Psst...



Check back tomorrow for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Wait, what? 
Am I missing the fun? 
What's the YA Scavenger Hunt?

Learn all about YASH, how to enter, play, and the PRIZES!!!




*Here's my entry & my page from the hunt last spring.




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A Few of my Fall Favorite Things

Happy Autumn! I try to do a seasonal compilation of my favorites, which helps me root down to the present and really be here, ya know? I don't go for Christmas decorations already for sale in September, but I really dig pumpkins and mums and cinnamon right about now! 

Here are a few sets from past seasons. The following are a few things that get me ripe for Fall 2015.

A Few of My Favorite Things Autumn 2015




Copper Nail Polish >> It might be sock season, but this color is so subtly festive. 

Colorful Leaves >> Emily Bronte knows what she's talking about. 

Acorn Earrings >> It might sound weird, but I really like crushing acorns beneath my shoes when I'm out for a walk, but of course, not these! 

ON THE MOUNTAIN >> After Baskia escapes club life to the rural north, she doesn't expect the sharp learning curve, the friends she makes, or the love that blooms.

Plush pumpkins >> Aren't these adorable?! 

Apple Cider >> The smell of warm apple cider alone makes me so happy. 

Sweater >> When I'm writing at my desk, I like to be bundled up and warm. 

Any fall faves, please share below!





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Lit Chat List

*Looks fondly into the past, recalling evenings on screened-in porches, sipping lemonade, and discussing and bonding over books.

Remember book clubs? Maybe you're still in one. Sadly, mine fell away along with dial up, the fascination with Reality TV, and time. Sigh emoji. Time, always the culprit. I miss them though. More recently, friends and I started up a virtual "book club" connecting over texts and in emails, but it just wasn't the same and inevitably—as was the case and the delight of in-person book clubs—we'd start discussing other things: travel plans, work, kids…and kids! One of the biggies that makes time management the status quo and shifted priorities. Fast forward to now…and social media!

There are loads of literary/book chats online for readers and writers. The upside: pop in whenever you want. The downside: no snacks. But still, it's super fun to connect with other word nerds the world over. Below, please find a list of literary chats, their times and any associated links.

A few points to make if you join a book chat:
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Click LIVE on the top of the Twitter page so you're not just getting the comments from people you follow.
  • Scroll through to find out the topic. If you're late, it's fine to ask the subject of the hour.
  • When answering questions it's helpful to use Q and the number. For example often times the host will start a convo by tweeting something  like: Q1. What's your favorite book? In responding to question 1, use Q1 or A1 (A for answer) and so on.
  • Always use the designated hashtag.
  • Be respectful. I haven't come across too many heated debates, but if you do, consider what you'd say if you were in the room with the person. And since you can't see them/probably don't know them, they might hold a PhD in the subject, a cop, or just a plain old human being with feelings. Conduct yourself as such. 
  • I find it helpful to use an app like Tweetdeck or have two windows open, one for the live feed and the other for comments directed to me, favorites, retweets, etc.
  • Always double check/convert to your time zone. Here's a handy converter. I did the times below in EST for consistency. 
  • Have fun! And it's cool to bring gif-cupcakes!


Now for the list: 


Sunday

#TSBC with @TSBookClub 5:30-6:40 EST


Monday

#LitChat with @LitChat 4pm EST

#TBKChat with @TBKChat 1st Mondays of every month 8pm EST (Teen Book Chat)


Tuesday

#TipsyChat with @tipsy_writer 8:30pm EST

#bookbloggers with @BookBlogChat 2pm EST


Wednesday

#LitChat with @LitChat 4pm EST

#BookChat with @BookChats 2pmEST



Thursday 

#LitChatYa with @Kindle_YA 4pm EST

#K8Chat with @K8Tilton 8pm EST

#StoryDam with @Storydam 8pm EST

#MGLitChat with @MGLitChat  9pm EST

#NA LitChat with @Nalitchat 9pm EST


Friday


Saturday

#ChocLitSaturday with @ChocLitSaturday 11am EST






I know I missed some! 

Please leave the info in the comments below 

& I'll update the list. 



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Life Lately

A photographic catalog of my little postage stamp when I'm not writing...


A breakfast of champions...I try to replicate this whenever possible. Some kind of green-granola fancy, right?!  I take mine minus the honey, honey.


Pinion Trees are some of my favorites.


My love.


I've been digging adding a sprinkling of crushed red pepper to my food lately. Still searching for a sugar-free sriracha/hot sauce substitute.


This photo has already had some airtime, but too adorable to resist...although on second glance, he doesn't look all that pleased with my photo set up. Sorry, Fluffy. 


When I'm not writing...Update...only the sky remains.


Spending so much time in the sun. Little Two made a UV bracelet. 


My kind of manna. 


She makes a good pillow.


I'm getting super excited. Also, heads up, Pearl is my longest ms yet! 


Sunsets, ya think I like them?


I need a regular dose of sparkle in my life. Even the flaming kind.




On Instagram? Let's connect.




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Author Reflections & Insight



Hello September! When'd you get here?! It's always the tone of surprise with me when seasons change, time sifts by, or it's suddenly a holiday. Events like these shouldn't blindside me—I mean, they're written in months, years, uh, millennia(?) in advance. Still, time has this way of sneaking, and twirling, and speeding along. Which brings me to my recent realization that it's been three months since SUGAR my debut young adult novel was published by Skyscape. Three incredible, challenging, insightful, and gratitude-filled months.

(Also, psst, the Kindle/digital copy is on sale right now!) 

I've written a bit about my road to publication, first as a fledgling hopeful, querying agents who probably have my name—in red ink—on a list somewhere under the heading: persistent, (but polite—I hope! PASS!) Later, as an independently published author with the new adult series, FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, and then in a shocking twist in my personal narrative, an offer for publication from Skyscape. 

Yew!

Now, here I am on the other side, sorta, whirling and wondering really, how I got here. It's true, authors tend to be doubters, though confidence rises and falls much like the hurry up, slow down, slowwww way down, quick, you’re on deadline wacky pace of the publishing world. Some days I'm like who wrote this sh!t and then others, it's like, well, not too shabby there, Hall.

Here I am now, reflecting on the last few months and looking ahead, and ready to reboot with all this new information. After a stream of consciousness kind of flow, I'm going to list out several things I wish I knew before… Or if I could hop in my Tardis (I had one imported) the leaflet I'd print out and give myself to spare any incurring hardship, hair-tugging, and spazz-outs.  

1. Be patient. I know. I say this all the time. We hear it all the time. But it comes up again and again for a reason. Several, actually. For many of us who've latched onto the lightning fast connection of the internet age, we want things now, now, and now. Maybe even yesterday. In fact, as I write this, my internet/wifi is down, and I'm all kinds of flustered. I have things to do, people. To do them I NEED the internet. Ok, not really. Um, maybe that little outburst demonstrates why I might need a tech-detox and a dose of patience.

My word processing program is accommodating me just fine for my present endeavor, but darnit I want to check my Twitter feed and my inbox and… But really, I don't need to. All I have to do right now is write this blog post and the pumpkin on top of my neck provides all the gigabytes required—just like they did it in the "old days." So, in this time of internet-instant-gratification, it's easy to forget or maybe it's just that we expect that everything else moves at the same rate. 

The publishing world, at least in my experience, consists of real humans who do things at the same pace as the rest of us. That means they read, edit, offer feedback in real time, not the pseudo-speed offered by technology. So, self, three, six, twelve months ago…be patient with publishing.

2. Be patient. Yes, I'm repeating myself. How's that saying go, "Rome wasn't built in a day." I think that's what it is. I can't cross-reference because my internet is down. (How did writers fifteen, twenty, a hundred years ago do it?!) This brings me exactly to my point. Rome wasn't built in a day, but it's still standing. Mostly. I've been there and it's pretty phenomenal despite all the influences that, over the years, routinely threaten it. If, as writers, it's our desire to evoke a lasting response, connection, and impression on readers with our body of work, it's essential we give the sauce—our manuscripts—time to develop flavor. That means, the first draft is just that, a first draft. Mine are an embarrassment. I will never, ever, not even for a real chocolate chip cookies show someone my first draft. Actually, it's not because I'm truly embarrassed…I'm a fast drafter and get down the bones of a story quickly, otherwise distractions and my own forgetfulness sieves the story line into some inaccessible part of my brain. I learned this about myself. Thank goodness. If you're a fast drafter, like me, or even if you're somewhere in the middle, or deliberate every word on the first go, the first draft is the layer, or three, just above the gold. By stepping away, we allow the novel to marinate. Then, going back, revising, and editing, we add a little, take away, refine, and perfect our recipe. 

(All this talk about Rome and food is making me hungry. Mmm. Sauce.)

Back to patience. With self-publishing and the accessibility of agents and editors, there's sometimes a sense of urgency, to get it out there before…before what I'm not sure, but it's valuable to let the writing process unfold (marinate) fully, before launching into publishing. (Insert wine or cheese metaphor since we're dabbling in Italian cuisine.) I'm just now settling into this notion, downshifting a little away from frenetic energy, but still maintaining my drive, my desire, and the fire that keeps me stoked to be in this biz.

3. Be flexible. The schedule for my forthcoming novel, PEARL, was derailed over the summer. It was one of those situations that could have been prevented, but my frustration wasn't going to get the manuscript edited and where it needed to be. I had days blocked out far in advance for revisions with my editor and when that didn't go to plan and camps, playdates, childcare was for naught…I sulked, but very quickly, I picked myself up, dusted off, and got back to work.

This tip comes with two caveats: one, guard your writing time. Don't give it up unless you have a really, really good reason. Writers NEED to write. Vitamin W or something. Two, don't let people take advantage of the patience you cultivated (see above). If a request or timeline seems unreasonable, respectfully speak up. The thing was I did my best to maintain a flexible attitude and it all worked out quite nicely.

With flexibility in mind, it's also valuable, especially after what can be hours spent at the keyboard (depending on how your writing time is blocked out) to move the body. I find occasional 5-15 minute yoga breaks throughout the day or one long session early on or in the evening is super useful in rebooting and keeping my body and buns from aching too much. If yoga isn't your thing, recharge with some form of physical movement. The bonus, this stimulates the creative juices! Folding laundry doesn't count, unless it's Thursday.

4. Be connected. I railed above about the hyper-connectivity we experience nowadays, but what I mean is, reach out or maintain connections with real humans (not just the ones we make up.) I tend toward retreating into my writing cave and happily staying there until I'm running on a food and water deficit, not to mention human interaction.

I've found it's vital for writers to get writerly support. The unique thing I wasn't necessarily expecting when I launched into the writing/publishing world, was this amazing collective of friendly and supportive fellow word nerds. Twitter, writing groups, and conferences are all great places to meet like-mindeds along with learn, discuss relevant topics, and geek out about ALL the bookish things.




And last, but not least, celebrate. That doesn't mean book spamming all the feeds from here to the satellites in the outer reaches of space, but it's important to mark small and big victories, a completed chapter, manuscript, publication! I believe the universe appreciates when we recognize our triumphs—and those of other writers. So let's remember to give a little hollah, some emojis, a glass of something bubbly, or a whatever feels festive when we cross the various writerly finish lines. 



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