come home. If I’m MIA next weekend, it’s probably because I’m up at the convention center. (It’s just less than a mile from my place, so I can always pop home for lunch and such, drop off arcs, etc.) No promises, as I’m awful about going to the post office, but anything anyone REALLY wants in arc form? Hmm. Maybe I’ll see what I get and then do rafflecopter giveaways for a few? Ya know, if anyone’s interested. 😉

Well, that didn’t take long!

In far happier news: Got an email back on Monday that a certain agent would love to have me as one of her interns! I figured that might be her response, as we have a mutual friend who spoke highly of me to her, (over exaggerating my skills, as this friend is prone to doing, but I can see why she perceives me that way.) so my odds were good from the start. I emailed my regrets to my old internship place, of course.

It was interesting to see the two disparate reactions. The intern coordinator person there was apologetic for how things went and understanding, not to mention is encouraging future contact (You know, the professional and kind way to approach things) in such a way that it is VERY likely if I meet up with her at an industry event, I will immediately smile and ask how life is going. The primary editor who was the cause for months of delay replied with excuses and justifications for the delays, all of which are very valid reasons for not onboarding anyone new, but… Had I known them up front, or even along the way as they arose, I wouldn’t have bothered her repeatedly, expecting a response. Would I have waited? I don’t know. Probably not past the new year, anyway. I am patient. I am not, however, willing to put all my long term eggs into a basket that has moss growing on it. Ultimately, I’m going to make the choices that seem best for my long term career plans, and I’m going to have as many contingency plans as I need to get out of my dayjobs and into what I really want to do with my life: Make books. In some way, shape, or form.

One key thing I’d like to point out as a result of all this: Publishing, at all levels, is a communications industry. Give your clients, subordinates, and bosses realistic expectations and explain, even briefly, when you’re going to likely go beyond the range of your normal. You’d be surprised how understanding people can be. Keep them in the loop, and things will go much smoother. I was never more frustrated with OldInternship than when I felt ignored. There were reasons, granted, and I don’t hold any hard feelings, but I can tell for certain which of the two there I’d rather work with in the future on projects… but I think I’ll wait until the other one is not in a position to be a roadblock.

But hooray for a new internship! This one I get to do both, reader reports and slush sifting, which is fantastic! I can’t wait, and I’m already impressed with this agent’s communication style and speed. New internship, almost a new year, and I’m ready to rock it!

(note: Distinguishing details may be invented on this one, or poorly disguised. It’s been a long, slammed week at the dayjob.)

Also? I hit 150 books for the year last night. Not counting the ~20 unpublished MSs I read. Uhm, oops?
Yes, I know there’s still practically half a month left in the year. Time for some Epic Fantasy. 😉 I have some Kate Elliott saved for just such an occasion!

Special: One- Final panel!

In addition to the other day’s post about it, there’s a bonus: The FINAL panel. IF you haven’t read the rest, I’d suggest it!


It’s out tomorrow, and I HIGHLY recommend it! I’m already bugging her to let me know when she’s ready for people to read the sequel!

Special: ONE by Leigh Ann Kopans

I’m not normally one to toot people’s promo horns. Not because I don’t want them to succeed, quite the opposite. I do. I just don’t think I have enough reach yet to make it a good use of their promo efforts. But every once in a while, someone offers and I get REALLY excited by their work.

I was a little hesitant about this book when I saw the concept of Leigh Ann Kopans book ONE. Super powers in YA have been done so much that it’s almost impossible to escape the tropes, and so much YA has felt predictable to me lately. But when both Becca and Trisha said it was awesome, I knew I had to give it a shot (They’re both amazing writers in their own rights, and thus far, haven’t steered me wrong on books). When Leigh Ann asked for people to volunteer for a chance to read it early in exchange for an honest review, I couldn’t resist. I’ve been known to put down even my best friends’ books after a chapter or three if they’re bad. In those cases, I just explain to them why I couldn’t get through it. I figured worst case, I would read some of it, and if it was really bad, I could just bow out gracefully.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only was it not a trope-walk, but the style was engaging and the pace was crisp enough that I devoured it all in one sitting. I’d meant to read a chapter or two, then go back to configuring the new TV and maybe play some video games on it (purely for testing purposes, of course!). The next thing I knew, it was 3 hours later and I’d devoured the book without even getting up again. Uhm, oops?

I’m a sucker for well done romance. I get tired of the instalove where their eyes meet and they’re instantly stupid in love with each other. The romance on this was VERY well done. It captured both the immediacy and overwhelmingness of teenage love, while making the growth of it seem realistic.

The Super powers were convincingly done. I could buy into the world building with it, and most of it was well woven into the narrative. The only point where I felt like I was being given a history lesson, it was one, but it worked. It was still well filtered through Mer’s world view.

My only real complaint is that I could have read far, far more of it, like a couple books more, minimum! Looking forward to reading much more from Leigh Ann. Definitely an author to keep an eye on, I foresee very good things in her future.

Two weeks till One

About ONE (a novel by Leigh Ann Kopans:)
Release date: June 11, 2013

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin’s mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it’s more important to fly solo, or to save everything – and everyone – she loves
Add ONE to your Goodreads and learn more about the author here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17251203-one

Now, what you’re REALLY after here-

Find a full list with links to the other installments of this series on the author’s blog: http://www.leighannkopans.blogspot.com
Or follow her on Twitter @LeighAnnKopans for daily updates!

Stay tuned, more to come…

An Alice Tea Party

So we decided to throw an unbirthday hangout. Not quite a party, but food, board games, movies, etc. When I mentioned the menu, Becca and Rebekah were amazed that I could put these things together so fast, so I figured I’d elaborate.

*NOTE* All measures are approximate. I don’t usually measure, unless I’m planning on sharing a recipe.

Mock-turtle split pea soup:
Take ~1lb split peas, dump in crock pot. Add itallian seasoning, bullion, preminced garlic, a few drops of lemon juice and enough water to a bit more than cover it. Turn crockpot to low for 8 hours.
Time taken: ~5 minutes, counting finding where the hell the bullion got put.

Grow me/shrink me mushrooms:
wipe mushrooms off with a paper towel to remove dirt. De stem, putting the whole mushrooms on a sprayed, foil lined tray. Chop the stems (and any broken mushrooms) into a pan and saute with itallian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, and enough bread crumbs to make everything stick together. While that cooks, put ricotta cheese into whole mushrooms (in our case, soy ricotta. Yes, it exists! Toufutti makes it! It’s not exactly like good ricotta, but once melted, it’s delicious). By then, the mushrooms should be cooked. Put the sauted mushrooms over the ricotta, spray edges of mushrooms with cooking spray, put in the oven (350 until they look dark)
Time: ~8 minutes

Mad Hatter’s Veggie casserole:
I have a mandoline (not to be confused with the musical instrument), and I’m not afraid to use it. 😛
Spray a casserole dish. Slice on mandoline a potato, put that on the bottom. Sprinkle with a bit of itallian seasoning. Slice a zucchini coins into the dish. Spread that out. Sprinkle with a bit of itallian seasoning. Slice up fresh garlic if you have any (I thought I did, but apparently used it all up again, oops!). Slice a summer squash coins into the dish. Spread that out. Sprinkle with a bit of itallian seasoning. Slice a tomato (not on the mandolin, unless it’s REALLY firm. I tried that once, it was a mess!!), deseed. Spread that out. Sprinkle with a bit of itallian seasoning. repeat until your dish is full (I did twice, but my pan is sorta small. A third time probably would be nice). Sprinkle a bit of salt/pepper over the whole thing, and give it a round of olive oil. Put in oven @350 until the potatoes are cooked. (I didn’t time them, alas. I’d guess about an hour to two, flipping the tomatoes on top if they start looking too crunchy on the edges.) When serving, sprinkle with cheese of your choice (I’m going to use this artichoke soft cheese spread)
Time: 10-15 minutes.

Obviously, these things take longer to actually cook than assemble.

Then later…
Duchess potatoes:
Make mashed potatoes, however you normally go about it (I dice potatoes and add them to water I set to boil before I started chopping, cook, drain, then add salt, pepper, butter, and a bit of (soy) sour cream and mash them up). Put dollops of it into a muffin tin. When it’s almost time for the party, spray the tops with cooking spray, and bake @425 until the tops are crispy/golden. (Takes about 10 minutes of actual hands on time, the rest is waiting for the water to boil/potatoes to cook).

See! Not that time consuming! It does help having things like the mandoline to do the thin/fast chopping. For the non-vegetarians, I’ll cook up some bacon or proscuito to add to the soup in their bowls (We have two vegetarians, one person with food allergies that is basically vegan+meat, and my omnivore self tonight!), and there are a bunch of little things that I’ll be able to mix in for the tea sandwiches later… Fruit and cheese, meat and cheese, veggies and cheese, meat and veggies, fruit and meat… Yeah. I get into party cooking!

Serve with tea from tea pots, with the movies playing in the background. Wheee!

You can pick your apples…

So, this weekend we went apple picking.

Now, for people who’ve lived in the north east for a while, I suspect you’ll laugh at me. This isn’t something we did in San Antonio, and other than kicking at the rotten ones from my grandmother’s trees when I was a kid, apples were just a lackluster fruit in the grocery store. So when Dev mentioned going apple picking with her grad student netwok, I was less than enthused. She dangled the idea of apple cider and doughnuts over my head, and I gave in.

We drive out south west of Philly, to this Linvilla Orchards. By the time we turned off onto the mile or so long road that led to it, traffic was already at a crawl. We inched along, and eventually got to this massive parking area surrounding a garden center. A carnival was set up on one side, farm market stalls set up along the other, and I had absolutely no clue where we were going.

A long grass aisle between rows of dwarf apple trees
Bright blue sky with whispy clouds, over small tree branches reaching for the sky

So we wandered around, picking apples at random, no one bothering to try to figure out what was what. The trees were dwarf ones, so even Em could pick them. We finally declare it done with a box full of apples, and call it a day, exhausted, slightly sun burnt, and pondering everything we want to make.

Not a bad way to spend a day!

Making History: The best lie I ever told

So Victoria has been doing this amazing Making History project leading up to The Archived coming out in January. I’d been debating what to do for it ever since she started it, and a conversation with Becca made me decide this one was the one that needed told. I m far too camera shy, (and still skittish about the whole pen name/real name thing. Though it doesn’t take much for someone if they’re determined to figure out who I am.) to actually do a vlog. So I decided I’d blog this first, and if I get the courage, I’ll vlog it. Maybe in a way that you don’t really see my face. 😛

Anyway. Names on this story have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike, and quotes are paraphrased, because even I don’t have logs going back this far anymore. (Also, bonus points to you if you know why I picked these names)

In college, one of my best friends, Christine, comes to me and tells me this guy, Erik, has been messing with her. It started with some comments on a message board, and when it turned out he lived in San Antonio too, he started stalking her. At first, it seemed harmless. A forum note mentioning where she went to school. A bag of candy left in her campus mailbox without any note, that we weren’t sure where it came from (and wisely, thrown away). He’ll get bored, she thought. But then she saw him, at night, sitting in his car across from her house. Now, someone knowing where you go to school is one thing. Our campus was small, and people would question you if they didn’t recognize you. A random guy fixated on you enough to find out where you live, though, is seriously creepy. She didn’t know what to do, so when he started pestering her on the message board’s chat room, she invited me in to see if I could figure out a way to get rid of this creep.

My screen name at the time had my name in it, but with other stuff around it. So when he misread my name, I didn’t bother correcting him. I didn’t want him to focus on me, after all. He starts mocking his misread version of my name. “What kind of name is that?”, he asks. I grin as I figured out exactly how to get him to leave Christine alone. “Italian,” I say. “My dad’s from there.”

“Italian?” he asks, “Then say something in Italian”. I popped over to Babelfish or googletranslate or something, and put in, “You are a jerk and you need to leave my friend alone.”, then pasted in the translation. He probably put it back in a translator, as after a minute, he came back with, “What are you going to do about it?”

“Well, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like me to tell my father what you’re doing. He tends to get a bit mean to people who annoy his little girl.” I hinted, throughout the conversation, that my father was a mafia boss. (My real father would be very amused. He did spend a few years in Italy, before I was born, but stationed at the military base in Sicily. And he’s really from the south part of the US.)

He stayed cynical, but I could tell I was creeping him out. I told him if she saw him again, I would take care of it.

He wasn’t there that night. Nor the next. The following day, Christine gets an email from him ranting that her “Mafia friend” sliced his tires and keyed his car. Of course, I’d done no such thing, as I was in the middle of a crazy busy Nanowrimo, and had better things to do. Besides, I’m not stupid. I know that you clip the valve stems, they’re far cheaper to replace if you DO get caught. I popped back in their chat, and told him karma’s a bitch, but I’m more of one. If he didn’t leave my friend alone, far worse would happen to him.

We never heard from him again. 😉


No real post today, as I’m busy MOVING! FINALLY!! OMFG seriously.
The internet is getting set up Sunday, so I suspect I won’t be around much today/tomorrow. We’ve found one spot where we can piggyback on the free wifi from somewhere, but it requires us all to be in a fairly small area near the balcony, so I likely will not be on much. If anyone needs to reach me for anything important, I do check my email on my phone, so drop me an email, or DM me and I’ll be checking that there too. (And yes, KT, you can text me. But I’m not giving everyone my phone number, sorry, I just don’t like talking on the phone THAT much!! LOL!)

I have a ton of reading to do this weekend (one for the internship, one for KT), so I’m likely going to be doing that whenever I’m not actively shoving stuff around. It’s probably about 4-5 hours worth of work. Made sure I have both those files and my WIP on my laptop’s hard drive just in case, anything else I need I can manually transfer the hard way (download to my phone, plug my phone into the laptop) if needed. I’m going to wait and set up the desktop once I have, ya know, a desk. Which should happen fairly soon, but I still need to fish out my desktop’s power cable and then do the mountain of updates it’ll need by now.

BEA report

Had an absolute blast at BEA. Annoyed that a lot of my pics blurred, but got a few good ones.

First thing I did after we checked in was try to find where the signings were. Table 10, specifically, was the one I was most interested in. I was all excited to see NO ONE was in line ahead of me, and then this group of 2 teens and 2 mothers popped in all “We were waiting first”, because they were stupid and waiting outside of the line. I was nice, and let them cut, forgetting about the keys for the Archived swag bags. Luckily, E made person #5. And I stole her key. 😛 (Ok, really, we’ll share it anyway, but if there’s an ARC in it, I’m totally reading it first, mwahahaha! Mostly because I read WAY faster). And Victoria was sweet, and thrilled at the cookies, and we got hugs, which was AWESOME! I always love hugs from awesome authors. There’s ch1 of the Archived at the end of the paperback, but I don’t dare read it, because if I do, I’m going to have to like, sneak into the publisher’s office in the middle of the night or something to get the rest of it way sooner. This waiting for books I know I’m going to love is TORTURE!

Victoria with a copy of The Near Witch

We wandered around for a bit, got a few more signed books(like The Darkest Minds), then went and found E’s cousin. Got a poster and a book at her publisher’s booth (The Overlook Press, and they had a historical fiction set in Rome, “Centurion”, I thought looked interesting.) Should have snapped a picture of her grinning, but she was trying to act all professional, and I didn’t want to embarrass her.

Wandered around more, ended up going ahead and getting in line for The Curiousities because, well, I’m a sucker for things Maggie does. I like Tessa and Brenna too, don’t get me wrong, but Maggie is my absolute favorite of that group. And amusingly, she remembered me from an event in Texas from 2010!(Next time, I’m sending the cousin over to get any Maggie arcs in advance though. Apparently her ARCS for The Raven Boys? Disappeared in 9 seconds from when they were put out!!) And Tessa remembered KT too, so that was good! I’m impressed with their memories! The line was so long, we were able to (after getting our books signed about ~40 people into the line) go walk to the other end of this huge convention center, eat the lunch we brought, poke around a bunch of other booths, and then walk back, and they were STILL signing books! Soooo amazing! And while I was waiting on another signing (Where a friend of the author was waiting in line at the same time we were for Curiousities, and she made the book sound awesome, so I decided to try it), I started reading. This is one I don’t think would work well in ebook format (I know, me of all people saying that!), because all the little doodles and commentary. But I was laughing aloud, which E can attest, is NOT my normal reading habit.
The Merry Fates at BEA

I think the booth that had the most interesting piles of ARCs was Flux. If the woman hadn’t already been down to one copy of a lot of things, I would have probably ended up with arm fulls from there alone. There were a bunch that looked REALLY interesting there. Added them all to my TBR list, and I’m going to have D check on NETgalley for some too. 😉 Perks of having a librarian in training in the household.

Total list of books:
*The Near Witch-Paperback, autographed, yay!!
* The Darkest Minds-autographed
*The Curiosities-Autographed
*Eternal Starling-autographed
*Me Before You
*Jesus Through Pagan Eyes (the one nonfiction book I got, as it feeds a plot bunny I have)
*In Too Deep (which I didn’t realize was a Mandy Hubbard book until I looked it up when I got home)
*Odd Apocalypse (was in my goodie bag at registration)
*The Passage (Was in E’s goodie bag)
*The Murder Complex (In both of our goodie bags)
*The False Prince

Stack of all the books.

Not bad, if I do say so myself. 4 of them were already on my TBR list, 1 I’ve already read and loved, and 9 are ones I hadn’t even heard of at all. Nice mix, and while I’m completely exhausted, it was so worth it! I got to hang out with cool people all day, I DROVE in NYC (which was scary as hell, but I survived without having a meltdown, very proud of myself. Given as when E’s dad drives? I have to close my eyes and try to zen out!!), and all the above stuff? Complete win of a day!

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