Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Bookish Awesomeness

In my 2012 wrap-up post, I wrote this about 2013: "This is going to be an awesome year. I just know it."

And I was right. OMG, was I right. Note that 13 is my favorite number (usually not by choice- it was my locker number because I was alphabetically number 13, and it just kept following me from there.)

There are still some 2013 things in the works that won't be out until 2014 (like new baby niece, who is happily growing away in my sister) and some writing things, but let's talk about the awesomeness that was 2013 that has already happened:


The SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC.
  • Where I finally met Jaime Morrow in person, and she's as sweet as she is online *tackle hugs Jaime*
  • Where I skipped out part of the way through on Saturday to go to a booksigning where I yarnily fangirled Jodi Meadows.
  • Where I met Julie Andrews and Emma Watson, which was awesome because, well, Julie Andrews!! (can I blame her for almost becoming a nun when I was a teen?)
Me and Margot from Epic Reads (ugh, my hair. February in NYC, you hate me)

Me and Jodi. And knit Anna, Sam, and the dragon


The SCBWI EPA Poconos Conference*

*So, uh... I forgot my phone (like, totally forgot it) and didn't bring a camera, so you'll have to trust me that this in the most gorgeous conference location you'll ever visit.**

**On a realistic note, remember that I love camp and we got to stay in cabins and went on a nature hike and OMG, it is so pretty.
  • Where I roomed with Deena in the cutest cabin on the planet
  • Where I got to hang out with the wonderful Kit Grindstaff again- And stalk her until she signed a copy of The Flame in the Mist for me.
  • Where I made so many new writerly friends: Blair Thornburgh (who was in my peer critique group and I fell in love with her manuscript so much from only a few words,) Kim Briggs (who was in my workshop group and made me fall for her manuscript, too,) and Alison Myers (who sat in on some of our workshop sessions-- reading aloud the best abs scene ever, and led our hike, which was good, because I likely would have fallen off one of the cliffs if I went on my own,) and saw so many friends from last year. And, thankfully, Kim made sure those of us on twitter knew each others' handles!
  • Nature hike! 24/7 access to ice cream! The fooooooood...
  • An awesome workshop with author Kathy Erskine.


Book Expo America Power Reader Day (someday, I'll go on a non-power reader day. Someday...)

  • Where the publishing industry opened its conference doors on its last day to (some) of the public
  • Where I was smart enough (this year) to bring my Zuca skating bag so I wouldn't have to actually *carry* all the books.
  • Where I got to see Traci again *tackle hugs Traci* because she came to visit me while I was on line-- because she's awesome.
  • Where I rushed straight to the SFWA booth to see when Jeri Smith-Ready, author of the Shade series, was going to talk. And later, made sure I was at her talk! And, while there, I ran into the awesome Frankie Diane Mallis!
  • And then I hurried straight to Harlequin to get in line for some of their HarlequinTeen titles!
  • Where I met Karen Rock because I was kind-of, sort-of hanging all over the Spencer Hill Press booth because of Camp Boyfriend...and overheard her saying she was one of the authors. So, I kind-of, sort-of fangirl tackled her. (I'd like to pretend I was all polished and stuff, but, nope. It was more along the lines of "OMG, I can't WAIT for you book! Camp, camp, camp, lalala, babble, babble, babble" (I am so proud of my incoherent fangirl babbling. Really.)
  • Where I stood on a looooooooong line to meet Cora Carmack, who is an absolute sweetie.
  • Where I met the his highness, King Snarkles, and team Epic Reads, and won a Book Shimmy t-shirt!
  • And then I came home and collapsed into a pile of frozen custard-eating goo.
Pic with Traci on line at BEA!



Write-on Con. Which happened right before my birthday. And had some great online live pitch sessions where I learned a LOT about honing my pitch and what works.

Guys, that conference is free. And awesome.


I made it into Pitch Madness (hosted by Brenda Drake) on team Fizzee, (Summer Heacock and Dee Romito. I met the most amazing people, had a roller-coaster of a day when the bids went up on Bookishly, and, well... maybe more news might come from that. Who knows, right?


Eastern PA SCBWI Fall Fest (Saturday Only)

  • Where I saw Kim and Blair again, and had a great 1-day conference (couldn't stay for the second day) in Malvern, PA
A really blurry pic of Blair mid-first pages

NJ Fall Craft Conference (Saturday only)
  • Where I was totally speechless the second I walked into the Princeton Theological Seminary
  • It helps that I was late because I got lost. Pro Tip: Don't be late if you're wearing a red jacket. It makes you impossible to miss, especially if the only door into the conference room is behind the speakers.
  • Where I did my usual fangirl tackle thing to Lizzie Foley, who wrote Remarkable (FYI, if you've never read Remarkable, you MUST, if just for her amazing voice alone.) I missed most of a workshop to speak with her (and for a bit, Jennifer Laughran, too) but I got some great advice. And she's a fencing mom! Wooo!
  • Where I took so many notes during Sean McCarthy's workshop that my hand hurt. But it was just an awesome talk!
  • Where I went home exhausted, but so writer-happy.

Sunset as I headed off to find coffee before dinner
(also, I don't have specific months for this, but I had great news from 2 of my amazing CPs: Veronica Bartles not only had a book offer for her YA, but also an agent for her MG, and Stephanie Pajonas published the first two books in her Nogiku series! Yay for awesome news!)

This has been an awesome year. My favorite part of being a writer is meeting so many wonderful, supportive people in this community. My life is fuller and happier because of all of you and my bank account is emptier because of all your books/recommendations.

My wish for all of you: endless amounts of joy and success in 2014 and beyond. May the words flow effortlessly from your fingers and may your coffee (or herbal tea or hot cocoa) mug be bottomless.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sustaining and Enhancing

Saw this on Tumblr, but since my Tumblr is travel-focused, I thought I'd post it here. With attribution linked below, of course:
via Movie Club.
Hmmm... this is why I do both engineering and writing. It's nice to think that someday, maybe, someone's friend or sibling or parent or grandparent will be mid-surgery with an implant or instruments I worked on and they'll be waiting for the results while reading one of my books. Or that someone post-surgery will be recovering and taking their mind off their pain/discomfort by reading something I wrote.
That's a pretty incredible wish, no?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

No Kiss Blogfest Announcement

The most wonderful time of the year is rolling around again:

The 5th Annual No Kiss Blogfest, hosted by Frankie Diane Mallis and Amalia Dillin.

Click on the link above for the signups and rules.

For my previous blogfest posts, go here for 2012 and here for 2013.

Why should you join this blogfest?

1. Because almost-kisses are the best ever
2. I like to use this as a great writing prompt to play with my characters and practice kissy scenes. Well, almost kissy scenes
3. Because you meet some great bloggers and writers along the way!

I hope to see all of you posting on the 2nd!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Hope...

Today's post is really short, but I'm reposting a favorite quote (you might recognize it) and my wish for every one of you:
"I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Something worth living for-- maybe even worth dying for-- Something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead.

I can't tell you what it might be-- that's for you to find, to choose, to love. I can just encourage you to start looking, and support you in the search."

--written by Sister Ita Ford to her niece shortly before she was martyred in El Salvador, Dec 2, 1980.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I love Yule. I love light festivals. I love how we celebrate light in the midst of darkness. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Yule and Christmas, I love how we're so different yet so alike at the same time. I love how pretty the world becomes these times of the year. (And for my southern hemisphere friends, have a wonderful Midsummer!)

Another year and a repeat quote from my paper journal December 21st, 2001 entry:

"Tonight is Yule-- the longest night of the year.

Tonight reminds us that even the darkest of nights are followed by light, and that even in the worst of times, we have hope. No night is so dark that day will never follow.

...so long as we have hope, it will never truly be dark."

You might not know it, but many of you have been my light in the past, either through your posts, books, comments, texts, or just by being you.

You are all incredible.

On this solstice, I wish you all lives full of light and hope, as bright as the brightest stars in the sky.

Oooh, look! My pretty lantern and a mirror picture at the same time. Wheee!