The Chance You Won’t Return – Bookplates Are In!

One of my favorite things as an author is getting to sign copies of my book. It’s been awesome getting to meet and sign for readers at events, but it’s a little harder to sign copies for readers who don’t live in the general New England area.

Solution: bookplates!

photo 2I now have The Chance You Won’t Return bookplates (ie, stickers that you can put inside your book) that I can sign and send to readers across the country!

If you want a signed bookplate, check out my Contact page and let me know your contact info and if you’d like any personalization. Looking forward to sending these out!

Links Galore

Lots of good links:

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been hoarding:

 

Every Word Counts: What I Learned in NaNoWriMO

Regular followers may have noticed some relative blog silence around these parts, and that’s largely been due to NaNoWriMo. This was my first year fully committing to a writing 50,000 words in November as part of a new project, and I’m happy to say that I hit that 50k yesterday!

Winner-2014-Twitter-Profile

(I had no idea the winning badge included a dragon. I will do just about anything for a dragon.)

I spent a lot of time away from the blog and staring at a Word document, but I’m so happy I took part in this year’s NaNoWriMo. It ended up being a pretty worthwhile experiment. The whole “just write a first draft, who cares if it’s bad, it’s words on paper that you can edit later” approach always sounds better in my head than in actual execution. Usually, I tell myself “just write” but I end up finagling more as I go. I still ended up doing some of that during NaNo, but I pushed myself way more than I normally do on any given day. I know that my NaNo project isn’t perfect, and there’s still a lot to figure out in revision, but I’m pretty happy with where it is overall. It was nice to find that balance between “just get words on the page!” and “carefully craft all the words.”

Also, I’m someone who doesn’t generally look at word count. If you ask me how many words I typically write per day, I’d say “Oh, I don’t know. A hundred? A thousand? Some amount of words?” Usually I track my progress by scene, and at the end of the day I’ll see how many pages that ended up being. NaNo was a fun way to make me a little more competitive with myself–I’d finish a scene and think “Oh, that’s really close to X number of words, which is a nice even number. Let’s do just a little more.” Although I still don’t have any real idea of how many words equal a scene or page, looking at word count was a helpful way to push myself that little bit further on any given day.

I’m really happy to have hit that 50k, but even if I had fallen behind (because life happens!), I would have still been happy to take part in NaNo. Because even if you only end up with 50 words, maybe that’s 50 more than you would have written. Every word counts. Whether it’s November or June, and whether it’s a novel or a short story or a poem–every word you write makes you a better writer. There’s no failing and no wasted time when you’re writing. Getting any number words on a page and crafting a story bit by bit makes you stronger as a storyteller. And that’s awesome.

My NaNo WIP isn’t done yet (probably another 25k or so to go), but I’m excited to keep pushing forward. I hope you’re excited about your WIP, too. Let’s go slay more word dragons!

And speaking of dragons, I spent Thanksgiving at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it was awesome!

photo (10)

Quote of the Day

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”William Faulkner

A little inspiration for anyone writing today, especially those of you participating in NaNoWriMo. Forget what anyone else is doing or has done–focus on what you’re doing right now.

(Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, reproduction number LOT 12735, no. 368.)

Ten Reasons Why You Should Read…No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

I was so glad to get No Place to Fall in the mail. Obviously I’m a big fan of contemporary realistic YA, and I have a special place in my heart for books about a) small town life, and b) the South. No Place to Fall had that perfect small town, Southern atmosphere that I was hoping for, and so much more. Here are a few of my reasons why you should read No Place to Fall:

1. Amber
The entire time I was reading No Place to Fall, I kept picturing Tyra Collete from Friday Night Lights. If you’re an FNL fan, you already know this means lots of feels. For those who haven’t yet experience FNL (seriously, go to Netflix now), that basically means Amber is a complicated character filled with lots of heart and lots of doubt and lots of strength and lots of sass and lots of pain and lots of awesomeness.

2. Mama and Daddy
A part of No Place to Fall that I didn’t expect based on the general blurb but ended up loving–Amber’s parents and their relationship. They’re facing their own relationship trouble and come across as very real characters. Even though it would be easy to put the blame on one party or another, they come across as real people with real problems, and I love how Amber loves both of her parents, sometimes in spite of herself. Also really want a warm hug from Mama.

3. Whitney and Sammy
Amber’s sister, Whitney, and Whitney’s boyfriend, Sammy, provide another unexpected dose of real life. Sammy’s involved in drugs, which means Whitney is, too, and trouble for Amber’s family. But even Sammy isn’t a mustache-twirling villain. He and Whitney are people who have made some bad choices, but are very real people caught in a cycle of drugs and crime in a small town.

4. Music
Music is a big part of No Place to Fall. I loved getting a sense of Amber finds escape through song, from folk tunes to country to classical to church hymns.

5. Church
Religion is a big part of lots of teens’ lives, but I don’t encounter a lot of it in YA novels. I liked seeing church and religion as a presence in Amber’s life, which felt like another real touch in a small, rural town. It was also nice to see church not as a particular plot point (aside from Amber’s musical connections there), but as part of her life.

6. Romance (and more)
A classic recipe for romance: one guy + one girl + music = romance. No Place to Fall has lots of that, plus some real-life heat for Amber. I like that she lets herself be physical, and that the book never shames her for it, even when she makes some less than wise choices. Again, another detail that made her feel like a real teen.

7. Small towns
No Place to Fall feels like the kind of book that needs to be set in a small town. Amber is very aware of what people think of her, of her family, and how deeply she’s tied to the place she lives–both in bad and good ways. One thing that made No Place to Fall stand apart was that aspect of bad and good. Small town life isn’t just something to run away from here. Amber may have bigger things in front of her, but she can’t deny her home.

8. Friends
Amber’s world is also populated by a circle of friends, including best friend Devon, who’s dealing with being a gay teen in a small town, and the other two Ambers in her high school, one of whom is a popular, pretty cheerleader and actually nice! (So glad not to see mean girl cheerleader stereotypes.) It feels like Amber has a wide circle of people she cares about, which felt like a real teen’s friendships. Not everyone has just one best friend!

9. Southern living
No Place to Fall also feels very routed in the South. Amber lives along the Appalachian Trail, where she meets hikers and feels music in the mountains. She’s a character who’s very much a part of where she lives and, although part of that is about small town life (as mentioned above), I don’t think Amber would be the same girl living in a small town in Vermont or Minnesota.

10. Jaye Robin Brown
Jaye is a fellow OneFour Kidlit author and all-around delightful person. In addition to writing YA novels with a lot of feels, she’s also an art teacher, which means that if you follow her on Twitter or Instagram, you get lots of pictures of cool artwork.

No Place to Fall is available on December 9th, so put it on your pre-order list now!

Links Galore

A few good links: