Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Camping and a Significant Lack of Internet

So, I went camping in the mountains (Colorado and New Mexico), and it was awesome. 

I mean, seriously. It was so much fun.

It’s the first time in quite a while that I’ve taken an entire week off of work and sort of left “real life” behind. After not doing it for so long, I discovered that it’s nice to take some time to relax and worry about nothing more pressing than what I want to eat at my next meal.

Probably the strangest thing for me was the noticeable lack of Internet. As someone who is connected at all times via phone, laptop, etc..., going for an entire week without it was interesting. The only thing I could occasionally get my phone (and only my phone) to do was check email. But actually getting online? Forget it.

I wouldn’t want to be without it for long, but you know what? Being disconnected for a while was kind of nice. It was just me, my family, and nature. A great change of pace.

So, what did I do during my lovely camping trip?

Well, we cooked outside every day, hiked through some seriously tall pine trees, and played several epic card games (“epic” because, once every couple of plays, the wind would attempt to steal our cards and skip off with them, laughing).

And during quiet moments, I was able to read (I finished four books during the trip!) and even do a little bit of writing. I’m telling you, writing in the mountains with the spicy scent of pine all around you is amazing. I highly recommend it. :)

Now that I’m home, I’m quite happy to be back in the groove of things. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having access to the Internet once more. But I have returned home with some very happy memories and quite a number of pictures (a few of which I’ve included below).

I hope all of you are enjoying your summer with family and friends, and I hope you've been able to take at least a few days for a bit of vacation-y goodness!



















Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN Release Day!!

It’s finally release day!!!

I would like to wish a very happy book birthday to my amazing friend and writing buddy Kristin Rae!

WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN IS FINALLY OUT ON SHELVES!!! :D


Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

Sounds fantastic, right? And having already had the privilege to read the book pre-release, I can tell you that it IS! :D

So, in the book, Pippa makes a list of ten goals for her summer in Italy:

~ Don’t get arrested
~ Don’t make a fool out of myself in public
~ Get my picture taken at the Colosseum
~ Find random souvenir for Morgan
~ Get a makeover
~ See Pompeii
~ Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
~ Have a conversation with someone in only Italian
~ Eat a whole pizza in one sitting
~ Fall in love with an Italian

To celebrate release day, I have listed my own top ten goals below. (Okay, it was more like a top twenty when I started, but I finally whittled it down to these. :)

~ Don’t get lost
~ Tour the ancient ruins of Rome (specifically the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs)
~ Try at least one new flavor of gelato every day and eat real Italian pizza
~ Sail on the Grand Canal in Venice
~ Hike around the Valley of the Temples (Valle dei templi) in Sicily
~ See the ruins of Pompeii
~ Explore as many of the Italian waterways and coastal areas as possible
~ Check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa
~ Dip my feet in the Mediterranean Sea
~ Prowl around the Frasassi Caves

What would be your top ten goals for a summer spent in Italy? Let me know and help celebrate the release of WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN!

And, once more, happy book birthday, Kristin!!! :D


  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Writing by Music - Adrian von Ziegler

So, I discovered a composer awhile back by the name of Adrian von Ziegler, and I have pretty much fallen in love with his music. His pieces range from soothing to epic to haunting to just plain gorgeous. A couple of his CDs, in particular, have been a huge source of inspiration and great mood-setters for the manuscript I am currently editing. This manuscript has a definite dark and mysterious tone to it, so the flavor of the CDs has been perfect for helping me to get into that "zone."

Adrian uploaded the following song to his YouTube channel, and it is just one of my many favorites by him:



I have linked to Adrian's YouTube channel below. His CDs are available for purchase through the iTunes store, and I would definitely recommend a visit. :)

Adrian von Ziegler's YouTube Channel

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm Back!

Hello, all my lovely blog peeps!

I am finally returning to you after a rather…  *ahem*…  lengthy period of blog silence.

Seriously, it has been way too long.

But I am back now, and happy to be blogging again. I have missed it. And I have missed all of you!

So, what have I been up to over the past couple of months?

Well…

1. I learned how to knit! (Technically I’m still learning, as it’s an ongoing process, but STILL!)

I have a friend who knits, and I guess I never realized how many cool things you can create using nothing more than a pair of needles and a pile of colorful yarn. Upon noting my growing interest, she offered to teach me (which is pretty amazing, considering the time investment and the fact that you normally have to pay for knitting classes). At first, I wasn't sure. But seeing her awesome projects kept pulling me back. So when she offered again, I gave in. :)

I learned what these are:



And I learned how to make the yarn on the left look like the yarn on the right (and why the latter is much easier to work with):



Then came the actual knitting. And I think I fell in love…

The knitting high took over, and I got ambitious.

Since it was still four weeks until Christmas, I thought, “Hey. If I pick this up fast enough, I could make Christmas gifts!”

Thus, in addition to learning to knit, I immediately put myself on a deadline. I kept my newfound passion for knitting a secret (which was hard, I assure you!) and began secretly knitting a scarf for my mom and a hat for my sister.

My friend was nearby for any potential knitting calamities, and somehow I managed to finish both the scarf and the hat in time for Christmas. :)

And thus began a new hobby that has spawned much coveting of ALL THE YARN and obsessive saving of patterns to make everything from T-shirts, sweaters, and blankets to cute, little knitted animals. 

2. I wrestled the Cough of Doom, and it won. Big time…

Literally, guys.

I don’t think I’ve coughed that hard or that long in my life. EVER. And I know I’ve never had such a high fever for so many days.

After a particularly bad night that involved non-stop coughing for hours on end, I succeeded in tearing (shredding? mangling?) the muscles over one side of my ribs. It was at that point that every cough felt like a knife dragging along the bone.

The doctor said the only way the muscles would heal would be to stop coughing.

Ehhhh…?

Hahahaha. Ha. Ha…

So, I set another record for myself: I’ve never eaten so many cough drops in my life.

Thankfully, the Cough of Doom is mostly gone, and the muscles are healing nicely.

But I know a *lot* of other people who’ve had to deal with this nasty cough over the last couple of months. If you are one of them, I am unspeakably sorry… :(

3. I (nearly) finished a book… Or two.

Somehow, amidst the knitting frenzy and coughing attacks, I have managed to nearly complete my next MS, and I am almost ready for revisions on a second one. I’ve reached that exciting place in both of these projects where all I’m feeling is giddy anticipation. Since I’m very much a night writer, I expect many late nights over the next days and weeks, as I delve deep into revision world.

So what is everyone else up to? Have you picked up a new hobby? Finished a project? Wrestled the Cough of Doom (or any of his nasty companions)? Read a good book? Discovered a new tea? Anything fun or exciting happening?

I want to know! :)

I hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNo-Revise-Mo?


I thought that this year I might be able to actually (finally!) participate in NaNoWriMo.

Hahahahaha… ha… ha…

*clears throat*

Instead, yet again, I find that my personal writing timeline is a bit off, and I am in the midst of revising instead of drafting.

Awkward.

But since I love challenges and enjoy nothing more than setting deadlines for myself, I thought I might as well embrace the awkward and declare November my own personal NaNoReviseMo.

My end-of-month goal is to complete and fine-tune these revisions so that I can get my latest novel off to my readers. In this way, I’ll be ready to draft once more just in time for NaNoWriMo to be…

Well…

Over…

Heh.

But let’s ignore my horrible timing and focus on the positive.

By the end of November, my story will be SO CLOSE to being totally and completely finished! :)

So, good luck to all you NaNoWriMo-ers out there! And to all the rest of you with the same perfect timing as myself… happy revising! :D

Thursday, September 26, 2013

NAWS Update featuring Katie M. Stout!

I am so excited to have the opportunity to do another Newly Agented Writers Series update post!

As some of you probably know, Katie M. Stout has a BOOK DEAL!!! :D

Her novel, HELLO, I LOVE YOU, sold to Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's for publication in 2015!!

Here is the official announcement in Publishers Marketplace:


So awesome, right???

If you would like to know more about Katie, be sure to check out her blog, where she posts tons of fun and informative blog series including her newest one, "YA 'round the world" (the first one was Japan, and it pretty much made my day :) You can also read Katie's post announcing her book deal here and my NAWS interview with her here.

Also, Katie's book is up on goodreads! If you would like to add it to your "to-read" shelf, click here.

Congratulations again, Katie!! I can't wait to see your book on the shelves! :D

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Joys of Autumn


Guys! As of yesterday, it is officially autumn!

We are now entering one of my favorite times of the year. And, as an added bonus, I can now indulge in my love of hot teas without people saying things like, “It’s 96 degrees outside, are you sure you don’t want that chai iced?” (Though, honestly, it’s tea. Hot may be my favorite, but I will drink it at pretty much any temperature ;)

In addition, this is my favorite season for doing ALL THE THINGS OUTSIDE. There is nothing like hiking, biking, or taking long walks in the crisp autumn air. Or even just sitting out on the porch with my laptop and current WIP for company.

And the colors? Fiery leaves set against a rugged mountain backdrop is a view I could never get tired of. I mean, just look at the gold on these aspen trees:




And the mixture of gold, reds, and oranges tracing these hills:
  

(Yes, I took those pictures. No, I did not take them this year… But hopefully, I will have the chance to take some once the leaves have turned :)

So, are you looking forward to the wonders of autumn? What are your favorite things about the season?