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Saturday, November 30, 2013


*waves* 50,000 you are looking mighty fine. 50K, fifty thousand. In all your varieties I'm thrilled to reach you...

Yesterday with 4000 words left to go I sat down after the non-writing of wonderful Thanksgiving and nothing came. I mean seriously, I couldn't even reach the 1667 daily WC goal. By 10:30 I'd fallen asleep in front of the screen multiple times and discovered "e" is the key I hit as I fall asleep typing. Whether it's because "e" is so often used, or that middle fingers weigh more, or because I'm left handed I'm not sure. Anyone else experienced this phenomenon? Well, moving on:)

I gave up and went to bed then woke up this morning and the words flowed off my fingertips. 2.5k in the1.5 hours before the family woke. I completed the home stretch (640 words) just now, went through the stress of figuring out how to compile from Scrivener (file, compile, choose your fomat), and validated my novel. Thanks to all who cheered me on in the process and all the other writers out there keeping me going. The #5amwritersclub helped so dang much. Hugs and left-over pumpkin pie for everyone:) And if you're still beating at the keys, you guys can do it! I'm cheering for you!

Random stats:
Number of days I wrote: 24
Biggest word count day: 5,137
Smallest word count day: 544
Number of manuscripts I worked on: 2 (45k in Voices and 5k in Red)
Number of Write-Ins I attended: Zero, but I'll correct this next year.
Estimated number of words to finish my novel: 15 K

 I'll have a few reviews up next week. See you then. And thanks, guys, for reading my blog and giving me comment love. This thankful month, I'm especially thankful for you.

Now to finish my other November challenge:
buttons, eight ornaments, and the hanger to go.

Monday, November 25, 2013


For the past three years Charleston, SC's and Blue Bicycle Books have hosted Yallfest. This year 50 of the country's top YA and MG authors, including 25 NYT bestsellers came for panels, presentations, and signings. And it is ALL free. Which is probably why the numbers on attendees rose to over 4000 people, well over 1k more than expected.

I asked my HS, turned writer, friend, Denise McKibbin, to come with me and we had so much fun catching up, discussing the authors we had to meet (me: Carrie Ryan, her: Libba Bray), and freaking out about the awesomeness of Yallfest.
Denise McKibbin and I in front of Blue Bicycle Books after our surreal day of happy


My Book Haul
Bought: The Evolution of Mara Dyer, Elenor and Park, In a Grass Grimly, Nick and Nora's Ultimate Playlist, Brightly Woven, Girl of Fire and Thorns (not pictured), We Are Not Eaten by Yaks. Brought from home: The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Shadow and Bone,

Why I loved it:
Besides being free, this was my first book festival. I've always be to book conferences where I workshopped my materials, made connections, and tried to act professional. This time, I was 100% book lover/reader and while I did envision myself sitting in one of those seats (I mean who wouldn't?) I let myself be carried away in the fun and happy atmosphere of great books and great authors. Watching them interact was great fun. Like, did you know that Ransom Riggs (Mrs. P. Home for Peculiar Children) is married to Tahereh Mafi (of Shatter Me series glory?) And she was so cute and tiny with these five inch plus clear shoes with sparkles in the bottom like the 70's shoes with goldfish swimming in them. I learned little things like that Rainbow really is Rainbow Rowell's first name (and she was so nice and amazing and giving I had to buy her book) Likewise with Alexandra Bracken; I had never heard of her or her books, but watching her quiet beauty and her words-esp. to the teen writers out there-I had to read her.

What was hard:
The signings and panels happened at the same time and each author only signed for an hour (unless they were Rainbow or Marie Lu who came back for more or stayed beyond their time).

Where I'll be next November:
Back at Yallfest and I plan on seeing you there.

Have you ever been to a book festival? What's your favorite part?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest Post: WRITING COLLABORATIONS by Jolene Perry

I'm doing this with Nano
 so I asked the insanely talented Jolene Perry to take over my blog.

If you're looking for the Veterans Day DEPLOYED giveaway, scroll down or click here.

Take it away, Jolene. My blog is now yours ... at least for today;)


I think it’s fun that people are so curious about this. The most asked question that Nyrae and I got on Out of Play was – HOW DO YOU WRITE WITH SOMEONE ELSE???

Here are a few things I wanna tell EVERYONE about it.

1.     If you like being in control, don’t write a collaboration ;-) The FIRST thing I do when I step into writing a story with someone else, is know that the story is out of my hands, know that if someone vetoes my idea, I just move forward, which brings me to…
2.     When you edit. Edit forward. What I mean by this is – If your partner deletes something of yours, or says – “this doesn’t work” or something along those lines. You move forward. You LET IT GO and continue on. If you’re frustrated about this, that’s not good ;-) Which brings me to…
3.     I write collaborations for FUN. The second they’re not fun, I’d walk away. This has not yet happened to me because I’m good at #1 and #2. And this brings me to…
4.     You must trust your writing partner. You HAVE to trust their instincts as a writer, their knowledge of their character, and that they know how to craft a story. Which brings me to…
5.     Picking your partner – The first person I collaborated with was Nyrae Dawn. She is AH-mazing. She’d been writing for a lot longer than I had, and I knew I’d learn a lot. Dizzy was the first book I ever wrote IN ORDER because Nyrae writes in order. Which helps me remember…
6.     I always learn so much when I write with someone new. From Nyrae I learned how to write a story starting at the beginning. I tried to write one on my own this way after we finished Dizzy and it didn’t work, BUT it helped.
7.     Nyrae and I approach a story differently. I come up with the character and the story decisions are dictated by that character. Nyrae comes up with the storyline and then molds her character to fit to it. HARD for me to work this way, but again – see #1.
8.     Christa Desir is not only a writer but an editor. She writes emotion like NO ONE else I know. I really pushed myself to dig deeper into my characters after writing with her. Also. If you’re intimidated by your partner b/c of their awesomeness like I used to be with her? (Now I’m just thrilled to be friends w/ someone who has so much awesomeness) I think it’s a GOOD thing. It’s also good to diversify who you write with, for example…
9.     I needed to write something light and fun, emailed Cassie Mae a premise and a few ideas and she sent me a Chapter One later that day. LOVE that. Her comedy writing is brilliant, so I learned a lot from her too. And…
10. Steph Campbell is the second person I wrote with. She does such amazing deep, conflicted love stories. And we didn’t know when we started, if Tobin and Delia would find their way to each other in the end. It worked. For us.
11. With all of these partners, we each took a character, a general idea of where we wanted the story to go from beginning to end, and then sort of mapped out (kind of) the few chapters ahead of wherever we are. I like to keep things loose so the unexpected can happen while writing.
12. Benefits: I learn a LOT from the people I write with. It’s FUN. There are no long pauses while I figure out plot points b/c I always have a brainstorm partner who knows the story as well as I do. Their audience reads our book, and hopefully some of those people wanna come hang and read my books, and vice versa…
13. So. IF you can do #1 and #2, and keep all the other fun stuff in mind… Writing a collab is a BLAST.
14. And FINALLY. Me and Cassie Mae will be teaching a class on collabs at the LDS Storymakers Conference in 2014 :-D

Jolene wears juvenile T-shirts, worn out chucks and eats too much chocolate. She writes. A lot. She makes up words, drinks Shirley Temples and suffocates a little without her iPod. She writes for Albert Whitman Teen, Entangled Teen and Simon Pulse. Rep'd by Jane Dystel of DYSTEL & GODERICH.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Veterans Day Guest Post with Dr. Stanley Hall

The "Hub" here. Robin's "Hub," that is. As she mentioned in this post, I'm not familiar with the mockinjay, but have a huge passion for birdwatching as well as rock climbing and helping military families. I moved to the Mojave desert as a marriage and family therapist counseling US Marines & Sailors. I added birds to my life-list and grew in my appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of military families.

I moved to 29 Palms because I needed a job and wanted to climb in Joshua Tree. However, leaving 29 Palms is something I've only done physically. Emotionally, I am still tied to the military families who serve in that hot desert. The crucible-like conditions caused many families to split-up, and some went home rather than endure the extreme conditions of intense training and isolation. However, many families survive and come out stronger. Some stay and call it "home" even after their term of service is over.
On this Veteran's Day I want to honor all those who have sacrificed for our country and
praise them for their service. In honor of today I am giving away one paperback and two free electronic copies of my book, DEPLOYED: THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR FAMILIES AT WAR.

All you have to do is comment below to be entered. 

If you would like to purchase DEPLOYED for yourself or a military family please click here (and scroll to the bottom of the page). 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oops...In Over My Head

So with all the happenings of November I forgot about ISWG. So instead of coming up with something on the spot, here's the link to my CP Ilima Todd and her spot on post for this morning. If you don't already follow her, you should. She's the real deal.


I won't forget next time. Happy crazy November. And if you're NaNoing I feel both your excitement and your pain. You can do it!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Conversation with the Hubs

NaNo is off to a great start (4442 in the first 2 days), so I took a break and went to see Ender's Game with the hubby Saturday night. It was all I'd hoped it would be (and I want the soundtrack). Orson Scott Card has been one of my writing heroes for pretty much forever. I've met him twice, we're both Mormon, and now we live in the same state.

Actual conversation in the theatre with hubby after this Catching Fire preview (Nov. 22nd, guys!)

Hubby: Why do they keep showing that weird sideways roadrunner?
Me: It's not a roadrunner, it's a mockingjay.
Hubby (and birding expert): There is no such thing as mocking jays
Me: Stifled snort. Maybe not in real life, but in The Hunger Games Series they were genetically engineered...and then they became a symbol...
Hubby covers my hand: Shh...okay, I got it.

Needless to say he won't be watching that movie with me;)

In other news:
My agent sister Gail Nall sold her MG novel to Aladdin for publication Spring 2015!!! You can congratulate her here on her blog or on twitter @gailecn
I'm up on First Impressions again, this time with my MG Life is a Tongue Twister. you can check it out here or here.

I'll be back next week with a guest post by the incredible Jolene Perry and possibly a NaNo update.
How's your November shaping up? Did you use that extra hour this morning to kick some WC bootie?

Friday, November 1, 2013

What I'm Doing this Month

And my inspiration for the month:

So here I am, typing away even when I have SO much other and don't know if I will reach 50K. I might fail this year, but at least I'm trying:D

Here's how I make NaNo work:
1. Let myself write crap.
2. Set a consistent time that works for me. (for me it's 5am, but we can't all be early risers)
3. No internet until I've written 1k. (It's amazing how that ups my productivity.)
4. Do sprints (15 or 30 min., whatever floats your boat) Join a group or a sprint online (twitter is great for this.
5. Take a day off. I take off Sundays and my Mondays are usually high word count, amazing.
6. Remind myself that even if I don't reach 50K, I'm learning and growing from the process. Still, I push for 50K, even when it's hard.

I have a guest post planned, but otherwise this blog will be rather quiet this month. If you're doing NaNo be my buddy and we can cheer each other to our goals!