We’re most of the way through January, and while I haven’t been posting a lot, I have been doing writerly things a lot. I’m finishing up revisions on MANIAC to send out to my critique partners, mostly, so that’s been my main focus. But in between, I’ve been doing this:







Lena Dunham, Lauren Oliver



I’m just starting ROOMS, by Lauren Oliver. This is her first piece of adult fiction, so I’m interested to see how the voice changes and how the writing evolves. I usually enjoy her writing, so I’d like to be able to promote this as a great crossover for older teens starting to venture into adult fiction at the library, or as a book for adults looking to read a few new authors.



NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL by Lena Dunham is suprisingly good! Not that I should have been surprised, but I thought it would be more like all of the other biographical reads that funny people tend to put out—-heavy on the comedy (are their lives really that funny all the time???), and less about them as people. If you haven’t picked this one up, do it. It’s poignant, personal, and yes….still has that Lena Dunham charm.  I’m taking this one slow because I don’t want it to end.



I must admit, I almost put THE DOUBT FACTORY by Paolo Bacigalupi down after the first few pages. It was a simple description about a “black-guy”——his words, not mine——that I thought was a little insensitive in this day when we need more diversity in YA books. But, I think Bacigalupi is going somewhere with this, so I’m still reading. In fact, it’s got a good thriller feel, and I haven’t heard much about this release, so maybe it’ll turn out to be a good book to recommend to our readers at the library. Have you read it?






Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, BoyhoodWe like a good movie in our house, and we tend to see quite a few over the course of a year. I think some of our best discussions come out of watching and doing our own little movie reviews at the end of the day. This month, we’ve hit a couple of biggies: “Gone Girl” and “Boyhood”.



Of course, I was very interested to see “Gone Girl”, and I’m happy that it followed the book quite closely. Was it a good choice to have Gillian Flynn write the screenplay? Yes and no, in my opinion. The book was soooooo good, and really read well. There were deep thoughts about relationships and insight into men and women that I don’t think anyone had tried before, especially in such a twisty type of book. That’s what I loved about it….the combination of thrill-ride and therapy session.  The movie, though, felt too wordy, too narrative instead of conversational when Nick and Amy were speaking. In a book, it works. Onscreen, not so much. But, it was better than a lot of movies out there, so I forgave it that.



“Boyhood” was another movie that surprised me. Yes, it was thoroughly delightful to see these young characters growing up onscreen. And for some reason, I always enjoy Ethan Hawke in movies. The story was thoughtful and realistic and had some wonderful moments. Would it have been as impressive if they’d used different actors throughout to convey time passing? Probably not. Which makes me think this was a device. Clever, yes, but if you take that away, is the movie as strong? You decide.



I wonder what we’ll watch next weekend?






I’m off to the Ontario Library Super Conference next week in Toronto, Ontario, so I’ve been madly prepping things at work for my time away. This conference is always fun and informative. I usually come away feeling like I have new ideas for my programs, new books to read, and lots of great memories. This year, I’m hoping to hit some of the book signings a little earlier and lug around 50 pounds of books all week. Not that I’m complaining….this is about as close to a writer’s conference as I’ll most likely ever get, so I take advantage. I’ll try to take lots of photos to share when I get back. Thousands of librarians in one place….can you imagine!



What have YOU been up to lately? Drop me a line….





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YA websites




Number four? Already? It’s been so much fun visiting the blogs I love to read….I haven’t been to some of them enough, and now I know I’ve been missing out! This month is the perfect example: Natalie Whipple over at Between Fact and Fiction.



Natalie Whipple is the author of some fun YA, some serious YA, but always great YA.






I started reading her blog before I even began querying, and to be honest, I almost quit. She is so heartfelt and honest with her observations about the book world, it would make anyone think twice about wanting to get involved. Except, she LOVES writing…so much that she has to continue despite all of the setbacks she’s encountered through her career. I love the candid posts about querying, about selling her first book…and the latest one, about the differences between self-publishing and the traditional method. There is no way you can read this woman’s confessionals and not feel a connection. I get her. I’ve been there. And she made it through, so it makes me feel like I can do it, too! Plus, she’s so darn cute…and those illustrations?! Heck, ya!




I would highly recommend this post where she gives blunt advice to writers, and her (UGH) post about being on submission. If you’ve ever been in the trenches, read it now. Now.




So, I’m revisiting some of these posts to get me through the next few months as I begin sharing my latest book with my critique partners and my agent. I’ll need a boost.




Have you read any of Natalie’s books? What are some of your favorite posts? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you!




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Instead of setting a New Year’s resolution that I can’t keep (again) this year, I decided I’d try something a little different. While we’re trying to eat healthier and have made great changes to our overall diet, my resolve to eat healthy gets lost in the same-old-recipe muck. So, 2015 is going to be about trying new things—namely, new recipes.



Each month, I’ll pick a newly released cookbook (or one that’s new to me), and choose some recipes that might help us continue along the healthy eating path. I’ll also give you a rundown on the cookbook itself so you can decide if it’s something you might want to check out.



First up in January is THUG KITCHEN: EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A F*CK. Yep.  Seriously.  I’m a little afraid of this one, but get it over right at the beginning I guess. Wish me luck.






Watch for my review a little later this month. I’ll have pictures—wish it could be a taste test!








(Title photo courtesy of Todd Quackenbush at Unsplash)

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I love this time of year….being able to spend long hours with family and friends, the smell of shortbread baking in the oven, wrapping up sparkly presents for people you love……it’s an amazing time. I am lucky enough this year to have a few weeks off to be able to really enjoy it.  And I’ve made the best of it.



  Pretty paper    Ice storms when you don’t have to go anywhere    Hot chocolate

  Cinnamon Stars    Treescapes   Paper Straw Wreaths     Real Trees









And best of all? Typing “THE END” on the last page of another book. Of course, now all of the hard work begins, but it feels great to have another book under my belt. Maybe 2015 will be the year? *crossing my fingers + working harder than ever*





Merry Christmas to all of my friends, family, and wonderful readers. See you after the holidays!




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20141212_203011_LLS(One of the holiday signs I made last year)



I’m finally off on holidays! But I have a list the length of my arm of things I want to accomplish over the next two weeks, starting with finishing the first draft of MANIAC. It’s been a long haul these past few weeks and I haven’t given it the time I should have. All that is about to change. I am going to finish. I am. Expect to see me camped out on the couch with laptop and a mug of tea if you drop by. I might scoot over and let you sit down, as long as you don’t talk to me while I’m writing. I need to concentrate. ;-)



After that, I’m all about the shopping, wrapping, baking, card-writing, fa-la-la-ing, and merrymaking. I brought home all the movies I’ve been waiting to see without subjecting my poor husband to “another YA movie”: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, IF I STAY & THE GIVER. Not Christmas-y movies exactly, but they’ll make the wrapping and baking go faster. Can’t wait.



In the meantime, I’m participating in the YA Buccaneers’ “12 Days of Books” Instagram challenge. Have you been following along? So far, we’ve done a book beard, our mug-of-the-moment, and today….a bookcase. It’s been fun, and my sister is playing along with us!  I’m so happy!



Oh, and I’m making fudge.  I’m not a good fudge maker, but I have a self-imposed challenge to find the perfect white chocolate/vanilla fudge recipe for my husband. So far, I’ve made a pan of goop. I’ll keep you posted.



Happy everything!




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