Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2015

I can't believe 2015 is almost over! I bought SO MANY books this year, but because I had a stressful, super-busy first half of the year, I didn't read as many as I would have liked. Luckily, the books that I did have a chance to read were awesome! I have a thing for Top Ten lists, obviously, so I thought it would be fun to list my favorite reads of 2015. It was hard, but somehow I managed to narrow it down to ten. (Not all of my reads were released in 2015, but many were.)

Some of the books I bought this year.

So! In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Favorite Books that I read in 2015:

1.) UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee.

If you've read any of my past blog posts, you know how much I love UNDER A PAINTED SKY, so it should come as no surprise that it's on my list of favorite 2015 reads. It's a YA historical fiction with an awesome main character. Even if you're not a western fan, you'll really enjoy this book.


SIMON is a YA contemporary with the best voice. It's sweet and funny and unputdownable, and you should TOTALLY read it.

3.) BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

I don't read much NA, but I decided to pick this up after Dahlia Adler tweeted about it. Leah's prose will totally knock you out. If you like Gillian Flynn's gritty, twisted characters, I think you'll love this.

4.) VENGEANCE ROAD by Erin Bowman

After reading UNDER A PAINTED SKY, I was in the mood for another western. VENGEANCE ROAD is very different from UAPS, but the main character is just as great! Kate is morally gray, which I really enjoyed.

5.) THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

Last year, I loved LOVED LOVED! I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson, so I was super excited when my writer bestie Julie Dao gave me THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Jandy Nelson is one of my new instabuy authors. Her prose is mind-blowingly awesome and her characters are SO so real. Reading one of her books is just like when Ron Weasley says to Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban, "You're gonna suffer...but you're gonna be happy about it."

6.) THE D'EVIL DIARIES by Tatum Flynn

I was SUPER excited when I found THE D'EVIL DIARIES in a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland this summer because I couldn't find it in the US. If you like funny middle grade, you'll really get a kick out of THE D'EVIL DIARIES.

7.) DUPLICITY by N.K. Traver

I love sci-fi and think teen hackers are fun, so I was really excited to read DUPLICITY. It's a little like THE MATRIX, but with tons of great voice. I think reluctant readers will enjoy this.

8.) LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley

LIES, a YA historical fiction, was really hard to read at times, but so worth it. It alternates POV chapters between the two main characters, which can sometimes be confusing in other books, but in LIES their voices are very distinct so you never wonder whose chapter you're reading.

9.) LIKE NO OTHER by Una LaMarche

LIKE NO OTHER is another dual POV with two distinct voices. I loved the romance between the characters and thought learning about Devorah's religion was super-interesting.

10.) UNDER THE LIGHTS by Dahlia Adler

UNDER THE LIGHTS in another dual POV. But unlike the other two, there isn't a romance between the two POV characters. UNDER THE LIGHTS was cute and sweet and funny.

Those were some of my favorite reads this year. What were yours?


Melody xo

Friday, October 2, 2015

Boston Teen Author Fest 2015!

I had a great time this month going to author panels at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, MA. It's so much fun going to author panels and signings, and I love supporting YA authors and hearing what they have to say. Plus, it's a great way to meet fellow writers. At a few panels I've even bumped into writers I know from Twitter.

Anyway, on Saturday, September 5th, I went to the Boston Teen Author Fest Preview Panel: LADIES LIVING DANGEROUSLY, featuring Laurie Faria Stolarz, Erin Bowman, and Eva Darrows.

Erin talked about her new YA Western VENGEANCE ROAD, Eva talked about THE AWESOME, which is SUPERNATURAL meets BUFFY(!), and Laurie talked about RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE, a sequel to WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE

They answered some of the usual questions about what inspires them to write and what their process is like, but the panel was mainly focused on the main characters in their books and how they like to see young women portrayed in the media. They all agreed that there are multiple ways to portray a "strong" female character and she doesn't have to be physically strong to be a strong character, which I agree with. Erin talked about her main character Kate being morally gray—she does some bad things, but she thinks she does them for a good reason, or she does them to defend herself. I've always loved gray characters. The main character in my current manuscript is very gray, so I really liked hearing about Kate.

It was a great panel! Plus, I spied A.C. Gaughen, writer of the SCARLET series, and Sara Crowe, Erin Bowman's agent, in the audience. I was too shy to talk to them, though. Haha!

After, I found out that one of my Twitter friends, Ellie M, was there, but I didn't recognize her in person. We were bummed about that, but said we'd try to meet up at the author fest later in the month. 


And then last weekend, Saturday the 26th, I went to the Boston Teen Author Fest. I'd never been to something like this before. There were SO MANY young adult authors there! (The full line-up can be found here.)

The schedule for the day was:

Meet the Authors panel 10:30 - 11:20
Panel Session One 11:30 - 12:20
Lunch 12:20 - 1:45
Panel Session Two 2:00 - 2:50
Book Signing 3:00 - 4:00

I was running late, so I missed the Meet the Authors panel. I arrived shortly after Panel Session One started, but instead of picking which panel I wanted to see right away, I bought books for the signing. There was no line, because everyone was in one of the two panels, so I thought it'd be better to get books then. (Porter Square Books was selling books at the fest. They were also at the Ladies Living Dangerously Panel.)

There were two panels for Session One: Author Friendships + Crit Groups and Inspired By. I decided to check out the Author Friendships + Crit Groups, partly because the Inspired By panel was super-crowded and partly because Becky Albertalli was at the Author Friendships panel (and I loved LOVED her book SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA).

The Author Friendships panel had Becky Albertalli, David Arnold, Jen Brooks, Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton, Lori Goldstein, Trisha Leaver, and Adam Silvera. They talked about their critique partners and writer friends, how they found their critique partners, and what goes into a critique partnership. It was interesting to learn how/when authors found their critique partners and what their revision/writing process is like. It was a fun panel!

When I was leaving the panel for lunch, I heard someone call my name. It turned out to be Ellie M! It was so great to run into someone I "know," and Ellie invited me to lunch with her and a group of her friends from Twitter. We went across the street to a deli to get lunch and then we ate on the lawn outside the library. Just before we finished eating, a group of authors sat on the benches near us! We tried to play it cool, but we were all super-excited to have a bunch of famous authors hanging out near us. And as I was getting up to throw my trash away, Becky Albertalli complimented my shirt*. Internally, I was freaking out, but I managed to say thanks!

Top: Author Friendships panel, Bottom: The Craft panel

After lunch, I went with Ellie and her friends to Panel Session Two. Again, there were two choices: The Craft and Reality Bites. We chose The Craft with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Leigh Bardugo, A.C. Gaughen, Melissa Grey, Kendall Kulper, Kim Liggett, and Sara Raasch. This panel focused on magic and culture in fantasy worlds. It was really interesting! I'd never seen Leigh Bardugo speak before, so I hadn't realized she was going to be so funny. (I was extra excited for this panel because the week before I'd won an ARC of BLOOD AND SALT by Kim Liggett in a blog giveaway run by Stacey Lee.) 

They spoke about "hard" and "soft" magic and the pros and cons for both. They also talked about what inspired them to write/when they knew they wanted to be a writer. It's always interesting to hear writers tell stories about themselves when they were young. Kendall talked about writing stories in elementary school and how her classmates were always dying to read the next one. There were also some funny jokes about "hard" vs. "soft" magic. ;P

The book signing started right after Panel Session Two. I hopped in line for Leigh Bardugo and spent the majority of my time waiting in her line—she was very popular! After I got SHADOW AND BONE signed by Leigh, I got my ARC signed by Kim Liggett. She was really nice and excited to see one of her ARCs. She also gave me a black ribbon just like the one in BLOOD AND SALT! And then I had Sara Raasch sign SNOW LIKE ASHES and Melissa Grey sign THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT. They were both really nice and we talked about having purple hair. :)

Top: my book haul, Bottom L: Sara Raasch, Bottom M: Adam Silvera, Bottom R: Leigh Bardugo

When I approached Adam Silvera, he told me I was his favorite person because of my shirt and we squeed over Simon from SIMON VS! He signed MORE HAPPY THAN NOT for me, which I'm super excited to read. He was really nice and even offered to take a picture for me.

My signed copy of MORE HAPPY THAN NOT
Me and Adam Silvera!

Next I had Kody Keplinger sign THE DUFF and Mackenzi Lee sign THIS MONSTROUS THING. Mackenzi had done a coloring contest as promo for her book, so I told her I'd participated. (After, I kicked myself for not saving the coloring page to give to her. Oh well!) Mackenzi had a copy of her book that she asked readers to sign, which I'd never seen at a signing before. I thought it was a really cool idea. After Mackenzi and Kody, I had Renée Ahdieh sign THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. She complimented my hair, but I was too nervous to say much. I was in awe of her makeup and jewelry—so flawless. She also had a book for readers to sign! Hers was full of signatures, so I had to do some searching for a blank spot.

Me and Renée Ahdieh

Last I went up to Becky Albertalli. She was so nice and asked if she could hug me. I had a million things I wanted to say to her, but of course I couldn't think of a single thing when I was finally in front of her. 


After the signing, I went outside to wait for my husband to pick me up. I ran into Ellie (we'd lost each other during the signing) and her friend Lauren (who I'd actually met at a NESCBWI conference a year or two ago) outside and we waited together. I found out that Lauren is friends with my Pitch Wars Team Devine sibling(?) Kyle and that he was at the fest! What a small world! I was bummed I found out too late because it would've been fun to talk Pitch Wars with him. Oh well!

Anyway, while we were talking and waiting for our rides, Leigh Bardugo came out to wait for hers. Ellie chatted with her about Disney while I tried not to act like a weirdo. Haha! I couldn't stop staring at her nails and jewelry—they were so cool!

It was an awesome day and great to meet so many lovely authors. I didn't have enough money to buy books by every author because there were so many there. I'm pretty bummed about that. But, as a reader, I guess it's a good problem to have—that there were so many different YA authors there.

Anyway, it was a blast! Thanks so much to the Cambridge Public Library for hosting it!

Did you go to the Ladies Living Dangerously panel or the Boston Teen Author Fest? What was your favorite part?

*I was wearing this shirt, which was made in celebration of Pride month (and SIMON VS THE HOMOSAPIENS AGENDA), and you can order it here!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

An ABC Review of UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee

I seriously can't say enough great things about UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee. I read it several months ago and I'm still thinking about it. The characters, setting, and pacing are great. There's a little bit of everything—humor, tension, action—to entertain a variety of readers. 

I've never been much of a Western fan, besides watching DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN with my mom as a kid, but my friend (and Pitch Wars mentor) Stephanie Garber told me she thought I'd enjoy it. And I'm so glad Stephanie recommended it! She was totally right. 

If you like Historical Fiction, badass female MCs, tension and humor, swoon-worthy cowboys, and friendship, you'll love UNDER A PAINTED SKY. And if you're not typically a Western or Historical Fiction fan, I urge you to give it a try anyway. I really think you'll enjoy it.

Book Blurb:

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

Nails and bookmark courtesy of Stephanie Garber!

You can find UNDER A PAINTED SKY at B&N, AMAZON, and the Book Depository.



For me, the pacing was perfect. Even in "slower" scenes there was tension to keep me reading. And Stacey had a magical way of weaving humor into some of the tenser scenes, keeping me laughing AND on the edge of my seat at the same time.


UNDER A PAINTED SKY takes place along the Oregon Trail and Stacey masterfully recreated the setting, making the reader feel like they're actually there with the characters. I really felt like Stacey did tons of research on the time period and showed the struggles Sammy and Andy would've had to face while traveling through the west in disguise. Stacey also weaved in information about the Chinese Zodiac, which I found really interesting.


I loved the characters sooo much! They're great. One of the best things in UNDER A PAINTED SKY is the friendship that develops between Sammy/Samantha, the main character, and Andy/Annamae. Andy and Sammy are really smart and resourceful, and I loved that about them. Along their journey, they meet a group of cowboys: Peety, Cay, and West. If you like cowboys, you'll LOVE this trio. They made me laugh a lot!

For me, it's hard to pick a favorite character because they're all fleshed out and real and I LOVE them all. But my favorite of the cowboys is probably West! ;)

...SO I really think you should treat yourself and read UNDER A PAINTED SKY!!! ;)

If you've read UNDER A PAINTED SKY, what did you love about it? Your favorite character?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Top Ten Influential Albums

For me, music and writing are interconnected. I listen to music while I write, I get writing inspiration from songs, and some songs remind me of my manuscripts or characters. THE TREASURE HUNT and my current WIP are extremely influenced by music—they wouldn't exist without it.

Music is also influential to everyday life. Certain songs or albums can take you back to a specific time and place (good or bad). Music shapes our lives. I don't have a musical bone in my body (I think my parents cursed me by naming me Melody), but music is very important for my writing and visual art.

In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Influential Albums for my life and writing:

1.) They're Only Chasing Safety - Underoath

This album will always take me back to grad school and when I first started dating my husband. For our first official date, we saw Underoath in Boston when they toured for this album.

2.) The Jurassic Park soundtrack

I was so obsessed with Jurassic Park when I was in middle school. (As an adult too, to be honest.) When I wasn't watching the movie or rereading the book, I would listen to it on cassette over and over, picturing scenes from the movie.

3.) All's Well That Ends Well - Chiodos

This is another album that reminds me of grad school. Also, it reminds me of my first job after college, working in special education at the local middle school...and the days of Myspace (where I heard them for the first time).

4.) Metallica (the black album) - Metallica

Metallica's self-titled album was a HUGE influence for THE TREASURE HUNT. I actually changed the time period (in an earlier version of the manuscript) to include this album because it was so important to my characters, especially the song, "Nothing Else Matters."

5.) A Fever You Can't Sweat Out - Panic! At The Disco

I LOVED Panic! when I was in grad school, and I saw them in concert at least twice. It's funny, I hadn't listened to this album in years and when I listened to it again recently, I still knew all the lyrics. I think this is one of the funnest albums to listen to.

6.) Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd is my all-time favorite band. And if I had to pick a go-to album by them, it would be Wish You Were Here. When I draw or paint, I almost always listen to Pink Floyd. For me, they're so inspiring.

7.) The Game of Thrones season 1 soundtrack

I drafted STRANGE ATTRACTORS while listening to nothing but this soundtrack. It's great writing music, especially when you're writing something epic like fantasy or sci-fi.

8.) Selfish Machines - Pierce the Veil

Pierce the Veil gives me ALL THE writing feels. Their songs could seriously be the soundtrack for all my contemporary manuscripts. And I just love them. ;)

9.) Sixteen Stone - Bush

Besides the Jurassic Park soundtrack, I didn't really listen to music in middle school. I'd just listen to whatever my parents were listening to...until I was introduced to Sixteen Stone. Instead of boybands, my friends and I had Bush.

10.) The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack

When I was in college, I listened to this over and over when I was in my room doing homework or drawing. Now it's great writing music. "Concerning Hobbits" makes me happy—I dare you to listen to it and not smile.

What are some of your favorite or inspirational albums?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Top Ten Favorites

These are my current Top Ten Favorites:

1. The TV show SILICON VALLEY on HBO. It is seriously one of the funniest shows, ever. It's rare that my husband and I find a sitcom we both enjoy. (And thanks to my friend Erin who introduced me to it last year!)

2. The writing community—especially people like Brenda Drake who generously spend so much of their own time running contests and helping out new writers. (Yay for Team Coffeehouse!)

3. White chocolate raspberry iced lattes—my new favorite drink from Starbucks. (Half white chocolate mocha syrup and half raspberry syrup.)

4. Maxi dresses are the best invention next to yoga pants. They are as comfy as yoga pants, but you look dressed up! (I only wish they had pockets because I need a place for my lip gloss and phone.)

5. UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee. I finished this a couple weeks ago, but I can't stop thinking about it. I loved, loved the characters. So great.

6. TONIGHT ALIVE. I can't stop listening to them! Jenna McDougall, the lead singer, seems super cool. I totally want to use her an inspiration for a novel. This is one of my fave songs, "The Ocean."

7. Lay's Limón chips. Not gonna lie, I could seriously eat an entire bag by myself.

8.  MAD MAX : FURY ROAD was even better than people said. It's one giant car chase that doesn't let up. Usually, I don't like car chases in action movies, but this was just awesome. You have to see it. And if you've already seen it, you should see it again.

9. Recognizing awesome people! I went to the EDIES last night (NH Excellence in Education Awards) in support of my case manager who won special education teacher of the year. She goes above and beyond for her students, staff, and our school—every single day. She's seriously super woman, and I can't think of someone more deserving of the award.

10. There is only one more week until ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK is back! Should I pace myself or binge-watch the entire season???

What are some of your favorite things?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Writers Voice: THE TREASURE HUNT


Dear Mentors/Judges,

When sixteen-year-old Benjamin McGill is shipped off to Bay Haven, ME, to stay with his grandmother for the summer, it’s not a vacation—it’s a punishment. With nothing to do in this lazy tourist town but run errands for Gran and clean up after her evil cat, Ben’s thrilled when he receives a letter from a secret admirer with promises of a treasure hunt. 

Ben follows clues to a cafe where he befriends Mitch, a long-haired metal head, and Jennifer, a chain-smoking extrovert. When Jennifer learns about the treasure hunt, she invites Mitch and herself along. But Gran says they're devil-worshippers, which forces Ben to sneak behind her back to see them. Despite this, his summer picks up, like a heavy guitar solo in the middle of a power ballad.

But when Ben starts making metal playlists on Spotify and daydreaming about Mitch's long hair and stubbly jaw, he realizes he wants to be more than friends. Just one problem—Mitch is full of mixed messages, acting like he has a thing for Jennifer one moment, and letting his hand linger next to Ben's the next. 

Now Ben must decide if he should risk everything and tell Mitch how he feels, or play it safe and continue the games with his secret admirer.

THE TREASURE HUNT, a 69,000 word standalone, is a YA contemporary with a bisexual main character that may appeal to music fans, especially those interested in post-hardcore and metal. It's DASH & LILY'S BOOK OF DARES meets SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. 

First 250:

“Daggers Speak Louder Than Words”

Skating was like flying. If my mother was criticizing my clothes or my step-father was questioning why I had so many pictures of “that skinny tattooed drummer” in my room, I could get on my skateboard and take off, leaving all that shit behind. Nothing could touch me when I was airborne. 

But when I was grounded (in more ways than one), stuck at home because my end of the year grades were less than stellar, music was the only thing that could keep me sane. Thank god my mother had no idea I owned an iPod shuffle, otherwise she would’ve taken it away during my sentencing last night.

After making sure my bedroom door was closed, I put a hand under my pillow and grabbed my iPod. I sprawled out on my bed and pressed play, turning the volume down so I’d be able to hear if someone was coming. “Stained Glass Eyes And Colorful Tears” by Pierce the Veil played first. 

Oh, god. A chill went through me, hearing Vic’s emotion-filled voice, and goosebumps traveled up my arms. My eyes watered, so I wiped them, eyeliner coloring my fingers. I rubbed the teary-makeup on my jeans, and then I replayed the song when it was over because I liked to torture myself, apparently. 

Ugh. This was not how I imagined I’d be spending my first day of summer vacation.  

Thanks for reading! Good luck, everyone! :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Top Ten Favorites

My latest Top Ten Favorites:

1.) Revising an old manuscript. When I got inspired to revise one of my early manuscripts, I was super-excited. I don't have a lot of free time right now to write (because of my work schedule), and it's harder for me to get in drafting mode than revising mode. So this is the perfect thing for me to do right now. Plus, I finally figured out what was wrong with it after letting it sit for 3+ years!

2.) This chocolate from my CP Julie Dao:

Chocolate covered potato chips! Do I need to say anything else? Nope. Go buy some!

3.) GAME OF THRONES is back on TV. My husband isn't as excited because there are tons of "This didn't happen in the books!" from me... whoops :)

4.) April vacation! This means yoga pants and hoodies and writing every day! Woohoo!

5.) Date nights at the bookstore (Barnes and Noble)!

From the cafe: I got a tall caramel flan (iced) latte and my husband got a chocolate cupcake. From the bookstore: I got THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger and my husband got HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill.

6.) The caramel flan latte from Starbucks. So good!

7.) Writer friends. I'm super-lucky to have super-awesome, supportive writer friends. And it's really great to come home from a long day at work and find a package in the mail from a CP or Pitch Wars mentor! <333

From the lovely Julie Dao
From the awesome Stephanie Garber

8.) Being able to buy books by people I "know" (on Twitter, through other friends, etc). It's just so cool!

9.) "Rebel Love Song" by Black Veil Brides. The song makes me think of my manuscript THE TREASURE HUNT. (My characters should totally be in the video instead of that couple!) ;P

10.) Plants vs. Zombies 2. I randomly started playing it again and I can't get enough. It's so fun!

What are your favorite things?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Top Ten Favorites

I thought I'd post about my top ten favorite things at the moment.

1.) The new rocky road syrup at Dunkin Donuts. I don't like rocky road ice cream, but I loooove this coffee flavor! OMG. It's so good.

2.) The song "Kick Me" by Sleeping with Sirens. I can't stop listening to it. LOVE it! And I really like the video. I saw them this month and they opened the show with this song. (Explicit lyrics)

3.) Even though I read it during Christmas break, I can't stop thinking about I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson. Love love love this book! I went shopping for a friend's birthday the other day, and I was going to buy her the book, until I realized I already bought it for her at Christmas. Ha ha! If you haven't read it, you NEED to. Seriously.

4.) BREAKING BAD's spin-off series BETTER CALL SAUL. It's so good. And dark. And funny. And every time a character from BREAKING BAD makes an appearance, I squee! I hate waiting week-to-week to watch a new episode.

5.) Writing contests. I love them! The contest aspect is awesome, but I love them because they're a great way to make writer friends. I just entered Pitch Madness for the first time. The wait to find out if I've been picked is killer, but that's part of the fun. Fingers crossed!

6.) New socks. I bought a six pack of Puma neon ankle socks and they're awesome. They're super cushy!

7.) Writer friends getting literary agents. Two of my CPs got agents (within a week of each other!) this month. Yay!!!

8.) Vacation. I'm on vacation this week. Woohoo! No explanation necessary, right?

9.) SPOTIFY. I don't know how I lived without it.

10.) Spending my Sunday nights watching THE WALKING DEAD with my husband and dogs. Soon, it'll be replaced with GAME OF THRONES and my husband will have to listen to me complain about the differences between show and books. (Because that's totally his favorite part!)

What are some of your favorite things at the moment?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Terrible Titles Bloghop: The Treasure Hunt

My lovely CP and friend Julie Dao tagged me for the Terrible Titles Bloghop. Julie recently signed with Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency. Read her I HAVE AN AGENT post here.

Anyway! On to the post:

Here are the rules: Writers scroll through their manuscript and stop in random places. Whatever words/phrase the cursor lands on becomes one of eight terrible titles.









My cursor kept stopping on giant blank spaces, so it took me a while to get all eight. I think I'm partial to I DON'T NORMALLY LIKE COFFEE and LIKE KNIFE SOMEBODY?

Have you done the Terrible Titles Bloghop? What are your favorites? If you'd like me to tag you, let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Artsy Writing

(Visual) Art and writing are interconnected, I think. 

Sometimes I try to sketch my characters. Sometimes I draw maps of the world. I almost always make Pinspiration boards on Pinterest. But I've never made an actual inspiration/positivity/vision board before. 

After talking with my CPs about staying positive through the ups and downs of writing and where they find inspiration, I thought it would be fun to make an inspirational collage/vision board for my current manuscript and writing as a way to stay positive. 

Here is the (almost) final product:

I clipped pictures and phrases out of magazines, printed out quotes I found online, and even sketched/wrote things myself. 

Here are some close ups and explanations:

"Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure."

I think that's the perfect quote for writing and querying. It's so hard to stay positive all the time, but a good attitude can make all the difference.

"Hope, but never expect. Look forward, but never wait."

This quote reminds me of something my friend once told me, "Go into something with positive intention, not expectation." Intention and expectation sound similar, but I think with intention you're putting your positivity out into the universe, not expecting something in return. 

"Make it simple, but significant." 

This reminds me of my awesome Pitch Wars mentor Jessie Devine. I was trying too hard with my prose, attempting to make it "fancier" than it needed to be. He taught me how to simplify it. I ended up cutting over 5k of filler from THE TREASURE HUNT with his help.

I found this four-leaf clover in my yard. Obviously, I thought a little good luck wouldn't hurt! :)
(And that picture of Dylan O'Brien is how I imagine my MC's personality—well, more like his character's personality on Teen Wolf!)

This musical-looking sketch represents my first Pitch Wars team: Team PPU. When the lovely Stephanie Garber picked me as her second alternate in 2013, it was my first writing-related ego boost. It was huge for me. (Thanks, Stephanie! <3) 

My teammates, Julie Dao and Katie Bucklein, are two of my closest writer friends. We've been through so much together, so I wanted to give Team PPU, as a whole, positive vibes! The anchor represents Katie's PW book, the music represents Julie's, and the stars represent mine. 

What do you do when you're brainstorming/writing/editing a manuscript? Do you sketch your characters? Make collages? Draw maps? Make vision boards?

If you'd like to be tagged in an Artsy Writing blog tour, let me know in the comments!