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Bout of Books 15, Day 4: Can’t Get Enough

Bout of Books 15, Day 4: Can’t Get Enough

So, I’ve finished my first book and moved onto the second! Loving every second of this reading week. Still on track with most of my goals, though I had to take a break from writing because I absolutely, positively need to devour every available book of Kingdom of the Lost Cities as soon as possible. Really. The universe is in jeopardy, and burying my face in a series of books will save us all.

At least, that’s what the hunger to know what happens feels like. Must . . . read . . . NOW.

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Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities

Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities

The world is inundated with all kinds of books for all kinds of people, and that is a beautiful thing. What is more beautiful is when just the right book finds you at just the right time, blocking out all the noise from books crying to be read on your own shelves, never mind those of the local library/bookstore. This was one of those books.

“Keeper of the Lost Cities,” written by Shannon Messenger, struck me from the first synopsis and several-page read from Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. Would it hold up to its promise? Could Messenger execute such a grand idea? Would this *finally* be the middle grade book of my dreams?

Yes. A resounding yes, on all accounts. 

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Bout of Books 15, Day 3: Dealing with Frustration

Bout of Books 15, Day 3: Dealing with Frustration

Well. Today was a success on the Bout of Books front and the overall life-wellness front, but not so much on the writing goals front. But there were reasons.

I woke up refreshed, at a normal time, and began my day with my weekly writing coach call with Kevin T. Johns. That was inspiring as usual and gave me new things to think about as I progressed through the week. I then achieved my other 2016 goals by going to a yoga class and taking a walk around a local park: exercise and sunshine, very good things. I came home intending to get my writing done before I picked my book back up, but that didn’t happen.

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Bout of Books 15, Day 2—New Book Discovery

Bout of Books 15, Day 2—New Book Discovery

Bout of Books came upon me suddenly: fellow writer and friend Audra Atoche told me about it two weeks ago, and then I promptly forgot until she reminded me yesterday that it had officially begun. So I was left scrambling to figure out what books to read over this next week.

I have no shortage of books on my shelves, many of which I haven’t gotten around to actually reading, and I received books for Christmas that I (and the gift-givers) am excited to delve into. However, most of these don’t meet the job-related aspect of reading, and I’ve been feeling a little “stuck” lately in my own writing. So, to Goodreads I went, to find a good middle-grade fantasy book to sink my teeth into.

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Bout of Books: The Ultimate Read-A-Thon

Bout of Books: The Ultimate Read-A-Thon

Today begins Bout of Books 15, a week-long read-a-thon that runs from today, January 4, and runs through Sunday, January 10. Basically, you pledge to read more than you normally do, then update your progress on social media to keep in touch with the wonderful community that makes this event so much bigger and better than just reading a book on your own time, by yourself. There are challenges, chats, prizes, etc., but for me, I’m mostly looking forward to having an impetus to start off one of my 2016 goals: to read more!

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Star Wars: Has the Force Reawakened?

Star Wars: Has the Force Reawakened?

Today is a momentous day for geek culture: Star Wars: The Force Awakens has officially released, and fans young and old are descending to theaters in its wake. Since the movie has taken a page out of the Black Friday rule book and began showings in my area yesterday at 7 pm, I had the good fortune of catching the movie last night.

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How Book Culture Failed Me

How Book Culture Failed Me

Since the crossover appeal of the Harry Potter series took the publishing world by storm, the children’s lit market has exploded with books written thematically for children that are advanced enough for adults. It’s a wonderful time to be a young reader, with so many book options and discovery methods available to them. As a writer of children’s fiction, I’m reading more in that category now than I ever did as a young teen.

I had thought that was because there were so few conceptually advanced books around for middle-grade readers in the mid-‘90s, but I’m now discovering something far more insidious: the book culture in my town failed me as a young reader.

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Get Thee a Writing Community

Get Thee a Writing Community

When the clock struck 12 am, NaNoWriMo officially came to an end. Even though I “rebelled” a bit this month with that agent submission, I managed to write 50,000 words and won. Yay me!

Giving would-be authors an incentivized deadline is one of the great gifts of NaNo, but for me, it’s not the most important one. I treasure the community of NaNo above all else: the write-ins, the camaraderie, the “being in the trenches” with fellow writers who are on the same journey I am. That’s why it’s so important to use NaNo, or any other gathering or conference, to cultivate your own writing community for the long haul.

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Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain

There will only ever be one “first submission for my novel” to a literary agent (full manuscript or otherwise). Last week, I achieved that milestone.

At the conclusion of my Pitchapalooza win a few weeks back, an agent contacted me and wanted to see some material for my (as-yet-unfinished) book. She gave me a list of items to prepare as a book proposal to showcase the story and my writing ability before the full manuscript is completed. She gave me three weeks.

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The Authentic Me

I’ve been writing the (new) first draft of my novel for a little over a month now, and I’m in the second week of NaNoWriMo, which I’ve done and won twice before. The journey has been an unexpected one: I keep telling myself that it will get easier, that I’ve already proven I can burst through a first draft. That’s not truly the case, though. I’ve never written under these particular circumstances, and I feel my path is less one of getting that first draft written and more one of discovering myself and my writing process. I’m finally at a place where I am casting aside preconceived notions of what I (feel I) should be doing. I am instead embracing the Authentic Me.

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