children's writer

A Check in for January

Jan 21, 2016

January is almost over, so I thought I'd stop in to tell you guys what I've been up to. The picture above is of my cork board. I'm 13k into my YA contemporary, and yesterday I finally decided that I needed to go back and outline what I've written. I love being a pantser, but a strange thing always happens where I run out of scenes. I guess I'd used up all of the ones that were floating around in my mind. It usually happens at the end of act one. No worries though. After some brainstorming, I know how I want to wrap up this act. I'm excited.

You probably didn't see it, but I wrote a post about posting my story to Wattpad. I ended up deleting it because I thought I'd changed my mind. Here I am blogging about it again. I've uploaded the first chapter of my YA contemporary, THEN THERE WAS US. I'm kind of doing a little experiment to see if I can grow an audience on the site, or make a ton of new friends. It's almost been a week. This Friday makes a week since the story's been up. I have a cover I love, a decent description, and tons of hope.

I've been looking for more opportunities to get my work out there. I've found some, but then the nerves set in. I tend to doubt myself, thinking I'm totally not good enough to enter such a contest. I know it's silly to think that way because you truly never know unless you try. In the same vain as above, I entered a one shot contest on Wattpad. The theme was New Year's resolutions, and I had fun writing my entry. It's called The Riot Queens, and it's about wanting to be someone else for a change.

YARWA Editing Workshop
I signed up for a workshop on editing your NaNo novel. I believe this is our second week. So far I've learned so many new tips and tricks for editing. We only focus on our first chapter, but the plan is to take what we've learned and apply it to our whole manuscript. I honestly have a love, hate relationship with the story I wrote for NaNo. It's written in a completely different style than what I'm used to, third person and the tone is lighter. Maybe I'll also be putting it up on Wattpad. We'll see.

So these have been some of my highlights in January so far. What were/are some of yours?

Quotes From my Journal

Jan 9, 2016

Inspired by DIY MFA, Quotes From my Journal is a round-up of inspiring quotes I've accumulated throughout the week. This week features quotes from Anne Frank to poet Christopher Poindexter. I especially love the one by Jorge Luis Borges.
"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." - Anne Frank 
"When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation." - Jorge Luis Borges 
"You will never regret being kind." 
"In the world through which I travel I am endlessly creating myself." 
"I will never be a morning person, for the moon and I are much too in love." - Christopher Poindexter.
"And all I loved, I loved alone." - Edgar Allan Poe

Why I Changed my Goodreads Challenge Goal

Jan 8, 2016

Eight days into the new year, and I've already decided that I couldn't quite hack it when it came to two of my resolutions. Judging by the title of this post, I bet you know which ones they are.

Yesterday, I lowered my Goodreads reading challenge goal from fifty to twenty, which is just one more book than I read last year. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I did try you guys, which sounds so silly given that the year has only begun. I didn't try nearly as hard as I should have. When I sat down to read the day before yesterday, I knew in my heart there was no way I'd read fifty books this year or get through ten classics. I think the main reason I set such lofty goals for myself was because I wanted to keep up with everyone else. Some of you read upwards of one hundred books a year, and here I was only having read nineteen.

So I've changed my goal and my attitude. I now only want to read three classics. As the saying goes, it is best to be true to yourself. Cranking up my reading goal so I could sit with the kids who read at a much faster a pace than I do wasn't a good idea. I definitely felt the pressure.

I want to take my time with reading, savoring each glorious sentence. I don't want to rush myself, or get to a point where I feel reading is a chore. There are still so many books I want to read, and at my pace I probably won't get to them all. But the books I do read this year will be remembered. Now that I think about it, I can't remember ever reading so fast. The books I love most were enjoyed for weeks at a time.

Do you ever feel pressure to read more?

Beautiful People: 2016 Writerly Goals & Resolutions

Jan 7, 2016

Hello! I'm popping in today with the Beautiful People link-up hosted by Sky and Cait. I've done the Beautiful Books link-up hosted by them, but this is my first foray with Beautiful People. Let's jump right in.

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

Last year was a decent writing year for me. I managed to finish two manuscripts, both young adult light fantasy. I also did a little bit of querying, then in November I participated in NaNoWriMo. That was basically the highlight of my year in writing.

2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

I'm almost 10k into a YA contemporary titled THEN THERE WAS US. I don't want to say too much  about it right now, but it was inspired by one of my favorite movies An Education. You guys have no idea how much I love that movie, and when I got the idea for my novel I just knew I had to write it. It has all of the things I love in a contemporary. Writing contemporary again feels like having a bit of chocolate for the first time.

3. List five areas you'd like to work the hardest to improve this year.

1. Characterization - I feel like I could do better at developing my characters. In my first drafts, I tend to do only a little bit of it. 

2. Dialogue - I actually think I've gotten better at this, but there's always room for improvement.

3. Pacing - Yeah, I have a hard time knowing if I'm doing this right. 

4. Setting - Like characterization, I always do the least amount of it while drafting. 

5. Voice - I tend to focus on this the most while I'm writing, but I'd like to make sure it's consistent throughout the whole story.

4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I'm not right now, not really, but who knows. The year is still young. I am doing a writing reward system. For every milestone I reach, I get to treat myself. So once I reach 10k I'll be dropping everything to read all day. I'm also challenging myself to write two novels this year, and I'm taking a writing workshop through YARWA.

5. What's your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

I do have plans to exchange my NaNo novel with another writer later this year. I don't have a critique group, but I always manage to find someone to swap chapters with if need be. I don't think I'll be expanding. I'm pretty content for now.

6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I don't have any plans to read writer-related books this year. I probably will though. I would also love to find some comp titles, so I will be reading for those.

7. Pick one character you'd like to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

I would love to get to get to know my main character Katherine Elliot better. I plan to achieve this by writing her story, then, once it's complete, I'll probably go in and flesh her out some more. I had success filling out character worksheets in the past. I might have to do this for some minor characters.

8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what's your plan of attack?

I definitely plan to do both. My plan of attack is to have this novel finished by May 15, let it rest for two weeks, and then hop right into edits once those two weeks are up. I hope to have the novel edited by August so I can enter Pitch Wars.

9. What are the books you want to see more of, and what "holes" do you think need filling in the literary world?

I would love to see more books featuring characters of color, especially written by people of color. I want to see more POC in fantasies, science fictions, and contemporaries. I think this is a hole that needs to be filled. More people are realizing this, but we obviously aren't where we need to be.

10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

By the end of 2016, I would love to have written two new books. I would love to have both my NaNo novel and current WIP edited and ready for submission. I would love to have made some new acquaintances in the online writing kidlit community. I've also been thinking of putting my NaNo novel up on Wattpad once it's ready to go. And I would love to have a literary agent, but that is out of my control.

Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. As usual, happy reading and writing!


Jan 6, 2016
Hello! Every month Cole Burke and I will be hosting Previously, a monthly recap of our writing month. It was inspired by What's Up Wednesday. This is my post for January, just to show you guys how it'll work. There will be a link-up starting the last Wednesday of next month.

The headers:

Previously in Writing
Previously in Reading
Next Time in Goals
A Word of Advice

Previously in Writing

I'm currently working on a YA contemporary and it's going quite well. I'm nearing the 10k mark. I've set up this reward system inspired by another writer, so at every milestone I get a little treat. 10k means I get to spend all day reading. Seeing as how my reading is going, I really need it.

Previously in Reading

My goal for 2016 is to read 50 books. That's about a book a week. I'm currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying the book. It's just that I'm such a slow reader. I feel like I'm behind already and it's only January.

Next Time in Goals

This has got to be my favorite. I love goal setting but I can never seem to accomplish all of them. I do try though. My goal for this month is to hit 10k on my contemporary and read four books. I've also signed up for a writing workshop through YARWA, so I'll be trying to whip my NaNo novel into shape. I honestly don't know what I want to do with my NaNo just yet. We'll see.

A Word of Advice

There were a few moments while drafting where I found myself overwhelmed by doubt. I think this doubt stemmed from comparing myself to other writers. I quickly had to give myself a little pep talk.I told myself I had no business comparing my beginning to someone's finished product. If I had any advice to give it would be that. As a wise man once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

That's it for me. How's your month going so far? Be sure to stop by at the end of February for the link-up. 

2016 Resolutions

Jan 4, 2016

My apologies for not posting since the 15th. I decided to take a short break during the holidays, but from today posting will resume as usual.  I thought it would be great to pop-in and share some of my reading and writing resolutions for 2016. Like everyone else, I'm really hoping this year will be a great one. 2015 was okay for me. If there's one thing I've learned it's that you can't  sit around and hope for things. You have to get out there and make things happen. I'm such a shy person, so this isn't always so easy for me. This year, I'd like to put myself out there more. Now, onto the resolutions.

Read 50 Books

Last year, I only read nineteen. I know that's a huge leap to fifty, but I figure a book a week is a good goal to aim for. In 2015, my reading was sporadic. I went days, weeks without reading anything at all. I know there's a vivacious reader living in me. I just need to stop procrastinating. I'm currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green, and I'm really enjoying it.

Read 10 Classics

I believe I only read two last year, which is so unbelievably sad. I have quite a few on my Kindle, so there's no reason why I shouldn't be reading them. I guess I get so distracted by newer releases I forget that there's a whole bunch of books in public domain waiting to be read.

Take a Writing Workshop

I've already got this one covered. I signed up for a workshop though YARWA. If you've been looking into workshops, they have some really affordable ones, even for non-members. I'm looking forward to starting this workshop this month. I heard from another writer that there's much to look forward to.

Write and Finish Two Novels

I'm already working on one, and it's going quite well. I want to be finished with it by mid-March. I plan to write the other in the later part of the year. After a short while experimenting with  fantasy, I'm back to writing contemporary again. I feel really comfortable writing contemporary. It's like home sweet home.

Enter a Writing Contest

There are always quite a few contests going on each year. I entered a few last year and had a lot of fun. There are a couple contests I have my eye on, so we'll see. I think contests are a wonderful way to get your work out there and meet other writers. In fact, meeting other writers is a top priority for me.

These are just a few of the goals I'd like accomplish this year. Some will be easier than others for sure, but I'm looking forward to it. I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I hope 2016 is off to a great start for you. This year I'll be hosting Previously with Cole Burke. My first post goes live on Wednesday.

As usual, happy reading and writing!