Nº. 1 of  46

Going for gold

I really tried to stay active while pregnant, but I was surprised to discover how much more altitude effected me. Add on that it was winter (then mud season), and I spent a lot of months in Denver.

Now that Nico’s here, we’re trying to get back into hiking. I kind of feel like I’m starting back at zero—how I felt when we first moved to Colorado. There may not be any ten-milers in my immediate future, but there are still plenty of awesome hikes in the Front Range for exploring. (Newborn fact: Their lungs can’t quite handle very high elevation unless they’re born into it, so we’re staying below 10,000 feet until he’s a few months older.)

Golden Gate Canyon State Park was our weekend pick. Oddly enough, we did the very same hike we did when we moved to Denver. I love this state park. It’s close to Denver, never super crowded, and the views!

Hideous, right?

We chose the Raccoon Trail, a moderate trail that gives you a bit of everything: pine forests, aspen groves, alpine meadows, and enough of an uphill to make you work for it. At less than three miles, it’s also an easy length. I think this is a fantastic choice for taking kids and out-of-town guests (we’ve had a lot of those lately).

The wildflowers were still blooming while we were there, so this hike was a perfect little afternoon.

…And I’m back!

Who knew two months off could go by so quickly! But it’s now back to writing and editing and hiking and (dreaming of) traveling. And now I’m doing it with this little guy as my companion:

Nico was born June 2 and immediately became the best baby ever born in the history of the world (in my completely objective and unbiased opinion). We’ve spent the summer learning how to smile, kicking at glorified cat toys, and exercising our lungs when we’re not fed at the very first sign of hunger.

Baby vs. Baby

In one corner (of my laptop), we’ve got my book baby. Look at it, all adorable and demanding of my attention.

And in the other corner (of my womb), we’ve got my baby baby. Look at it, all about to be born and sucking my brain power.

(Note: This is not my child. Mine is still in utero, where he/she seems content to stay until I reach the gestation of an elephant.)

Over the last few months, I’ve been dealing with the growing struggle between paying attention to my writing and paying attention to my fetus. I love both. They both fill me with joy and anticipation and occasional indigestion. And I know that, for at least a few months, one is going to take precedence over the other. (My book, obviously. We’ll leave out a bowl of water and crack a window for the baby.)

As my due date approaches charges toward me like a runaway bull, I’ve had to make adjustments to how I write. Gone are the head-down, locked-away, eight-hour days where I can blast through thousands of words or pages of edits. I’ve had to—shudder—make myself nap. Take a walk to clear my head. Sit out the couch and stare at the tv. And I’ve had to do this without that voice in my head yelling that napping equals failure. (I know, I know. It’s weird of me to be so anti-nap.) Because the days that I don’t do that? Well, let’s just say I’m thankful to the good shoppers at REI who didn’t root through my car when I left the car door wide open while shopping.

But, you know what? Letting/making myself take breaks has been a good thing. A needed thing. It’s something Type A me should have instituted long ago. (Scheduled breaks, mind you. I can’t throw out my entire personality.)

So, in these final few days I’m striving to slow down and enjoy doing nothing along with all the something.

Oh, and because I’m me. I also participated in an agent pitch contest, got bids from multiple agents, and now am doing one last polish of my novel before sending the full manuscript out to those agents. Baby steps, right?

Book Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

My review of the new YA fantasy Deep Blue is up over at A Book and a Latte!

bookandlatte:

Book Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

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First thing I thought while reading Jennifer Donnelly’s latest novel, Deep Blue: When are Sebastian and Flounder showing up? It can’t be denied that the set-up of this “mermaid princess goes on an adventure and finds her voice” novel is all too reminiscent of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Yet while the similarities are undeniable—Merl princess Sera has a pet octopus—this book does stand on its own…

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It’s May 12, Denver. Get your shit together.

It’s May 12, Denver. Get your shit together.

The Writer’s Voice

And then my Friday got better when I was randomly selected to join The Writer’s Voice, an awesome YA writing/pitching competition. Yay for unexpected news, right?

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(Cheer smile! Which I normally find totally creepy but may be sporting right now…)

So, onto my entry for BLUEBELL BAKER SUCKS AT LIFE …

Query

I am seeking representation for BLUEBELL BAKER SUCKS AT LIFE, a contemporary YA complete at 75,000 words.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Blue Baker loves cheerleading. And it gets really annoying that no one understands why—not her hippie mom or her loser brother or even her best friend. There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of perfecting a stunt. It’s a place where Blue’s one-hundred percent in control, which is kind of missing in the rest of her life.

So the fact that Blue’s family expects her to give up her last year on the squad to rehome one half of her lifetime kidney supply? It puts Blue in a Place of Suck. Quit something she loves or become the absolute worst daughter on the planet. Choices, choices. Blue is determined to have a say in the course of her senior year on and off the mat. But when she faces the chaos of new friends, new loves, and a lifetime without a kidney, Blue needs to figure out how to regain control and make the life she wants. 

BLUEBELL BAKER SUCKS AT LIFE is a standalone novel with a sharp voice and strong heart that is MEAN GIRLS meets MY SISTER’S KEEPER.

And the first 250(ish) words

Polyester is the devil’s fabric.

So I’m standing outside the gym with my back against a bank of freshman lockers. These are—FYI—the worst lockers in the entirety of Watford High School. About as far away as you can get from classes and the student parking lot, yet close enough to the locker rooms to get a lovely eu de jockstrap wafting down the narrow hall. Lovely.

The whole school is rumbling by like cattle at the feedlot. Shuffling feet. Talking, shouting, the occasional moo. And here I am, with my hands stuck up under my polyester cheerleading skirt attempting to get some rogue spankies back in place.

Okay, let’s back up. It’s the first week back at Watford High. So obviously we need a pep rally, right? Because I know that’s what was top of my mind when I thought about starting my senior year of high school. Right. Whatever.

So. Pep rally. “Yay English” and “This year’ll be great” and “Don’t drink and drive,” etc. Which means I, a Watford High varsity cheerleader, had to bolt out of fifth period art to throw on my uniform, scrape my stubbornly straight brown hair into a pony, and tie the world’s most depressed ribbon around said pony. In about five minutes flat. Somewhere in the process, my undies went to war with my bodysuit, and spankies placement was a casualty. One butt cheek is peeking out, and the spankies have wriggled into my, you know, lady region, and I have a spectacular camel toe that will really stand out nicely when I have to do a heel stretch.

Go to the light.

Go to the light.

So I was searching for a diaper bag this weekend but instead came home with these. They’re practically the same thing, right?

So I was searching for a diaper bag this weekend but instead came home with these. They’re practically the same thing, right?

Let’s Be Friends

Today, I’m over at A Book and a Latte talking “Eat Your Heart Out" and friendship in YA. Friendship between girls isn’t as easy to find in young adult novels as you’d think. But lucky you—I list five great YA reads that get by with a little help from their friend(ships).

Check it out! And a huge thanks to A Book and a Latte for hosting me!

Happy spring!

Happy spring!

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Nº. 1 of  46