Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! I’m still waddling around from the post-holiday high, my body probably made up of 80% Cadbury chocolate at this point and now suffering from it.

Chocolate comas aside, I just want to give another HUGE thank you to everyone for all the overwhelming support and congratulations to me on landing my agent! The responses to my ‘How I Got My Agent’ post were even more tear-inducing and overwhelming (my blog was actually shaking at one point from the tidal wave of new visitors—hello new peeps! *waves*). I was immensely happy to hear from so many people who could relate to it, and those who said it was just the sort of post they needed to read at that point in their writing journey. Overall, I’m just extremely grateful for the loveliness of the writing community, and everyone in it. ❤

Now that the celebrations and social media-isms have been said and done, we all know what the next step is.

GET. TO. WORK.

My family and a lot of people have been wondering how I’ve spent the past week celebrating, and nothing surprises them more than when I tell them how the inner-workings of my mind have come to resemble a hamster wheel in constant, furious motion. I like to call this hectic mental period my warm welcome back to the wonderful world of revisions.

Here’s a rundown on how it all started (accompanied by my constantly interfering and incoherent inner-thoughts):

-sign with Agent Wonderful

(*cue confetti canon*)

-to my utter shock and delight, receive edit letter faster than expected because she is super on top of things

-freak out because I actually have an edit letter

(*It was kind of like a myth to me up until that point)

-proceed to freak out even further because ohmygoodness I love my MS, but I haven’t looked at it in a while!

(*Let me clarify: to keep me from getting too down in the querying trenches, I started my new WIP, Phantom Fantasy, which I’m soooo excited about! No surprise, it took me a while to get out of Pirate Fantasy world in order to draft Phantom Fantasy. And because the universe likes to pick on me, it soon became the other way around)

-calmly leave the edit letter alone in my inbox until I can get my story worlds sorted and feel comfortably back in Pirate Fantasy Land

(*Battle Plan of Story Immersion: listen to the old epic playlists, watch Pirates of the Caribbean, attempt to catch up on Black Sails, go through old journals, upload MS to e-reader to reread without the temptation of editing every other sentence…)

-still semi-celebrating, still fully feeling the weight of the editorial elephant in my inbox

(*Stop looking at me like that, you unread email)

-because I just can’t celebrate any longer, start reading MS again with the fear that it’s awful

(*You know how sometimes you hate watching yourself on home videos because the sound of your own voice makes you cringe? It’s a little like that)

-sheepishly come to the realization that the experience is not as awful as I’d anticipated, and breathe a sigh of relief

(*Hooray! I’m not terrible!)

-FINALLY read edit letter right after not-so-bad read through so that I could let the ideas simmer and sleep on it

(*Literally. I finished it super late at night and actually had no choice but to go to sleep right after)

-print out letter the next morning for the purpose of reading through it again, this time with a highlighter and pen in hand to ruthlessly mark up the pages

(*highlighter and pen = revision weapons of choice)

-the notes start to sink in, which brings on a wave of panic over all of the things I’ll have to change and I’m not sure if I can do it

(*OH MY GOD EVERYTHING IS BROKEN)

-panic attack averted when I realize that I can definitely do this, and remain super floored by all the brilliant and spot-on comments that will make this MS strong as hell

(*Chill. You may have encountered a high mountain, but you can climb it)

-start going through MS document to see other minor comments in track changes, then proceed to blush at all of my embarrassing typos/awkward sentences

(*You had ONE job, writer of things that should at least be readable…)

-shake off mortification and go through the MS document comments once again, taking notes by hand on piles of loose leaf paper that have been separated into categories

(*Yes, this is me taking notes on notes. In order to get ideas to thoroughly sink in during revisions, I have to write them out an excessive amount of times)

-fan myself proudly with large stack of notes before reading through them all over again to process and start brainstorming solutions

(*IT’S GO TIME)

-slightly fail, only because I’m still halfway in Phantom Fantasy when I just want to situate myself in Pirate Fantasy

(*OK, IT’S NOT GO TIME)

-make character sheets as suggested and wonder if I should give Scrivener a try…

(*cue creepy horror music*)

-immediately regret everything because Scrivener is terrifying and pretty much a different language to me

(*OH GOD IT’S LIKE OPENING PANDORA’S BOX)

-by some miracle, I manage to get down the basics of Scrivener’s cork board feature

(*Huzzah! I’ve finally done something right!)

-continues the aggressive note-taking tango by writing up more notes on my notes on my agent’s notes in the not-so-scary Scrivener cork board

(*On virtual index cards this time!)

-FINALLY, finally, finally—out of the blue—I hear my characters talking back to me in my head and could just cry from happiness right now

(*Otherwise known as the period when nobody approaches me because I look like a crazy person)

-Characters talking back to me means I’m on the right track, so I dig back into my mountain of notes and add alllllll the new ideas

(*Thank the writing gods)

So it took a rocky start to get me back on the path, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes you need those moments of doubt to remember that they’ll never be as strong as your overarching enthusiasm and motivation to get back in that chair so you can write.

With that being said, HUGE changes are afoot within this round of revisions. Changes can be scary, but they are necessary. They can also be very exciting, which is where I’m at right now. Hopefully I can get a lot done before I head off to Las Vegas for this year’s RT with my lovely CPs Erin, Katy, Akshaya, and Maddy! But until then, cheers to all the changes that are happening—and may they always be for the better 😀

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Squad Love

Can I just say how much I LOVE the new Suicide Squad trailer!?? I’m absolutely crazy over everything that’s going on in it (villains, teamwork, insanity), and these glorious two and a half minutes of awesome mayhem are only making me even more pumped for the movie! Also, it’s getting me super excited to write—which is probably why I’m even more obsessed. Seriously. I feel like I’ve pretty much abused the repeat button and have watched it around a million times since the trailer released. Hopefully it will tide me over until the movie’s release date in August . . . which now just feels like an agonizing amount of forever. Sigh.

*sits back and views trailer once more with heart eyes*

If you haven’t watched it, WATCH IT NOW. IT’S BRILLIANT.

 

One Lovely Blog Award

blog award

Yay, more blog fun! Huge thanks to the lovely Amanda for tagging me in this One Lovely Blog Award! To achieve supreme coolness, make sure you visit her fantastic book blog To Live a Thousand Lives because it is chock full of bookish goodies and recommendations 😀

The Rules:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. You must list the rules and display the award.
3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.
4. You must nominate 5 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

Seven Facts About Me:

1 — Red is my favorite color. Seriously, I love ALL the red things. A lot of people think it’s stupid that I call it my power color, but who doesn’t feel 1000x more fabulous with a dash of red or some other bold color on?

2 — My best brainstorming/story daydreaming is done when I’m cruising in the car, blasting one of my story playlists. There’s just something weirdly therapeutic about driving that unlocks a lot of scenes for me, so I’m really not kidding when I say I LOVE long drives. They’re super productive.

3 — I also love fortune cookies! Not actually eating them, but cracking them open and reading the fortune. I’m oddly superstitious (don’t even get me started on that) so when I get a good fortune, I’ll often stick it to my cork board for luck.

4 — My favorite animal is the fox. I think they’re such gorgeous, clever creatures, and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to have my own fox as part of my future dream pet squad. And since I feel so connected with them (along with having had a strange encounter with a pack of foxes a while ago), I’m absolutely certain a fox would also be my Patronus.

5 — The film that made me fall deeply in love with movie scores was the 2003 version of Peter Pan—I was only ten, and so incredibly moved by the score that I’d watched it in theaters again and again (whilst bawling, again and again). I remember telling my mom that this music was exactly what I thought love sounded like, which still holds true to this day.

6 — I swear left and right that the only reason I got into my high school was because of Raven-Symoné. For my private school, we had to take intro exams (which I purposely failed because I did NOT want to go) as well as write an entrance essay on a female figure we admired. While the other girls wrote about Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Theresa, I wrote about my back-then (let’s be real: still) Disney TV hero, Raven-Symoné.

7 — The moment I knew I really really wanted to be a writer was in 8th grade when my history teacher assigned us a project of creating a simple 5-page log of a citizen’s daily life during the American Revolution. Instead, I turned in a 15-page long diary (with artfully burnt paper edges, then soaked in tea for the aged-crinkly effect) which covered a sweeping tale of a British spy who falls for an American woman, is found out to be a traitor, then sent to the gallows and hung for his crime. Oh, and the last page was dramatically thrown into the POV of the woman, who was then discovered to be pregnant with his child. Classic.

Okay, enough about me. I’m nominating super writers Ella and Meg!

A Long Travel Montage of CP Shenanigans, Books, and the Boston Teen Author Festival

After over a week of fun, bookish, authorly, writerly, and CP-ly fun, it’s finally back to reality. BUT, for the sake of this recap, I’m still in the fun zone remembering all the good times that went down when my fabulous CPs Maddy and Akshaya came to visit me! Obviously, chaos ensued—in the best way possible.

Our hijinks included a lot of eating (naturally), wining & cheesing, working side by side, being distracted whilst working side by side, bookstores, and a much appreciated PotC rewatchathon.

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The most gorgeous breakfast that ever was eaten

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BROOMSTICKS IN BOOKSTORES, I REPEAT. BROOMSTICKS IN BOOKSTORES.

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our usual spread

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Gold star to whoever can guess this Oscar-worthy scene from PotC

And of course, many more misadventures happened in my humble little Shoveltown (yes, apparently this is what my town is known as;  yes, this was actually news to me; and yes, this is kind of creepy), but we also ventured into Boston for author-y events like the Boston Teen Author Festival which was SUCH a blast! Getting to partake in some volunteering tasks, meeting the authors, hearing them talk on panels, and getting all the books signed was ridiculously fun amidst the chaos. But with all the reader and writer enthusiasm just swirling all around, you seriously can’t help but enjoy the crazy atmosphere celebrating YA . . . as well as pretty much going bankrupt after buying all of the books. My bank account is still weeping from all of the abuse. Tip for everyone to remember: festivals and conferences WILL suck all of your money from you. It’s unavoidable.

Nevertheless, I am still super pumped for next year’s BTAF because with the fabulous list of authors who came, it can only get bigger and better from here. Here’s a look at this year’s event:

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All of the wonderful authors this year! Photo credit: Boston Teen Author Festival

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Meet the Author panel, in which rapid fire questions and hilarity ensued

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A closer pic! Credit: Boston Teen Author Festival

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The fearless Director/Ringleader of BTAF, Renee! aka fellow Emerson alum 😀

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“The Craft” panel, which touched upon topics like magic and the process of crafting other worlds

It was such a joy to sit in on the first panel which introduced the authors in attendance! All of them had a great dynamic with each other, wonderful personalities, and spot on comedic timing with the questions fired at them. When the authors were asked “Who would you ship your MC with?”  it was so interesting to see how many of them referred to other book characters from the authors present on the stage. Talk about potential crossover/fanfic kernels?

Another panel my CPs and I got to sit in on was “The Craft” panel, which included Sara Raasch, Melissa Grey, Kim Liggett, Kendal Kulper, A.C. Gaughen, Leigh Bardugo, and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Some of the really interesting discussion focused on the magical elements and systems within the stories, as well as the differences between “hard” and “soft” magic (the former being more rule-based, and the latter gearing toward the elemental side). It was definitely a fascinating panel to listen to for anyone writing or interested in fantasy or just stories with some complex, magical worldbuilding.

While shenanigans happened in between (ranging from a historical tour of Sharvard to observing some maybe/maybe not ritualistic behavior on the library lawn), the huge signing at the end had to be the most chaotic part because lines went on for DAYS. Leigh Bardugo’s, for example, lasted forever, but I refused to leave the premises without telling her how much I love her Grisha trilogy, how it’s influenced my writing, and then having her sign all of my copies while trying not to freak out.

And I did—and pretty much lost ALL of my chill when I went up to her and we started chatting about writing, how fantastic her books are, and my pirate fantasy. After hearing all of her words of encouragement, then realizing what she’d actually written in my copy, that’s definitely the moment when I lost all ability to function.

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*forever inserting cat head with heart-eyes emoji*

For me, one of the most rewarding parts of a signing is having the opportunity to tell the author either how excited I am to read their book, or (if I’ve already read it) how much their book has touched me/gotten me out or a writing or reading slump/influenced me/made me feel all the feels. Even though I wasn’t able to read all of the books on the BTAF roster this year (there were a TON), I’m glad I got to read many beforehand and had the chance to tell the authors how amazing they are in person.

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Probably the nicest pic of all three of us—oh yeah, and there’s Adam Silvera too, I guess . . .

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Just kidding! Adam is kind of cool, when he’s not forgetful/trying to bully me or steal my Six of Crows ARC

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Classic Shivy League fam pic with awesome punmaster, Sara Raasch

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All the lines, so little time

And so, after the chaotic battlefield of book signings and purchasing, here are my spoils of war:

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Left = ALREADY MINE pile: The Duff by Kody Keplinger, The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, and and ARC of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh; Right = NEWLY MINE pile: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger, The Wrath and the Dawn Hardcover by Renee Ahdieh, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and an ARC of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This is a mighty fine haul, and I’m so excited to dive into all of them! I was practically heaving when I received a Six of Crows ARC, even though it was only two days before its actual release—BUT STILL. Huge deal. Now that I’ve got that ARC and an actual hardcover (still drooling over those black-stained pages), it’s safe to say that I’m sufficiently Six of Crowed for the year. Also, missing from this pile is the eagerly-anticipated sequel Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch, which should be coming in the mail sometime soon, hopefully complete with illustrations, puns galore, and a pirate if she can manage to fit one into the package for me.

And so, after the day-long, fantastic circus that was BTAF, it was onto the next adventure for my CPs and me: WRITING RETREAT!

Akshaya, Maddy, and I ventured to Vermont for a few days where we frolicked in nature and lived out our dream of a cabin-in-the-woods style writing retreat. It was the first time I’ve ever been to Vermont (I know, the life-long New Englander in me is thoroughly shamed), but now I want to go back ASAP and FOREVER. Not only was the scenery breathtakingly gorgeous (with COWS!), but the atmosphere was just so perfect for getting into the writing zone mentality. After coming off the inspirational high from BTAF, it’s no surprise that we all were super set to just write, write, write, write, and carving out this time to work was so necessary. Surprisingly, when you put us in a house together, we actually do have the ability to be quite productive for long periods of time—and of course, add in those shorter periods in between filled with our usual distracting randomness. Let’s do it again, guys? Getaway forever, this time?

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werk it, great green pastures

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heavenly morning work station

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HOW IS THIS REAL LIFE?

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And then there were ALL THE COWS

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HOW IS THIS REAL LIFE? Part 2: A Magical Moment with a Unicorn Named Shamrock

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the sky that can’t stop, won’t stop

All in all, everything about our CP reunion was super magical, as always. Words were written/edited, books were bought, events were attended, (too much) food was eaten, and random fun was to be had.  While we drove home blasting all the Disney, failing at psychic iTunes, and making up travel montages, it was so surreal just thinking how fast the time went (and now how much I already miss my CPs). And even though the trip was over way too soon, I’m already gearing up for the next time we’re going to reunite because it shall be EPIC.

Now, back to being productive . . .

 

Real Neat Blog Award

real neat blog award

Oh boy here goes another award, another set of questions! Thank you to my good friend Maddy for nominating me for this (CP reunion TOMORROW. Can you believe it!?)! Definitely check out her badass blog titled Those Who Wander, which is chock full of nature pics, book recommendations, writing life insights, and Tolkien-esque delights. And in the very near future, I’m guessing it will also be filled with tales of our outrageous CP reunion with her, Akshaya, and me because when we three unite—chaos most definitely ensues.

Now, onto the rules:

  1. Put the award logo on your blog
  2. Answer the 7 question set by the person who nominated you and create 7 new ones
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blog
  4. Nominate however many people you like, linking to their blogs
  5. Let them know you nominated them

The questions:

1. Which book character would you want to meet and why?

Because the Harry Potter series is SO near and dear to my heart, I’ve naturally always wanted to meet all the characters from it. The awesome, the annoying, even the evil ones. (Okay, maybe not the evil ones.)

But if I’m going to be specific and honest with myself, I’d want to meet the Marauders, pre-Harry Potter era. I wrote a glorious amount of fanfiction about them years and years ago, and pretty much only wrote about them because I loved imagining this goofy group of guys (with Lily, of course) and the laughable, crazy hijinks that ensued during their Hogwarts years before all of the darkness and tragedy afterward. What a fun bunch, they must’ve been. I had a particular obsession with James Potter. And Sirius Black. And Remus Lupin. Not Peter, for obvious reasons.

2. Which book do you wish they’d adapt into a movie or TV series?

Oooooh, this one is easy. I’m a firm advocate for making books into TV shows because it gives you so much room to play around and flesh out the material—and honestly, who wants to cram thousands and thousands of words into less than 2 hours?! I don’t know how they would ever do it, but I would LOVE to see Brian K. Vaughan’s space opera comic book Saga as a TV series. I’ve been hooked since the first volume and have always felt that its entertainment factor could translate really well on screen if someone was crazy enough to pull it off. Seriously, it has everything I love about good TV: epic premise, top-notch storytelling, fantastic characters, and humor that will make you laugh for days. I’d watch that in a heartbeat.

3. Who is your favorite author?

J.K. Rowling. Hands down. Her books gave me such a hunger for reading and the inspiration to write, and her life story always fuels me with the drive and passion to become a writer no matter what. She’s the author who helped me see what I want to do in life, and gave me the tools through her story and by being just a wonderful role model to look up to. She’s my favorite author for more than just her books. If I ever got to meet her, I would probably pass out from all of the emotions and gratitude.

4. Which Disney character would you be?

No surprise here: POCAHONTAS. If I haven’t repeated this enough times on my blog, Pocahontas is my favorite Disney princess, Disney movie, AND movie of all time. I don’t care if people throw the historically-inaccurate card; the heart of Disney’s Pocahontas is what I connect to the most. She’s fierce, independent, and knows that the best decisions are not necessarily the easiest. To me, she’s one of the realest Disney princess of them all, and is so strengthened by her story’s ending that is so different from the typical Disney fare. Words cannot express how much I love this movie, and how much I bawl my eyes out every time I see it. EVERY. TIME.

5. Do you have any pets, and if so, what?

Wellllll, I do have this adorable English Springer Spaniel named Luke a.k.a. Master Skywalker. He likes long walks, frisbee tosses, belly-rubs, and . . . okay, so he’s NOT actually my puppy. He’s my sister’s. But from all of the pictures I’ve posted of him on social media, I feel like I’ve successfully fooled a lot of people into thinking I have a dog. Oh man, I WISH. I puppy-sat him this weekend, and had a blast just running around the yard and watching him go crazy with random pine cones on the ground. I mean, JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE:

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Master Skywalker using the Force with his eyes to make you go “awwww”

Oh yeah, and I also have these two tiny zebra finches that are terrified of everything. Technically they’re my dad’s. He named them “The Girls” and bought them around the time my sister and I went off to college to ease his empty-nest syndrome. Literally.

6. Is there any book that you would change the ending of and how if you would?

I’m not even going to touch this question. Sure, there are TONS of endings I would change for a lot of books—but as someone who is terrified of spoilers and never ever EVER subjects anyone to them, I’m keeping my mouth shut on this one.

7. What’s you idea of a perfect night in/out?

As a super boring person, a perfect night in would be me curled up with my laptop, working. BUT, with my CPs coming into town for the week, I can already foresee many wild nights in ahead of us (filled with movies, wine, and spelunking).

The questions for my nominees are:

  1. Within your writing routine, what’s the weirdest thing you do to get into the writing zone?
  2. What’s the thing that comes easiest/first to you when you start brainstorming a story? Character, plot, setting, names, title, etc?
  3. In the future of the market, what sort of genre trend are you hoping to see make it big?
  4. How do you arrange the books on your bookshelf? By title, author, color, etc?
  5. What’s the one book you constantly find yourself recommending to other people because you just lahhhve it so much?
  6. What book do you wish would be adapted into a TV series/movie?
  7. What would your Patronus be?

For these questions, I’m nominating my friend Meg, as well as anyone else who wants to answer these questions!

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers awardFirst off, how cool is this award?! Thank you so much Amanda for the nomination! Her book blog To Live a Thousand Lives is made of some seriously awesome stuff, so everyone should totally visit her there. Prepare to be amazed by alllllll of the books and recommendations 🙂

The rules are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their site.

  2. Put the award logo on your blog.

  3. Answer the ten questions you were given.

  4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

  5. Nominate ten other blogs.

Now here are my answers:

What is the best book you’ve read this year?

Ooof, start off with the hardest one, why don’t you. The most recent one that’s screaming in my head right now is The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh! The prose is so beautiful, the romance drew me in, and I’m a sucker for anything having to do with Arabian Nights. But believe it or not, a lot of the best stories I’ve read this year have actually come through my internship where I go through a lot of manuscripts and find many gems that I adore. Querying writers, NEVER forget how fiercely talented you all are!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go first and why?

Definitely Egypt or Greece. Ever since I was little, I’ve been obsessed with Greek and Egyptian mythology, and have always dreamed of visiting the sacred sites traced back to the myths. I’m also not embarrassed to admit that my childhood/adulthood love of The Mummy has majorly factored in to my dreams of traveling to Egypt to explore tombs and go on some badass adventures.

When you write, do you outline first or just pants it?

PANTS. I’ve always been a pantser for as long as I remember because structure and organization are just not my friends. However, I’ve started getting into the habit of loosely outlining my new WIP just because the plot has aggressively been haunting me for so long. Nevertheless, I still consider myself a pantser for the most part because I live for the magic of writing spontaneously.

When you aren’t reading/writing what do you like to do?

It’s no big secret that I watch TV in my down time (it seriously rejuvenates my creative juices). I also workout/hike/frolic in nature (for the sake of my ever-failing back), play piano and sing (mostly Disney tunes, of course), hang out with my family and friends (to prove I’m not the living definition of a hermit), and of course wine nights and Skype dates with my CPs 🙂

What TV show do you binge-watch?

Umm, all of them? Haha. My ULTIMATE binge-worthy show this year was definitely Sense8. I still get shivers from how good it is.

You can’t leave the house without ________?

Phone (because of the music), pen, and something to write on. Inspiration can strike at ANY TIME, so one must be prepared. I always bring a water bottle as well because one must also be prepared for the possibility of dehydration.

Books or e-reader?

Books. I’m one of those weirdos who likes to smell the book pages and feel the paper between her fingertips. It sounds weirdly intimate, now that I think about it.

What is a cause/social issue you care deeply about?

I’m a proud feminist who cares about mental health awareness, autism awareness, diversity in pop culture and the media (WeNeedDiverseBooks, anyone?), and SO many other things. I know, I cheated. I JUST CARE TOO MUCH.

What magical/superpower would you pick?

Because I’m lazy, I’d love the ability to teleport myself to wherever I desire in the blink of an eye. Kind of like in the movie Jumper, but without scary Samuel L. Jackson hunting me down.

What fun blogs have you found lately? (Maybe tag them in your post!) 🙂

Okay, so awkward moment: pretty much everyone I know and their grandmother have been nominated for this award, so I’m just going to leave some questions down below for anyone who wants to join in on this blog-a-palooza or simply answer in the comments below!

Questions:
1. Who’s your favorite Disney princess and why?
2. What’s a fun fact that nobody knows about you?
3. Which Hogwarts House do you belong in? (Blended House names are also acceptable)
4. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your own writing process/journey to publication?
5. Which track is currently the most-listened-to song on your iTunes?
6. Given the choice, would you rather sell one huge-deal book in your entire career, or a bunch of books considered mediocre in the eyes of the public?
7. If you were given the choice of immortality, would you take it?
8. What’s the most essential part of your writing routine?
9. If you could live in any fantasy world, what would it be?
10. What’s the most valuable piece of advice from you or another author that you can give to an aspiring writer?

Enter the Writing Cave (at your own risk)

No joke.

Writers who write know that the cave is not all sunshine and rainbows of endless creativity. I mean, I guess it can be in some way. Entering the writing cave can be like a fun, exciting creative pillow you get to fall on when you’re feeling crazy-inspired and productive. Or, it can be a soul-sucking black hole of hours gone and hours spent in pajamas and looking at a screen, typingtypingtyping, and wondering wtf you’re doing. Lucky me, I experience both, and it tends to veer toward the Dementor-like black hole side.

*also, on a Harry Potter note, moment of silence in memory of the Battle of Hogwarts*

I fall into writing caves A LOT. And when I do that, it will be as if I disappeared from the world. Seriously. I’ll pop my head out of the cave for food, of course. But when I’m trapped in that writing-frenzy where I just NEED to work on my story for my own sanity, you will just never hear from me again . . .

Just kidding. While I do hold my writing as my priority, it is healthy and good for the headspace to just step back and venture into the real world sometimes—which I have been doing these past weeks (*snaps for me*) in an effort to keep the writing cave from sucking my soul entirely.

I saw sun, breathed in fresh air, rediscovered civilization . . . okay, too dramatic. But I did go out a bunch of times and met up with old friends who I hadn’t seen in an obscene amount of time (three trillion guesses why), and it felt nice to leave the writer home. However, it was also nice to come back after a few hours away.

Sometimes falling into the writing cave is amazing for when you just need to pound out words and get the story-train chugging along. That’s my favorite writing cave. But sometimes there’s the risk of getting in too deep to a point where you start feeling out of the loop with the world, losing track of reading books, separation anxiety with your computer, or delay catching up on other interests for weeks on end because every free moment is devoted to your story. I’m totally guilty of that, so to be more proactive in trying to poke my head out of the writing cave every so often, here are some updates sans(-ish) writing.

Reading Things: Disclaimer: I am horrendously behind on my Goodreads challenge. What part of me thought that reading 90 books this year would be a good idea? It was super easy in the past, but now not so much. However, I refuse to admit defeat just yet! I recently read a cool graphic novel called Cairo by G. Willow Wilson, a wonderful NA titled Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (GREAT recc, Akshaya!! We must discuss!), and I’m currently getting into a YA Fantasy Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. Still, there are soooo many books on the TBR list, though. But to be fair, it is a mountain that cannot be conquered because it keeps growing. Hopefully I can get back into that obsessive reading frenzy as I do with writing to knock out some books on the list.

Television Things: I’ve been watching A LOT of Netflix and Dancing with the Stars, and I am totally not ashamed of it. I love dancing shows and movies, which is an obsession in itself that garners its own post. I’ll probably do another post on my television watches, just because I love lining them all up with funny little gifs. But for the sake of this post, the TV front is still pretty healthy.

Music Things: Further proof that I am obsessed with Dancing with the Stars. Here’s something that’s not on my writing playlist, but I have been listening to it on an unholy repeat because it just makes me so happy. And, of course, DWTS.

Riker and Allison are my faves, just saying. Plus they did a PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN Paso Doble, which made me love them even more. If they don’t win, my tantrum will be heard all across the universe.

Social Media/World Things: Today, William and Kate brought a baby girl into the world! This to me is just sooo crazy, only because when I was last in London I was there during the pivotal time when Prince George was born. And boy was it crazy. The pubs were all celebrating the birth, Buckingham Palace was swarming with crowds right after, and EVERYONE in general was just so excited about the baby that it was like all of London was anxiously pacing in the waiting room as one big family. It’s blows my mind that now they have a princess–I guess it’s infectious because I’m unreasonably excited for them too!

Along with having a ton of other work-related things to do this week, with these updates and all the venturing into the outside world I’ve been doing, it’s been a solid period of not letting the writing cave suck me back in too too much.

Nah man, I’m good