i’ve been such a slacker…

Since I proudly completed my Camp Nanowrimo goal back at the end of May, I’ve written maybe 5 sentences?

Summer really makes me a slacker.  There’s so much to do!  It’s too nice out to be inside!  I keep opening up my “Beast of Gevaudan” word document and staring at where I left it at the end of May, and while I know there are roughly two paragraphs before the end of this novella, I just haven’t been able to write them.  I also opened up my word document for my work-in-progress that doesn’t have its own webpage yet and I’ll re-read it and then I started rewriting the first chapter, writing the aforementioned 5 sentences, and then got lost on Tumblr again.  Tumblr is probably to blame for most of my problems.

BUT!  Let’s look at my goals for the year!

  • to finish and publish Dreamwalkers
  • to finalize the print edition of Hitchhikers and offer a giveaway or two
  • to finish and publish Scavengers
  • and to possibly finish some of my other works-in-progress, including Blood Countess and another new WIP that I haven’t even added to the site yet!
  • be able to do a handstand away from the wall and hold for 10 seconds
  • be able to do more than 3 straddle ups in a row (in aerial silks)
  • practice yoga more often
  • read down my Goodreads to-read list (currently I have 148 books “to-read” which is kind of ridiculous) addendum: I now have 172 books on my “to-read” shelf.
  • sew more of my own clothes

So yeah, I may not have mentioned it… but Dreamwalkers is out there!  You can find it at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, also iBookstore, Sony, etc (I don’t have links for those).  For some reason Amazon hasn’t noticed that Dreamwalkers is free on all the other sites, but you can get the .mobi file at Smashwords and send it to your Kindle for free.

I can now do 5 straddle-ups in a row!  And 4.75 pull ups!  I also made myself a shirt which I have worn once!

Yeah, so I need to stop being a slacker and get back on the writing train…

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Book Signing Story: Jodi Picoult and Cassandra Clare

10thcircleI picked up a copy of this after I went to a book signing for Sing You Home (still haven’t gotten around to reading that one yet…) – one of the fellow librarians I attended with recommended it and I was intrigued when she mentioned that it was partially graphic novel.

This week I attended another book signing for Jodi Picoult, only this time it was more of an event centered around Cassandra Clare, and Jodi was there with her son Kyle to ask Cassandra questions.  It was fun to see Jodi being a bit of a fangirl about the Mortal Instruments, especially since the first time I saw Jodi she was very serious.

I had my max number of books for Cassandra Clare to sign, but when I thought about another book for Jodi to sign, I remembered this one sitting on my shelf and figured a.) I should probably read it since I’ve had for at least 2 years… and b.) I could have her sign it.  As I was waiting in the signing line, I flipped to the front and saw that it appeared that it had already been signed. Feeling sheepish, I went up to Jodi and told her. She laughed and told me it was just a handwriting font, then she signed it to show me what her real signature looked like.

heavenlyfireCassandra Clare was great to listen to.  She talked a bit about her upcoming series – one about the generation after Infernal Devices, although that won’t be out for a while (I’m dying for The Bane Chronicles, which is due out in November).  She talked a lot about how she writes and does research and how she got the idea for the Mortal Instruments series, and also about her favorite relationships and characters.  She was very approachable even though I was still a little tongue-tied when I finally got to the signing table.

I shall finally start reading City of Heavenly Fire tomorrow!

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Memorial Day weekend giveaways

artkidscoverBethany Caleb coverSince the upcoming holiday weekend is the 1-year anniversary of the publication of both Bethany Caleb and The Art Kids, both titles will be free on Amazon all weekend!


Hitchhikers is always free, you can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or pretty much any other format over at Smashwords.

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editingLook, see, I’m editing Dreamwalkers!  The TV is even off!  (Made possible due to the completion of my “Parks & Rec” marathon).

My goal is to complete editing by the end of this week.  Only 13 chapters to go!  And then another read-through!  And probably another round of editing… Editing is a lot more work than one might think.

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I am not very nice to my characters

I’m nearing the end of Camp Nanowrimo and last night I ended up writing the most in one day that I have all month (a whopping 1,300 words), and once again my main character ended up giving himself stitches (this also happens in Hitchhikers).  For some reason I feel the need to break my characters down to their absolute lowest point both mentally and physically before I can know what they’re capable of.  I definitely felt like I had to break Kayla down in Dreamwalkers, I had to see what happened to her confidence level.  In The Beast of Gevaudan, Georges also needed some breaking down, but really that’s just brought out his inner psychopath.  Or outer psychopath… he never really hid it, but this made it worse.

In Hitchhikers, Daniel is starved, attempts suicide, gets his leg caught in a bear trap, gets shot, and falls on an axe, in addition to giving himself stitches.  Somehow in The Beast of Gevaudan I’ve also had Georges end up giving himself stitches, which I’m not sure I’ll keep in there… although I do like the similarities between Georges and Daniel, because it illustrates how different they are at the core while dealing with similar circumstances.

I guess I’m lucky all my characters have a lot of fight in them.

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Camp Nano & other progress

After a bit of a rough couple of weeks, I am finally back on track to complete 20,000 words by the end of the month.  I had figured 20K would be so easy, not even half of a regular Nanowrimo, but surprisingly it hasn’t been the free ride I was expecting.  A bit part of this was my decision to write a historical fiction… I finally found some in-depth sources regarding the Beast of Gevaudan, which has been both helpful and difficult (to match my story up with the true events).  I will get there!

I’m hoping to be able to get ahead on this and start editing Dreamwalkers soon… and then possibly do the Camp Nanowrimo in June to finish the first draft of Scavengers!

Last week I was able to do 4 straddle ups on the silks!!  So another thing crossed off my list!  I feel like the hardest goal will be my Goodreads list.  I’m at 158 to-read now.  How did that happen?

goals progress:

  • to finish and publish Dreamwalkers
  • to finalize the print edition of Hitchhikers and offer a giveaway or two
  • (if goal #1 happens) to finish and publish Scavengers
  • and to possibly finish some of my other works-in-progress, including Blood Countess and another new WIP that I haven’t even added to the site yet!
  • be able to do a handstand away from the wall and hold for 10 seconds (I am close to being able to hold it next to the wall, the next step is to move away!)
  • be able to do more than 3 straddle ups in a row (in aerial silks)
  • practice yoga more often
  • read down my Goodreads to-read list (currently I have 148 books “to-read” which is kind of ridiculous)
  • sew more of my own clothes
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the YA baby name book, part 1

Over the years, it seems that names in YA books have devolved into strangeness.  There is almost always a moment where I have to stop and wonder, “How do you pronounce this?”  Of course, baby names have been growing stranger and stranger in the real world as well.

First up: Let’s see how the character names from a few of my favorite books published in each decade match up against the most popular baby names.

My criteria for the books in each decade:

  • published in that decade
  • contemporary setting
  • “embody” that decade or seem representative of the decade


  • Elizabeth, Jessica, Todd, Lila, Bruce (Sweet Valley High series)
  • Rachel, Stephanie, Alison (Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume)
  • Lori, Lia (Stranger with my Face by Lois Duncan)
  • Dicey, James, Sammy, Maybeth (Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt)
  • Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Ann, Dawn (Baby-Sitters Club series)

Top Boy Names of the 80s: Michael, Christopher, Matthew, Joshua, David, James, Daniel, Robert, John, Joseph

Top Girl Names of the 80s: Jessica, Jennifer, Amanda, Ashley, Sarah, Stephanie, Melissa, Nicole, Elizabeth, Heather

With the exception of Homecoming, I feel like the names here are pretty normal and fit with the top names, despite having only a handful of matches.  For example, Rachel and Lauren (Lori being a variation) are close to the top 10 for girls, and there are some other names that just scream EIGHTIES to me (like Stacey).  Many of the other names probably didn’t make a top list because of the many variations: names like Kristy and Sammy are nicknames and there are many ways to spell the original names.

Strangest name(s) from this batch: Dicey.  It doesn’t appear to be short for anything.


  • Elena, Stefan, Damon, Caroline, Bonnie, Tyler (Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith)
  • Joanna, Penn, Laurie, Tessa, Stephen, Casey (The Secret Diaries trilogy by Janice Harrell)
  • Michael, Jessica, Alice, Sara, Clair, Bill, Russ, Nick (Final Friends trilogy by Christopher Pike)
  • Bobbi, Corky, Jennifer, Julia, Kimmy, Debra, Ronnie, Chip (Cheerleaders series by R.L. Stine)
  • Charlie, Samantha, Patrick (The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky)
  • Melinda, Rachel, Heather, Andy, Ivy (Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson)

Top Boy Names of the 90s: Michael, Christopher, Matthew, Joshua, Jacob, Nicholas, Andrew, Daniel, Tyler, Joseph

Top Girl Names of the 90s: Jessica, Ashley, Emily, Sarah, Samantha, Amanda, Brittany, Elizabeth, Taylor, Megan

There are a lot more matches in this batch, and still most of them fit.  Jennifer was an extremely popular name in the 80s and 90s

Strangest name(s) from this batch: Penn and Corky.  I have to say, I loved the name Penn when I read those books and thought it was soooo sexy.  Unusual for a guy’s name, but definitely masculine and classy.  Corky, on the other hand, is just an unfortunate name for a girl, but apparently her mother didn’t have very good taste, given that her sister’s name is Bobbi.  Blech.


  • Isabella, Jacob, Edward, Jasper, Alice (Twilight series)
  • Carmen, Lena, Tabitha “Tibby”, Bridget, Krista, Bailey, Tucker (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series)
  • Miles, Alaska, Chip, Takumi, Lara (Looking for Alaska by John Green)
  • Grace, Sam, Isabel, Cole, Beck, Hannah, Olivia, Shelby, Paul (Wolves of Mercy Falls series)

Top Boy Names of the 00s: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Daniel, Christopher, Andrew, Ethan, Joseph, William

Top Girl Names of the 00s: Emily, Madison, Emma, Olivia, Hannah, Abigail, Isabella, Samantha, Elizabeth, Ashley

Very interesting that Jacob & Isabella made their way onto the top baby names lists… and Edward didn’t (you could take into account that his name is actually historical).  While the boys top names list remains virtually unchanged, from the previous decade, the girls list has quite a few new additions.

Finding representative books from this decade was difficult, because this was the decade the YA Lit basically blew up, largely due to Twilight.  I tried to pick a few books that were really outstanding and also fit my criteria.  Until I remembered Shiver/Linger/Forever I thought I was going to be stuck on Jacob & Isabella.  This series uses several of the trendy new baby names, including Isabella.  I think Cole is fairly representative of this decade (my sister named her son that, with different spelling).  Bailey and Tucker also feel very much of this decade.

It seems like this is the decade where YA names start getting a little odd.  And though you could certainly discredit my previous selections for not being diverse, this group has several diverse names.

Strangest name(s) from this batch: Alaska, although the idea of naming your kid based on where he/she was conceived is not necessarily that unusual.


  • Blue, Adam, Richard “Gansey” (his last name), Ronan, Noah, Declan (Raven Boys series)
  • Clarissa “Clary”, Simon, Jace, Sebastian, Alexander “Alec”, Isabelle, Maia, Jordan (Mortal Instruments series)
  • Mara, Noah, Jude, Jamie, Daniel, Joseph (Mara Dyer trilogy)

Top Boy Names: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam, Jacob, Ethan, Lucas, Noah, Jayden, Jack, Logan

Top Girl Names: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Ava, Mia, Lily, Zoe, Emily, Chloe, Madison, Abigail

I decided that Maia was close enough to Mia.  And I suppose the Mortal Instruments series straddles this decade and the last, so the name Isabella could be a hanger-on, but if I rule those two out, I’m not sure about why only the name that matches up is Noah.  The trend seems to be moving toward unusual names – both in fiction and in real life.

Strangest name(s) from this batch: Blue.  Although this name is normal compared to her family: Persephone, Calla, Orla, Artemus.  No wonder she lets Gansey call her “Jane.”

I will continue to explore the strange world of YA character names in the future…. stay tuned!

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